was a seminary teacher, BYU religion professor; accused by his children of sexually abusing his daughters; excommunicated, rebaptized; confessed to sexual abuse, but has not been arrested or criminally charged

Case Summary

“He worked at an LDS seminary building in Ogden, Utah; as a religion professor at the church-run Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah; and at other Mormon educational institutions. Some of abuse happened on BYU campus in his office.

Kristy, Kathy and another sister were sexually abused by their father for most of their childhood. Melvin Kay Johnson would visit the bedroom of his daughters and molest them as they slept. He divorced Kristy’s mom and married a student of his.

Brother Johnson was a respected member of the community and although his teenage daughters did report him to authorities, he was never prosecuted legally. His ecclesiastical leaders were fully aware of the situation in the Johnson home. He was excommunicated from the church only to be reinstated with an annotation in his church record identifying him as a pedophile. Annotations to membership records are the Mormon Church’s tracking system for dangerous members. This annotation was later removed, and when the annotation was removed his new church community had no idea that he could be a potential threat to their children.

Kristy Johnson said at a news conference that her now-deceased mother told local church leaders in Utah and California about the abuse multiple times during the 1960s and 1970s. Her father, Melvin Kay Johnson, a church employee who worked for the religious education arm of the faith, was relocated to different cities by the church after each report, but police were not contacted, she alleges in a civil lawsuit filed Wednesday in federal court in Utah.

Johnson, now 55 and living in La Habra, California, said she finally reported the abuse to police in California in 1986 when she returned from a Mormon mission. Her father was never arrested, but the church kicked him out. He was allowed back one year later after he went before a church court and persuaded them he had repented, the woman said.

When Kristy Johnson returned from her mission, her complaint says, she and her siblings reported their father to the police. Vernon said the report was made in Orange County, Calif. No criminal charges were filed. And the lawsuit says the local LDS stake president chastised Kristy Johnson for reporting a church matter to police. During the documentary, too, the siblings call Lehi police officers, who came to the house but did not arrest the elder Johnson.

Vernon said at some point Melvin Johnson was excommunicated for a year. There was an annotation on his church record for a few years, Vernon said, then the LDS Church removed that annotation in 2007.”

Videos: Melvin Johnson Mormon sex crime case

    • Video title: Ep 37: Kristy Johnson - Part 1 HOTM 2.0
    • Video description: Listen to her story of how she survived sexual abuse from her father, Melvin Kay Johnson, a former LDS Church religious instructor and seminary teacher.
    • Video title: Ep 37-Kristy Johnson Interview Part 2 - HOTM 2.0
    • Video description: Part 2 of Kristy's interview with HOTM.
    • Video title: Ep 37-Kristy Johnson Interview Part 3 - HOTM 2.0
    • Video description: Part 3 of Kristy's interview with HOTM.

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.