was an LDS temple worker and high priest in Payson, Utah; pleaded guilty to sexually abusing his stepdaughter, an adult woman with Down syndrome and autism, at a hotel swimming pool in front of a hotel employee; he blamed his sex crime in part on an addiction to viewing adult pornography; he was serving as a temple worker at the time of his sexual assault

Case Summary

Carl Sepos was an LDS church member and temple worker in Spanish Fork and Payson, Utah.

Previously, Sepos lived in New York and Pennsylvania. He also worked as a toy department manager at a Wal-Mart store in Orem, Utah as of 1998.

In November 2014 in Payson, Utah, 69-year-old Sepos sexually abused a severely disabled woman who had Down syndrome and autism.

Thanks to your donations, FLOODLIT.org has obtained copies of court records in this case.

In April 2015, Sepos was charged with three second degree felony charges of forcible sexual abuse.

Excerpt from a police probable cause statement from the Payson, Utah Police Department:

“On 11/24/2014 in Utah County, an employee of a hotel was swimming in the hotel swimming pool and noticed the defendant and the victim, his adult severely handicapped and mentally disabled step daughter, enter the pool.

[***WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT***]

The defendant kissed the victim on the mouth repeatedly and passionately, using his tongue at times. The defendant touched her breasts over her swimming suit repeatedly. The employee became disgusted and began to leave. The defendant then walked the victim to the hot tub where he massaged her inner thighs and rubbed her vagina over the swimsuit and continued to kiss her mouth, neck, and chest. The employee then left the swimming area and could hear the defendant enter the locker room and instruct the victim to remove her clothing and move a certain way and say things like ‘doesn’t that feel good.’

“Police interviewed the defendant who admitted that he is aroused by his step-daughter’s breasts, that he showered with her on 11/24/2014 after getting out of the pool, and that during the shower both he and the victim were naked and he may have had an erection and touched her buttocks with his erect penis. The defendant also told police the victim has the mental capacity of a 1 and 1/2 to a 2 year old.”

[***END GRAPHIC CONTENT***]

Excerpt from a discharge summary from Sepos’s court-ordered therapy program, dated 2017-06-11:

“Prior to entering treatment, Mr. Sepos provided me with a written description of his crime.

‘I, Carl Sepos, did take my step-daughter with special needs, [Jane Doe], swimming at the Quality Inn in Payson, Utah. I have worked with my stepdaughter for several months and have been teaching her how to swim when she is in deeper water.

‘In this process I became aroused and touched her inappropriately.

‘I recognize that this is terribly wrong and that I have committed a crime.

‘I believe my conduct was contributed to by my addiction of viewing adult pornography.

‘I am sorry that I did this and want to make restitution to the victim, my wife and family, and church and law officials.

‘I have taken steps to alleviate my addiciton so nothing like this well every [sic] happen again.’

“Mr. Sepos’ description of his sex behavior with his stepdaughter rationalized and minimized his deviant behavior. He was very defensive when confronted.”

The discharge summary goes on to say:

“Mr. Sepos approached treatment in a passive manner claiming that he was not able to understand much of the material discussed in sessions.

“He admitted to sexually assaulting his daughter, but failed to describe the details of his assaultive behaviors.

“Mr. Sepos was a passive participant in treatment, and slow to understand the basic constructs of relapse prevention, criminal thinking, and cognitive distortions.

“He had little insight into victim empathy and his offense cycle, and was defensive when asked to discuss the impact of his assault upon his stepdaughter.

“His knowledge base and understanding of critical issues associated with re-offending progressed minimally during his time in treatment.

“He received credit for taking the following classes: Relapse Prevention, Victim Impact & Empathhy, Thinking Errors, and Criminal Thinking.”

Excerpt from a letter of support for Sepos by a longtime friend, addressed to the judge:

“I have known Carl since he moved to Utah in 1996, in the LDS atmosphere of priesthood activity and different ward activities, he has always excelled.

“Carl is a great friend to me and others he is around. He makes friends quickly and easily, he is fun to be around.

“Carl and I and our wives have 4-wheeled and snowmobiled together, many overnight stays. He has always been a great example as a husband and father and friend. Carl is fun to be with, always has a story to tell.

“Carl is one who always helps others in times of need and just any time he sees that he can be helpful. I would and have helped Carl in anything he does. Carl is a trusted friend. I love him for all he does, not many would have stepped up to the plate and helped his new family like Carl has. I admire him.

“He has crossed the line and he knows it, Carl will be a better man because of it. Carl is a man that will fight to earn the love and trust of his family. Carl will do the right thing. I know Carl, he is a great man.”

Timeline of key events in Carl Sepos’ criminal case:

In June 2015, Sepos was convicted of one third degree felony charge of attempted forcible sexual abuse, having agreed to a reduced charge degree. The other two original charges were dismissed by the court with prejudice.

In August 2015, Sepos was sentenced to 150 days in jail and fined $5,000. He was also placed on probation for 36 months and ordered to complete 100 hours of community service at United Way, and ordered to have no contact with the victim.

In June 2016, Sepos completed his community service hours.

In August 2016, Sepos pleaded guilty to a class B misdemeanor charge of animal cruelty. He was fined $75.

In July 2017, Sepos successfully completed his probation program, 23 months after sentencing.

Sources
  1. the accused worked at a department store in Ithaca, New York in 1975
    view source details | 24 Dec 1975 | Ithaca Journal
  2. the accused worked at Wal-Mart in Orem, Utah in 1998
    view source details | 13 Dec 1998 | Provo Daily Herald
Sources excerpts

Images: Carl Sepos LDS sex crime case

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.