was a former Mormon bishop and ward mission leader in Salt Lake City, Utah; arrested and charged in May 2024 with sexual assault and kidnapping

Case Summary

Tevita Hoihoi Mo’unga (Tevita Mounga), 78, of Salt Lake City, was charged on May 28 in the 3rd District Court with seven felonies, including aggravated kidnapping, object rape and forcible sodomy.

In 2018, Mounga was a ward mission leader in the West Valley 9th Ward in the Salt Lake Utah West Stake (Tongan). Prior to that time, he was a bishop in that ward.

We’ve obtained a copy of the police probable cause affidavit in this case, thanks to your donations.

If you know this man or have any information about his history in the LDS church, please contact us.

Sources
  1. Man jailed after alleged kidnapping, sexual assault of girl in Salt Lake City
    view source details | 25 May 2024 | Gephardt Daily
  2. Charges: Salt Lake man, 78, kidnapped, sexually assaulted teen walking home from school
    view source details | 29 May 2024 | KSL
Sources excerpts
  • Man jailed after alleged kidnapping, sexual assault of girl in Salt Lake City
    Source type: News article
    Publisher: Gephardt Daily
    Date published/accessed: 25 May 2024
    archive 1 | archive 2

    SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, May 25, 2024 (Gephardt Daily) — A man who turned 78 Saturday has been arrested after the alleged kidnapping and assault of a 15-year-old girl in March.

    Tevita Hoihoi Mounga was jailed Friday for investigation of the following first-degree felonies: aggravated kidnapping, aggravated sexual assault, two counts of forcible sodomy and three counts of object rape.

    The incident was reported on March 6, the same day it reportedly happened.

    The juvenile told Salt Lake City police “that she had been abducted and sexually assaulted by an unknown elderly male. (She) told SLCPD detectives that she was walking in the area of 500 North 1000 West,” near the Utah State Fairpark, “carrying a plate of cupcakes, and an elderly male driving a truck pulled over and pointed at the cupcakes. (She) said she entered the male’s truck under the impression that the male wanted a cupcake.”

    The juvenile described the man who assaulted her as an “old man with wrinkles” who was old enough to be her “great, great grandfather,” Mounga’s affidavit says. She reported the man spoke either Tongan or Samoan.

    The girl said the man “physically held her against her will and drove her to a location unfamiliar to (her).” The juvenile “said the male had a large knife in the truck” and drove her to an area near the airport, where he took her phone away, turned it off, and threw it out the truck window.

    That is where the alleged assault took place, the affidavit says, adding that at that point in the interview, she “became emotional and could not continue speaking with investigators.”

    The next day, the girl’s mother called police to tell them her daughter’s phone had been located near 322 N. 2200 West in Salt Lake City, the affidavit says.

    On May 10 and May 22, SLCPD took two reports of “an older male, possibly Hispanic or Polynesian, in a truck enticing young girls. Witnesses in each case took photos of the truck, which had a Utah plate registered to Mounga.

    The first victim was interviewed again and identified Mounga from a photograph as the man she said assaulted her. The second victim, who said the man had tried to entice her to get into his truck, also identified Mounga from a photo, his affidavit says.

    Mounga was ordered held without bail in the Salt Lake County jail system. He remained incarcerated as of Saturday afternoon.

  • back to online sources list
    Charges: Salt Lake man, 78, kidnapped, sexually assaulted teen walking home from school
    Source type: News article
    Publisher: KSL
    Date published/accessed: 29 May 2024
    archive 1 | archive 2

    SALT LAKE CITY — A 78-year-old Salt Lake man is facing seven felony charges accusing him of kidnapping and sexually assaulting a teenage girl who was walking home from school.

    Tevita Hoihoi Mounga was charged Tuesday in 3rd District Court with aggravated kidnapping, two counts of forcible sodomy, three counts of object rape and aggravated sexual assault, all first-degree felonies; and damaging a cellphone, a class B misdemeanor.

    On March 6, a 16-year-old girl was walking home from school while carrying cupcakes near 500 North and 1000 West when police say Mounga, whom the teen did not know, pulled up next to her in his truck.

    Mounga apparently pointed at the cupcakes. The teen could not hear what he was saying, "so she opened the door to the vehicle." That's when "Mounga grabbed (her) and drove away," according to charging documents.

    When the girl's phone began to ring, Mounga took it and threw the phone out the window, police say. He then drove the girl to a parking lot near the airport and sexually assaulted her, the charges state.

    The teen was eventually able to fight off Mounga, get out of his truck and run, according to investigators.

    Using surveillance video, Salt Lake police detectives were able to identify Mounga as a possible suspect and arrested him on Friday. In their arrest affidavit, police also noted that on May 10 and May 22, officers received additional reports of a man in a truck trying to "entice young girls."

    "In both cases, witnesses were able to collect photographs of the suspect vehicle and license plate. The license plate returned to a white Ford F-150 registered by … Tevita Mounga," a police booking affidavit says.

Images: Tevita Mounga 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.

 

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.