was a Mormon in Utah and Camp Springs, Prince George's County, Maryland; convicted 3 times of sexual abuse in Maryland in the 1980s; third conviction: while on probation, groomed a 10-year-old girl and sexually assaulted her in a room inside a Mormon chapel on multiple occasions from 1983 to 1984; reportedly told her he was giving her "special religious training;" sentenced to 8 years in prison

Case Summary

Fredrick Edvalson (sometimes incorrectly spelled Frederick in news articles and court documents) was a Mormon church member in Utah and Maryland.

From the 1940s to the 1970s, Edvalson worked for the US Navy Oceanographic Office in Suitland, Maryland.

Edvalson was a scout leader for 25 years in Maryland, including a scoutmaster. This may have been in an LDS church sponsored scouting unit.

In 1977, Edvalson co-wrote the Inspired Version Study Guide – A Key to the Significant Changes. The guide catalogued the changes Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon church, made to the King James Bible, commonly known as Joseph Smith’s New Translation of the Bible or the Inspired Version.

In 1980, Edvalson was living in Maryland (source).

While living in Maryland, Edvalson helped establish and manage the LDS Cannery and Welfare Center in Forestville, Maryland.

In the 1980s, Edvalson was convicted three times of child sexual abuse in Prince George’s County, Maryland.

In January 1983, while on probation for his second conviction, Edvalson groomed a 10-year-old girl and began sexually assaulting her in a room inside a Mormon chapel. The abuse took place on multiple occasions between January 1983 and October 1984. Edvalson reportedly told her he was giving her “special religious training.”

Edvalson was sentenced in 1985 to 8 years in prison, but moved to Pleasant Grove, Utah in 1986, per his obituary.

In 1987, Edvalson lost a civil lawsuit and was ordered to pay the plaintiffs $10,000 (case number CAL86-17479, Prince Georges Circuit Court).

FLOODLIT is trying to find out why Edvalson wasn’t in prison in 1986.

In 1991 and in 2004, Edvalson was living in Pleasant Grove, Utah.

While living in Pleasant Grove, Edvalson served as a Mormon high priest secretary and home teacher in the Sixth Ward in the Garden Grove Stake. He also served as a stake missionary in the Timpanogos Stake and spent seven years in the Church Locator Center in American Fork, Utah.

Edvalson died in Utah in 2009, at the age of 88. His obituary said he “passed away peacefully at home.”

In 2023, the victim of the 1983-84 abuse sued the LDS church in US District Court in Greenbelt, Maryland. Her attorney was quoted in a March 2024 Baltimore Sun article as saying, “The church itself, who let this known predator hang around kids, has never been held to account.”

Sources
  1. Oral history interview with Frederick M Edvalson, 1991 October 10
    view source details | 10 Oct 1991 | BYU Library - Special Collections
  2. [Obituary]
    view source details | 30 Apr 2009 | Provo Daily Herald
  3. judge plans to send Child Victims Act question to Maryland Supreme Court
    view source details | 23 Mar 2024 | Baltimore Sun
  4. Case Detail [case number 0000939609]
    view source details | 23 Mar 2024 | Maryland Judiciary Case Search
Sources excerpts
  • Oral history interview with Frederick M Edvalson, 1991 October 10
    Source type: Other
    Publisher: BYU Library - Special Collections
    Date published/accessed: 10 Oct 1991
    archive 1 | archive 2

    Scope and Contents

    Frederick Merlin Edvalson talks about growing up in Ogden, Utah, and his memories of World War II and its effects on his life. Dated October 10, 1991.
    Dates

    1991 October 10

    Conditions Governing Access

    Open for public research.
    Conditions Governing Use

    It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances. Permission to use material from this collection must be obtained from Reference Services at specialcollections@byu.edu.
    Extent

    10 p. ; 29 cm.
    Language of Materials

    English

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    [Obituary]
    Source type: Other
    Publisher: Provo Daily Herald
    Date published/accessed: 30 Apr 2009
    archive 1 | archive 2

    Fredrick Merlin Edvalson 1920-2009

    Fredrick Merlin Edvalson, 88, of Pleasant Grove passed away peacefully at home on Tuesday, April 28, 2009, after a brief battle with cancer.

    He was born September 24, 1920 in Ogden to Merlin Conrad Edvalson and Josephine P. Thomas. Fred graduated from Ogden High School and then from the University of Utah with an M. S. in Geology.

    He married Beth Smith on July 4, 1945 in Ogden. Their marriage was later solemnized in the Logan Temple. He served his country in the U. S. Navy from 1941-46 as a Pharmacist Mate to the Marine Corp.

    After WWII he worked as a Geologist for Phillips Petroleum and settled in Maryland. For the next 33 years he worked for the U. S. Navy Oceanographic Office in Suitland, MD as a Bathymetrist where he assisted in mapping the ocean floor. Among other international trips, he spent six weeks on an ice-breaker in the Artic Circle north of Greenland.

    He also served on the International Board of Oceanographic Names and has a sea mount named after him. In his spare time, Fred enjoyed gardening and the outdoors. He was dedicated in instilling a love of nature and the skill of self-sufficiency for Boy Scouts. He served as a boy scout leader, including Scout Master, for 25 years in Maryland and achieved his Wood-badge Award. Later he became a member of the Timpanogos Gem and Mineral Society where he served as Field Trip Chairman for many years.

    While Fred was in Maryland, he helped establish and manage the LDS Cannery and Welfare Center in Forestville. He returned to Utah in 1986 to be near his family and friends. He faithfully served as the High Priest Secretary and Home Teacher in the Garden Stake Sixth Ward in Pleasant Grove. Fred also served in the Timpanogos Stake as a Missionary and spent seven years in the Church Locater Center in American Fork.

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    judge plans to send Child Victims Act question to Maryland Supreme Court
    Source type: News article
    Publisher: Baltimore Sun
    Date published/accessed: 23 Mar 2024
    archive 1 | archive 2

    Decades ago, a probation agent allegedly warned a Mormon church in Prince George’s County that a man they brought on as a minister was not allowed to be in the presence of children.

    Frederick Edvalson had been convicted twice of sexually abusing minors, and the terms of his probation barred him from being around kids, according to a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt.

    At the church in Camp Springs, Edvalson befriended a girl, gained her trust and sexually abused her, the federal complaint says. He pleaded guilty to a felony sex offense in 1985, online court records show, and earned the condemnation of Prince George’s top prosecutor at the time, who said Edvalson told the girl “he was giving her special religious training.”

    Though the girl got justice in criminal court against Edvalson, who died years ago, “the church itself, who let this known predator hang around kids, has never been held to account,” said her attorney, Nathaniel L. Foote. He filed the woman’s lawsuit last year under a nascent, but groundbreaking, state law.

    While much of the attention around Maryland’s Child Victims Act has focused on the Catholic Church, the estimated hundreds of lawsuits filed under the act target defendants that also include schools, correctional facilities and other religious institutions. The case against the Mormon church, in particular, is at the heart of a legal puzzle that lawyers and judges are piecing their way through as the issue heads to its eventual destination: the Maryland Supreme Court.

    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints asked a federal judge to dismiss the complaint, arguing the child victims law is unconstitutional. While that request is similar to one already made by defendants in several civil cases in state courts, the federal judge has decided to swiftly send the question to the state Supreme Court.

    Attorneys for the church declined to comment.

    In the state cases, two hearings have been held at the circuit court level and judges have found the law constitutional. That’s sparked promises of appeals, but the direct-action plan of U.S. District Judge James K. Bredar in the Mormon church case is now expected to kick off another path to the Maryland Supreme Court.

    Whether that speeds up the timeline and gets the constitutional question settled faster, how quickly that could happen and even what steps the state’s appellate judiciary will take to decide such matters send the new law into uncharted territory.

    Retired Judge Alan M. Wilner, who served on Maryland’s highest court for nine years, can’t remember a time when that court declined to take up a question sent from a federal court. He said it’s up to the entire bench to decide.

    If the court accepts the question, “it’s treated procedurally much the same way as an ordinary appeal,” Wilner said. That entails setting a date for oral argument and laying out a briefing schedule and, eventually, issuing a written opinion answering the question. There is no set timeline for handling a certified question, but Wilner said the high court has been known to “act on it swiftly.”

    Wilner couldn’t think of another time when a legal question was headed to the state Supreme Court simultaneously via a certified question from federal court and appeals from state cases.
    The Maryland Supreme Court is expected to hear challenges to the constitutionality of the state’s new Child Victims Act. The law ended a statute of limitations for filing lawsuits regarding sexual abuse. (Paul W. Gillespie/Staff)

    Robert K. Jenner, who represents a man who sued the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington in Montgomery County and a woman who sued the Key School in Annapolis in federal court, expects the question from Bredar to expedite the process.

    “The Supreme Court can literally get this question on its desk in two weeks, set a briefing schedule and set an oral argument date,” Jenner said.

    Kathleen Hoke, a law professor at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law, thinks the high court will hold off on the federal court’s question and take up one of the state court appeals.

    “State supreme courts don’t like to answer questions in the abstract,” Hoke said.

    Attorney John J. Beins, who is behind a woman’s federal lawsuit against the Friends Community School in College Park and the Religious Society of Friends, suggested the high court may split the difference.

    “There’s a good chance that multiple cases will be appealed or certified to the Supreme Court of Maryland and then consolidated for one opinion as to the constitutionality of the CVA,” Beins said.

    The lawsuit against the Mormon church is one of at least three federal complaints in Maryland brought under the state Child Victims Act that went into effect Oct. 1. Unlike in state court, federal judges have the authority to reserve ruling on a legal issue involving state law if they believe the question is novel and that there isn’t any precedent to rely on in making a decision. Under those circumstances, federal judges can “certify” questions to the state’s highest court.

    Bredar proposes doing just that. In an opinion filed Monday, he wrote that he intended to send to the Maryland Supreme Court the question of whether the Child Victims Act runs afoul of the state constitution. He gave attorneys in the Mormon church case two weeks to critique the way he phrased the question.

    “The constitutionality of the CVA is dispositive to the question of whether the Plaintiff’s claims are time-barred. And there has been no appellate decision on the CVA’s constitutionality — unsurprisingly, as the statute is less than a year old,” Bredar wrote.

    Maryland lawmakers included in the child victims law a provision allowing for a mid-lawsuit appeal to settle the issue, raised by the bill’s opponents, of whether the General Assembly had the authority under the Maryland constitution to eliminate a statute of limitations on filing lawsuits. Appeals from state Circuit Court go to the intermediate Maryland Appellate Court, but the appealing party can simultaneously ask the state Supreme Court to take the case.
    Gov. Wes Moore shakes hands with Dave Lorenz of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) as bill sponsor Del. C. T. Wilson comforts him after Moore signed House Bill 1, the Child Victims Act at the State House in Annapolis. April 11, 2023. (Jerry Jackson/Baltimore Sun).
    Democratic Gov. Wes Moore shakes hands in 2023 with Dave Lorenz of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests as Child Victims Act sponsor Del. C. T. Wilson comforts him after Moore signed the legislation. (Jerry Jackson/Staff)

    Earlier this month, a Prince George’s judge denied the Washington archdiocese’s request to dismiss on constitutional grounds a proposed class-action lawsuit by three men alleging sexual abuse by clergy and other diocesan employees. A Harford County judge considering an abuse lawsuit Wednesday filed against the local board of education Board of Education also found the Child Victims Act constitutional.

    The Washington archdiocese has filed notice of its intent to appeal, and Harford schools are expected to follow suit. Debate about the child victims law in a lawsuit against the Washington archdiocese is set to go before a Montgomery judge March 29.

    Survivors are eager for a definitive ruling, their lawyers say.

    “What’s most important for these survivors is that they get an answer to the question as to whether or not the policy of the state of Maryland is to protect survivors or to protect perpetrators and their enablers. That’s the question,” Jenner said. “And these survivors have waited their whole lives for access to justice.”

    In the interest of speed, Jenner asked a different federal judge to certify a question in the lawsuit against the Key School, which mirrors complaints he filed in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court against the private school. Attorneys for the defendant pushed back on the request, and that federal judge has yet to rule.

    “Many of our survivors are in their 70s or 80s,” said Jenner, referring to other clients who survived sexual abuse as children. “In their case, justice delayed is truly justice denied.”

    Jeffrey J. Hines, an attorney for Key School, did not address allegations of “rampant sexual abuse” involving staff.

    “While we await the forthcoming appeals from two outstanding state trial court rulings on this issue, Key School will continue supporting victims and providing an exceptional education to their students,” Hines said in a statement.
    The Key School campus, in the community of Hillsmere, with the South River in the background.
    Courtesy of Dan Harris
    The Key School in Annapolis is the subject of lawsuits in state and federal court involving child sex abuse.

    Almost two decades after the alleged abuse at Key School, and roughly 30 miles west, a teacher, soccer coach and summer camp leader at the Friends Community School groomed a third grader, according to the federal lawsuit. The complaint says Fernando Asturizaga sexually abused a girl in the school, at camp, on a field trip to the National Zoo and a fifth grade class trip to New York City.

    “Asturizaga’s inappropriate behavior toward minor students was common knowledge and discussed frequently amongst the FCS faculty,” the complaint said. “Yet not one FCS head of school, teacher, employee, or trustee ever took any action to stop Asturizaga or report his inappropriate behavior to the authorities during the time that Plaintiff was a minor.”

    In 2012, a Montgomery County jury convicted Asturizaga of 18 counts, including rape, related to his abuse of the girl whose mother reported concerns to the school. The presiding Circuit Court judge sentenced him to 168 years in prison.

    The girl’s mother didn’t get to see Asturizaga convicted. She disappeared in 2000, the complaint said, shortly after telling Asturizaga that she planned to report him to the police, according to the complaint. Authorities never found her body, but a 2001 court order declared her legally dead.

    Montgomery police in 2018 named Asturizaga a “person of interest” in her suspected killing. He hung himself in his prison cell in Cumberland hours after the announcement.

  • back to online sources list
    Case Detail [case number 0000939609]
    Source type: Court record
    Publisher: Maryland Judiciary Case Search
    Date published/accessed: 23 Mar 2024
    archive 1 | archive 2

    Case Detail
    Case Information
    Court System: District Court For Prince George's County - Criminal
    Location: Upper Marlboro
    Case Number: 0000939609
    Title: The State of Maryland vs EDVALSON, FREDERICK MELVIN
    Case Type: Criminal - SOC - Application
    Filing Date: 04/27/1983
    Case Status: Closed
    Tracking Number(s): 000000939609
    Other Reference Numbers
    Arrest Number:: 8304014
    Defendant Information
    Defendant
    Name: EDVALSON, FREDERICK MELVIN
    Race: White Sex: Male Height: 5'4" Weight: 170
    HairColor: EyeColor:
    DOB: 09/24/1920

    Involved Parties Information
    Plaintiff
    Name: State of Maryland

    Officer - Arresting/Complainant
    Name: DCK_DA_ADM_355
    AgencyName: PR.GEO. COUNTY-ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE

    Charge and Disposition Information
    Charge No: 1 CJIS Code: 1-3802 Statute Code: 27.35C.(b).-1
    Charge Description: CHILD ABUSE-CHILD UNDER 18 Charge Class: Felony Circuit Court
    Probable Cause:
    Offense Date From: 04/27/1983 To:
    Agency Name: PR.GEO. COUNTY-ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE Officer ID: 355
    Bond Setting Information
    Bail Date: 04/27/1983
    Bail Setting Type: Release on Recognizance
    Bail Amount: $0.00
    Judge:
    Document Information
    File Date: 04/27/1983
    Document Name: Document Issued
    File Date: 04/27/1983
    Document Name: Bail Review Held

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.