was a Mormon bishop in Mapleton, Utah and a Mormon church senior product manager when he sexually abused two underage children in his LDS ward dozens of times; was sentenced to prison in 2017; released in 2023; as of 2024, registered sex offender living in Utah

Case Summary

Erik Hughes sexually abused two children while serving as their Mormon bishop and working as an LDS church employee.

In 2017, Erik Hughes, a former LDS Bishop, entered a guilty plea for two second-degree felonies for forcible sexual abuse and one third-degree felony for tampering with a witness. There were two victims that came forward against this abuser.

According to a Facebook post by KUTV reporter Brian Mullahy on June 23, 2017, the LDS church made the following statement in June 2017 in response to news of Hughes’s arrest:

“There is zero tolerance for abuse of any kind in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. When local leaders first learned about this matter, they immediately reported it to law enforcement. We have supported and cooperated fully with the law enforcement investigation. This individual has been removed from any position within his congregation and has been placed on administrative leave from his Church employment. Anyone found guilty of abuse of this kind would also face serious Church discipline, including loss of Church membership. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims. We will continue to reach out to them and their families to provide support and love.”

Sentence: October 2017 – one to 15 years in the Utah State Prison for the two forcible sexual abuse charges. He was sentenced to at least five years in prison for tampering with a witness.

As of 2024, Hughes is out of prison on parole and lives in Utah as a registered sex offender.

Hughes served a full-time mission for the LDS church in 1985-87 to Anaheim, California.

Sources
  1. Missions | Calls
    view source details | 26 Apr 1985 | St. George Daily Spectrum
  2. Former LDS bishop from Mapleton jailed on 20-plus counts of child abuse
    view source details | 23 Jun 2017 | Gephardt Daily
  3. The Salt Lake Tribune
    view source details | 24 Jun 2017 | Former Utah Mormon bishop arrested for allegedly sexually abusing two teens in his congregation
  4. Former Mapleton Mormon bishop accused of drugging, abusing 2 teens
    view source details | 23 Jun 2017 | KSL
  5. Former LDS bishop, accused of teen sex abuse, described as good neighbor, husband, father
    view source details | 23 Jun 2017 | KUTV
  6. When Privilege Protects Atrocity
    view source details | 29 Jun 2017 | Daily Utah Chronicle
  7. Mapleton LDS bishop charged with sexual abuse likely to take plea deal
    view source details | 11 Aug 2017 | Herald Extra
  8. Ex-Mormon bishop pleads guilty to abusing boys in his ward
    view source details | 25 Aug 2017 | Deseret News
  9. Former bishop from Mapleton sentenced to prison for sexual abuse
    view source details | 10 Oct 2017 | Herald Extra
  10. ‘He took my innocence': Victims describe toll of ex-bishop’s abuse
    view source details | 10 Oct 2017 | Deseret News
  11. Salt Lake Tribune
    view source details | 17 Oct 2017 | Utah judge sends former Mormon bishop to prison for sexually abusing boys in his congregation
  12. Erik Hughes Offender Profile
    view source details | 7 Nov 2023 | Offender Radar
Sources excerpts
  • Missions | Calls
    Source type: News article
    Publisher: St. George Daily Spectrum
    Date published/accessed: 26 Apr 1985
    archive 1 | archive 2
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    Former LDS bishop from Mapleton jailed on 20-plus counts of child abuse
    Source type: News article
    Publisher: Gephardt Daily
    Date published/accessed: 23 Jun 2017
    archive 1 | archive 2

    MAPLETON, Utah, June 23, 2017 (Gephardt Daily) — A former bishop for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been booked into the Utah County Jail on two dozen felony charges involving the alleged sexual abuse of two minors.

    Erik Wayne Hughes, 51, was arrested Wednesday night by Mapleton police.

    He’s now being held on 20 counts of forcible sexual abuse, one count of sexual exploitation of a minor, one count of dealing in harmful materials to a minor and one count of witness tampering.

    Mapleton police investigators said the charges were prompted by the recent admissions of two adult men, ages 18 and 21, who said they’d been molested by Hughes over the course of a few years when he was their LDS bishop.

    Both men, then juveniles, said some of the encounters took place after they had been drugged by Hughes — twice in the form of spiked beverages, twice more with altered pills.

    In one of the alleged dopings, police said Hughes provided one of the teens with a fake melatonin tablet to help him sleep. The victim said he awoke to find Hughes touching him in a sexual manner.

    Eric Hawkins, spokesperson for the LDS Church released the following prepared statement to Gephardt Daily:

    “There is zero tolerance for abuse of any kind in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. When local leaders first learned about this matter, they immediately reported it to law enforcement. We have supported and been cooperated fully with the law enforcement investigation. This individual has been removed from any position within the church.

    “Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims. We will continue to reach out to them and their families to provide support and love.”

    Hughes’ case has been filed in 4th District Court in Provo.

    He is currently being held on a $25,000 cash-only bail.

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    The Salt Lake Tribune
    Source type: News article
    Publisher: Former Utah Mormon bishop arrested for allegedly sexually abusing two teens in his congregation
    Date published/accessed: 24 Jun 2017
    archive 1 | archive 2

    A former LDS Church bishop is behind bars for allegedly sexually abused two boys several years ago when they were teenagers in his congregation.

    Erik Wayne Hughes, 51, of Mapleton, was arrested Wednesday and booked into the Utah County jail on suspicion of forcible sexual abuse, dealing in materials harmful to a minor, sexual exploitation of a minor and tampering with a witness.

    According to a probable cause statement from the Mapleton Police Department, an 18-year-old told police in April that when he was 15, he had been sexually abused by Hughes, who at the time was his bishop in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

    An emailed statement from church spokesman Eric Hawkins on Friday confirmed that Hughes "has been removed from any position within the church."

    The teen told police that Hughes was "always interested in his personal growth and if he was going through puberty," the document says. On one occasion, Hughes gave the teen a white pill he believed was melatonin, but the pill made him "feel weird" and his perception of his surroundings seemed "disproportionate," documents say.

    Though the teen had taken melatonin before to help him sleep, he said it had never affected him this way, and when he told Hughes he felt weird, Hughes told the boy he "must have given him the wrong pill and that it would not happen again," according to documents.

    On another occasion, Hughes gave the boy a smoothie-type drink, which the teen said seemed to have a loose seal and "tasted bitter, so he shook it up," documents say. After the boy drank the smoothie, he told police, his body responded the same way as when Hughes had given him the pill.

    The teen told police he remembers walking around the house and Hughes helping him to his room and into his bed. Hughes asked the teen if he wanted Hughes to take his sweatpants off, documents say, and the teen responded that he didn't need them off.

    "The next thing [the teen] remembers, his pants were off," documents say, and Hughes was touching his groin area.

    The teen told police he remembers dozing off briefly, and when he woke up, his underwear were off and Hughes was performing a sex act on him.

    On a third occasion, Hughes gave the teen another pill he believed was melatonin, documents say. The teen had a similar reaction, according to documents, and Hughes "made" the teen perform a sex act on himself.

    On Wednesday, police learned of a second alleged victim, who told police he had been sexually assaulted by Hughes as a 17-year-old in 2012, documents say.

    He told police he had been "groomed" by Hughes at age 16. The boy would work for Hughes, who was his bishop at the time, and Hughes would "buy him expensive items" and "put money in his bank account," documents say.

    On multiple occasions, Hughes "touched and measured his penis" and gave the boy Viagra, the second alleged victim told police.

    Hughes touched the second alleged victim inappropriately and performed sex acts with him between 30 and 50 times while the boy was 17, he told police. Hughes and the teen would also exchange sexually explicit pictures, according to documents.

    One time, the second alleged victim told police, Hughes invited him to travel to Las Vegas and stay with him during a business trip, documents say. While there, Hughes allegedly gave the boy a pill that made him feel "groggy," and Hughes performed a sex act on him.

    The second alleged victim said that within the last month, Hughes had contacted him and said he was "being falsely accused of a crime."

    "Hughes told him to keep silent about things he had done," documents say, and asked the young man how he would respond to different questions from police "related to the sexual abuse."

    Hawkins said the LDS Church has "zero tolerance for abuse of any kind."

    The church has "supported and cooperated fully with the law enforcement investigation," Hawkins wrote, adding that "anyone found guilty of abuse of this kind would also face serious church discipline, including loss of church membership."

    "Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims," Hawkins wrote. "We will continue to reach out to them and their families to provide support and love."

    Hughes is being held in lieu of $25,000 bail. No charges had been filed in the case as of Friday.

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    Former Mapleton Mormon bishop accused of drugging, abusing 2 teens
    Source type: News article
    Publisher: KSL
    Date published/accessed: 23 Jun 2017
    archive 1 | archive 2

    MAPLETON — A former LDS bishop has been arrested and accused of drugging and sexually abusing two teenage boys.

    Erik Wayne Hughes, 51, of Mapleton, was arrested Wednesday night and booked into the Utah County Jail for investigation of 20 counts of forcible sexual abuse, dealing in harmful materials to a minor, sexual exploitation of a minor and witness tampering.

    An 18-year-old man recently came forward to report that when he was 15, there were at least two occasions he believes he was drugged by Hughes, who was his bishop, according to a police affidavit filed in 4th District Court. In one incident, he said Hughes gave him a pill he claimed was melatonin, typically used to help a person's sleep cycle.

    The boy said the pill made him feel "weird and things seem(ed) disproportionate," according to the affidavit, and "he has never felt that way before after taking melatonin." Hughes allegedly told him "he must have given him the wrong pill and that it would not happen again."

    On another occasion, the boy said Hughes gave him a "smoothie-type drink" that appeared to have already been opened. When he drank it, "he had the same reaction to the smoothie as he did with the pill he was given in the first incident," the affidavit states. The boy said he fell asleep and awoke to find his underwear had been removed and Hughes touching his genitals, the report states. He said that happened at least one other time.

    A second man, now 22, said he was 17 when he was also abused by Hughes, according to the affidavit.

    The second man said he "was groomed" by Hughes since he was 16 by the man buying him "expensive items" and putting money in his bank account, the report states.

    That man claims Hughes did things such as give him Viagra and touched his genitals 30 to 50 times, police wrote in the affidavit. The two also allegedly exchanged naked photos of each other.

    On another occasion, police say Hughes had the boy meet him in Las Vegas during a business trip. He said he was given a pill by Hughes that "made him feel groggy," according to the affidavit, and at that point, he said he was sexually assaulted.

    The second alleged victim said Hughes recently told him that "he was being falsely accused of a crime" and asked the man "to keep silent about things he had done" and then asked the victim how he would respond if questioned by police, the report states.

    Mapleton Police Chief John Jackson said Friday that he did not know if the two victims came in contact with Hughes solely because of his status as a Mormon bishop.

    "We're a small community. We're a pretty tight-knit community. It's not only church that people see each other but it's other activities as well. So it could be both," he said.

    LDS Church spokesman Eric Hawkins issued a prepared statement Friday regarding the incident.

    "There is zero tolerance for abuse of any kind in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. When local leaders first learned about this matter, they immediately reported it to law enforcement. We have supported and cooperated fully with the law enforcement investigation. This individual has been removed from any position within the church," he said.

    If Hughes or anyone in the church is found guilty of abuse, Hawkins said, they will "face serious church discipline, including loss of church membership. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims. We will continue to reach out to them and their families to provide support and love."

    Jackson said the investigation is ongoing and declined to release much information Friday. He praised the men, however, for having the courage to come forward.

    Whether there are any other victims was unknown Friday.

    "I don't know if I believe there is more, but I'm concerned that there is," the police chief said, adding that he is willing to listen to anyone who believes they may have been victimiz

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    Former LDS bishop, accused of teen sex abuse, described as good neighbor, husband, father
    Source type: News article
    Publisher: KUTV
    Date published/accessed: 23 Jun 2017
    archive 1 | archive 2

    Mapleton, Utah — (KUTV) A former LDS bishop in Utah County, accused of repeatedly sexually abusing two boys -- who are now men -- is described as a kind and friendly person.

    "I think he's a good neighbor, good friend, good husband," said Ruth Bartholomew, who has lived near suspect Erik Wayne Hughes and his family for years.

    Wednesday night, police arrested Hughes at his home, and booked him into the Utah County Jail for forcible sexual abuse, dealing in materials harmful to a minor, sexual exploitation of a minor, and tampering with a witness.

    A man identified only as Victim 1 said he was abused several times by Hughes when he was 15. Mapleton police were notified about the report from the Utah Division of Child and Family Services on April 20.

    Then, just this week, a second man came forward. A police probable cause statement said Victim 2 reported being "groomed" by Hughes when he was 16, and at 17, said Hughes "touched and stimulated" him "30 to 50 times."

    The statement suggested Hughes drugged one or both boys.

    "When the abuse was happening, was it happening while he was an LDS bishop?" 2News asked.

    "That's our understanding," said Sgt. Tony Kropf.

    Bartholomew read a published report about the case Friday, and said she was "shocked" and the accusations were so vastly different from her perceptions of Hughes.

    Another neighbor, who did not want to appear in camera, echoed that sentiment.

    Hughes has also been employed by the LDS church, though it is unknown in what capacity.

    Friday, a church statement said he has been placed on administrative leave, and it reiterated the church has "zero tolerance for abuse of any kind."

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    When Privilege Protects Atrocity
    Source type: News article
    Publisher: Daily Utah Chronicle
    Date published/accessed: 29 Jun 2017
    archive 1 | archive 2

    Erik Hughes, a former bishop for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was recently arrested by Mapleton police on June 21 on allegations of sexually abusing two young boys while serving as their bishop. The victims, now adults, both claim they were abused by Hughes on multiple occasions.

    One of the men said three years ago, when he was 15 years old, Hughes gave him a melatonin pill to help him sleep, but it made him feel dazed, and everything seemed “disproportionate,” according to police reports cited by multiple media outlets. Hughes then forced the 15-year-old to perform a sexual act on himself.

    In another incident, Hughes gave the young man a smoothie that he described as tasting “bitter.” After being helped by Hughes to his bed, the young man dozed off and on, eventually awakening to his underwear being removed, and having Hughes’s hands touching his genitals.

    A second man said Hughes began abusing him around five years ago, when the man was 17. During a business trip to Las Vegas, he said he was drugged by Hughes in a hotel room. The victim also alleges he was pressured to exchange nude photos with the former LDS bishop. The second man says he was abused by Hughes between 30 and 50 times.

    Last month, the second man was contacted by Hughes who complained about being “falsely accused” of a sexual crime. Then, Hughes asked the man several questions related to sexual assault, and asked how he would respond if asked the same questions by law enforcement officials. “Hughes told him to keep silent about things he had done,” the police document said.

    Hughes, who is being held in Utah County Jail on a $25,000 cash only bond, was booked on suspicion of 20 counts of forcible sexual abuse, a second-degree felony, and a third-degree felony of tampering with a witness, among other charges.

    On June 23, just two days after Hughes was arrested, KUTV published a news report titled “Former LDS bishop, accused of teen sex abuse, described as good, neighbor, husband, father,” in which a single neighbor, Ruth Bartholomew, is quoted as saying such. “I think he’s a good neighbor, good friend, good husband,” the neighbor said.

    The news report, which was written by anchor and reporter Brian Mullahy, follows the trend of high profile individuals, despite being accused of serious and appalling crimes, being treated with praise, flattery and glorification by the media and public.

    In April, a sexual assault victim listened on as Utah 4th District Judge Thomas Low lauded the victim’s rapist, former LDS bishop Keith Vallejo, for being an “extraordinarily good man.”

    “But great men,” Judge Low said, “sometimes do bad things.”

    Status, prestige or title do not grant immunity from the law, and do not justify special treatment in regards to criminal justice. Narratives and news stories that frame those accused of violent and sexual crimes as good, decent people discourage victims from coming forward. This type of framing allow for abuse to go unnoticed and unpunished. It coddles abusers and silences survivors.

    Sexual assault, as it is widely known, is already one of the least frequently reported crimes in the United States. Having elected judges and professional news reporters praise accused rapists certainly will not help this.

    Journalists and news publications, elected officials and judges, and general members of the public alike should make an effort to not let prestigious titles, like bishop or priest, prevent us from appropriately reacting to abhorrent behavior.

    Hughes is presumed innocent until positively proven to be guilty, and he will have his day in court. Until then, everyone should hold back on celebrating and lionizing a man being accused of sexually abusing minors.

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    Mapleton LDS bishop charged with sexual abuse likely to take plea deal
    Source type: News article
    Publisher: Herald Extra
    Date published/accessed: 11 Aug 2017
    archive 1 | archive 2

    An LDS bishop charged with sexually abusing two underage males in his ward is expected to enter into a plea deal soon.

    The defendant, Erik Hughes, appeared Wednesday in Fourth District Court before Judge Thomas Low with his attorney, John Allan.
    ,,,
    Hughes is charged with two second-degree felonies of forcible sexual abuse and one third-degree felony of tampering with a witness.

    Police reports state a now 18-year-old man told police in April that Hughes had drugged him and sexually assaulted him several times about three years ago.

    Mapleton LDS bishop charged with sexual abuse likely to take plea deal | Crime and Courts | heraldextra.com

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    Ex-Mormon bishop pleads guilty to abusing boys in his ward
    Source type: News article
    Publisher: Deseret News
    Date published/accessed: 25 Aug 2017
    archive 1 | archive 2

    MAPLETON — A former LDS Church bishop pleaded guilty this week to sexually abusing boys in his congregation.

    Erik Wayne Hughes, 51, of Mapleton, pleaded guilty Wednesday in 4th District Court to two counts of forcible sexual abuse, a second-degree felony, and tampering with a witness, a third-degree felony.

    Hughes was charged with abusing two boys starting when the boys were 15 and 17. The abuse happened several years ago. Both were members of Hughes' LDS ward and are now adults.

    The investigation began in April when one of the men, who had since moved out of state, disclosed to a counselor that he was sexually abused by his bishop, according to a search warrant.

    In June, after Hughes learned the first victim was talking to police, he told the second one not to say anything if questioned, according to charging documents.

    Both also claimed that Hughes may have drugged them by giving them a pill to relax. They reported waking up to find Hughes abusing them, according to a police affidavit filed in 4th District Court. Hughes was not charged with anything in relation to the alleged druggings.

    Hughes announced a resolution to his case on Wednesday, when he was originally scheduled to have a preliminary hearing. Instead, he waived his preliminary hearing and pleaded guilty.

    Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 10.

    LDS Church spokesman Eric Hawkins issued a statement regarding the incident when Hughes was arrested in June.

    "There is zero tolerance for abuse of any kind in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. When local leaders first learned about this matter, they immediately reported it to law enforcement. We have supported and cooperated fully with the law enforcement investigation. This individual has been removed from any position within the church," Hawkins said.

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    Former bishop from Mapleton sentenced to prison for sexual abuse
    Source type: News article
    Publisher: Herald Extra
    Date published/accessed: 10 Oct 2017
    archive 1 | archive 2

    Erik Hughes, an LDS bishop charged with sexually abusing two underage males in his ward, was sentenced to prison on Tuesday.

    Hughes pleaded guilty to two charges of forcible sexual abuse, both second-degree felonies and one charge of tampering with a witness, a third-degree felony, according to court documents.

    Hughes was sentenced Tuesday by Fourth District Court Judge Thomas Low to one to 15 years in the Utah State Prison for the two forcible sexual abuse charges. He was sentenced to at least five years in prison for tampering with a witness.

    Both charges will run concurrently with each other. He will receive credit for time already served in the Utah County Jail.

    Police reports state a now 18-year-old man told police in April that Hughes had drugged him and sexually assaulted him several times about three years ago.

    Another man later came forward and reportedly told police Hughes had sexually abused him between 30 and 50 times.

    Hughes also drugged the second man and sexually abused him in a hotel room, police reports state.

    Police reports state Hughes was the bishop of an LDS ward at the time of the reported abuse. He is not currently a bishop.

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    ‘He took my innocence': Victims describe toll of ex-bishop’s abuse
    Source type: News article
    Publisher: Deseret News
    Date published/accessed: 10 Oct 2017
    archive 1 | archive 2

    PROVO — When they turned to their LDS bishop as vulnerable teenagers, two young men told a judge Tuesday that they instead became victims of a sly sexual predator who isolated them from their families and left them buried beneath guilt.

    Erik Hughes, 51, was sentenced to at least one and up to 20 years in prison Tuesday, ordered to serve concurrent terms of one to 15 years for two counts of forcible sexual abuse, a second-degree felony, followed by a consecutive term of up to five years for witnesses tampering, a third-degree felony.

    A recommendation for the sentence was agreed upon when Hughes pleaded guilty as charged in August, just two months after his arrest. A spokesman for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has said Hughes was immediately removed from his position when the allegations became known.

    The spokesman emphasized that the church has "zero tolerance for abuse of any kind" and fully supported and cooperated with police in the investigation.

    As he handed down the sentence, 4th District Judge Thomas Low called Hughes a predator whose genuinely "good works" in the community became a cloak for the crimes he was committing.

    "That made you, for a time, one of the most dangerous men around," Low told Hughes.

    As the older of the two victims began his statement Tuesday, punctuated by long pauses as he fought emotion, the now-22-year-old man described how Hughes, the bishop of his Mapleton ward, came upon him crying one day near the chapel of their meetinghouse.

    He was 16 years old, he said, and fighting with his parents — something that should have been normal for a teenager. But the man said Hughes used it as an opportunity to alienate him from his family.

    "He wanted to comfort me," the man said, taking a deep breath. "We became good friends, in a sense, and he was also my leader. I felt like I could trust him more than I could trust my family or my friends or other people who really cared about me. He made me feel like they were my enemies."

    A sexual relationship with Hughes began when the boy was 17, according to prosecutors. To "distract" the young man from what was going on, the man said Hughes showered him with expensive gifts, including phones and computers.

    "He took my innocence. He took everything," the man wept.

    The man's mother said her son had been struggling with bullying in the neighborhood, and she had reached out to his school, to other parents and finally to the bishop, who agreed to meet with him. To prepare Hughes, the parents revealed details about their son that they now believe was used to manipulate him.

    At first the parents were relieved to have the bishop's help, according to the mother, but as the two became "inseparable" and the gifts from Hughes became more expensive and obligating, they began to worry.

    "We were as close as you could be to knowing without knowing," the mother said through tears.

    For years after the abuse, the man said his pain was so great that he distanced himself further from his family, even spending six months homeless in Provo Canyon when he didn't dare go home. Hughes had taught him to feel entitled, he said, and he struggled to keep a job. He stole, and he ran from police when they chased him. He felt he couldn't trust anyone.

    And in June of this year, when it appeared another young man victimized by Hughes was talking to police, the man said Hughes contacted him and asked to keep what had happened between them private. It was the first time he said he had ever heard an apology from Hughes.

    Dressed in a blue suit and reading quietly from a letter, a now-18-year-old man also described the deep emotional wounds he suffered when Hughes, using his position as a religious leader to lure him into his own home, sexually abused him three years ago.

    "Someone I looked up to, someone I thought I could trust, took advantage of me in the worst way possible," the young man read.

    In a second letter read to the judge by his grandmother, the 18-year-old's parents explained that their family was moving to another state at the time. To help their son adjust to the move and in light of the friendship they had with Hughes' family, they agreed to let the boy stay behind for a month that summer to attend two church-related trips.

    When they left, the parents said, their son was a typically energetic, outgoing and happy teen. He came to their new home angry, sullen and closed off, sometimes refusing to talk to them for days.

    According to prosecutors, Hughes had drugged the then-15-year-old boy before touching him inappropriately on two occasions while he stayed in his home in June 2014. The young man described the sensation of feeling "like a passenger in my own body," leaving him helpless and terrified.

    Because Hughes was his bishop, the man said he struggled to believe what had happened, instead blaming himself for it.

    "I told myself, 'I'm just going to carry this to the grave,' and for the next three years I suffered," the young man read. "I had no relationship with my parents, with my family, I had no friends, I was a completely miserable person."

    The young man's parents convinced him to talk to a counselor. After three years of meetings, he finally confided in the counselor about what had happened. But still unable to face his family about the abuse, the young man left it to the counselor to speak with his parents.

    Standing shackled in a red jail uniform, Hughes read a lengthy apology letter Tuesday, directed briefly to the two victims and their families.

    "I ask humbly and meekly, and I realize maybe you're not ready to give that to me at this time, but I ask for your forgiveness. Or I ask that you plant a seed that someday might blossom into forgiveness," Hughes said.

    Hughes then went on to offer apologies to the judicial system, to his wife and daughters, to his widowed mother and to his co-workers from the LDS Church who spoke as character witnesses for his rehabilitation, until the judge cut him off and reminded him to direct his remarks to the court.

    Hughes emphasized that for 50 years he had been a law-abiding citizen with no criminal record, but that a long, secret battle with pornography caused him to "stumble badly." Moving forward, Hughes promised there is no chance he will commit any new crimes and said he hopes to become an "evangelist" to parents about improving technologies to protect their families from "the wild west of the internet."

    Hughes also noted that he accepted the plea agreement in order to spare the two victims a trial, even though it required giving up his rights to bail and to "correct misstatements" in the police reports.

    As the judge prepared to hand down the sentence, Hughes asked him to consider only those offenses he had admitted to and not other allegations that had been made.

    Hughes' attorney, John Allan, clarified that the two sexual abuse charges Hughes admitted to stem from the younger victim, and that the only conviction related to the older victim was the witness tampering charge. Had the case gone to trial, Allan said, he would have argued that any sexual conduct occurred after the older man's 18th birthday.

    But prosecutor David Sturgill raised questions about whether Hughes is truly remorseful, noting that in presentence statements, Hughes maintained he had touched the younger boy inappropriately only out of curiosity and not for his own sexual gratification. The statements made no reference to the other victim.

    "That illustrates a man who is being very careful with his words, that fails to take responsibility and minimizes what he did," Sturgill said. "That troubles me, judge."

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    Salt Lake Tribune
    Source type: News article
    Publisher: Utah judge sends former Mormon bishop to prison for sexually abusing boys in his congregation
    Date published/accessed: 17 Oct 2017
    archive 1 | archive 2

    A former Mormon bishop from Mapleton has been sentenced to prison for sexually abusing two boys in 2014, when they were members of his congregation.

    Erik Hughes, 51, was charged in July in 4th District Court with two second-degree felony counts of forcible sexual abuse that allegedly occurred in June 2014, as well as a count of tampering with a witness, a third-degree felony.

    In August, Hughes pleaded guilty to all three charges.

    On Tuesday, Judge Thomas Low sentenced Hughes to concurrent one-to-15-year prison terms on the sexual abuse counts, and zero to five years for the witness tampering counts.

    According to a probable cause statement from the Mapleton Police Department, an 18-year-old man told police in April that when he was 15, he had been sexually abused by Hughes, who at the time was his bishop in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

    “[Hughes], at the time, was the victim’s LDS bishop, thereby occupying a position of special trust in relation to the victim,” charges state.

    After Hughes learned the abuse had been reported to police, he approached a second victim in June 2017, a probable cause statement said, “and advised the victim that he might be contacted by police, and told that victim what to say to ensure [Hughes] would not get into trouble.”

    Police said the second boy was also sexually abused by Hughes when he was a teenager and a member of Hughes’ LDS ward.

    A church spokesman said in June that Hughes had been removed “from any position within the church.”

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    Erik Hughes Offender Profile
    Source type: News article
    Publisher: Offender Radar
    Date published/accessed: 7 Nov 2023
    archive 1 | archive 2

    IMPORTANT OFFENDER DATA

    Status : Compliant

    Perform a Criminal Background Check Instantly
    PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION

    DOB : 03/29/1966
    Age : 56
    Sex : Male
    Height : 6'03''
    Weight : 220
    Race : White
    Hair : Brown
    Eyes : Brown

    OFFENSES

    Description : 76-5-404 - FORCIBLE SEXUAL ABUSE/2ND DEGREE FELONY
    Date Convicted : 10/10/2017
    Conviction State : Utah
    Statute : 76-5-404
    Offense Count : 2

Images: Erik Hughes LDS sex crime case

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.