Mormon church to allow parents in youth bishop meetings

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Mormon church to allow parents in youth bishop meetings
In this Jan. 18, 2018 photo, Sam Young, a Mormon father from Houston who is organizing a petition to stop sexually explicit interviews of Mormon youth by their LDS Bishops, talks during a news conference in Salt Lake City. Young said Tuesday, March 27, 2018, that he’s pleased that church leaders are listening but said the changes don’t go far enough. It should be a requirement, not an option, to have a parent or adult with the youth in the interview along with the bishop, he said. (Steve Griffin/The Salt Lake Tribune via AP)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Mormon church is changing its guidelines for how local leaders handle sexual abuse reports and one-on-one meetings with youth. This comes a week after a former prominent missionary leader was accused of sexually assaulting two women in the 1980s.

The revised guidelines announced Monday by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints direct lay leaders never to disregard a report of abuse, a more direct instruction than in previous guidelines.

A key new rule allows children to bring a parent or adult with them during one-one-one interviews with local church leaders known as bishops.

It also tells leaders to never encourage a person to stay in a home or situation where abuse is suspected, guidance not provided before.

Critics say more changes are needed.