was a former mayor of West Bountiful, UT; former Mormon bishop in Utah; arrested for and charged with sexually abusing several children; pleaded guilty in January 2023 to four felony counts of child sexual abuse; sentenced in March 2023 to prison

Case Summary

Carl Matthew Johnson is a former LDS bishop, a former Utah city mayor, and a convicted child sexual abuser.

FLOODLIT has purchased court and police documents related to Johnson’s case.

Between approximately 1964 and 1967, Johson served a full-time Mormon mission to Ireland. The men serving as mission president there during those years: Stephen R. Covey (1962-65) and Rolland L. Jaussi (1965-67).

In 1967, Johnson was married in an LDS temple.

In 1972, Johnson was serving as elder’s quorum president of the West Bountiful 2nd Ward in West Bountiful, Utah.

In 1973, Johnson was serving as first counselor in the bishopric of the West Bountiful 2nd Ward.

From 1974 to 1979, Johnson was a Mormon bishop of the West Bountiful 2nd Ward.

Between 1985 and 1996, Johnson sexually abused at least three children.

From 1990 to 1997, Johnson was mayor of West Bountiful, Utah, just outside of Salt Lake City.

From 1999 to 2014, Johnson was the director of the Copyright Office at Brigham Young University (BYU) in Provo, Utah.

In 2016, Johnson and his wife began serving an LDS mission together in Christchurch, New Zealand, in the New Zealand Wellington mission. Their primary assignment was to serve in the LDS church seminary and institutes of religion program.

On 2022-09-07, Johnson was arrested and Orem, Utah and booked into the Davis County Jail.

In September 2022, Johnson’s wife filed for divorce.

On 2023-01-24, Johnson pleaded guilty to charges 1, 9, 10 and 11; the other charges were dismissed.

Count 1: first-degree felony – aggravated sexual abuse of a child – victim 1 – offense date: between 1998-01-01 and 1998-06-30

Count 9: first-degree felony – aggravated sexual abuse of a child – victim 3 – offense date: between 1993-04-16 and 1994-04-16

Count 10: first-degree felony – aggravated sexual abuse of a child – victim 4 – offense date: between 1987-08-12 and 2011-08-12

Count 11: second-degree felony – sexual abuse of a child – victim 2 – offense date: between 1983-05-11 and 1984-11-01

Sentencing is scheduled to take place on 2023-03-02.

from US News:

“SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A former Utah city mayor and bishop with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been arrested on accusations he sexually abused at least three children decades ago.

Carl Matthew Johnson, 77, was arrested Wednesday and booked into the Davis County jail in northern Utah on suspicion of seven counts of sex abuse of a child, according to a probable cause statement.

Investigators say Johnson acknowledged abusing three victims in 1985, 1993 and 1996 and estimated there was a total of six victims as young as 2-years-old, according to the document. He told investigators he had struggled “controlling his sexual urges” most of his life.

Some of the alleged abuse occurred in the same years as he was mayor of West Bountiful, a city just outside of Salt Lake City that he led from 1990-1997.

The investigation is still ongoing, but so far Johnson is only booked on charges stemming from three victims. Johnson had not yet been charged as of Thursday afternoon and it was unknown if he had an attorney.

Johnson was in a “position of trust” over each victim, but investigators don’t explain what that was in the probable cause document. Stephanie Dinsmore, spokesperson for Davis County Sheriff’s Office, also declined to explain.

The victims told investigators they were told not to tell anyone, and Johnson used his position to suppress disclosures, according to the probable cause statement.

Dinsmore initially declined Thursday to provide information about when Johnson was a bishop over a congregation of the faith known widely as the Mormon church, saying in a text that the agency would not be commenting on Johnson’s “affiliation” with the faith.

She later disclosed that he was a bishop from 1974-1979. Bishops are lay clergy who oversee local congregations for a few years at a time in a rotating role reserved only for men in the faith known widely as the Mormon church.

Sam Penrod, spokesman for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said in a statement the allegations are “serious and deeply troubling” and reiterated the church stance that the faith doesn’t tolerant any kind of abuse.

“Those who engage in abusive behavior are rightfully subject to prosecution by legal authorities and also face loss of church membership,” Penrod said.

The faith has come under scrutiny following an Associated Press investigation that found flaws in how it handles reporting of sex abuse allegations made to bishops. The church has defended the system and alleged AP has mischaracterized its reporting system.

The AP reported Thursday that a Utah lawmaker was the person who advised a church bishop in Arizona not to report a confession of child sex abuse to authorities, a decision that allowed the abuse to continue for years, according to records filed in a lawsuit.”

2023-03-02: Former Latter-day Saint bishop, West Bountiful mayor gets maximum sentence after child abuse convictions

“DAVIS COUNTY, Utah, March 2, 2023 (Gephardt Daily) — Carl Matthew Johnson, a former Latter-day Saint bishop and two-term mayor of West Bountiful, has learned his sentence for multiple counts of aggravated sexual abuse of children in the 1980s and 1990s.

A Davis County judge handed down the maximum sentence on three counts of aggravated sexual abuse, a first-degree felony, and one count of sexual abuse of a child, a second-degree felony.

Johnson, 78, was sentenced to serve three terms of nine years to life each for first-degree felonies, and one term of one to 15 years on a second-degree felony. The sentences will run consecutively, the judge ruled.

An additional seven charges of aggravated sexual abuse of a child were dismissed without prejudice as part of a plea deal accepted Jan. 24.

In the cases considered, all offenses were committed between 1983 and 1997.

Johnson, a resident of Orem in recent years, was arrested in September by the Davis County Sheriff’s Office.

“During the investigation, multiple victims were identified and interviewed, and all disclosed numerous instances of abuse by Johnson,” charging documents say. “Johnson was a Davis County resident when the crimes occurred.”

The probable cause statement says “Johnson has showed a long history of sexual abuse of children some as young as 2 years old. Johnson admitted that he has a problem of controlling his sexual urges and has struggled with this problem for most of his life.

“Carl has held numerous positions of trust in his church as being a bishop in the LDS church and as a prior mayor of *Bountiful.” (*Johnson was mayor of West Bountiful in the 1990s.)

Johnson’s charging documents say police interviewed three witnesses, all of whom said Johnson held a position of trust in their lives. The victims interviewed at that time reported being between the ages of 5 and 12 at the time of their first abuse.

Johnson currently is an inmate at the Davis County jail.”

Sources
  1. Covey as Ireland mission president
    view source details | 21 Jul 2022 | Deseret
  2. New Bishoprics
    view source details | 17 Nov 1973 | Deseret News
  3. New Bishoprics
    view source details | 18 May 1974 | Deseret News
  4. Former Mayor, Mormon Bishop Accused of Sex Abuse of Children
    view source details | 8 Sep 2022 | US News
  5. Ex-mayor and former LDS bishop, 77, accused of sexually abusing children
    view source details | 8 Sep 2022 | Standard.net
  6. Former Utah mayor, bishop arrested for sex abuse of multiple children, including toddlers
    view source details | 8 Sep 2022 | KUTV
  7. Former West Bountiful mayor arrested, accused of child sex abuse
    view source details | 8 Sep 2022 | Deseret News
  8. Ex-mayor and former LDS bishop, 77, accused of sexually abusing children
    view source details | 8 Sep 2022 | Provo Daily Herald
  9. Former Utah mayor, LDS bishop arrested after child sex abuse allegations
    view source details | 8 Sep 2022 | Salt Lake Tribune
  10. Carl Johnson
    view source details | | LinkedIn
  11. Former Latter-day Saint bishop, West Bountiful mayor gets maximum sentence after child abuse convictions
    view source details | 2 Mar 2023 | Gephardt Daily
  12. source 12
    view source details | |
Sources excerpts
  • Covey as Ireland mission president
    Source type: News article
    Publisher: Deseret
    Date published/accessed: 21 Jul 2022
    archive 1 | archive 2
  • back to online sources list
    New Bishoprics
    Source type: News article
    Publisher: Deseret News
    Date published/accessed: 17 Nov 1973
    archive 1 | archive 2
  • back to online sources list
    New Bishoprics
    Source type: News article
    Publisher: Deseret News
    Date published/accessed: 18 May 1974
    archive 1 | archive 2
  • back to online sources list
    Former Mayor, Mormon Bishop Accused of Sex Abuse of Children
    Source type: News article
    Publisher: US News
    Date published/accessed: 8 Sep 2022
    archive 1 | archive 2
  • back to online sources list
    Ex-mayor and former LDS bishop, 77, accused of sexually abusing children
    Source type: News article
    Publisher: Standard.net
    Date published/accessed: 8 Sep 2022
    archive 1 | archive 2
  • back to online sources list
    Former Utah mayor, bishop arrested for sex abuse of multiple children, including toddlers
    Source type: News article
    Publisher: KUTV
    Date published/accessed: 8 Sep 2022
    archive 1 | archive 2
  • back to online sources list
    Former West Bountiful mayor arrested, accused of child sex abuse
    Source type: News article
    Publisher: Deseret News
    Date published/accessed: 8 Sep 2022
    archive 1 | archive 2
  • back to online sources list
    Ex-mayor and former LDS bishop, 77, accused of sexually abusing children
    Source type: News article
    Publisher: Provo Daily Herald
    Date published/accessed: 8 Sep 2022
    archive 1 | archive 2
  • back to online sources list
    Former Utah mayor, LDS bishop arrested after child sex abuse allegations
    Source type: News article
    Publisher: Salt Lake Tribune
    Date published/accessed: 8 Sep 2022
    archive 1 | archive 2
  • back to online sources list
    Carl Johnson
    Source type: News article
    Publisher: LinkedIn
    Date published/accessed:
    archive 1 | archive 2
  • back to online sources list
    Former Latter-day Saint bishop, West Bountiful mayor gets maximum sentence after child abuse convictions
    Source type: News article
    Publisher: Gephardt Daily
    Date published/accessed: 2 Mar 2023
    archive 1 | archive 2
  • back to online sources list
    source 12
    Source type: News article
    Publisher:
    Date published/accessed:
    archive 1 | archive 2

    A probable cause affidavit from a Davis County police officer states the following:

    "On 09/07/2022 Carl Johnson was taken into custody in Orem Utah in reference to an ongoing investigation being conducted by the Davis County. Three victims have been identified during the course of the investigation. Interviews have been conducted with these victims along with witnesses.

    Victim 1 disclosed being victimized on or about the year 1996 by Carl Johnson, who held a position of trust over her. These incidents took place in Johnson's home that was within Davis County at the time. Victim 1 stated she was 5 to 8 years old when the following took place. She described being taken into a room in the home away from any other people who may have been in the house. Victim 1 stated Carl would touch her entire body including but not limited to her vagina and her breast and buttocks area. Victim 1 stated this occurred several times over years. Victim 1 remembered Carl telling her to stay quiet and not to tell anyone about what happened. Victim 1 said she could remember at least 5 different times when Carl would touch her entire body under her clothing.

    Victim 2 disclosed being victimized on or about the year 1985 by Johnson, who held a position of trust over the victim. Victim 2 was about 5 years old at the time. Victim 2 described Johnson showering with her. Victim 2 said later in her life Johnson admitted to her that he touched her vagina and inserted his fingers into her vagina while bathing her. This happened in Johnson's home at the time which was within Davis County.

    Victim 3 disclosed being victimized on or about the year 1993 by Johnson, who held a position of trust over the victim. Victim 3 stated that when she was about 12 years old Johnson came into her room at night and laid down with her in her bed. Victim 3 remembered Johnson touching her body and her back. Victim 3 said Johnson
    then reached under her shirt and massaged and touched her breasts. Victim 3 pretended to be asleep when this happened. Victim 3 also believed Johnson thought she was asleep at the time of the sexual abuse.

    Johnson was interviewed about these incidents and other possible crimes that he had committed. Post Miranda Johnson admitted to touching Victim 1's vagina and boobs on at least 5 different occasions. Johnson also admitted to touching Victim 2's vagina while bathing her. Johnson admitted the touching was not necessary for bathing, rather for his sexual gratification. Johnson also admitted to climbing in bed with Victim 3. Johnson was asked by investigators if he touched Victim 3's breasts and he said he did. Johnson also admitted to making contact over the clothing with Victim 3's breasts prior to that incident.

    In all these cases the victims were told not to tell anyone else about what happened them. In some cases these crimes were suppressed in one way or another by Johnson when any disclosures were made. Johnson used his position of trust to influence any disclosures. Johnson further described inappropriate touching, with additional victims, and estimated there was more than six victims as young as two years old.

    I believe these to be additional condition(s) for continued detention:

    The current offense is a felony. There is substantial evidence to support the charge, and through clear and convincing evidence that ? would constitute a substantial danger to any another individual or to the community, or is likely to flee the jurisdiction of the court if released on bail.

    Johnson has showed a long history of sexual abuse of children some as young as 2 years old. Johnson admitted that he has a problem of controlling his sexual urges and has struggled with this problem for most of his life. Carl has held numerous positions of trust in his church as being a bishop in the LDS church and as a prior mayor of a Bountiful. There are currently other cases of abuse being investigated and have not come to a conclusion."

    --

    On 2022-09-09, in Utah court case #221701585, Johnson was charged with 10 first-degree felony counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a child and one second-degree felony count of sexual abuse of a child. The alleged sex crimes took place in 1983, 1993, 1996, 1997 and 1998.

    Excerpts from the criminal indictment in FLOODLIT's possession:

    "Statement of Victim 1 that [...] CARL MATTHEW JOHNSON (hereinafter "JOHNSON") did sexually abuse her multiple times in Davis County, Utah.

    The first incident occurred Easter Sunday, April 7, 1996 when she was Age 5. JOHNSON put one hands [sic] up her dress and touched her vagina over her and underwear, all while sitting in his lap. With other hand he touched her breasts skin-to-skin.

    Another time in 1996, Victim 1 states JOHNSON took her into bedroom put his hand up her T-shirt and touched her breasts skin-to-skin with one hand while with the other hand he rubbed her legs and vagina area over her pants.

    In early 1997, Victim 1 states JOHNSON took her into den put his hand under her underwear and touched her vagina skin-to-skin.

    Then in May 1997, [...] JOHNSON took her again into the den, he held her in his lap as she tried to get away. He then touched her breasts skin-to-skin.

    In December 1997, when Victim 1 was Age 6, JOHNSON stopped her outside of the bathroom and he ushered [her] into the spare bedroom, where he undid her clothing and touched her vagina over her underwear with one hand pinned her so she could not leave.

    In the spring 1998, Victim 1 states when she was Age 7 JOHNSON put his hands under her clothes, touching her breasts with one hand, while his other hand on her legs.

    Victim 1 states that during each of these events JOHNSON told her she needed to be quiet and it was important to him but that it needed to be kept secret.

    Statement of Victim 2 that JOHNSON [...] did sexually abuse her in Davis County, Utah. Victim 2 states when she was an adult, JOHNSON came to her and admitted to sexually abusing her when she was Ages 2 to 5 years old. JOHNSON admitted that, while bathing Victim 2, to touching her vagina and inserting his finger inside her. Victim 2 states she has no specific memory of the event, but does remember showering and bathing with [him] all the time during these ages.

    Statement of Victim 3 that JOHNSON [...] did sexually abuse her in Davis County, Utah. Victim 3 states that when she was Age 12, JOHNSON came into her bedroom at night and reached under her shirt and began massaging and touching her breasts, skin-to-skin.

    Statement of K. Jemmett, Davis County Sherriff, that JOHNSON post-Miranda admitted touching Victim 1’s vagina and breasts on at least 5 separate occasions. JOHNSON admitted touching Victim 2’s vagina for his sexual gratification during bathing time. JOHNSON admitted touching Victim 3’s breasts both over and under clothing."

Videos: Carl Johnson Mormon sex crime case

    • Video title: Former West Bountiful mayor, LDS bishop arrested on child sex abuse charges - FOX 13 News Utah - 2022-09-08
    • Video description: A man who served as mayor of West Bountiful and a former bishop with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was arrested Wednesday as part of an ongoing sex abuse investigation in Davis County.

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.