ALL the trigger warnings

Well, this is one horrific story of child abuse.

The Adams family lived on a lonely dirt road about 8 miles from the center of Bisbee, an old copper-mining town in southeastern Arizona known today for its antique shops and laid-back attitude. Far from prying eyes, the Adams home — a three-bedroom, open concept affair surrounded by desert — was often littered with piles of clothing and containers of lubricant Adams used to sexually abuse his children, according to legal documents reviewed by the AP.

Paul’s wife, Leizza, assumed most of the child-rearing responsibilities, including getting their six children off to school and chauffeuring them to church and religious instruction on Sundays. Paul, who worked for the U.S. Border Patrol, spent much of his time online looking at porn, often with his children watching, or wandering the house naked or in nothing but his underwear.

He had a short fuse and would frequently throw things, yell at his wife and beat his kids. “He just had this explosive personality,” said Shaunice Warr, a Border Patrol agent and a Mormon who worked with Paul and described herself as Leizza’s best friend. “He had a horrible temper.”

Paul was more relaxed while coaxing his older daughter to hold a smartphone camera and record him while he sexually abused her. He also seemed to revel in the abuse in online chat rooms, where he once bragged that he had “the perfect lifestyle” because he could have sex with his daughters whenever he pleased, while his wife knew and “doesn’t care.”

How can someone get away with that? The one cunning trick: he’s a Mormon. He confessed all to a Mormon bishop, who tossed the information into a confidential Mormon network, where everyone was more concerned with protecting the ‘good name’ of the Church of Latter Day Saints (and their own asses) and let it go on and on for seven years. The little girl is finally out of that house, and three of the kids are suing their father and the Mormon church. The church lawyers are something else.

MJ and her adoptive mother asked the AP to use only her initials in part because videos of her abuse posted by her father are still circulating on the internet. The AP does not publish the names of sexual abuse survivors without their consent.

William Maledon, an Arizona attorney representing the bishops and the church in a lawsuit filed by three of the Adams’ six children, told the AP last month that the bishops were not required to report the abuse.

“These bishops did nothing wrong. They didn’t violate the law, and therefore they can’t be held liable,” he said. Maledon referred to the suit as “a money grab.”

They did nothing wrong? Sheltering a pedophile and rapist isn’t wrong? Allowing children to suffer for years isn’t wrong? I guess the Mormon church doesn’t care much for that morality stuff.

At least MJ has emerged from his horrible experience with the right attitude.

“‘I just think that the Mormon church really sucks. Seriously sucks,” said MJ, who is now 16, during an interview with the AP. “They are just the worst type of people, from what I’ve experienced and what other people have also experienced.”

Yeah. Give ’em hell, young lady.

A dirt road leads to what was once the home of Paul Adams and his family on the outskirts of Bisbee, Ariz., Oct. 26, 2021. Adams, a Mormon and U.S. Border Patrol agent living with his wife and six children, admitted he had posted videos on the dark web of him molesting two of his children, a 9-year-old girl and a younger daughter he began raping when she was only 6 months old. Adams killed himself after his arrest. The revelation that Mormon officials directed an effort to conceal years of abuse in the Adams household sparked a criminal investigation of the church by Cochise County attorney and a civil lawsuit by three of the Adams’ children. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills)


  1. HidariMak says

    I can’t picture the enormity of what MJ is going through, mentally and emotionally. And I know enough about the US, to know that she’ll be having to pay immensely for her decision to protect herself and to expose her father for the monster which he clearly is. For her sake, I hope that she has some strong and supportive people to help her through all of this, because she will need all the help that she can get.

  2. says

    In the last four months while rightwingnuts and religious fanatics have been screeching “groomer!”, they themselves have been caught or arrested for raping children or possessing child porn at an average two per week.

    I rarely use my twitter account, so in defiance to its new “don’t say groomer!” policy, I’ve started posting links to news items about Adams and his ilk, the rightwing being and doing exactly what they accuse others of doing.

  3. evodevo says

    Not at all surprised. The FFRF newsletter I read monthly has a two-page spread, single spaced, detailing all the religious (mostly US Xtian) molestation/sexual abuse cases for the time period…and it’s a LOT. Every time a winger comes up with the “groomer” mantra, I point to that.

  4. Kagehi says

    Kind of reminds me of the very sick fact that there are still laws, on the books, in some states, which despite “federal law”, which would supposedly make such things very illegal, actually allow “parents” to give permission for people to marry at younger than 18 ages (which is a problem no matter what, since no one that age is old enough to do such), but is made all the worse because you get signs in bars that say things like, “Minors not allowed in bar, even if escorted by a parent, guardian, or spouse.” Now… how exactly is the last one even possible, unless the “spouse” is 21, and the person not allowed in isn’t even 18?

    Just…. Ugh!!

  5. Larry says


    That seems to be a common behavior among RW xtians and republican politicians. When caught doing some heinous and/or illegal, they immediately accuse the other side of just exactly that behavior for which no evidence is ever, or can be, presented. Of course, this immediately draws the piss-poor excuse for reporters here in ‘murica into following the false trail until the story fades into obscurity or the next one pops up on the radar. It also turns the RW Wurlitzer amplifiers up to 11 from which the story never truly goes away; it just lies dormant until is gets resurrected, as needed.

  6. Ariaflame, BSc, BF, PhD says

    So the bit under the embedded photo about Adams having killed himself makes it hard to sue a dead man, think it’s just the clergy and their lawyers that are getting sued.

  7. Oggie: Mathom says

    And just to add another layer to the shit cake of Mormonism, according to LDS scripture, the pre-born make an agreement with god as to exactly what will happen during his or her life. Which means. according to the bishops, the children agreed to physical and sexual abuse before they were born in order to test their faith and receive their just rewards after death. If they remain true to the LDS.

    I wonder if non-Mormons like me are also considered to have made a bargain with god about the trials of life?

  8. says

    We’ve had a story break out here in Saskatoon of former students of a private Christian school reporting they were physically abused. This includes one student who claims he was beaten in an exorcism. And the school has been getting government money for years, leading to questions of what the provincial government knew about the allegations, and when.

  9. dstatton says

    Prison for all of them. I am also very much in favor of grabbing their money, of which there is plenty.

  10. mordred says

    @11 Exactly, grab all their money (Mormons, RCC and many more) and distribute it among the victims!

  11. wzrd1 says

    @Ariaflame, the decedent cannot be sued, but his estate can be.

    Still, it speaks volumes as to the lack of due care and due diligence on the part of the border patrol that a peer knew and he remained on duty to the terror of the populace.
    Maybe we need a wall – around Utah – straight into geosynchronous orbit.

  12. says

    The confidentiality of confession should not include lawbreaking, in any church, anywhere around the world. If some cult member breaks the law and confesses it to the priest, the priest should be obliged by law to report it. The catholic would object to this, but their objections should be summarily dismissed.

  13. lanir says

    I can empathize with a very small part of this. Not the really terrible things. I was never sexually abused but I dealt with my father having long term anger issues (stemming from PTSD that went untreated for decades).

    My mom watched years of this unfolding as my dad made up reasons to be angry at me every time someone else frustrated him. I was his outlet for all of it because as a minor, I couldn’t go anywhere and I couldn’t fight back.

    No matter how bad I felt about it I never really tried to get anyone other than my mom to intervene. Because I knew the first thing anyone would do is ask her and she’d just spout off this convenient fairy tale about how we were not getting along and how normal all this was. I’m not sure when I learned this but I feel like I’ve always known that as a child, if you say something bad is happening to you, an adult has to believe you and back you up or nothing happens. You don’t get help.

    My stuff, while it feels very important to me, is comparatively minor. But there’s a core issue in common with what I dealt with and what MJ went through. And it’s the reason she wasn’t helped earlier. And frankly MJ’s abuse could have continued if her abuser hadn’t been so fond of making and sharing videos. He had to literally go bragging about it before he was found and stopped.

    Think about what it would have looked like if her abuser hadn’t been so obvious about it all and MJ had gone to the police about it. They might have come to the house but if there wasn’t any obvious evidence all they could do is talk to her parents. If the parents deny it the police don’t have anything to go on and the best they could offer is to tell MJ to come after she’s abused next time and get tested with a rape kit. Which might sit on a shelf for years. And might not lead to charges or any help for MJ even after it gets analyzed.

    Children can certainly lie but they tend to do it about smaller things than abuse. That can happen too, but it tends to be when adults are coaching them, as happened with the Satanic Panic. I guess my take-away is that it’s complicated but if you’re ever talking to a child that claims they were abused in some way (sexual or otherwise) then it’s probably worth remembering that you may be their only chance to get help. If you don’t help them there’s a good chance they’ll just end up dealing with it the rest of their lives. Because for all the nice spin the article gives about MJ recovering, the truth is you’re never just done dealing with being abused. You just find ways to make it a smaller part of your life.

  14. VolcanoMan says

    Does Arizona not have mandatory reporting laws? Where I live, a person can be fined up to $50,000, or go to jail for up to 2 years if they do not report suspected child abuse. And that counts for everybody, but there is specific mention within the law that if the suspected child abuse is discovered via discharge of professional duties or within a confidential relationship, it must still be reported. The only exception is if it is discovered within a solicitor-client relationship (lawyers cannot break their oaths of confidentiality…but priests, doctors and therapists are obligated to).

    Laws like these are gradually being adopted all over the place (here, it was implemented just a couple months ago, but mandatory reporting for professionals who have a duty of care to children has existed for more than a decade). And the Vatican and LDS and all the other weird religious sects can whine and moan all they want – they may believe in eternal justice, but they exist in a real world, and when real people are suffering (especially children), their pretendy-fun-time games are of negligible importance. It’s all well and good for the Pope to go around the world, apologizing for the abuse his Church has caused, perpetuated, and remained silent about, but until these organizations take substantive action to prevent abuse, rescue victims, and help reveal and prosecute abusers (be they priests or those confessing their sins to priests), their apologies aren’t worth a damned thing.

  15. stuffin says

    when the case gets to the SCOTUS, this behavior will be declared religious freedom.

  16. myfanwyhertz says

    The insanity of the USA in a nutshell.

    Being naked is wrong.

    Protecting child rapists? That’s just tippytoppytastic.