Shelby Latta is the First Mormon Woman to Be Suspected of Sexual Harassment and Rape

Shelby Latta is the First Mormon Woman to Be Suspected of Sexual Harassment and Rape

Her allegations brought down megachurch pastor Bruxy Cavey. Then the anonymous trolls came for her, too.

Shelby Latta is an unlikely witness in the #MeToo era, particularly for a California-based woman who is a registered Republican, a Mormon, and the mother of a grown son who is also Mormon. One might assume she has a well-rounded life that would be hard to turn into a political cause. But Latta’s story is not typical: She is a devout Christian who was raised in a large Mormon family, and she is the founder and president of an online magazine called the Mormon Woman, which bills itself as an outlet for Mormon feminists. It has over 2 million subscribers, and more than a million readers come to Latta’s site each month.

But Latta’s story has become the object of a great deal of media attention in recent days, as she became the first prominent Mormon woman to be accused of serial sexual harassment and rape—and to resign from her post as president of the women’s division of the Missouri Synod. Latta’s allegations against four former church leaders, including church president and former First Presidency president Thomas S. Monson, have brought down megachurch pastor Bruxy Cavey. Then the anonymous trolls came for her, too.

Latta said she met Monson in the 1980s. They married after he was appointed president of the church in 2006. Latta says he pressured her to have sex with him. She alleges he forced her to have physical and emotional sexual encounters with all of her previous husbands, including him. This alleged conduct occurred in Latta’s home, according to court filings, and occurred in every state she visited—from Utah to Texas. Latta said she has been in therapy, and has decided to leave the church in order to keep from being further victimized.

In May 2017, she sued the Mormon Church, and sought a temporary injunction against the members’ trial testimony and a change in the church rules that allow clergy to commit adultery with their own spouses by proxy. After the injunction failed, Latta filed a defamation suit. The suit was dismissed.

Latta’s case was not typical: She is clearly a woman of color in a religious cult, and she is an outspoken feminist who does not shy from politics

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