An attorney representing three children who endured sexual, physical and emotional abuse for years, mostly at the hands of their father, is suing the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and others associated with it for not reporting the mistreatment the children suffered inside their Bisbee house.
The children and their parents, Paul and Leizza Adams, were members of the church’s Bisbee ward, the complaint filed by lawyer Lynne Cadigan shows. Leaders in that organization were aware that Paul Adams — who was employed as a U.S. Border Patrol agent until his arrest and committed suicide in December 2017— was abusing the children because Adams sought counseling with church leaders for his acts.
Cadigan sums up the entire case in the first paragraph of the complaint’s introduction.
“This case involves horrible sexual, physical and emotional abuse of children between the ages of six (6) weeks and twelve (12) years old that went on for seven (7) years. The biological father of these victims made videos of his rapes and now these videos are everywhere on the world wide web. The perpetrator admitted his abuse and crimes to his Mormon Church, and received counseling for his crimes. The Mormon Church leaders knew about the abuse and yet no one reported these crimes to the authorities. The Mormon Church leaders gave guidance and care to these children for seven (7) years, sat next to them in Church and allowed these vicious crimes to continue.”
Cadigan said church leaders are trying to claim clergy privilege as a defense.
“Counseling is not the same thing as listening to a confession,” Cadigan said. “The family doctor never reported it either. The law says you must report.”
The lawsuit is filed against the Corporation of the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon Church), Lenzner Medical Services, Dr. John Herrod and Sherrie Farnsworth Herrod, Shaunice Warr, Robert Kim Mauzy and Michelle Mauzy.
Cochise County Attorney Brian McIntyre will not discuss the parties being sued by Cadigan, only to say that his office is investigating the matter. The Herald/Review could not reach Warr or the Herrods. A woman who answered the phone at Lenzner Medical Services Monday afternoon where the Adams family obtained medical care said John Herrod retired last year. A voicemail message was left for Robert Mauzy but the he did not return the call.
The 87-page complaint describes Paul Adams as an unstable, violent sociopath who killed the family pets in front of his children as a form of punishment and forced his wife to beat the youngsters.
In her testimony at a hearing for Leizza Adams, Warr — also a church member and Border Patrol agent who worked with Paul Adams — said Adams was so unhinged she would have shot him if he had ever “gone postal” in the office.
Leizza Adams pleaded no contest to two counts of child abuse in August 2018 and was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in state prison and four years probation. She was initially charged in 2017 after Paul Adams was arrested on multiple counts of sexual abuse of minors under the age of 10.
Court records show some of the abuse, which occurred from 2010 to 2017, was recorded in the couple’s Bisbee residence and uploaded by Paul Adams to the internet. Cadigan said images of the abuse have been viewed worldwide. Paul Adams committed suicide in a jail cell as he awaited trial.
On Monday, Cadigan said she would like to speak to anyone who may know more about the case, including anyone who may have witnessed the abuse. She can be reached at the Cadigan Law Firm, 520-622-6066.