was a former Mormon bishop, dentist and college professor in Orem, Utah; accused of nearly 60 years of sex abuse of multiple children; found guilty of attempted aggravated child sexual abuse; sentenced in 2022 to up to 35 years in prison

Case Summary

Clark Crookston was a former LDS church bishop and dentist in Utah.

2 alleged victims, females, ages 5 and 8
alleged crime location: Orem, UT

Crookston and his wife served a service mission for the Mormon church in China in the early 2010s. They reportedly also served another mission together.

Crookston was also a high priest group leader.

Criminal charges: “first-degree felony charge, as well as two counts of dealing in materials harmful to a minor, a third-degree felony, and two counts of lewdness involving a child, a class A misdemeanor”

result: “In a plea bargain Feb. 16 [2022], Crookston pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted aggravated sexual abuse of a child, both second-degree felonies, and a third-degree felony charge of dealing in materials harmful to a minor. The first two charges were reduced from the originally filed first-degree felonies in the 2017 incidents.”

Thanks to your donations, FLOODLIT has obtained court documents in Crookston’s case.

Sources
  1. [Jane Doe] Marries in Temple Ceremonies
    view source details | 21 Jul 1971 | Provo Daily Herald
  2. Former dentist from Orem charged with child sex abuse
    view source details | 12 May 2019 | Gephardt Daily
  3. Police worried about children being around Orem man with child sex abuse charges
    view source details | 27 Dec 2019 | Provo Daily Herald
  4. probable cause affidavit
    view source details | 18 Dec 2019 | Utah Xchange
  5. Orem victims describe 'sexual education' facade their abuser used to keep them quiet
    view source details | 8 Apr 2022 | Provo Daily Herald
Sources excerpts
  • [Jane Doe] Marries in Temple Ceremonies
    Source type: News article
    Publisher: Provo Daily Herald
    Date published/accessed: 21 Jul 1971
    archive 1 | archive 2
  • back to online sources list
    Former dentist from Orem charged with child sex abuse
    Source type: News article
    Publisher: Gephardt Daily
    Date published/accessed: 12 May 2019
    archive 1 | archive 2

    OREM, Utah, May 12, 2019 (Gephardt Daily) — A former dentist from Orem is facing a charge of aggravated sexual abuse of a child after allegedly trying to teach two young girls “about private body parts.”

    According to charging documents, Clark Crookston, 70, was charged in the Fourth District Court in Utah County on April 30 for the first-degree felony charge, as well as two counts of dealing in materials harmful to a minor, a third-degree felony, and two counts of lewdness involving a child, a class A misdemeanor.

    Police said a woman called to report Crookston for behavior concerning her two daughters, who are now 11 and 8.

    The 11-year-old told officials that when she was approximately 5, she saw Crookston’s private parts.

    “She walked into a changing room while he was naked and he told her he didn’t mind and tried teaching her about it.”

    The girl said the suspect had her touch his private parts with her finger, but that she didn’t want to. She she didn’t remember much else about the incident and stated that nothing similar had happened since.

    The younger girl also said Crookston “tries to teach her about private body parts and her mother doesn’t like it.” She said Crookston would show her naked pictures of himself or expose himself to her. She also recalled an incident where he had her sit on his lap and he showed her pictures of other men’s private parts. The girl stated that she had never been asked to touch the suspect intimately.

    The mother said she confronted Crookston several different times about these events. In 2014, she confronted him about him showing the girls his penis, and he stated “it was a teaching moment and he didn’t want the girls to feel ashamed about it,” the charging documents said. The mother told Crookston not to talk to her children about the subject again.

    In 2016, Crookston talked to the woman’s husband and the girls’ father about how the girls needed to be more actively talked to about sex education, the document said. In 2016, the younger girl had told her parents that Crookston had shown her a picture of a penis.

    The parents met with Crookston again, and he admitted he had showed the girl a picture, was told by the mother again not to talk to her children about sex, and he agreed.

    About six to eight months later, the younger girl mentioned something that again made the parents believe Crookston hadn’t stopped talking to her about sex, the charging documents said. Crookston stated again he was concerned that they weren’t teaching the girls enough about intimate matters and again was instructed not to talk to the girls about that. In February of 2019, the younger girl again confirmed that Crookston had continued to teach her about sex, but “had told her these conversations were OK because they were only reviewing and not teaching new information,” the documents said.

    On Feb. 28, the mother and father met with Crookston again. Crookston admitted to having shown his penis to the younger girl after she walked in on him and “showed curiosity.” He stated he let her “take a peek” two to three times recently.

    A warrant was executed on Crookston’s computer, where several files were discovered that corroborate the younger girl’s claims. There were several videos of nude men, the charging documents said.

    Crookston was booked into the Utah County Jail Thursday, but released on the same day.

    A record check for Crookston shows his dental license expired in 2010.

  • back to online sources list
    Police worried about children being around Orem man with child sex abuse charges
    Source type: News article
    Publisher: Provo Daily Herald
    Date published/accessed: 27 Dec 2019
    archive 1 | archive 2

    Detectives are concerned about the safety of numerous children after a young girl disclosed that an Orem man sexually abused her for months after he was charged with exposing himself to her and her younger sister.

    Clark Elwood Crookston, 70, is a former dentist who has “unlimited” access to several children through his family relations, living in his neighborhood and attending his church congregation, police said last week in a probable cause report.

    “The concern is high for any children that are around Clark,” police stated. “None of the parents are keeping them safe and away from Clark.”

    Police say Crookston continues to claim his lewdness and sexual abuse is his way of teaching sex education, despite being told by officers and parents to stop.

    Crookston allegedly began exposing himself to a girl and her younger sister more than five years ago, according to the charges. He also reportedly forced the younger sister to inappropriately touch him in 2014.

    The girls’ mother confronted him about the allegations at the time and Crookston told her “it was a teaching moment and he didn’t want the girls to feel ashamed about it.”

    “(The mother) told him to not speak with her children about these matters again,” charges state.

    Two years later, police say Crookston showed one of the sisters an inappropriate picture. The parents confronted him again and Crookston reportedly agreed again not to talk about sex education with the children.

    However, Crookston reportedly continued to expose himself several times to the older sister and showed her naked pictures of himself and other men in 2019, the charges state.

    He was charged in March with two counts of dealing harmful materials to minors, both third-degree felonies; and two counts of lewdness involving a child, both class A misdemeanors.

    During initial interviews with detectives, the older sister stated Crookston had not touched her or forced her to touch him.

    But a few weeks ago, the girl admitted to her mother that Crookston had been sexually abusing her “almost daily” from April to August.

    The girls and their parents were living with Crookston and his wife at the time, police reported. Clark would request to put the children to bed and would lay in bed with the older sister. Then he would reportedly touch the girl inappropriately over and under clothing despite her objections.

    “Clark would specifically tell the child to use the blanket to hide what was going on under the blanket from her parents,” police reported. “The child victim stated this occurred almost nightly during those nearly four months.”

    The abuse started again in November and continued until the girl told her mother in December.

    Crookston was arrested on Dec. 18 but posted a $100,000 bond two days later, according to court documents.

    Five days later, Crookston was charged in 4th District Court with 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a child, all first-degree felonies.

    His next court date for all charges is set for Jan. 8.

    Detectives suspect and continue investigating whether the same type of abuse occurred with the younger sister.

    Two adults have also come forward to investigators and stated they were sexually abused by Crookston during the past 30 years, although no further information was available on the police report regarding the allegations.

    Crookston graduated from the University of Michigan School of Dentistry and had a Utah dentistry license from 2006 to 2010.

  • back to online sources list
    probable cause affidavit
    Source type: Police record
    Publisher: Utah Xchange
    Date published/accessed: 18 Dec 2019
    archive 1 | archive 2

    Detectives were involved in a report March 2019 where two children disclosed that Clark Crookston, who holds a significant position of trust over the children had been repeatedly showing the children his [private part]. One of the child victims disclosed Clark instructed her to touch his [private part]. Clark told the children he was just teaching them about sex education.

    CV1 disclosed similar incidents as CV2 but has not disclosed Clark ever had her touch him. Clark is currently going through the court process for those charges.

    CV1 asked to speak to her mother a few weeks ago and disclosed that Clark had "scratched" her private areas numerous times. CV1 stated the abuse occurred almost daily during the end of April to beginning of August 2017. The CV and family were residing with the suspect Clark Crookston.

    A CJC interview was conducted and the child stated that Clark would request to put her and her sister to bed. Clark would come to her room and lay in bed with her. Clark would tell the child to cover up with a blanket so her mother would not see what was happening. It was disclosed that the child was instructed to lay on her side covered with the blanket while Clark scratched her back. Clark would specifically tell the child to use the blanket to hide what was going on under the blanket from her parents.

    [portion redacted by FLOODLIT due to graphic content]

    The child victim stated this occurred almost nightly during those nearly four months.

    [portion redacted by FLOODLIT due to graphic content]

    The child also stated she believes it was attempted with the other child victim but she told him to stop and said she would learn sex education somewhere else. It is suspected that the abuse also occurred with CV1 but it has yet to be fully disclosed.

    Two other adult victims have also come forward regarding sexual abuse perpetrated by Clark Crookston spanning over 30 years. The concern is high for any children that are around Clark. Clark still has unlimited access to his grandchildren as well as neighborhood children and at church. Clark is maintaining that he was only teaching sexual education even after being explicitly told to stop. I am requesting a no bail be issued for Clark Crookston. Clark has access to numerous grandchildren and none of the parents are keeping them safe and away from Clark.

    Clark was arrested at his residence this am and was given his Miranda and opted to speak with his attorney first.

  • back to online sources list
    Orem victims describe 'sexual education' facade their abuser used to keep them quiet
    Source type: News article
    Publisher: Provo Daily Herald
    Date published/accessed: 8 Apr 2022
    archive 1 | archive 2

    PROVO — The other victims praised the young girl who came forward to ignite an investigation into an alleged 60 years of child sexual abuse by a beloved family man, religious figure and community stalwart.

    Clark Crookston, 73, of Orem, wearing a dark suit and red tie, was led away in handcuffs to the Utah County Jail on Friday after his sentencing hearing in 4th District Court before Judge Thomas Low. The court heard emotional testimony from two victims, now adults, and two of their relatives, who spoke of Crookston as a manipulative pedophile who mastered an ability to keep victims quiet about the sexual abuse they were undergoing.

    In a plea bargain Feb. 16, Crookston pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted aggravated sexual abuse of a child, both second-degree felonies, and a third-degree felony charge of dealing in materials harmful to a minor. The first two charges were reduced from the originally filed first-degree felonies in the 2017 incidents.

    Because Crookston’s defense attorney, Neil Skousen, challenged parts of a presentence investigation by Utah Adult Probation and Parole, the final imposition of sentence was delayed until April 27. But by law, Crookston will be sentenced to two prison terms of one to 15 years and a third of up to five years. Prosecutors asked that the terms run consecutively, but Low would have the option of running them concurrently.

    Charging documents said Crookston sexually touched a girl under the age of 14 on repeated occasions in April to August 2017. He also exposed himself to the girl and showed her explicit photos, including some of his own body. He described the actions as “sex education” to the girl. Orem police obtained a search warrant and found videos of male genitalia on Crookston’s computer.

    In opening remarks, Skousen stressed that the charges Crookston admitted to involved a single victim. He asked that some statements in the presentence report about multiple victims be stricken. Low said statements about a defendant’s character and history generally are admissible during the sentencing phase of a case.

    Prosecutor Charlotte Howard of the Utah County Attorney’s Office said matters about potential other victims “are absolutely relevant.”

    “Clark Crookston has had a long life of success and service to others,” Skousen told the court. “He apologizes in sincere terms. He is doing everything he can to take the high road.”

    The court next heard from two men who are related to two women who said they were sexually abused by Crookston 30 years ago. Then the women themselves testified.

    “There is a concern about future victims,” one of the men testified. Regarding the abuse, the man said Crookston “has asked people not to talk about it, which further compounds the hurt.” Skousen later pointed out that he had instructed Crookston not to talk to anyone about his case.

    The second man said that after the girl came forward and Crookston was charged, his wife painfully came to the realization that she had undergone similar abuse three decades ago, under the guise of “education” by a trusted person.

    “We are also saddened that afterwards pressure was put on her not to report abuse,” the man said. “I feel they need to be called out.”

    He said they were told that reporting the abuse would be “unforgiving” toward Crookston. “That is a really dangerous idea that is unacceptable, using religious ideals to try to force victims into silence,” he said. “How many other people could have been victims of the same uses of psychological abuse?”

    One of the women testified that she is still “processing the devastating effects of being sexually abused.” She said she may never fully heal and has sought counseling for effects such as depression and anxiety.

    She said young girls who spoke up about being abused by Crookston “are heroic” and gave other victims courage to speak up as well. Looking at Crookston at the defense table, she said he was “manipulative and self-serving.”

    “You sought to silence and dismiss us, but that never works,” she said.

    The other woman who testified said Crookston “knew exactly what to say and do to keep his victims quiet.” She said he was “a mastermind in manipulation.” Crookston, she said, “gaslighted me and said I was the only one who had a problem with his sexual education.”

    She said he was a bishop in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a dentist and a college professor. “I assumed I was alone. I felt guilty even to question his worthiness.”

    “It was all done under the umbrella of sexual education,” she said. “These were the lies I was told all my life. I buried the hurt and kept it secret for over 30 years.”

    It wasn’t until she realized Crookston was abusing other children that “the shackles fell from my eyes,” she said, adding that “the children who came forward are my heroes. These are the brave souls (who) broke the curse that has been happening for nearly 60 years.”

    She hailed the criminal justice system for stopping “a true Jekyll and Hyde.”

    Howard, the prosecutor, said Crookston “looks harmless on the surface, with a great reputation in the community and the religious community.” She said he used his status to “capitalize and gain access to the most vulnerable victims. He has done irreparable harm.”

    She added, “His facade worked. He was able to groom his victims.”

    Howard said the upcoming sentences likely mean “he does not spend another day free outside the prison.”

    Crookston apologized “to anyone I have harmed” and said he took responsibility for his crimes and is willing to accept the consequences.

    Judge Low, noting the carnage of the war in Ukraine, told Crookston he had “left a trail of burning homes in your wake.”"

Mormon Sexual Abuse Map

International map of locations where active members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints perpetrated or allegedly perpetrated sexual abuse or other sex crimes, or where LDS leaders failed or allegedly failed to help abuse survivors.