Transcript for Former Latter-day Saints member was convicted of sexual abuse of minors: Part 2
Here again, juju Chang. Spring, a devout member of the church of Jesus Christ of latter day saints had just been told a horrible secret by her sons, that they'd been abused by Michael Jensen when he babysat them in 2007. Spring says that Michael was recommended to her by a prominent member of the church. His mother, Sandra Lee. Distraught, spring reached out to a family friend who was also a church counseling. According to church officials, this is the first time the church was aware Jensen had sexually abused a child. So I explained to him what my boys had told me. He said I should contact the state police. Reporter: Spring made contact with West Virginia state trooper, corporal Ryan Eshbaugh. Initially, there was just two victims. My gut told me there were probably more. Reporter: The corporal testified he called Sandra Lee and a different bishop, trying to locate Michael, who was away on a religious mission in Arizona. I wanted him sent back as quickly as I could. Reporter: Sandra Lee and local church officials later testified they didn't know why Michael was under investigation. His mother and a bishop also testified that after Michael did return home from his mission there was a meeting on February 25th where they were instructed not to discuss the case with anyone. The church denied to ABC news such a meeting ever occurred. And while Sandra says she called the police department saying Michael had returned home, the corporal says he never got a message from her or any church official. It wasn't until spring told him on March 4 that he knew. I was told by spring that he initially returned home in they weren't all that cooperative. Reporter: Two days later, Eshbaugh filed a petition with the prosecutors's office seeking Jensen's arrest. And in March, he served papers to Michael and drove him to a preliminary hearing. The next month, the corporal heard from another mother, Helen. Now it's 2012. She reported her claims in 2018, 2008, to a bishop. It was no longer my son's word against Michael Jensen's word. Obviously, Michael has a problem that he's continuing to abuse children. He had to be stopped. So I contacted the state trooper that was investigating the other allegation against Michael. Reporter: That October Michael was indicted as an adult and charged with sexual abuse and sexual assault of spring's sons. Thanks in part to the testimonies of spring and Helen's children, Michael Jensen was convicted. And nine months later sentenced to 35 to 75 years in prison. That same year he was excommunicated by the church. I need my children to see that there are consequences to what has happened to them. I was extremely grateful the jury had that verdict. But at the same time, I still felt hollow and, it's such a hard thing to try to heal from. Reporter: It was in the midst of the criminal trial that Kelly and Alice came forward. Alice says her daughter was abused by Jensen before he went away on a mission. Two months after Jensen's criminal trial, these women and two other families filed their lawsuit. Our goal was to make sure that the church understood what Mike Jensen had done to these children, because their lives were taken. Their innocence was lost. Reporter: Kelly testified that her 3-year-old son was abused by Michael shortly before Michael's mother alerted a bishop in that e-mail that he was a risk to his siblings. Sandra Lee would pawn Michael off on a member's children. Reporter: Kelly submitted in court this 2014 video of her son. She calls it a fury fit. I didn't leave him with you. It's not my fault. Reporter: A lasting effect she believes, of Jensen's abuse. They say it takes a village to raise a child. It also takes a village to abuse one. Reporter: Caroline and Carl began representing the family. They believe all of this could have been avoided if the church had taken more seriously Michael's record, two counts of misdemeanor lewdness with children. The predator was put in homes with access to young children, and from our perspective, the inevitable happened. Reporter: The jensens did not respond to our interview requests. In response to the 2005 incident, the court provided no one with any reason to believe that Jensen might be a threat to much younger children. I think some of those crimes could have been prevented if people would have done their civic duty and reported to us what was going on. From my standpoint, you know, church officials don't conduct child abuse investigations. We do. Reporter: The church settled the civil lawsuit last April, after a five-year battle, for an undisclosed amount, without any admission of wrongdoing. No church leaders were ever charged with failure to report child abuse. It has been how, it has been traumatic for all of us, for all of our children. We want to protect others. Reporter: And, if this recent appearance in church by Alice and Kelly is any indication, it appears that this fight is far from over. The events, what happened to the children affected my life. It changed it drastically. It wasn't just this little blip in the radar that happened. It was a life-changing event that changed everything. Changed everything for us. It's something that my children are going to have to live with for the rest of their life, that they're going to have to deal with. Reporter: When we come back, the church responds. Points toward things like complimentary maintenance. Or for vehicle accessories. And with fordpass, a tap can also get you 24/7 roadside assistance. And lock your vehicle. Only fordpass puts all this in the palm of your hand. Fordpass. Built to keep you moving. My gums are irritated. I don't have to worry about that, do I? Actually, you do. 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