was a Mormon church member and scout leader in Idaho; accused of sexually abusing many children; his stake president allegedly knew Empey was abusing kids; convicted of child molestation in May 1991; sentenced to two years probation
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Personal information

  • Empey, Dennis Joe
  • Born: 1957
  • Gender: Male

Case videos

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    • Video title: Church and the Fourth Estate
    • Video description: per The Intercept: "In 1997, while at a Boy Scout camp in Idaho, Adam Steed was sexually abused by a Scout leader and Latter-day Saints mentor named Brad Stowell. (The Boy Scouts have historically been closely connected to the Church of Latter-day Saints, often known as the Mormon church.) When Steed sought to report the abuse, leadership at the camp failed to act, so the then-14-year-old boy took it on himself to call the police, who descended on the camp and arrested Stowell.“That should be the end of the story,” Steed told me when I interviewed him, “where the good guys come in and fix it. But unfortunately, that was just the beginning."Description source: https://theintercept.com/2020/12/21/boy-scouts-abuse-scandal-film/

Case summary

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molested many children in several congregations

01/01/83 Blackfoot, Idaho

Dennis Empey’s “neighbor writes a judge a letter saying, “this man has molested so
many children that it involved four Bishops from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” The Plaintiff, “says he told his stake president. The Stake President told him
he knew about Empey’s history of molesting children.”

from Idaho Boy Scouts Abuse:

“Perpetrator: Empey, Dennis – Mormon
Place: Idaho Falls, Provo
Troop & Location: Grand Teton Council – Idaho, Island Park Scout Camp – Idaho, Utah National Parks Council, Great Salt Lake Council
Years in BSA: Put in the IV Files in 1988, Scouting 1983 – 1990’s
Raped a scout in 1983 at camp – reported it to the camp director but nothing was done. Scout later told LDS stake president, and the president verified that Empey was also being investigated for rapes in Provo. Empey was Convicted of child molestation in May, 1991 and sentenced for 2 yrs. probation. Post Register – Zuckerman
Sex Offender Registry Details
Evidence of LDS Knowledge: 1993
Victim Notified LDS Stake President 10 yrs after rape. The Stake president said they had already known of Empey’s molesting boys. Post Register Article – 6/23/05 – Peter Zuckerman Dennis Empey in the News:
More Pedophile Cased Emerge With Scout Camp Connections
Scout case ‘not found’ – Court records show fourth pedophile led several Boy Scout outings

Timeline for Dennis Joe Empey:
DOB: 12/13/1957 St. Luke’s, Boise, Idaho

Received specialized training in Boy Scout Leadership at Philmont Scout Ranch and Explorer Base (New Mexico.) (Idaho Falls Post-Register, 6/22/1972)

Selected to head the Red Beret Leadership Corps for the Cedar Badge Spirit of ’76 encampment scheduled for June 21-26 at the Treasure Mountain Scout Camp of the Tetons. (Idaho Falls Post-Register, 2/9/1976)

May 1976
Commencement for Teton High graduates. (Idaho Falls Post-Register, May 18, 1976)

Summer 1976
Serving as Youth Coordinator in Teton County for State Senator Stan Kress campaign. Article states Empey will be attending Ricks College in the fall. (Idaho Falls Post-Register, July 23, 1976)

Provided entertainment (comedy team) at the first Teton Peaks Council Cub Scout Day Camp. (Idaho Falls Post-Register, July 27, 1977)

Spring, 1981
Molested Scout with the Order of the Arrow at the LDS Chapel in Idaho Falls.

June, 1983
Empey flashed a gun and then raped a Scout at the Island Park Scout Camp.

June, 1983
The Scout reported the rape the next day to the camp director, Kim Hansen. Hansen was friends with Empey and suggested to the Scout that if he couldn’t get along with Empey that he wouldn’t be welcome at the camp the next year.

September 1983 – April 1984
Empey attended BYU (BYU Police Department has no records pertaining to Empey.)

Letter from Paul Ernst to Reese Faulkner, Scout Executive with Utah National Parks Council requesting info on Empey.

Letter to Paul Ernst from Hart Bullock stating Reese Faulkner had spoken to Empey and that Empey “confessed to a totally separate sexual child abuse situation from the one that we were aware of.” According to the letter, Empey had been “very active in Scouting in Idaho Falls and in Provo…” Empey agreed to disassociate himself with Scouting activities.

Second request from Paul Ernst to Reese Faulkner for info on Empey.

Dennis Empey placed in the IV Files.

Dennis Empey befriended a family in Provo, UT., molested the children, was convicted and served a 2 yr. probation

Dennis Empey moved back to Idaho, was hired back at the Teton Council to do graphic design work.

Active in the LDS Church. (online postings)

Fall 2011
A juvenile at a skate park in Driggs had a “bad feeling about a man who had been at the skate park.” The man, who turned out to be Empey, had been taking pictures of kids and asking them to sign a waiver so he could post the pictures on the internet. (Teton Valley News, September 29, 2011)”

As of 2023, Empey lives in Driggs, Idaho.

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Timeline of case events

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  • Date: 26 Jun 2013
  • Description:


    "Boy Scouts, Mormon Church Accused of Abuse
    Philip A. Janquart / June 26, 2013

    BOISE, Idaho (CN) - In a lawsuit against the Boy Scouts and the Mormon church, four former Scouts say they were molested by Scout leaders, forced to watch while their friends were abused and forced to have sex with each other.

    John Does I-IV sued the Boy Scouts of America and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in Federal Court. The corporations, and the corporation of the Mormons' presiding bishop, are the only defendants. The alleged abuses came in the 1980s.

    John Doe I, now 43, claims that in 1982 he was sodomized and subjected to "physical, sexual and emotional abuse," at the hands of scout leader James Schmidt.

    Doe I claims both the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS Church) were notified as early as 1979 that Schmidt was a pedophile and had been abusing Scouts. He claims Schmidt abused him for six months on Boy Scout camping trips, at an LDS ward building and in the attic of Boy Scout Council headquarters in Boise.

    Caldwell police arrested Schmidt in 1983 after interviewing 16 Scouts and their parents who documented an undisclosed number of cases involving abuse of minors.

    Schmidt was ultimately ordered by the court to complete treatment at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, for "severe pedophilia," according to the complaint.

    Schmidt's treatment, however, apparently did not take. Doe II claims Schmidt began abusing him in 1985, when he was 12 years old.

    "Schmidt's sexual abuse included fondling of John Doe II's penis, testicles and anus, and other physical, sexual and emotion abuse," the complaint states. "This abuse continued for approximately two years, until John Doe II was 14 years old. The abuse occurred on BSA camping trips."

    Doe III claims he was abused for a week by Scout volunteer Dennis Empey, during a camping trip in 1981. Doe was 14 at the time.

    "Defendant BSA placed Empey on its Ineligible Volunteer Files (IV Files) for molesting Scouts in 1988," the complaint states. "Letters in Empey's IV File document that one of the victims - a member of the LDS Church - told his father in 1987 that Empey had abused him in 1981 at an LDS Chapel in Idaho Falls. No one from BSA reported this incident to the police."

    Empey was convicted of molesting children in Provo, Utah in 1991, according to the complaint. That year he moved back to Idaho and was hired by the Teton Council of BSA to do graphic design work, the complaint states.

    "In association with another case in Idaho in 2005, a man filed an affidavit stating that Empey had molested him in 1983 at the Island Park Scout Camp," the complaint states.

    Doe IV, now 53, claims he was molested in 1972 by Scoutmaster Lawrence Libey. The abuse involved fondling, oral sex, and sodomy and Libey forcing Doe IV to have sex with another boy, Doe IV says in the complaint. He claims the abuse occurred "hundreds of times and lasted for approximately 6 years."

    The plaintiffs claim the Boy Scouts knew it had a pedophilia problem as far back as 1920, when it began tracking cases of child molestation and filing them away under its "Red Flag" files, now known as the IV Files.

    The files were broken down into two categories: financial transgressions and moral transgressions. Moral transgressions were known as the "Perversion" files, according to the complaint.

    The IV Files consist primarily of Perversion files, according to the complaint.

    "Between 1920 and 1935, at least 1,000 child molesters, between 50 to 60 per year, were discovered and subsequently excluded from scouting," the complaint states. "Now, 1,365 IV Perversion files still exist that were created between 1960 and 1985, with 25 to 96 IV Perversion files created per year during that time frame. However, the number of IV Perversion files still existing significantly under represent the actual number of adult volunteers that molested scouts because defendant BSA has destroyed many IV Files for a variety of reasons, and because many children do not report their abuse."

    Seven Scout leaders in Idaho alone were accused of molestation between 1962 and 1977, and three more accusations arose between 1978 and 1983, according to the complaint.

    The plaintiffs claim the BSA and the LDS Church were well aware of the problem.

    The LDS Church, through individual wards, sponsors many Scout troops in Idaho, and many Scout leaders and volunteers are members of the church, according to the complaint.

    "Scouting was the official program for boys in the LDS Church, and many boys growing up in the LDS Church were required or strongly encouraged to join scouting," according to the complaint. "Scouting was an official part of the Aaronic Priesthood for young men under 21 in the LDS Church."

    Men in the LDS Church were either "required or strongly encouraged" to be Scout leaders, according to the complaint.

    The LDS church is broken into wards, each headed by a bishop.

    "The bishop had many tasks, including selecting and supervising Scout leaders within the LDS Church," according to the complaint, which claims that every ward is required to maintain a Scout troop.

    Therefore, the plaintiffs claim, the LDS Church is responsible for protecting Scouts in their sponsored troops.

    "Prior to or during plaintiffs' abuse, LDS defendants were also aware of the risk that Scouts could be molested by Scout leaders, including LDS Scout leaders and Scout leaders in LDS-sponsored troops," the complaint states. "In Idaho, LDS defendants had notice prior to plaintiffs' abuse that at least one LDS Scout leader in an LDS-sponsored troop within the Ore-Ida Council of BSA had been accused of molesting Scouts."

    The plaintiffs claim the BSA and the LDS Church had to have known "to a moral certainty" that at least some Scouts would be molested every year if the organization's structure did not change.

    Does I-IV seek damages for constructive fraud.

    They are represented by Andrew Chasan with Chasan & Walton in Boise, and Gilion Dumas, with O'Donnell Clark & Crew, of Portland, Ore."

  • Country: United States
  • State: Idaho
  • City: Boise

LDS/Mormon church membership history

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LDS mission information

The accused did not serve a full-time LDS mission.

LDS temple marriage information

FLOODLIT is not aware whether the accused was married in a Mormon temple.

LDS church positions ever held by the accused: Scout leader
LDS church positions held by the accused at the time of the alleged crime(s): Scout leader
LDS church positions held by the accused at the time of being publicly accused:

Alleged crime(s)

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Alleged victim(s)

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  • Number of alleged victim(s) - note if approximate:
  • Average age of alleged victim(s) at time of alleged crime(s):


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Criminal charge(s)

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Criminal verdict(s)

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Criminal sentence

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Prison time

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Other court cases

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LDS church response(s)

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  • Alleged failure to report by local LDS leaders? no
  • Alleged misconduct by local LDS leaders? no
  • Alleged misconduct by global LDS leaders? no

FLOODLIT is not aware whether the Mormon church paid any settlement amounts related to this case.

View all Mormon sexual abuse settlements


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