was an LDS church member and high school choir director in Murray, Utah; pleaded guilty in 1990 or 1991 to two counts of attempted sexual abuse of a child; sentenced in February 1991 to six months in jail (two of those months under house arrest) followed by three years of supervised release

Case Summary

Matthew Faerber was a full-time Mormon missionary in Brazil in 1981–1982.

From 1988 to 1990, Faerber was a music teacher at Murray High School in the Salt Lake City, Utah area. He also taught music at a Granite District junior high school for a year.

In 1990, Faerber (then 28) was charged in Utah with three counts of sexual abuse of a child, two counts of lewdness involving a child, two counts of gross lewdness and one count each of fornication and sodomy.

He was accused of having sex with a 18-year-old Murray High School student and fondling three underage girls (ages 13, 13 and 16) who were his private piano students.

According to a Salt Lake County sheriff’s detective, Faerber turned himself in to police after speaking with his “clergyman” (as reported by the St. George Daily Spectrum on November 21, 1990). The clergyman may have been his LDS bishop.

In 1990 or 1991, Faerber made a plea deal wherein charges were dropped in exchange for a guilty plea to two counts of attempted sexual abuse of a child.

On February 1, 1991, Faerber was sentenced to six months in jail (two of those months under house arrest), followed by three years of supervised release.

In July 1994, Faerber served as a choir director at a free public performance at the Assembly Hall at Temple Square in Salt Lake City.

From 1998 to 2013, Faerber was a professor of vocal music education and a choir director at the University of Wisconsin Superior (UWS).

For some time, Faerber was also the director of the volunteer Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra Chorus and the Artistic Director at Arrowhead Chorale in Duluth, Minnesota (2018-2023).

In 2013 in Wisconsin, Faerber was discovered to have been convicted of child sex offenses in 1990 in Utah, when he was a choir director at Murray High School in Utah.

In August 2013, UWS placed Faerber on paid leave.

On October 7, 2013, UWS placed Faerber on unpaid leave.

On October 25, 2013, Faerber resigned from his UWS position.

From the Deseret News on December 20, 1990:

“The former Murray High School choir director charged with taking sexual improprieties with four young women pleaded guilty to reduced charges Wednesday.

Mathew Faerber, 28, of Salt Lake County, pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted sexual abuse of a child, third-degree felonies, in connection with incidents involving two 13-year-old music students.The girls said Faerber fondled them both over and under their clothing while receiving music lessons at their Murray homes during March and April 1990.

He was originally charged with three counts of sexual abuse of a child, two counts of lewdness involving a child, two counts of gross lewdness and one count each of fornication and sodomy. Prosecutors agreed to drop those charges in exchange for his guilty pleas.

According to court documents, Faerber also engaged in sexual intercourse and acts of sodomy with an 18-year-old girl in May. The incidents apparently took place before and after school at Murray High. A 16-year-old girl also reported that he fondled her during a music lesson at his Salt Lake County home in March and April.

“He has accepted all responsibility for all actions filed against him,” said Salt Lake County deputy attorney Glenn Iwasaki.

Faerber is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 1 before 3rd District Judge Leslie Lewis. Iwasaki said he will not seek a prison sentence for Faerber but will ask the judge to order that he receive treatment and rehabilitation.

Murray School District Superintendent Ron Stephens said Faerber resigned in mid-October, shortly after he was suspended with pay. His position has since been filled at the high school.”

From the Deseret News on February 1, 1991:

“The former Murray High choir director charged with taking sexual improprieties with young women was sentenced Friday to serve six months in jail.

Matthew Faerber, 28, of Salt Lake County, pleaded guilty in December to two counts of attempted sexual abuse of a child, third-degree felonies, in connection with incidents involving two 13-year-old music students.Third District Judge Leslie Lewis sentenced Faerber to serve six months in the Salt Lake County Jail but agreed to put him under house arrest for the first two months of that sentence to allow him to recuperate from an operation.

Defense attorney Robert Faust asked the judge to allow Faerber to leave his home in order to attend church services on Sundays, but the judge declined, saying he could pray at home.

“He is restricted to his house and is to leave for medical treatment only,” said Deputy County Attorney Glen Iwasaki. “It’s not just a walk in the park for two months.”

Following his jail sentence, the judge ordered him to enroll in a residential treatment facility for counseling. He will remain in that program for an undetermined time. He will also be required to pay for counseling sessions for all of his victims.

Lewis also gave him 36 months probation and ordered Faerber to have no contact with any young women, personally or professionally, during that time. He is also required to be with his children only while his wife is also present.

Faerber was originally charged with three counts of sexual abuse of a child, two counts of lewdness involving a child, two counts of gross lewdness and one count each of fornication and sodomy. Prosecutors agreed to drop those charges in exchange for his guilty pleas.

The two 13-year-old music students said Faerber fondled them both over and under their clothing while receiving music lessons at their Murray homes last March and April. According to court documents, he also engaged in sexual intercourse and acts of sodomy with an 18-year-old woman in May. The incidents apparently took place before and after school at Murray High.

A 16-year-old girl also reported that he fondled her during a music lesson at his Salt Lake County home in March and April. Faerber resigned from the Murray School District in October.”

Sources
  1. Teacher charged with sex abuse
    view source details | 21 Nov 1990 | St. George Daily Spectrum
  2. EX-CHOIR DIRECTOR PLEADS GUILTY TO SEX CHARGES
    view source details | 20 Dec 1990 | Deseret News
  3. EX-CHOIR DIRECTOR GETS JAIL TERM FOR SEX OFFENSES
    view source details | 1 Feb 1991 | Deseret News
  4. Temple Square
    view source details | 3 Jul 1994 | Salt Lake Tribune
  5. Wis. prof resigns during conviction investigation
    view source details | 27 Oct 2013 | St. George Daily Spectrum
Sources excerpts

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.

 

Add information

Mormon sexual abuse database: browse our case reports

FLOODLIT.org has a free public database of hundreds of reports about people who committed or allegedly committed sex crimes, including sexual abuse, while they were active Mormon church members. You can browse the entire database in all sorts of ways, including by LDS church position, number of victims, places where crimes took place, or criminal/civil case result.