was an LDS church member and dentist in Idaho; accused of child sexual abuse and of having nonconsensual sex with a woman he admitting to drugging; given a withheld judgement; in December 2023, the Associated Press reported that the Mormon church had offered $300,000 to a victim and her mother to not use her story as the basis for a civil suit against the LDS church, and to keep the NDA secret

Case Summary

John Goodrich was excommunicated from the LDS church in 2015.

From 2015 to 2017, Goodrich underwent the process of divorce.

BREAKING 2023-12-04: Listen to a recording where the LDS church’s Risk Management Division director Paul Rytting offers the victim and her mother $300,000. AP article 1 | AP article 2 | LDS church response

Full text of all articles is below.

Listen to two audio recordings:

Recording 1

Recording 2

Lewd conduct case: CR-2016-2005, Elmore County District Court, Idaho; filed 2016-09-06; dismissed on motion of prosecutor (the LDS church prevented Goodrich’s bishop from testifying, citing clergy-penitent privilege)

Controlled substance delivery case: CR01-17-06661, Ada County District Court, Idaho; filed 2017-02-28; pleaded guilty, but then received a withheld judgment; charges dismissed in June 2021

John Goodrich was an LDS church member and dentist in Mountain Home Idaho. In 2016, he was charged with rape, incest and sexual abuse of a child under the age of between the ages of 9-15.

Goodrich was a Mormon bishop during at least some of the time he allegedly sexually abused his underage victim. He made a confession to his own bishop in about 2015 or 2016, and was soon excommunicated.

“Goodrich, 57, was initially charged with rape, incest and sexual abuse of a child under the age of 16.”
“However, two of those charges were subsequently dropped, and he faces a single count of lewd conduct with child under the age of 16.”

As of February 2018 the circumstances of Goodrich’s case were as follows:

He was granted a withheld judgment, meaning that if he complied with the circumstances of his probation, he could go back before the Idaho court and ask to have his conviction dismissed.

In a separate case in which a former dental patient accused Goodrich of sexually assaulting her while she was drugged in his office, Goodrich pleaded guilty to distribution of a controlled substance, Halcion, and a judge sentenced him to 90 days in jail and three years of probation.

On December 3, 2023, Associated Press reporters Mike Rezendes and Jason Dearen published two stories related to this case. Key points:

  • The accused in this case was a former LDS bishop who allegedly sexually abused his daughter when she was a girl.
  • When the victim was 31 years old, in March 2017, she told Paul Rytting, the Mormon church’s Risk Management Division director since about 2002, about her father’s abuse.
  • The victim’s father had confessed to his bishop, who had called the abuse helpline (hotline / help line), and the abuser had been excommunicated.
  • The victim and her mother had then reported the abuse to Mountain Home, Idaho police, along with recordings of conversations with the allegedly abusive father in which he admitted to getting into bed with the victim while he was sexually aroused, but he insisted in the recordings that there was no direct sexual contact.
  • Mountain Home police arrested him and charged him with a variety of sex crimes.
  • Rytting flew to Hailey, Idaho from SLC to meet with the victim and her mother. They asked him if the LDS church would allow the bishop to testify at the abuser’s trial.
  • Over a four-month period, Rytting conversed multiple times with the victim, her mother, and her advocate who was a male LDS member. Rytting told them that under Idaho state law, the clergy-penitent privilege prevented the bishop from testifying without the accused’s consent.
  • The AP has recordings of these conversations, which it received from the victim’s advocate.
  • During these recorded calls, Rytting said he could find out whether the alleged abuser had previously “repented” for his relationship with Chelsea by checking Helpline records. This would seem to be a direct contradiction to his sworn testimony in another child sex abuse case against the LDS church.
  • Prosecutors dropped the case because the bishop didn’t testify.
  • Rytting then offered the victim and her mother $300,000 to not use the victim’s story as the basis for a civil suit against the LDS church, and to keep the existence of the NDA secret.
  • Chelsea and Lorraine signed the agreement.
  • The LDS church told the AP “the confidentiality agreement with Chelsea and Lorraine did not preclude Chelsea from telling her story” and “the abuse of a child or any other individual is inexcusable.”
  • As of December 3, 2023, Goodrich is a free man and a practicing dentist with access to children.
  • According to the Mormon church, “all information about child sexual abuse passed from church members to their bishops is confidential under the clergy-penitent privilege, and all information passed from the Helpline to church attorneys is confidential under the attorney-client privilege. Meanwhile, Rytting and other church officials have said in sworn testimony that the Helpline either keeps no records or destroys all records at the end of each day.”

Please donate to FLOODLIT or get involved as we continue to report on Mormon sex abuse cases. Thank you for shining a light.

Sources
  1. UPDATE: Charges amended against local dentist
    view source details | 6 Sep 2016 | Mountain Home News
  2. Mountain Home dentist accused of lewd conduct with a child
    view source details | 6 Sep 2016 | 2 Idaho News
  3. Mountain Home dentist arrested on child sex abuse charges
    view source details | 7 Sep 2016 | Idaho Statesman
  4. Mountain Home dentist accused of illegally delivering sedative, a restricted drug
    view source details | 10 Mar 2017 | Idaho Statesman
  5. Dentist says he gave woman drug for her anxiety. She says he enabled her rape.
    view source details | 1 Feb 2018 | Idaho Statesman
  6. At drug sentencing for dentist, woman's rape claim rejected
    view source details | 13 Jan 2018 | Idaho Statesman, page A1
  7. At drug sentencing for dentist, woman's rape claim rejected
    view source details | 13 Jan 2018 | Idaho Statesman, page A3
  8. Takeaways from The AP’s investigation into the Mormon church’s handling of sex abuse cases
    view source details | 3 Dec 2023 | AP
  9. Recordings show how the Mormon church protects itself from child sex abuse claims
    view source details | 3 Dec 2023 | AP
  10. Church responds to AP story detailing 2015 Idaho abuse case
    view source details | 4 Dec 2023 | Deseret News
  11. Public Record Information - Detail - License #D-2090
    view source details | 5 Dec 2023 | Idaho Board of Dentistry
Sources excerpts
  • UPDATE: Charges amended against local dentist
    Source type: News article
    Publisher: Mountain Home News
    Date published/accessed: 6 Sep 2016
    archive 1 | archive 2
  • back to online sources list
    Mountain Home dentist accused of lewd conduct with a child
    Source type: News article
    Publisher: 2 Idaho News
    Date published/accessed: 6 Sep 2016
    archive 1 | archive 2
  • back to online sources list
    Mountain Home dentist arrested on child sex abuse charges
    Source type: News article
    Publisher: Idaho Statesman
    Date published/accessed: 7 Sep 2016
    archive 1 | archive 2
  • back to online sources list
    Mountain Home dentist accused of illegally delivering sedative, a restricted drug
    Source type: News article
    Publisher: Idaho Statesman
    Date published/accessed: 10 Mar 2017
    archive 1 | archive 2

    2017-03-10
    "last fall with lewd conduct with a child under 16, will be in court Friday under a new charge — that he illegally delivered the sedative Halcion last July.
    "he was released on his own recognizance but was ordered to stay away from the alleged victim, a girl between the ages of 9 and 15."
    going through divorce at time when allegations surfaced

  • back to online sources list
    Dentist says he gave woman drug for her anxiety. She says he enabled her rape.
    Source type: News article
    Publisher: Idaho Statesman
    Date published/accessed: 1 Feb 2018
    archive 1 | archive 2

    2018-02-01
    was sentenced Friday to three years of probation and 90 days in jail for felony distribution of a controlled substance, Halcion
    "Goodrich told a judge he “gave (the woman) Halcion at her request to help her with fear."
    Jane’s story is vastly different. In interviews with the Statesman, Jane outlined her claims that it was Goodrich’s idea to get the facials because he had one before. He also got a facial that day, she said. Jane said Goodrich gave her the medication, telling her that the procedure would be very painful. Jane said he placed a crushed blue powder under her tongue, and she trusted him because he was a dentist. After taking the drug, Jane said, she has no memory of the facial or of how she got home. She was wearing a surgical garment that day from a previous, unrelated procedure, and said she would never have taken the garment off if she were in her normal state of mind. But when she woke up, it had been removed and blood was visible."
    Jane filed a report with the Boise Police Department on Sept. 12, 2016,
    She claimed Goodrich then left her unconscious at the home, and later apologized to her in a text message, the report states.

  • back to online sources list
    At drug sentencing for dentist, woman's rape claim rejected
    Source type: News article
    Publisher: Idaho Statesman, page A1
    Date published/accessed: 13 Jan 2018
    archive 1 | archive 2

    BY RUTH BROWN

    note: The Idaho Statesman does not disclose the names of possible victims of sexual assault. The two alleged victims in this story are identified using the pseudonyms Jane Doe and Lyn.

    Jane Doe woke up in her bed- room, bloody and half-naked, with no idea of how she got there. The five to six hours preced- ing that moment remain mostly blank in her memory. But the Boise woman claims that she was with John Goodrich, a Mountain Home dentist, on July 8, 2016, and that she believes he raped her after giving her a sedative.

    Goodrich, 57, was sentenced Friday to three years of proba- tion and 90 days in jail for felo- ny distribution of a controlled substance, Halcion. the sedative he gave Jane. But Goodrich was never charged in connection to her accusation of sexual assault. Last March, Goodrich told the Statesman that he gave the drug to a woman he knew who was having a procedure done by an aesthet- ician at a Boise medical office. On the October day he pleaded guilty, Goodrich told a judge he (the woman) Halcion at her request to help her with His attorney, Michael Bartlett, repeated Friday that Jane asked for the drug.

    story is vastly different. In interviews with the States- man, Jane outlined her claims that it was idea to get the facials because he had one before. He also got a facial that day, she said. Jane said Goodrich gave her the medication, telling her that the procedure would be very painful. Jane said he placed a crushed blue powder under her tongue, and she trusted him because he was a dentist.

    After taking the drug, Jane said, she has no memory of the facial or of how she got home. She was wearing a surgical garment that day from a pre- vious, unrelated procedure, and said she would never have taken the garment off if she were in her normal state of mind. But when she woke up, it had been removed and blood was visible. Goodrich was charged with DARIN OSWALD A bailiff handcuffs Mountain Home dentist John Goodrich after a sentence Friday for one felony count of distributing a controlled substance. Judge Michael Reardon said he wanted sentence to serve as a deterrent to others in the medical profession.

    At drug sentencing for dentist, rape claim rejected

    SEE GOODRICH, 3A

  • back to online sources list
    At drug sentencing for dentist, woman's rape claim rejected
    Source type: News article
    Publisher: Idaho Statesman, page A3
    Date published/accessed: 13 Jan 2018
    archive 1 | archive 2

    FROM PAGE 1A
    GOODRICH

    the drug crime after separate allegations, later dropped, of child sexual abuse in Mountain Home.

    Both cases made news but what publicly known was claim that she was sexually assaulted while impaired, one that prosecutors con- cluded stand up in court, and a judge said Friday that he convinced was true. REPORTING THE CRIME Jane filed a report with the Boise Police Depart- ment on Sept. 12, 2016, telling police that Good- rich gave her Halcion. According to a heavily redacted version of the report given to the States- man, Jane told police that Goodrich then had sex with her at her home while she was under the influence though be- cause of the drug, she said, she remember any of it. She claimed Goodrich then left her unconscious at the home, and later apologized to her in a text message, the report states.

    believe, based on my knowledge and my experi- ence with him, that the reason for that drug is so that he can have a submis- sive person that he can do what he wants she said. The Federal Drug Ad- ministration lists Halcion as a drug used to treat certain kinds of insomnia. also commonly used in sedation dentistry. Com- mon side effects include memory loss, headache, difficulty with coordina- tion and drowsiness. The medication guide states: taking Hal- cion, you may get up out of bed while not being fully awake and do an activity that you do not know you are doing.

    The next morning, you may not remember that you did anything during the Goodrich had claimed in May that Jane was a patient of his when he gave her the sedative. He revised that claim in Octo- ber. Jane said she was never a patient. She said she met Goodrich on Match.com and they dated briefly, meeting around March 2016. Jane also claims that days before the facial, she told Goodrich she did not want to have sex with him.

    She maintains that she would not have changed her mind on that subject. Shelley Akamatsu, an Ada County deputy prose- cutor, told 4th District Judge Michael Reardon about the encounter and claims during sen- tencing Friday. Asked after the hearing about the lack of sexual assault charges, Akamatsu said her office moved forward with the drug violation because it was what prose- cutors could prove beyond a reasonable doubt. Bartlett, defense attorney, strongly rejects the suggestion that his client took advantage of Jane. Bartlett said Goodrich would never have raped a woman, and genuinely believed Jane wanted to have consen- sual sex.

    He said Goodrich also did not believe Jane was still intoxicated by the Halcion. And regardless, he said, Goodrich have been charged with rape anyway. Idaho law defines rape as nonconsensual sex under a variety of provi- sions. The law outlines that a victim cannot con- sent to sex if he or she is unconscious or asleep, or if the victim not aware, knowing, perceiv- ing, or cognizant that the act But even if a person does not remember what happened the next day, Bartlett said, they can be aware and able to give consent in the moment. He argued that was the case with Jane.

    Jane said she finds that argument ridiculous. She believes that she was too intoxicated to say or and that she was deliberately taken ad- vantage of by Goodrich. A PRIOR ACCUSATION Why did Jane go to police in September 2016? Goodrich was arrested on Sept. 2 after a woman, now in her 30s, accused him of abusing her for several years in the mid- That woman, Lyn, told the Statesman that she had blocked out most of the memories, but be- gan to remember the abuse again in 2015. That year, Lyn confront- ed Goodrich and he went to his church to repent.

    He was then excommuni- cated for five years, Bartlett said from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints after he confessed to inappropriate thoughts about the girl. Eventually, Lyn report- ed the abuse to Mountain Home police. Goodrich was charged with lewd conduct with a minor younger than age 16. a crime punishable by up to life in prison if convicted. Both Jane and Akamat- su described calls Jane received from Goodrich and from a member of his family after Goodrich left jail, asking Jane to describe the July 2016 encounter as consensual.

    Jane claimed Goodrich knew police were going to look through his phone records and find a text message from Jane saying, think you took advan- tage of Bartlett ar- gued the text was playful, with a smiley-face emoji behind it. Jane maintains she was not joking in the text message. As a mother, Jane said, she felt obligated to go to police about what hap- pened to her after learning Goodrich may have hurt a child, and because she worried there may be other victims. If it been for the accusations of child abuse, Jane said, she might have just kept quiet. Goodrich told police that he had once become aroused by Lyn when she was a girl, but did not touch her, according to a video of a Sept.

    2, 2016, Mountain Home Police interview provided to the Statesman by at- torney. Goodrich main- tained that he never sex- ually abused the girl, and believed the girl had been coerced by family mem- bers into thinking abuse occurred. Bartlett told the States- man that his client took steps to deliberately dis- tance himself from Lyn and avoid touching her. And sister told an investigator hired by Bar- tlett that she did not be- lieve the abuse allega- tions, in part because locations and certain other details of her story had changed. do anything Goodrich said in the police video.

    was like an Then-Elmore County Deputy Prosecutor Jessica Kuehn dismissed the lewd conduct charge on July 31, 2017, citing insufficient evidence. In September, Kuehn said that because the alleged crime hap- pened about two decades ago, memories had aged and she decided the charge must be dis- missed. The Statesman could not confirm more infor- mation about why the case was dropped. Both Kuehn and former Elmore Coun- ty Prosecutor Kristina Schindele now work for the Idaho Attorney Gener- Office, where spokes- man Scott Graf said it would be inappropriate for a deputy attorney general to comment on a county case. Elmore new prosecutor, Daniel Page, said in November that his legal and ethical obligations prevent him from further expanding on the case.

    He also denied a request for Mountain Home Police records, including phone conversa- tions that apparently im- plicated Goodrich, citing personal privacy protec- tions. Goodrich and his wife, Lorraine, went through a nearly two-year divorce starting in 2015. An affida- vit from Bo Davies, his divorce attorney, claims that in the course of that case, Kuehn disclosed that Lorraine Goodrich asked her to and to claim Goodrich had another victim, to keep the criminal charge in- volving Lyn from being dismissed. The affidavit, signed Dec. 15, 2017, was provided to the Idaho Statesman by Bartlett.

    SENTENCED AS A DETERRENT In court Friday, Good- rich fought tears as he expressed remorse for providing the Halcion. been devastated beyond he told 4th District Judge Michael Reardon. I thought was an act of kindness has turned into a nightmare beyond description. I was sloppy and realize at the time that I was being sloppy, and the regret is Reardon told Goodrich that because he improper- ly used his license to pre- scribe a controlled sub- stance, his sentence need- ed to set a deterrent to other medical professions. The judge ordered that Goodrich immediately serve 10 days of his sen- tence in the Ada County Jail, and then 50 days in the Elmore County Jail on work release.

    The final 30 days were suspended, to be used if his probation officer required it. But Reardon also said he did not believe Good- rich intended to rape Jane. appears to me that while (Jane) characterized this at various times as a rape, in looking at the string of text messages between the two of them, satisfied that while I think beyond doubt that there was a sexual event after the delivery of a controlled substance, I think that the delivery of a con- trolled substance had anything to do with (rape), other than possibly low- ering the inhib- Reardon said in court. After reading all of this, I think it was Mr. intention to lower inhibitions to take sexual advantage of Goodrich was granted a withheld judgment, mean- ing that if he complies with the circumstances of his probation, he could go back before the court and ask to have the conviction dismissed.

    Jane hopes that with a felony drug conviction, Goodrich will be forbid- den from prescribing medication. the case, then that takes away one of the tools of his she said. Goodrich does still have a valid license to practice dentistry. But that could change: Michael Kane, the Idaho Board of attorney, said in Decem- ber that the board was waiting to consider action until convic- tion was formally record- ed. Meanwhile, the Elmore abuse allegations live on in a civil suit.

    Bartlett argues that Lyn has changed her story several times and that the lawsuit is motivated by money. Lyn said she ex- pect to get money out of her lawsuit, but because the criminal charge was dropped, she feels to move for- ward with the civil case. just another way for me to get the truth she said, bring justice to my (abuser) and justice to Ruth Brown: 208-377-6207, DARIN OSWALD Mountain Home dentist John Goodrich, center, sits with his attorney, Michael Bartlett, in a Boise courtroom during Friday sentencing for a felony count of distributing a controlled substance.
    FROM PAGE 1A GOODRICH

    BEEN DEVASTATED BEYOND WORDS. WHAT I THOUGHT WAS AN ACT OF KINDNESS HAS TURNED INTO A NIGHTMARE BEYOND DESCRIPTION. I WAS SLOPPY AND REALIZE AT THE TIME THAT I WAS BEING SLOPPY, AND THE REGRET IS INDESCRIBABLE. Dentist John Goodrich, speaking to Judge Michael Reardon.

  • back to online sources list
    Takeaways from The AP’s investigation into the Mormon church’s handling of sex abuse cases
    Source type: News article
    Publisher: AP
    Date published/accessed: 3 Dec 2023
    archive 1 | archive 2

    HAILEY, Idaho (AP) — Paul Rytting had been director of the Risk Management Division at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for around 15 years when a 31-year-old church member told him that her father, a former bishop, had sexually abused her when she was a child.

    Rytting flew from church headquarters in Salt Lake City to Hailey, Idaho, to meet with Chelsea Goodrich and her mother, Lorraine, to discuss what he said was a “tragic and horrendous” story.

    By that time, Chelsea’s father, John Goodrich, had made a religious confession to a bishop with the church, widely known as the Mormon church, with details of his relationship with his daughter. Following church policy, Bishop Michael Miller had called a church Helpline, established to take calls from bishops about sexual abuse, and John Goodrich was quickly excommunicated.

    After the excommunication, Chelsea and Lorraine reported Chelsea’s claims of abuse to Mountain Home, Idaho, police. They backed up their accusations with recordings of conversations with John Goodrich in which he admitted to climbing into bed with his daughter when he was sexually aroused, though he insisted there was no direct sexual contact. Nevertheless, Mountain Home police arrested him and charged him with a variety of sex crimes.

    At their meeting with Rytting, Chelsea and her mother had one overarching question: Would the church allow Miller to testify at John Goodrich’s criminal trial?

    Over the next four months, during multiple conversations, Rytting told Chelsea, Lorraine and Eric Alberdi, a fellow church member acting as Chelsea’s advocate, that a state law known as the clergy-penitent privilege prevented Miller from testifying without the consent of the alleged perpetrator, John Goodrich. Without Miller’s testimony, prosecutors dropped their case.

    Next, Rytting offered Chelsea and her mother $300,000 on the condition that they agree to not use Chelsea’s story as the basis for a lawsuit against the church -- and to never acknowledge the existence of this nondisclosure agreement.

    Today, Goodrich, who did not respond to questions from the AP, remains a free man practicing dentistry, with access to children.

    The Mormon church, in comments to the AP, said, “the abuse of a child or any other individual is inexcusable.” The church also noted that Miller would not be able to testify without the permission of Goodrich, and that the confidentiality agreement with Chelsea and Lorraine did not preclude Chelsea from telling her story.

    All the conversations with Rytting, Chelsea, Lorraine, and Alberdi were recorded, and provided by Alberdi to The Associated Press.

    Takeaways from the AP’s investigation:
    THE CLERGY-PENITENT PRIVILEGE

    An earlier investigation by the AP revealed that more than half the states maintain the clergy-penitent privilege, which provides a loophole for clergy who are otherwise required to report child sex abuse to police or local welfare officials. As a result, some child predators who reveal their crimes to clergy in a confessional setting and do not turn themselves in to police are allowed to remain free, able to continue abusing children while presenting a danger to others.

    Although child welfare advocates have attempted to change or eliminate the privilege, the AP found that lobbying by religious institutions including the Catholic Church, the Mormon church, and the Jehovah’s Witnesses have persuaded state legislators throughout the country to maintain the loophole. Indeed, the AP catalogued more than 100 attempts to amend or eliminate the privilege, all of which failed.
    NONDISCLOSURE AGREEMENTS

    Nondisclosure agreements, also known as confidentiality agreements, have been used frequently by the Mormon church and other organizations, including the Catholic Church, as well as individuals, to keep sex abuse allegations secret. Twenty-one years ago, the Catholic Church approved a Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People in which it pledged to eliminate the use of confidentiality agreements to settle child sex abuse claims, except in cases where the victims requested anonymity – a recognition of the role NDAs play in the cover-up of child sexual abuse. The Mormon church does not have a similar policy.
    THE HELPLINE

    The earlier AP investigation found that the Helpline plays a central role in the cover-up of child sex abuse in the Mormon church, even as the church claims its purpose is to provide bishops with guidance about sexual abuse reporting requirements. Initiated in 1995, when financial claims for sexual abuse against religious institutions were on the rise, the Helpline fields calls from bishops about child sexual abuse and directs the most serious cases to attorneys with the firm of Kirton McConkie, which represents the church.

    According to the church, all information about child sexual abuse passed from church members to their bishops is confidential under the clergy-penitent privilege, and all information passed from the Helpline to church attorneys is confidential under the attorney-client privilege. Meanwhile, Rytting and other church officials have said in sworn testimony that the Helpline either keeps no records or destroys all records at the end of each day.

    Or does it? During his conversations with Chelsea and Lorraine, Rytting said he could find out whether John Goodrich had previously “repented” for his relationship with Chelsea by checking Helpline records, seeming to contradict his sworn testimony in another child sex abuse case against the church.

    In its comments to the AP, the church declined to answer questions about the apparent contradiction.

    —-

    Rezendes reported from New York.

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    Recordings show how the Mormon church protects itself from child sex abuse claims
    Source type: News article
    Publisher: AP
    Date published/accessed: 3 Dec 2023
    archive 1 | archive 2

    HAILEY, Idaho (AP) — Paul Rytting listened as a woman, voice quavering, told him her story.

    When she was a child, her father, a former bishop in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, had routinely slipped into bed with her while he was aroused, she said.

    It was March 2017 and Rytting offered his sympathies as 31-year-old Chelsea Goodrich spoke. A Utah attorney and head of the church’s Risk Management Division, Rytting had spent about 15 years protecting the organization, widely known as the Mormon church, from costly claims, including sexual abuse lawsuits.

    Rytting had flown into Hailey, Idaho, that morning from Salt Lake City, where the church is based, to meet in person with Chelsea and her mother, Lorraine.

    The Salt Lake Temple in Salt Lake City is shown on April 18, 2019. A top Mormon church official learned a former bishop had made a religious confession to details about his relationship with his own daughter when she was a child. Recordings obtained by The Associated Press show that instead of helping prosecutors, the church used a legal playbook that has helped protect itself from sex abuse claims. Today, the former bishop is a free man. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

    The Salt Lake Temple in Salt Lake City is shown on April 18, 2019. A top Mormon church official learned a former bishop had made a religious confession to details about his relationship with his own daughter when she was a child. Recordings obtained by The Associated Press show that instead of helping prosecutors, the church used a legal playbook that has helped protect itself from sex abuse claims. Today, the former bishop is a free man. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)
    0:00 / 1:08

    Sound of Paul Rytting, director of the Risk Management Division for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, making a $300,000 offer to Chelsea Goodrich and her mother Lorriane in exchange for their silence regarding Chelsea’s father John Goodrich, who Chelsea accused of sexually abusing her.

    After a quick prayer, he introduced himself and said he was there “to look into” Chelsea’s “tragic and horrendous” story.

    Chelsea and Lorraine had come to the meeting with one clear request: Would the church allow a local Idaho bishop, which in the Mormon church is akin to a Catholic priest, to testify at John Goodrich’s trial? Bishop Michael Miller, who accompanied Rytting to the meeting, had heard a spiritual confession from Chelsea’s father shortly before John Goodrich was arrested on charges of sexually abusing her.

    While the details of his confession remain private, the church swiftly excommunicated Goodrich.

    Audio recordings of the meetings over the next four months, obtained by The Associated Press, show how Rytting, despite expressing concern for what he called John’s “significant sexual transgression,” would employ the risk management playbook that has helped the church keep child sexual abuse cases secret. In particular, the church would discourage Miller from testifying, citing a law that exempts clergy from having to divulge information about child sex abuse that is gleaned in a confession. Without Miller’s testimony, prosecutors dropped the charges, telling Lorraine that her impending divorce and the years that had passed since Chelsea’s alleged abuse might prejudice jurors.
    0:00 / 1:03

    AP AUDIO: Recordings show how the Mormon church protects itself from child sex abuse claims.

    Sound of Paul Rytting, director of the Risk Management Division for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, explaining the $300,000 confidentiality agreement to Lorriane Goodrich, the mother of Chelsea Goodrich who accused her father, John Goodrich, of sexually abusing her.

    Rytting would also offer hundreds of thousands of dollars in exchange for a confidentiality agreement and a pledge by Chelsea and Lorraine to destroy their recordings of the meetings, which they had made at the recommendation of an attorney and with Rytting’s knowledge.

    Today, John Goodrich, who did not respond to the AP’s questions, is a free man, practicing dentistry in Idaho.
    Chelsea Goodrich poses for a portrait at a friend's house in Ketchum, Idaho, on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2023. Goodrich's father, a popular Idaho dentist and former bishop in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, widely known as the Mormon church, was excommunicated after sharing details about his relationship with her when she was a child during a religious confession. Recordings obtained by The Associated Press show that instead of helping prosecutors, the church used a legal playbook that has helped protect itself from sex abuse claims. Goodrich's father is today a free man, and she says she decided to speak out to protect other children. (AP Photo/Jason Dearen)

    Chelsea Goodrich poses for a portrait at a friend’s house in Ketchum, Idaho, on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2023. Goodrich’s father, a popular Idaho dentist and former bishop in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, widely known as the Mormon church, was excommunicated after sharing details about his relationship with her when she was a child during a religious confession. Recordings obtained by The Associated Press show that instead of helping prosecutors, the church used a legal playbook that has helped protect itself from sex abuse claims. Goodrich’s father is today a free man, and she says she decided to speak out to protect other children. (AP Photo/Jason Dearen)

    “Going into this meeting with Rytting, I felt like it would be very clear, once everything’s laid out that, look, this is not something that we want to cover up,” said Eric Alberdi, a church member who attended the meetings as Chelsea’s advocate and also made recordings, which he shared with the AP.

    “This is something that we want to uncover for a number of reasons, so that John … doesn’t do this again. So that Chelsea can move forward,” said Alberdi, who was not bound by the confidentiality agreement and who has since left the church. “You know, covering this up did not make any sense.”

    In a statement to the AP, the church said “the abuse of a child or any other individual is inexcusable,” and that John Goodrich, following his excommunication, “has not been readmitted to church membership.”

    Alberdi’s recordings provide an unprecedented record of the steps the church normally takes behind closed doors to keep allegations of child sex abuse secret – steps that can leave predators free and children at risk.

    “How many people can know the truth and choose to pretend they don’t and leave others at risk of the same abuse and they know it and they just don’t care?” Lorraine Goodrich said. “I don’t understand that. I’ll never understand that.”
    ---

    Two years earlier, in the spring of 2015, Chelsea Goodrich, then a 29-year-old graduate student in psychology living in Southern California, began to confront disturbing memories.

    While her peers dated and created lasting relationships, she filled with anxiety and dread at the prospect.

    “Instead of wanting to have a relationship, I just remember feeling terror and confusion and kind of disgust, like all at once, about it,” she said during a series of interviews with the AP.

    Her memories included several occasions, she recalled, when John Goodrich slipped into her bed at night in their house in Mountain Home, Idaho, to spoon her while he was aroused, pushing himself against her backside. On one occasion, when she was 9, she remembered her father had apologized to her for being aroused while they were playing in the family swimming pool and told her not to tell her mother.
    Chelsea Goodrich poses for a portrait in Ketchum, Idaho, on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2023. Goodrich's father, a popular Idaho dentist and former bishop in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, widely known as the Mormon church, was excommunicated after sharing details about his relationship with her when she was a child during a religious confession. Recordings obtained by The Associated Press show that instead of helping prosecutors, the church used a legal playbook that has helped protect itself from sex abuse claims. Goodrich's father is today a free man, and she says she decided to speak out to protect other children. (AP Photo/Jason Dearen)

    Chelsea Goodrich poses for a portrait in Ketchum, Idaho, on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2023. (AP Photo/Jason Dearen)

    The last similar incident Chelsea recalls occurred during a school field trip to Washington, D.C., where her father admits he climbed into bed with her in a state of arousal and slipped close behind her. John Goodrich admitted that during a recorded conversation, obtained by the AP, with Chelsea, Lorraine and one of Chelsea’s brothers.

    Lorraine and Chelsea had been recording their confrontations with John about the alleged abuse, which they would later turn over to police.

    While grappling with these memories, Chelsea met a Mormon friend she came to trust and with whom she shared these unsettling remembrances. Her new friend told her that her father, Paul Rytting, was a high church official who often dealt with sexual abuse complaints and suggested Chelsea contact him.

    Unbeknownst to Chelsea, who believed Rytting’s main responsibility was to aid victims, at about that time he was deeply involved in defending the church in a highly publicized West Virginia child sex abuse lawsuit. Several Mormon families had accused the church of allowing a Mormon sex abuser, Christopher Michael Jensen, to babysit for their children, whom he allegedly abused. Jensen was sentenced to serve 35 to 75 years in prison after he was found guilty of abusing two of the children.

    As revealed by the AP last year, Rytting made sworn statements in that case – which were sealed by a judge and obtained by the AP -- describing the management of the secretive church Helpline, a phone number set up by the church for bishops to report instances of child sex abuse. Church officials say that they don’t keep any records of the reports to the Helpline.

    Rytting also revealed the lengths to which the church goes to ensure confidentiality for Mormon perpetrators who make spiritual confessions.

    “Disciplinary proceedings are subject to the highest confidentiality possible,” Rytting said in one affidavit. “If members had any concerns that their disciplinary files could be read by a secular judge or attorneys or be presented to a jury as evidence in a public trial, their willingness to confess and repent and for their souls to be saved would be seriously compromised.”

    Rytting did not respond to telephone calls or an email with a list of questions. In its statement the church noted that Goodrich’s “communications with his bishop were protected by Idaho state law. Only the perpetrator could release the bishop from his obligation under the clergy penitent privilege and he refused to do so.”

    After meeting Rytting’s daughter, Chelsea travelled with her to Salt Lake City and met Paul Rytting while staying at the family home.

    At that time, Chelsea didn’t feel ready to discuss her memories and kept them to herself, she said. But she eventually told her mother. And when Lorraine Goodrich confronted her husband in their Idaho home, in July of 2015, John confirmed becoming aroused while around his daughter -- but denied any direct sexual contact, according to recordings of the conversations.

    In one recorded conversation with Chelsea and Lorraine, he blamed the devil for his decision to climb into bed with his 13-year-old daughter after hearing sexual activity in an adjoining hotel room during the trip to Washington.

    “The adversary I’m sure worked on me,” he said, using a Mormon term for Satan. “And that’s when it was going through my mind when I climbed in bed with Chelsea and was really aroused … with the intent of spooning and snuggling you but I didn’t.”

    With his family and marriage in turmoil, John revealed details of his relationship with Chelsea to visiting relatives, according to a written statement from the relatives which was ultimately submitted to authorities. They urged him to go to the police. When John said he’d rather talk with a Mormon bishop, the Goodrich relatives drove him to Miller’s home, where John made his confession.

    Less than a year later, on Sept. 1, 2016, Chelsea and her mother met with Mountain Home police and played the recordings of their conversations with John. The next day, after a nearly two-hour interview at police headquarters, officers arrested him.

    “Nothing happened,” John protested, as police cuffed him during a video interview obtained by the AP.

    “I’m not ashamed of anything.”

    It was then that Chelsea decided to enlist Rytting’s help and began corresponding with him by email to persuade him to allow Miller to testify against her father.

    Chelsea and Lorraine also let Rytting know that church officials may have known about John Goodrich and his daughter for years. John told them, in conversations that were also recorded, that he’d “repented” details of his relationship with Chelsea to several local church leaders. Rytting told them that church leaders said they did not recall hearing any such confessions.

    Then, 10 days after John’s arrest in Mountain Home, another woman stepped forward with additional allegations of sex abuse after learning of the case against John. The 53-year-old single mother accused him of having nonconsensual sex with her after giving her the drug Halcion, a controlled substance John often used to sedate patients during dental procedures. She alleged that Goodrich drugged her the previous July after she cut off a sexual relationship with him.

    The AP is not naming the woman because it does not identify people who make allegations of sexual abuse without their consent.

    As detectives investigated the new allegations, John Goodrich, who was still facing charges in Chelsea’s case, called the woman at least four times, in conversations she recorded and which the AP obtained. In these conversations, Goodrich asked her to lie to police while admitting he drugged her even as he tried to minimize his actions and repeatedly apologized.

    “It was fun as heck, but it was wrong,” he said in a recorded conversation. “Just out of principle it was wrong, and I’m just mad as hell at myself.”

    In July 2017, prosecutors dropped charges against John Goodrich related to Chelsea’s allegations.

    Six months later, a prosecutor in a neighboring county was crafting a plea deal in which he again would escape sex crime charges.

    In the end, John Goodrich pleaded guilty to distribution of a controlled substance, Halcion, and a judge sentenced him to 90 days in jail and three years of probation.
    ---

    At the initial meeting with Chelsea and Lorraine, Rytting said the clergy-penitent privilege law made it next to impossible for Miller to testify against John Goodrich. Now, four months later, he was back in Hailey with an offer.

    Much had changed for Lorraine and Chelsea in the meantime. They’d begun to feel ostracized by the Mormon community. Miller’s wife had even removed them from a local church community “sisters” email list, they told Rytting.

    Miller had been an advocate for Chelsea.

    During the first meeting with Rytting, Miller said John Goodrich, before his excommunication, had tried to backtrack on what he’d told Miller in confession.

    “John told me one thing, and then kind of toned it way down to the stake president,” said Miller, referring to a higher-ranking church official who oversees several local jurisdictions. “He told the stake president, ‘Well, that’s not a big deal.’ I go, ‘Yeah, it’s a big deal.’”

    “So we know he’s lying, and we know he’s lying at every level,” Rytting responded.

    Reached by phone by the AP, Miller refused to discuss details. “It’s clergy privilege,” he said. “If I say anything, (John Goodrich) can sue me for millions of dollars.”

    With Rytting in town again, Lorraine and Chelsea first made it clear that they were devastated the prosecutor had dropped the criminal case, according to the recordings.

    “(The prosecutor) said ‘Too bad the bishop couldn’t testify,’” Lorraine told Rytting.

    Rytting sounded surprised. He had not known coming into the meeting that the case was dropped, he said. He told them that the church perhaps could reach out to the prosecutor to help get things restarted.

    “The message to this prosecutor is, you’ve got several pretty clear-cut instances where a predator, a sexual predator, has admitted,” Rytting said. “And then the victims have provided information. But you don’t feel any need to protect the general public?”

    “She did say that if the bishop could come forward and tell, then we would have had a case. But there’s nothing,” Lorraine repeated.

    The prosecutor, Jessica Kuehn, now works for the Pennsylvania attorney general’s office and did not respond to a request for comment. The AP couldn’t determine if the church ever followed up with her about the case.

    About an hour into the meeting, Rytting changed the subject abruptly.

    “Well, should we talk about why I’m here?” Rytting asked. “I have authorization up to $300,000.”

    The offer stunned Chelsea and Lorraine. Months earlier, Rytting told them by email that the church was prepared to pay them $90,000 - an offer the women were considering.

    The payment would be made on the condition that Chelsea and her mother sign an agreement in which they promised never to use Chelsea’s story as a basis for a lawsuit against the church – and that they never acknowledge the existence of the settlement.

    And there was another key provision: “Second paragraph, I’ll be interested in your response,” Rytting said, while reviewing the document with them.

    “The recommendation is that you acknowledge that there’s been some recordings made of all of our communications and that you agreed to destroy those recordings within 10 days of signing this,” he said.

    Nondisclosure agreements – or NDAs, as they are commonly known - have been used frequently by the Mormon church and other organizations, including the Catholic Church, as well as individuals, to keep sex abuse allegations secret. In addition to her settlement with the church, Chelsea also settled a lawsuit against her father.

    In one of their recorded conversations, Rytting told Chelsea that he could check Helpline records, used by Miller to report details of John Goodrich’s confession, to see whether her father had ever previously confessed to another bishop to abusing her.

    But in the West Virginia abuse case against the church, Rytting gave sworn, written testimony in which he said no one at the Helpline keeps records. And another ranking church official testified in a case in Arizona that the records are destroyed at the end of each day. In comments to the AP, the church declined to clarify Rytting’s apparent contradiction about whether the church keeps records on the Helpline.

    Still, at their final meeting, Rytting assured Chelsea and Lorraine that church officials denied hearing John Goodrich confess previously to abusing his daughter, a claim the church backed in its statement to the AP. He urged them to accept the funds the church was offering and sign the nondisclosure agreement promising they would never sue the church.

    “When John Goodrich engaged in abuse or any other criminal or sexual misconduct, he was acting in an individual capacity and NOT as an agent of the Church,” Rytting wrote, ignoring the fact that Goodrich was a bishop at the time. “Accordingly, any damages arising from such misconduct will be apportioned to Mr. Goodrich and not to the Church.”

    Chelsea and Lorraine, distanced from their family and community, and struggling financially, accepted this assessment and signed the agreement, which did not prevent Chelsea from telling her story.

    Earlier this year, Chelsea decided to share it with the AP.

    She had tried going to the church for help. She’d tried the criminal justice system. But John was free with access to children through his family and dental practice.

    “Right now, my main concern continues to be other children,” she said.

    —-

    Rezendes reported from New York.

  • back to online sources list
    Church responds to AP story detailing 2015 Idaho abuse case
    Source type: News article
    Publisher: Deseret News
    Date published/accessed: 4 Dec 2023
    archive 1 | archive 2

    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints responded Sunday night to an Associated Press story that detailed allegations about a former church member who allegedly sexually abused his daughter.

    The church swiftly excommunicated John Goodrich in 2015 after he allegedly confessed to a bishop in Mountain Home, Idaho, that he had sexually abused his daughter more than 20 years earlier.

    Goodrich was arrested in 2016 and charged with lewdness, but a prosecutor asked a judge nearly a year later to dismiss the charge for lack of evidence.

    On Sunday night, the Associated Press published a story that included information from recordings of a church representative talking to Goodrich’s daughter about reaching a settlement with the church when she was an adult. The story did not say why the church offered a settlement, but the story claimed it was evidence the church was trying to cover up the abuse.

    The church strongly denied the allegation that it attempted to keep the abuse case a secret.

    The story noted that the settlement, which included a nondisclosure agreement about the amount of the settlement and recordings made of church officials discussing it, did not preclude the survivor from telling her story.

    “In 2017, the church agreed to settle a civil claim made by the survivor,” the church statement said.“ Nothing in the agreement kept her from talking about the abuse she suffered or the facts of the case itself with anyone. Both parties mutually agreed not to disclose the financial terms of the settlement.”

    The church provided its statement in response to questions from AP reporters Michael Rezendez and Jason Dearen. The Deseret News reached out to the church and was provided the statement Sunday night.

    The church statement said Goodrich was excommunicated in October 2015 after his bishop learned of the abuse.

    “He has not been readmitted to church membership,” the church statement said. “Claims that he confessed to a bishop prior to 2015 are false.”

    The survivor and her mother also claimed in the story that the prosecutor abandoned the case against Goodrich because the Latter-day Saint bishop refused to testify. The church said the bishop was precluded from testifying under Idaho law, which protects clergy-penitent communications.

    “Only (Goodrich) could release the bishop from his obligation under the clergy-penitent privilege, and he refused to do so,” the church statement said. “The bishop was subpoenaed to testify in this case, but prosecutors released the subpoena, and he was not recalled to testify. The church had no role in influencing the prosecuting attorney to dismiss the criminal case. Questions about the status of the criminal case should be directed to local prosecutors.”
    Related

    Should a member of the clergy be required to report sex abuse? A look inside the priest-penitent privilege in all 50 states

    No public record of prosecutors saying they needed the bishop’s testimony was immediately available in the public record, and the AP story does not provide any other confirmation for the statement. The AP story notes that Goodrich allegedly confessed the abuse to several other people.

    “With his family and marriage in turmoil, John revealed details of his relationship with (his daughter) to visiting relatives, according to a written statement from the relatives which was ultimately submitted to authorities. They urged him to go to the police.”

    Goodrich said he’d rather talk to his bishop, so relatives drove him to the home of his bishop, Michael Miller.

    The AP contacted Miller by phone, but he declined to discuss details. “It’s clergy privilege,” he told the AP. “If I say anything, (John Goodrich) can sue me for millions of dollars.”

    Below is the entire statement released Sunday by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

    The abuse of a child or any other individual is inexcusable. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believes this, teaches this, and dedicates tremendous resources and efforts to prevent, report and address abuse. Our hearts break for this survivor and all survivors of abuse.

    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints terminated the perpetrator’s membership eight years ago, in October 2015, when it learned of the abuse. He has not been readmitted to church membership. Claims that he confessed to a bishop prior to 2015 are false.

    His communications with his bishop were protected by Idaho state law. Only the perpetrator could release the bishop from his obligation under the clergy penitent privilege and he refused to do so. The bishop was subpoenaed to testify in this case, but prosecutors released the subpoena, and he was not recalled to testify. The church had no role in influencing the prosecuting attorney to dismiss the criminal case. Questions about the status of the criminal case should be directed to local prosecutors.

    In 2017, the church agreed to settle a civil claim made by the survivor. Nothing in the agreement kept her from talking about the abuse she suffered or the facts of the case itself with anyone. Both parties mutually agreed not to disclose the financial terms of the settlement.

    For more information, see “How the Church Approaches Abuse (churchofjesuschrist.org).”

  • back to online sources list
    Public Record Information - Detail - License #D-2090
    Source type: Website
    Publisher: Idaho Board of Dentistry
    Date published/accessed: 5 Dec 2023
    archive 1 | archive 2

    City/State/Zip: CALDWELL ID 83607
    License Status: Active
    License Issued: 7/9/1991
    Expire Date: 9/30/2024

    Disciplinary Actions
    File No Disposition
    2018-7 Reprimand

Videos: John Goodrich Mormon sex crime case

    • Video title: Mormon Church Offered Sexual Abuse Victim $300,000 to Stay Silent After Her Father Confessed: AP
    • Video description: Listen as an LDS church representative offers an Idaho woman $300,000 to stay silent after her father, a former Mormon bishop, confessed to his bishop that he had sexually abused her when she was a girl. Source: AP

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