was a Mormon church member in Magna, Utah; accused of putting cameras in LDS church bathrooms as well as a private rental; pleaded guilty; sentenced in 2018 to prison

Case report

SALT LAKE CITY — A Magna man was sentenced to prison Monday for hiding cameras in bathrooms at LDS meetinghouses and in the homes of his relatives.

James Steven Larsen, 40, was ordered to serve concurrent terms of up to five years in prison for three counts of voyeurism involving a minor victim, a third-degree felony.

Larsen pleaded guilty to the charges last month as part of a deal with prosecutors. In exchange, 13 additional charges were dismissed of class A misdemeanor voyeurism involving adult victims.

Larsen used a set of keys he had to sneak in early on Sundays to two Magna meetinghouses of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 3606 South Wing Pointe Drive and 7731 W. 3500 South, according to prosecutors. Larsen said he would hide cameras in the restrooms, then return to retrieve the cameras the next day.

After searching three memory cards and two cameras found hidden in Larsen’s truck, investigators found 16 images of adults and children, according to charging documents. Larsen told police that a family member was his “target,” and in addition he would “just catch whomever.”

Larsen also told police he had placed cameras in bathrooms while visiting in relatives’ homes, according to the charges.

Larsen’s prison sentence will also run concurrently to a year in jail ordered in a separate case in St. George, where Larsen pleaded guilty to hiding cameras in a rental property he owned there.

MAGNA — A Magna man charged with putting a hidden camera in the bathroom of his rental home in St. George is being investigated for a similar voyeurism case in Salt Lake County, Unified police confirmed Friday.

James Steven Larsen, 39, was charged Feb. 27 in 5th District Court in St. George with four counts of voyeurism by electronic equipment. One count is a third-degree felony, the other three are class A misdemeanors.

Renters in Larsen’s five-bedroom luxury villa at The Ledges in St. George found two cameras concealed in an upstairs bathroom, according to charging documents.

“One camera was hidden behind the toilet and pointed toward the shower,” the arresting officer wrote in a sworn statement. “The other camera was hidden behind the trash can and pointed outward towards the area someone would have to walk by in order to access the shower.”

Eventually, Larsen allegedly told St. George police that he had videos stored on SD cards that he kept in his truck that was parked in the garage of his Magna house.

Detectives also learned there may be more videos than just those recorded from the house in St. George.

“Mr. Larsen further admitted that these SD Cards contained video which was taken in the women’s bathroom, near the toilet, in a church and that this video was taken without the knowledge or consent of those filmed,” according to a search warrant affidavit unsealed in 3rd District Court.

Unified police on Friday confirmed that “the church” stated in the warrant is in their jurisdiction and that an investigation has been conducted and turned over to the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office to be reviewed for possible additional charges.

A spokesman with the district attorney’s office said Friday that the case is being screened.

Details about what church and what kind of voyeurism may have happened were not detailed in court documents and both Unified police and the district attorney declined further comment citing the ongoing investigation.

Larsen is due back in court in St. George on April 10.
In that case, Larsen pleaded guilty in November to one third-degree felony and one class A misdemeanor for voyeurism. During the same hearing, a prison sentence for the felony charge was suspended in lieu of the jail term for the misdemeanor offense, court documents indicate.

Case facts

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