was a Mormon bishop and stake presidency member in New Mexico; admitted to molesting an 11-year-old girl while lying in bed with his dying wife; found guilty of sexual abuse; sentenced to prison

Personal information

  • Mortensen, Shawn Tyler
  • Born: 1965
  • Gender: Male

Case summary

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Father of eight children, BYU graduate (1988-1992).

Bishop of the Academy Heights LDS ward in New Mexico from 2001 to 2007.

Also served as a counselor in a New Mexico stake presidency.

In February 2021, Mortensen turned himself in to police.

In September 2022, he was sentenced to prison for sexually abusing an 11-year-old girl.

Key points (names changed, quotes from court documents in quotation marks):

In January 2021, Shawn, a former LDS bishop, was living in Albuquerque, New Mexico with his wife, Jane. He had served as a bishop in New Mexico from 2001-2007.

Jane was dying of cancer. She passed away in March 2021.

One day in January 2021, the couple was lying in bed together, along with an 11-year-old girl.

While Shawn’s wife slept, he turned toward the girl and began touching her vaginal area under her clothing. She later told police he was “‘rubbing’ in between her legs” and that she was “too scared to tell him to stop.”

Jane woke up and caught Shawn in the act. He lied, telling her it was the first time it had happened.

On February 4, 2021, Jane told another woman, Liz, about the incident. The next day, Liz confronted Shawn and told him he needed to report himself to police or she would.

On February 5, 2021, Albuquerque police met with Shawn, Jane and the victim.

Shawn told police “he knew it was wrong and did not believe what he did was criminal.” He said he was “tickling” the victim and it went “too far.” He said it was “a moment of weakness.”

Shawn said sometimes when the victim was asleep he would touch her inappropriately. When police asked what he meant by touching, Shawn said he would touch the victim’s “crotch area.” While he said this, he “motioned with his hand near his groin area, with a back and forth motion.”

Shawn said he touched the victim twice on two different occasions.

The victim told police that Shawn had touched her private parts under her clothing more than 15 times. She said that during these incidents, she would be awake but pretending to be asleep, and that Shawn never said anything to her, but she could only hear him breathing.

Shawn was charged with six felony counts relating to criminal sexual penetration (two counts) and criminal sexual contact (four counts) of a minor.

Shawn got court permission to attend his wife’s funeral after she died in March 2021.

In September 2022, Shawn was sentenced to prison in New Mexico for sexually abusing the 11-year-old girl.

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  1. obituary of the accused's wife (archive) - Daniels Family Funerals & Cremation - 28 Mar 2021
  2. MDC Custody List - Record Detail - booking 22-10768 (archive) - Bernalillo County, New Mexico - 28 Feb 2023

LDS/Mormon church membership history

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LDS mission information

FLOODLIT is not aware whether the accused served a full-time LDS mission.

LDS temple marriage information

The accused was married (sealed) in the Logan Mormon temple in .

LDS church positions ever held by the accused: Bishop Other leader
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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  • Alleged failure to report by local LDS leaders? unknown
  • Alleged misconduct by local LDS leaders? unknown
  • Alleged misconduct by global LDS leaders? unknown

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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