was an LDS bishop in Lebanon, Pennsylvania from 2016-2020; arrested in 2022 and charged with sexual abuse of two children in Virginia from 1997-2000; pleaded guilty in July 2023 in Virginia to four felony counts; sentenced in November 2023 in Virginia to prison time and supervised probation on release; charged in July 2023 in Pennsylvania with more child sex abuse charges

Case report

Cory Gooden was a Mormon church member who sexually assaulted children in Virginia and allegedly also in Pennsylvania, years before being called as a Mormon bishop and stake presidency member in Pennsylvania.

Gooden was a second counselor and then a first counselor in the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania LDS stake.

2024-02-17: FLOODLIT is now covering the criminal case against current LDS stake president Rhett Hintze, who learned of alleged sexual abuse by Gooden in 2020 but failed to report it to police, according to Pennsylvania state police.

2023-11-18: Cory Gooden was sentenced in Virginia this week. We’re waiting on court document copies from the Prince William County Circuit Court.

As of November 18, 2023, Gooden is awaiting a status hearing in Berks County, Pennsylvania court – Docket Number: CP-06-CR-0002663-2023. That hearing is set for December 20.

Gooden was sentenced to at least 2.5 years in prison (up to 5 years) and up to at least 5 years of supervised probation upon release. We’re gathering more information. Thank you for your support!

2023-07-28: BREAKING: Former LDS bishop, scout leader who pleaded guilty to child sexual abuse charges in Virginia now faces MORE charges in Pennsylvania

FLOODLIT is following this case thanks to your donations.

News: https://www.abc27.com/local-news/former-lebanon-county-lds-church-scout-leader-facing-rape-charges/

The accused “remains in Virginia awaiting sentencing and is now also awaiting trial in Pennsylvania. He’s facing charges including rape of a person less than 13, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, aggravated indecent assault of a person less than 13, and corruption of minors.”

  • 2023-07-20: pleaded guilty to four felony charges – Prince William County Circuit – Criminal Division – Case numbers: CR23000583-00, CR23000584-00, CR23000585-00, CR23000586-00
  • 9/13/2022: awaiting extradition from North Londonderry, PA to VA
  • Bishop from 2016 to 2020, alleged abuse was 1997 to 2000.
  • Gooden served as a stake high council member and counselor in the stake presidency of the Harrisburg Stake at some point between the years of 2007-2014.
  • Gooden was released as 2nd counselor in the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania stake presidency on July 26, 2014. On that date, he became the 1st counselor in the stake presidency. He was still serving in that capacity as of July 16, 2016.
  • criminal investigation conducted by Prince William County Special Victims Bureau detectives
  • alleged abuse occurred in several locations in the Woodbridge, VA area
  • was allegedly living in Palmyra, PA as of 2022 prior to arrest on 9/5/2022
  • criminal charges: between 9/6/22 and 9/13/22; two counts of indecent liberties, two counts of forcible sodomy, and five counts of aggravated sexual battery
  • alleged victims: 2 children, between ages of 9 and 13
  • crimes allegedly took place in the Woodbridge, PA area between January 1997 and December 2000
  • connections to several Midstate organizations; was a lawyer with the Thomas, Thomas & Hafer law firm; was previously a volunteer board member with the Boy Scouts of America New Birth of Freedom Council

Case facts

Case timeline

  • 1974: born
    • 1997:
    • Virginia Virginia -
    • Sexual abuse
    • Sexually assaults a child
    • 2000:
    • Virginia Virginia -
    • Sexual abuse
    • Sexually assaults a child
    • 2014:
    • 2nd counselor in stake presidency
    • 2014 to 2016:
    • Pennsylvania Pennsylvania -
    • 1st counselor in stake presidency
    • Oct 2020:
    • Pennsylvania Pennsylvania -
    • Stake president Rhett Hintze learns of Gooden's abuse. He doesn't tell police; Gooden is not arrested for nearly two years.
    • Sep 2022:
    • charged with 2 counts of indecent liberties, 2 counts of forcible sodomy, and 5 counts of aggravated sexual battery
    • July 2023:
    • Pennsylvania Pennsylvania -
    • Charged with child sexual abuse
    • July 2023:
    • Virginia Virginia -
    • pleads guilty to 4 felony counts
    • Nov 2023:
    • Virginia Virginia -
    • sentenced to prison time and probation
    • Jan 31 2024:
    • Pennsylvania Pennsylvania -
    • Hintze accused
    • LDS stake president Rhett Hintze is accused by Pennsylvania police of failure to report abuse.

Case information sources

  1. Thanks to Bishop Shawn Gooden of the Lebanon Ward for sharing these great photos from Saturday at the Philadelphia Temple.
    view source details | 7 May 2017 | Harrisburg Stake - The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
  2. Police report: Family member assaulted members from 1997-2000
    view source details | 10 Sep 2022 | Potomac Local News
  3. Former Lebanon County Boy Scouts, LDS official charged in child sex assault case
    view source details | 13 Sep 2022 | ABC 27
  4. Lebanon County man accused of sexually assaulting 2 juvenile victims in Virginia more than 25 years ago
    view source details | 13 Sep 2022 | FOX 43
  5. Police: 47-year-old Palmyra man arrested for decades-old sexual assault case in Virginia
    view source details | 14 Sep 2022 | Lebanon Daily News
  6. Case numbers: CR23000583-00, CR23000584-00, CR23000585-00, CR23000586-00
    view source details | 22 Jul 2023 | Prince William County Circuit - Criminal Division
  7. Former Lebanon County LDS Church, scout leader facing rape charges
    view source details | 28 Jul 2023 | ABC27
  8. Harrisburg lobbyist, LDS church leader charged with not reporting child rape allegations
    view source details | 31 Jan 2024 | ABC 27
  9. EXCLUSIVE Mormon church couldn't care less about sex abuse victims, claims son of pedophile bishop who was 'shielded' by religious leader now charged with covering up crimes
    view source details | 11 Feb 2024 | Daily Mail

Case information source details

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