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LDS Church facing molestation lawsuit

SEATTLE — A man from Kent, Wash., is suing The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, alleging it shielded a child molester for more than a decade while he was victimized along with five other children.

Ken Fleming, 42, said he brought the case against the church because he wanted to hold officials accountable after several families reported that Jack Loholt, the leader of a church-sponsored Boy Scout troop, had molested their children.

Fleming, an office administrator at a sand and gravel company, told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer that Loholt abused him hundreds of times between 1976 and 1980.

Lawyers representing the church said Monday that they had not yet investigated the claims but would vigorously contest the allegations. Loholt said in an interview that he'd been "set up" by Fleming, whose suit was filed Monday in King County Superior Court.

The lawsuit says that parents had complained to church authorities about Loholt in the early 1970s. Loholt continued to serve as an assistant Scoutmaster until 1980.

Contacted at his current residence in Lake La Hache, British Columbia, Loholt, now in his 50s, denied the bulk of Fleming's accusations.