SIOUX FALLS, S.D. A federal lawsuit filed by a Native American man who accused an LDS missionary of sexually abusing him in the 1960s has been resolved before going to trial.
Ferris Joseph, 53, filed the civil case in federal court in South Dakota against the Corporation of the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Corporation of the Presiding Bishop of the LDS Church.
Joseph said that around 1968, when he was 11 or 12 years old, he was sexually abused by church missionary Robert Lewis White.
Joseph is an American Indian who lived with his family in Sioux Falls from 1966 to 1968, according to the lawsuit. The abuse happened at White's apartment in Flandreau, it states.
White was based at the Northern Indian Mission in Rapid City and was assigned to Flandreau, in eastern South Dakota, where the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe is located.
Joseph had no memory of the abuse until an October 2004 visit to Canada to see his sister, a devout member of the LDS Church, according to the complaint.
In a deposition transcript filed in court, White denied sexually abusing Joseph or any other boy and testified that he was celibate when he served in Flandreau in 1967 and 1968.
The trial had been delayed so the South Dakota Supreme Court could decide whether the law dealing with the statute of limitations applies to the church as well as the alleged perpetrator.
But Joseph and the church have since resolved the dispute and a federal magistrate judge dismissed it with both parties paying their own costs, according to the judgment.
Stephanie Pochop of Gregory, Joseph's attorney, and James McMahon of Sioux Falls, the lawyer representing the LDS Church, said they could not comment on the terms or details of the resolution.