was an LDS church member; sentenced in 1985 to five years' probation for sexually abusing two children, ages 4 and 7; a 2002 lawsuit against the LDS church accused Mormon leaders of providing a safe harbor for Young

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Personal information

  • Young, Mitchell Blake
  • Gender: Male

Case summary

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from the Salt Lake Tribune on 2002-07-02:

“A victim filed suit against The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints stating that the church protected the perpetrator.
The plaintiff, A. Doe, claims defendant Mitchell Blake Young abused him between 1987 and 1992, when he was 6 to 12 years old.”

“Young was convicted in 1993 and was sentenced to 15 years in Utah State Prison for the crime.”

“The suit also alleges church leaders knew Young had sexually abused children for more than a decade when he began abusing A. Doe.”

“The church has said it encourages members to report abuse to law enforcement and now has a system that flags the membership records of those with any reported child abuse complaints. The church also set up a toll-free number for leaders to report abuse.”

“According to the lawsuit, Gordon Young and the LDS Church knew of Young’s abuse of children as early as 1975. In 1975, Gordon Young received complaints that his son had abused neighborhood children in the Butler 20th Ward in Salt Lake County. And then in 1980, the church sent Young on a mission to the Whitefish Bay area of Canada, where the church received reports he was sexually abusing children from a nearby tribe, the suit said. The church recalled Young from the mission but failed to report him to authorities. Instead, he was “cured” through counseling and therapy, it said.”

“In 1985, in Maricopa County, Ariz., Young was convicted of sex crimes against two children, ages 4 and 7, and was sentenced to 5 years’ probation. The Butler ward Bishop James H. Woodward wrote a letter to the judge volunteering to monitor and supervise Young and urging against a prison sentence. The letter did not disclose the church’s prior knowledge of child abuse allegations against Young.”

“In 1986, Young met A. Doe’s mother, a single woman in the Butler 20th Ward. Gordon Young hoped to “cure” his son by marrying him to the woman, who had just immigrated to the United States, the suit alleged. Gordon Young told the mother his son was a religion instructor to gain her trust, the suit claims. Young was often left alone in his father’s Utah home with her children, and there he sexually abused the plaintiff, the suit alleges.”

“Although church leaders knew Young’s unsupervised contact with the plaintiff and his siblings was a violation of his Arizona probation, the contact was not reported according to the lawsuit.”

“In April 1988, Young pleaded guilty to new criminal charges of sexual misconduct with a group of four boys in the locker room of a Salt Lake City youth center. That information was deliberately concealed from the young mother by the Young’s and church leaders, and the abuse against her son continued, the lawsuit claims. The suit asks for unspecified damages.”

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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: Missionary
LDS church positions held by the accused at the time of the alleged crime(s):
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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LDS church response

  • Date: July 2002
  • Statement by LDS church representative:

    "We are determined to pursue child abuse in the church where it exists, and we have an unsurpassed record in doing it."

  • Name of LDS church representative: Mike Otterson
  • Position of LDS church representative: LDS church spokesman
  • Alleged failure to report by local LDS leaders? yes
  • Alleged misconduct by local LDS leaders? yes
  • 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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