Mormon Church disputes tribal jurisdiction in Navajo abuse case
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is refusing to submit to the jurisdiction of the Navajo Nation.
Two Navajo siblings -- identified in court papers as "RJ" and "MM" -- sued the Mormon Church in tribal court in March. The complaint alleges they suffered sexual abuse while participating in a church-operated child welfare program in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
But a declaration filed in federal court on Tuesday says decisions made by the Indian Student Placement Program occurred in Utah, not on the reservation. The church also says the tribe's court lacks jurisdiction over non-Indian entities.