was an LDS church member in Utah and later an elders quorum president in Minnesota; pleaded guilty in 2003 in Utah to misdemeanor lewdness involving a child; pleaded guilty in Utah in 2006 to felony forcible sexual abuse; arrested in 2019 in Minnesota; sentenced in 2022 to 30 years in prison for sexual abuse of a juvenile under his care; in March 2024, appealed his 2022 Minnesota conviction

Case Summary

LDS church leaders in Minnesota allegedly attempted to cover up Davis’s abuse, protected him, and defended him in court.

On November 29, 2022, Michael Adam Davis was sentenced to 30 years, the maximum sentence he could receive. The judge took into account his previous convictions in Utah when determining his sentence.

In March 2024, Davis appealed his 30-year criminal sexual conduct sentence in Minnesota’s appeals court.

Sources
  1. Utah sex offender who became local Church leader convicted of sex abuse again
    view source details | 17 May 2022 | KUTV
  2. Former LDS leader sentenced to 30 years for sexually assaulting teen in Dodge County
    view source details | 29 Nov 2022 | Post Bulletin (Rochester, Minnesota)
  3. Former Mormon leader sentenced on sexual assault conviction in Minnesota
    view source details | 29 Nov 2022 | Fox 9 KMSP
  4. Former LDS church leader appeals criminal sexual conduct sentence
    view source details | 7 Mar 2024 | KAALTV
Sources excerpts
  • Utah sex offender who became local Church leader convicted of sex abuse again
    Source type: News article
    Publisher: KUTV
    Date published/accessed: 17 May 2022
    archive 1 | archive 2

    A registered sex offender who became a leader in a local congregation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint has been convicted of sex crimes again.

    A jury in Dodge County, Minnesota found Michael Adam Davis, 37, guilty of one count of criminal sexual conduct – a first-degree felony – two counts of second-degree felony criminal sexual conduct, and once count of indecent exposure.

    According to court records, Davis met his teenage victim at a congregation in Kasson, Minnesota in 2018 while Davis was serving in a ward leadership position known as Elders Quorum President.

    Davis was given that role despite his status as a sex offender, stemming from a previous sex abuse conviction in Utah.

    Court records show Davis was convicted of two counts of attempted forcible sexual abuse in Davis County in 2006 when he was living in Sunset. Since his conviction, Davis has been listed on the Utah Department of Corrections Sex and Kidnap Offender registry.

    KUTV asked the Church by email if local leaders were aware of Davis’ status as a sex offender when he was called as elders quorum president, as well as if his church membership record was flagged that he was a sex offender.

    In a written statement provided by Church headquarters, Rochester, Minnesota Stake President Randal Thomas did not address either question, but said the Church does not tolerate any kind of sex abuse.

    “Anyone who abuses a child is rightfully subject to both criminal prosecution and would also be subject to formal discipline from the Church, including loss of their membership. When the leader of our local congregation learned of this alleged abuse, he assisted the family to ensure a report was made to the authorities. This individual was not serving (and has not served) in any position in the congregation associated with youth or children. When leaders learned about these allegations, Davis was immediately removed from any position in the congregation, and has not served in any capacity since that time. We extend our love to this family as they continue their healing process,” Thomas wrote.

    A registered sex offender who became a leader in a local congregation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint has been convicted of sex crimes again. (KUTV)

    For Sam Young, the founder of Protect LDS Children, this case represents a systemic failure in the Church.

    “He abused one of the kids in the ward - he absolutely had interaction with those children. Give me a break, you don’t want sexual offenders in the church. They made a gigantic error, but it’s an easy error to fix; just make sure you do a background check on people called into leadership positions,” Young told KUTV.

    Young is a former bishop who was excommunicated from the church in 2018. Young held a hunger strike in the summer of 2018 when he asked the church to end one-on-one interview with children behind closed doors and to stop allowing church leaders to ask sexual questions during worthiness interviews.

    A registered sex offender who became a leader in a local congregation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint has been convicted of sex crimes again. (KUTV)

    “They’ve implemented a few minor changes, but they still have big dangers that are built into their system,” Young said.

    Davis’ sentencing date in Minnesota has not been set. The first-degree felony count carries a maximum prison term of 30 years and a $40,000 fine. Each second-degree felony count can carry a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison.

    Davis’ case was featured earlier this year in a report by KMSP Television in Minneapolis.

  • back to online sources list
    Former LDS leader sentenced to 30 years for sexually assaulting teen in Dodge County
    Source type: News article
    Publisher: Post Bulletin (Rochester, Minnesota)
    Date published/accessed: 29 Nov 2022
    archive 1 | archive 2

    MANTORVILLE — A former Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints leader was sentenced in Dodge County District Court to 360 months in prison for sexually assaulting a juvenile male under his care.

    Michael Adam Davis, 38, was found guilty in May 2022 of felony first-degree criminal sexual conduct, two counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct and one charge of indecent exposure in the presence of a minor with a previous conviction.

    District Judge Jodi Williamson also credited Davis with 229 days for time served and ordered Davis to be under supervised probation for 10 years.

    Davis was the elders quorum president at the LDS church in Kasson where the victim and his mother attended. Davis has since been removed from any position in the congregation, according to Randal Thomas, president of the Rochester Minnesota Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

    Davis sexually assaulted a then-13-year-old boy under his care multiple times over Christmas break in December 2018 in Davis’ home.

    The prosecution, headed by Assistant Olmsted County Attorney Geoffrey Hjerleid, made a motion following Davis' conviction to pursue an upward departure for Davis , meaning a longer sentence than allowed by Minnesota sentencing guidelines. Hjerleid cited Davis' prior convictions related to sexual assaults in Utah, saying due to those past sexual assault convictions in Utah, Davis should face a longer prison sentence.

    "Defendant has a long involvement in criminal activity. Defendant has engaged in criminal sexual acts practically his entire adulthood," Williamson wrote in her order.

    Davis pleaded guilty to or was charged with multiple crimes involving sexually assaulting people in the early 2000s in Utah while he was a member of the LDS church.

    In one case, Davis exposed himself to an 11-year-old child in a public restroom. In another, he sexually assaulted an adult woman with cerebral palsy.

    "As a lifetime registered sex offender, Defendant moved to a different state and committed more criminal sexual conduct offenses," Williamson wrote in her ruling.

    He received minimal sentences for all his Utah convictions.

    "To see this case finally come to a close only means it's the end of this chapter because now comes the healing for the survivors in Utah and Minnesota and their famalies," Michael Benjamin, a witness in the trial, said. "There is no amount of jail time that can ever right the wrong that was caused."

    Benjamin, a current Rochester LDS member, testified to the church's leadership structure, a key point that help secure a conviction.

    "Mr. Davis was sentenced to 30 years, but the survivors will live the rest of their lives with what happened," he said.

    Davis' lawyer, Thomas Braun, argued to the court that Davis' conviction of lewdness involving a child was not a felony and could not be construed as a crime of violence. Because the lewdness conviction was not a crime of violence, Braun argued, prosecutors should not be able to push for an upward departure for Davis.

    Williamson wrote in her order that while that conviction is not considered a crime of violence under Minnesota statute, the court could consider it as factor into whether Davis is a danger to public safety.

    Braun also argued that Davis' felony convictions should count as one under Minnesota law because they were committed against the same victim.

    “The conduct underlying the convictions is one of a singular behavioral incident that, in the State of Minnesota, would only give rise to a single conviction,” reads part of a memorandum submitted by Braun.

    In a statement about Davis' conviction, Thomas wrote, "We are grateful the legal process has moved forward and that justice has been served. We will continue to support and love the victim and family as they continue their healing process."

    The victim's mother testified during the trial that she thought the LDS church was trying to cover up the abuse.

  • back to online sources list
    Former Mormon leader sentenced on sexual assault conviction in Minnesota
    Source type: News article
    Publisher: Fox 9 KMSP
    Date published/accessed: 29 Nov 2022
    archive 1 | archive 2

    A former Mormon leader in Minnesota has been sentenced to 30 years behind bars after he was convicted in a sexual assault case.

    Michael Adam Davis, age 38, was convicted in May of criminal sexual conduct of a minor and a count of felony indecent exposure. Investigators say Davis assaulted the child in 2019.

    The case wasn't Davis' first conviction related to crimes against a child.

    Before the recent case, Davis had been convicted in 2003 in Utah on counts of lewdness involving a child. In 2006, Davis pled guilty to two more changes in Utah for attempted forcible sexual abuse of a disabled woman. As a result, Davis is a lifetime sex offender registrant.

    As a FOX 9 investigation uncovered, in the years after the Utah arrests, Davis somehow managed to get a leadership role at a Mormon church outside Kasson, Minnesota – a small city west of Rochester in Dodge County.

    He served as "Elders Quorum President" at the church until a traffic stop in 2019 when Davis was pulled over by a Dodge County Sheriff's deputy, due to a child in Davis' vehicle not wearing a seatbelt. When the deputy ran Davis' license they found he was a registered sex offender in Utah. The 13-year-old boy later told deputies that Davis had repeatedly sexually assaulted him and tried to rape him.

    Davis got the maximum sentence allowable after prosecutors argued for an aggravated departure from sentencing guidelines. A person who witnesses the sentence says the judge had stern words for Davis, quoting from his psychosexual assessment and saying this was the first time in her 20 years on the bench that she's used aggravated sentencing.

    Davis is set to serve his time in St. Cloud, according to court documents.

  • back to online sources list
    Former LDS church leader appeals criminal sexual conduct sentence
    Source type: News article
    Publisher: KAALTV
    Date published/accessed: 7 Mar 2024
    archive 1 | archive 2

    Michael Adam Davis, a former leader in the Kasson Church of Latter-Day Saints, appealed his 30-year criminal sexual conduct sentence in Minnesota’s appeals court Thursday, March 7.

    The appeals court has 90 days to determine whether Davis is eligible for a new trial.

    Davis was convicted of two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, two counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct, and one count of indecent exposure in front of a minor in 2022.

    His defense attorney Aaron Roy argued Thursday that evidence the state used to claim that Davis had a position of authority over his alleged child victim — including text messages from Davis to a family member and the testimony of a former LDS church member who did not attend the Kasson church or know Davis personally — was unfair and prejudicial.

    Prosecuting attorney Peter Magnuson argued that even if the state had not presented text messages or used the outside LDS member’s description of church structures to demonstrate Davis’ authority, other statements by witnesses would have resulted in the defendant’s conviction.

Videos: Michael Davis Mormon sex crime case

    • Video title: 1595: Mormon Church Defends Minnesota Leader of Sexual Assault - Mormon Stories Podcast - 2022-05-17
    • Video description: "What would you think if your Church Leaders were on the defendant's witness list of your child's sex abuser? In this episode, we will discuss a disturbing Mormon sex abuse case in which the Branch and Stake presidents submitted affidavits that would have aided the dismissal of new charges brought against Elders Quorum President and registered sex offender Michael Adam Davis. Join us this Tuesday evening as LDS Member Michael Benjamin walks us through the details of this alarming case in which The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, once again, chooses to protect the institution over sexually abused children."

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.