Case details: https://floodlit.org/a/a248/
The 20 letters aren’t posted there, but I might redact them and do that if there’s enough interest.
They’re from family and friends of a man who was busted on Valentine’s Day in 2019, trying to solicit undercover cops for sex.
At the time of his arrest, he was serving as bishop of an LDS ward in Utah.
He was also a police officer who had been trained by the DEA on how to run undercover operations.
Takeaway #1 – Common themes in the 20 letters of support:
- His lifelong service in the LDS church proved that he was a good man
- His potential to do good far outweighed any value to placing him behind bars
- He was brave, humble, even heroic, for admitting his wrongdoing after being caught
- He had repented of his sins and therefore didn’t need to be punished further
- He was experiencing unimaginable grief and sorrow because he was such a loving and good person.
“Feelings of overwhelmed grief and sadness … tormented … true sorrow and despair … [he] is a changed man … working on repairing his life.”
Takeaway #2: To me, these letters say more about Mormonism than about the man.
When a Mormon priesthood leader commits sex crimes, his congregation and support network often seem desperate to show how quickly and fully he can be restored to glory by Mormonism’s power – a miraculous healing process that prison time would hinder or (perhaps worse) upstage.
Amid the rush, victims can stay silent while the prodigal son hugs the spotlight, or speak up and be scolded, as if they’re interrupting a sacred ceremony.
Takeaway #3 – regarding this man’s sentence:
His punishment after sentencing was approximately 70 days in jail, 36 months on probation, and a therapy program.
He was ordered to “provide truly heartfelt letters of apology to the two undercover cops to be completed within 30 days of release and are to be filed as private with the court.”
How would anyone know?