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11 people who were Mormon bishops when publicly accused of sexual abuse or other sex crimes
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  • FLOODLIT.org Mormon sex abuse case #32: Gordon Brent Bodily

    • Born in 1949.
    • Gordon Bodily former Mormon bishop in Hyrum, Utah; accused of luring a 17-year-old North Carolina girl to Utah for sex while serving as an LDS bishop; sentenced in 2001 to 21 months in federal prison.
    • Worked in the LDS church as a Bishop, .
    • Was a Bishop, at the time of alleged or confirmed criminal activity.
    • Was a Bishop, when publicly accused.
    • Was an LDS missionary in United States from 1968 to 1970 .
    • Was married in an LDS temple in 1971 .
    • Former Mormon bishop Gordon Bodily was sentenced in 2001 to 21 months in federal prison for luring a 17-year-old North Carolina girl to Utah for sex. He was also sentenced to 24 months probation after the prison term and ordered to undergo sex offender treatment.

      He was also a former high school gym teacher.

      Bodily was serving as an LDS bishop at the time of his crime and and when he was arrested.

      According to the sentencing report, Bodily contacted at least one other girl through the Internet.

      Bodily was supported in the courtroom by his wife and children, according to the Salt Lake Tribune on 2001-03-30.


      “A RANDY bishop is facing 10 years in jail after admitting having steamy sex sessions with an under-age girl.

      Bishop Gordon Bodily pleaded guilty to luring a 17-year-old girl to Salt Lake City to have sex with him by posing as a teenage member of the Mormon Church on the internet.

      Bodily admitted meeting the North Carolina girl in February through a teen chatroom focusing on The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

      The Mormon bishop originally pretended to be a 19-year-old.

      After the relationship began to include sexual conversations on the phone, Bodily admitted to being a 51-year-old man.

      A few months later he invited the girl to Utah, telling her parents she would be visiting colleges and Mormon landmarks.

      The two had sex at a Salt Lake City motel several times over a three-day period in June [FLOODLIT note: June 13-16, 2000 at Quality Inn in Murray, Utah].

      Bodily has since been removed from his position as a bishop and excommunicated.

      He also stands to lose his job as a physical education teacher at night school.

      Under Utah law, it is illegal for a person to have sex with a 16- or 17-year-old if they are 10 or more years older than the minor. Bodily will be sentenced in March when he appears at the District Court. “

    • Latest update: 2023: registered sex offender; lives in Ogden, Utah.
    • More details at FLOODLIT.org/a032
  • FLOODLIT.org Mormon sex abuse case #50: Paul Douglas Burdick

    • Born in 1972.
    • Paul Burdick former LDS bishop in Oregon; pleaded guilty to third-degree sex abuse involving students.
    • Worked in the LDS church as a Bishop, Elders quorum president, .
    • Was a Bishop, at the time of alleged or confirmed criminal activity.
    • Was a Bishop, when publicly accused.
    • Was married in an LDS temple .
    • Paul Burdick was bishop of the Hillsboro Ward until shortly before being arrested. Accused (and sentenced) of sexually abusing teenage girls in his job as a drivers ed teacher. Served 6 months in jail.

      FLOODLIT’s sources indicate that Burdick had previously served as the Hillsboro Ward’s elders quorum president.

      “Oregon driver’s ed teacher, accused of sexually abusing 21 students, gets 6 months in jail

      Published: Feb. 24, 2020, 1:12 p.m.

      Shane Dixon Kavanaugh | The Oregonian/OregonLive

      A Portland Community College driving instructor, accused by nearly two dozen girls or women of sexually abusing them during lessons, was sentenced Feb. 20 to six months in jail, the Washington County District Attorney’s Office said.

      Paul Douglas Burdick, 48, pleaded guilty to six counts of third-degree sex abuse, a misdemeanor, in January, court records show. He had faced another 15 counts of sex abuse, which prosecutors later dismissed.

      Burdick was accused of groping driving students during practice or test drives and would instruct some of the young women to perform jumping jacks to record them on his cellphone, authorities said.

      Paul Burdick

      Paul Burdick (Washington County Sheriff’s Office)

      The Washington County Sheriff’s Office said the suspected abuse occurred between 2012 and 2018 while Burdick taught driving courses at the school’s Willow Creek Center in Hillsboro. Portland Community College fired him in April 2019 amid the criminal investigation.

      Burdick also served as a bishop at the Hillsboro Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which later removed him from the post.

      After Burdick’s arrest in September, three of the sex abuse victims filed a lawsuit against him, seeking $2 million each.”

    • More details at FLOODLIT.org/a050
  • FLOODLIT.org Mormon sex abuse case #106: Todd Mitchell Edwards

    • Born in 1964.
    • Also known as Todd Michael Edwards.
    • Todd Edwards former Mormon bishop in California; sentenced to prison in 2013 for child sexual abuse.
    • Worked in the LDS church as a Bishop, .
    • Was a Bishop, at the time of alleged or confirmed criminal activity.
    • Was a Bishop, when publicly accused.
    • Was married in an LDS temple .
    • This case arose in 2006 in California.

      Todd Mitchell Edwards, a bishop of the Menifee Ward in the Riverside, California area, was charged with sexually assaulting two teen girls.

      Edwards was arrested and charged with 3 felonies – sexual battery, sexual penetration with a foreign object and witness intimidation.

      According to the Riverside County district attorney’s office, said the victims attended Edwards’ church and that he was friends with the families of both girls.

      Investigators identified a possible third victim but the statute of limitations on filing criminal charges had run out on that case

      from Menifee 24/7 on 2013-11-13:

      “Former Menifee Mormon Bishop Pleads Guilty to Sex Crimes

      Story updated at 3 p.m. with new statement from church official and correcting Edwards’ current state of residence to Nevada.

      A former Mormon bishop serving in Menifee pleaded guilty today to two felony sex crimes involving teenage girls who attended his church. He will serve three years in prison.

      Todd M. Edwards, 49, entered the guilty pleas as part of an agreement. The first count, sexual penetration with a foreign object with force and against the victim’s will, is a felony and strike. The second count, sexual battery, also is a felony.

      Judge Becky L. Dugan said the first count carries with it a strike because of the severity of the crime. Edwards remains free on $65,000 cash bail until he returns to court on Dec. 11 to be remanded into custody. If he doesn’t appear on that date, a bench warrant will be served, the agreement will be null and void, and Edwards could serve nine years per count.

      Edwards declined comment. He must register as a sex offender for life.

      Edwards, who currently resides in Nevada, was released as bishop of the Menifee Ward after church officials learned of the investigation in 2012. He was arrested at his Murrieta residence May 28, 2013 following an investigation into allegations of sexual crimes in November 2006 and February 2012.

      According to the police incident report, the 2006 incident involved a 16-year-old girl. The victim in the 2012 incident was 18 at the time. Both girls attended the Menifee Ward, according to police documents. Edwards was not serving as bishop at the time of the 2006 incident.

      George Kramer, a spokesman for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, released the following statement today on behalf of the LDS Church:

      “We are very saddened by the news surrounding the admission of sexual abuse by Todd Mitchell Edwards, 49, of Murrieta, CA. As the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has zero-tolerance for any such conduct, we fully support the legal proceedings surrounding Mr. Edwards’ criminal prosecution and subsequent conviction. Our primary concern is for the physical, emotional and spiritual well being of the victims involved.” ”

      from Crew Janci:

      “”A former Riverside California Mormon bishop has pled guilty to two counts of the sexual abuse of minors in a plea agreement with prosecutors. Todd Mitchell Edwards, 49 was charged with sexual battery and sexual penetration with a foreign object. In addition to prison time, Edwards will have to register as a sex offender in the state of California. According to the LA Times, “The assaults happened in November 2006, according to the criminal complaint. He was initially charged with a third count, related to an attempt to dissuade one of the victims from reporting the crime to authorities, but that charge will be dismissed as part of the agreement, prosecutors said. Edwards held the rank of bishop in the Menifee ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”

      from :

      “Former Mormon bishop charged with sexually assaulting teen girls
      By ABC7
      Wednesday, June 5, 2013
      RIVERSIDE, Calif.

      The suspect has pleaded not guilty to the charges. He apparently met the two teens while he was at the church.

      Murrieta resident Todd Mitchell Edwards, 49, is accused of sexually assaulting two teenage girls who reportedly went to the church where he was a bishop at one time. Edwards has pleaded not guilty to all charges. If convicted he faces up to nine years in prison. He remained incarcerated Tuesday on $65,000 bail.

      “He’s been charged with three felony counts, one of sexual penetration with a foreign object by force,” said John Hall, a Riverside County District Attorney spokesman.

      Hall says the victim in that incident was a child, and it happened last year. He says the second victim was 18 at the time, and that incident happened in 2006.

      “The defendant and both victim in this case all attended the same church,” said Hall.

      People leaving the church Tuesday told Eyewitness News they couldn’t comment on the allegations, but we did get this statement: “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has zero tolerance for abuse of any kind. Anyone who abuses a child is rightfully subject to both criminal prosecution and formal Church discipline,” said George Kramer, Menifee Public Affairs.

      The district attorney’s office says it’s possible there could be other victims.

      “In any of these types of cases, there’s always that possibility, and so if anyone believes that they may have been a victim of this defendant, Todd Edwards, we would encourage them to contact their local law enforcement agency,” said Hall.

      The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department said they investigated a third case of alleged sexual assault, but the statute of limitations had expired.”

    • More details at FLOODLIT.org/a106
  • FLOODLIT.org Mormon sex abuse case #146: Timothy James Hallows

    • Born in 1958.
    • Also known as Tim Hallows, Timothy J Hallows.
    • Timothy Hallows was an LDS bishop in Utah; sentenced to prison for possessing child pornography.
    • Worked in the LDS church as a Bishop, .
    • Was a Bishop, at the time of alleged or confirmed criminal activity.
    • Was a Bishop, when publicly accused.
    • Was married in an LDS temple .
    • Was bishop of the Wellington ward at the time of his arrest in 2019.

      from Deseret News:

      “As the predominant religious organization in Utah, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not immune to having potential predators in positions of trust, like bishops, stake presidencies, youth leaders and others.

      This week, a Kaysville bishop, Timothy James Hallows, was arrested for allegedly possessing child porn and is now being held in the Davis County Jail without bail. He was booked on eight counts of enticing a minor by internet or text, all second-degree felonies. While investigators conducted a search warrant in his home on Wednesday, he reportedly admitted to distributing child porn online and would not cooperate in taking a polygraph test to answer questions about his sexual contact with young children because police reported he said he had gone on camping trips with children during his time serving as bishop for the LDS Church.

      To be clear, Hallows has not yet been found guilty in a court of law, but remains in jail custody due to his “unfettered access to children in his congregation and in private,” the affidavit says.

      On Thursday, the LDS Church issued a statement that Hallows was removed from his leadership position as soon as it learned of his arrest. It called the allegations against the now former bishop “serious and deeply troubling.”

      What’s serious and deeply troubling is that predators are enabled by having private meetings with underage youth, despite repeated instances of abuse taking place behind closed doors of ecclesiastical interviews and activities outside of church buildings. Permitting parents to attend individual interviews, based on if children ask for their presence ahead of time, is not sufficient in deterring these types of potentially risky and abusive situations.

      Are all leaders predators? Most definitely not. There are many who do wonderful good among their congregations. But, no measure should be “too much” in preventing opportunities for even the small number of adults in positions of trust who prey on our children. However, if these situations continue to be allowed, abuse — and its minimization — will continue. This has been apparent across history and discovered in a wide array of faith organizations.”

    • More details at FLOODLIT.org/a146
  • FLOODLIT.org Mormon sex abuse case #162: Jeffrey Byron Head

    • Born in 1964.
    • Also known as Jeff Head.
    • Jeffrey Head former LDS bishop in Utah; convicted of attempted forcible sexual abuse, two counts of lewdness and sexual battery; sentenced to four months behind bars and four years of probation.
    • Worked in the LDS church as a Bishop, Bishopric counselor, Missionary, .
    • Was a Bishop, at the time of alleged or confirmed criminal activity.
    • Was a Bishop, when publicly accused.
    • Was married in an LDS temple .
    • Jeffrey Head, a former Latter-day Saint bishop in Utah, was convicted of inappropriately touching one teenage boy and lewd conduct with two others.

      Head served an LDS mission as a young man, to St. Louis, Missouri.

      He was charged in 2018, while serving as a Mormon bishop.

      He was sentenced to four months in prison and four years of probation.

      In April 2019, a jury convicted 54-year-old Jeffrey Byron Head of attempted forcible sexual abuse, two counts of lewdness and sexual battery.

      Head received credit for 45 days he had already served in jail, and he had to register as a sex offender.

      In August 2020, Head completed a sex offender treatment program with LDS Family Services. He was in treatment with them from October 2019 to August 2020.

      As of 2023, Head lives in Draper, Utah.

      Head’s brother-in-law is former Utah House Speaker Greg Hughes. Hughes was among several people who sent letters of support for Head.

      Utah case #181404697

      Letter to the judge #1 – from a friend of Head:

      “Regardless of what you may think of the LDS religion, the benefits to a young person of learning how to work hard, serve others, and focusing their thoughts away from themselves constantly, cannot be dismissed. […] Jeff does not pose a threat to our community, and keeping him locked away for any longer serves no useful purpose.”

    • More details at FLOODLIT.org/a162
  • FLOODLIT.org Mormon sex abuse case #248: David Neil Moss

    • Born in 1967.
    • Also known as Dave Moss.
    • David Moss was an LDS bishop (2015-19) and police officer in Utah; arrested in 2019 for soliciting an undercover cop for sex; pleaded guilty in 2019 to a 3rd degree felony charge of exploiting a prostitute and a misdemeanor charge of patronizing a prostitute; sentenced to prison, but both terms were suspended.
    • Worked in the LDS church as a Bishop, Missionary, Youth leader, .
    • Was a Bishop, at the time of alleged or confirmed criminal activity.
    • Was a Bishop, when publicly accused.
    • Was an LDS missionary in unknown .
    • Was married in an LDS temple .
    • While serving as a Mormon bishop and a Utah police officer, Dave Moss (David Moss) was busted trying to solicit sex from an undercover cop he thought was a prostitute.

      KSL and Deseret News, both owned by the LDS church, did not mention Moss’s status as a bishop.

      Moss was forced to resign due to sexual misconduct allegations.

      “position of trust as a local church leader and a vice police officer as late as 2012”

      Moss was a Mormon bishop of the Mill Pond ward in the Lehi Central stake in Utah from 2015-12-27 until his arrest in February 2019. He had previously served as a ward young men’s president.

      Thanks to your donations, FLOODLIT has obtained court documents in Moss’s case.

      2019-10-22 – Provo Daily Herald:

      “A hidden video camera captured everything — the moment a local church leader walked into the hotel room, the hugs he gave the two women waiting inside, his offer to help them become prostitutes and the sexual advances he used to ensure the women were not undercover investigators.

      “What you’ve done doesn’t prove to me that you’re not cops,” the man said after he forced one of the women to inappropriately touch him. With his back to the camera, the man then tried to remove his pants in front of the women.

      When the two undercover detectives broke character and locked themselves in the hotel bathroom, the man rushed from the room.

      Even though the encounter only lasted five minutes, Judge Roger Griffin decided David Moss, 52, knew exactly what he was doing in the situation.

      “It’s not somebody who just runs into a situation without a forethought,” Griffin said. “That is not something that law enforcement should have to subject themselves too.”

      Although the Utah Department of Corrections Adult Probation and Parole recommended sending Moss to jail for 180 days, Griffin cut the time in half and ordered Moss to serve 90 days in jail.

      The judge also granted credit for time served and good behavior, meaning Moss will serve about 70 days in the Utah County Jail.

      Moss, of Pleasant Grove, was serving as a bishop for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in February 2019 when he arranged to meet with two women he believed were prostitutes.

      He offered to be their manager for a cut of the profits and promised to “provide protection, help ensure regular, higher-paying customers and teach (them) how to avoid getting caught or arrested,” charges state.

      The women were actually investigators working on an undercover human trafficking operation in Lehi with the Utah County Sheriff’s Office.

      What the surveillance video didn’t show were the careful preparations Moss took to ensure he wasn’t going to be caught by an undercover operation, said Utah County deputy attorney Carl Hollan.

      Investigators said Moss had arrived at the building nearly an hour before the arranged meeting. He checked all the nearby parked cars for cameras or law enforcement insignia as well as quietly listening outside all the other hotel rooms around the rendezvous point.

      He also brought a handgun to the meeting that investigators found on his person after his arrest.

      “Mr. Moss was so careful in his confidential activities that it’s almost providential that he was caught,” Hollan said.

      Moss previously served as a lieutenant for the St. George Police Department from 1997 to 2012 and supervised the department’s vice squad. He resigned from his position due to sexual misconduct allegations.

      Due to his police experience, prosecutors said Moss knew how to avoid detection and could easily find vulnerable women in the community to exploit.

      “This man has literally been trained by the DEA on how to run undercover operations,” Hollan said, adding all the codes and signs used by the trafficking operation were the same signals Moss learned and used with his police teams in St. George.

      Before meeting with the undercover detectives, Moss stated several times he had “done this sort of thing in the past and he has a system that is ‘cutting edge’ and avoids people getting caught,” police reported.

      “I book and you entertain. I offer protection, I train you on how to act so we get repeat/regulars and higher paying. I also teach you how to stay out of jail,” Moss told the detectives in text messages.

      But Griffin said he was willing to give Moss the benefit of the doubt, stating he believes the statements were given as a “sophisticated sales pitch” rather than an admission of guilt.

      “It’s not a business plan, it’s an appalling abuse of women,” he told Moss during the sentencing.

      Moss was arrested trying to leave the hotel where he met the women and charged in 4th District Court in American Fork.

      In a plea agreement, he pleaded guilty to exploiting a prostitute, a third-degree felony, and sexual solicitation, a class A misdemeanor. The second-degree felony of forcible sexual abuse and class A misdemeanor of patronizing a prostitute were dismissed.

      The third-degree felony carried a sentence of zero to five years in prison while the misdemeanor charge required at most a year in jail.

      At the sentencing, Moss admitted he had been addicted to pornography for decades and had cheated on his wife multiple times with several women. He added he was receiving therapy and marriage counseling and his wife and some family members had forgiven him.

      “You betrayed them,” the judge told Moss at the sentencing. “You never had to accept that leadership position in the community, and yet you did that. Held yourself up to be someone you are not.”

      Since Moss has a medical operation scheduled for November, he will not report to the jail until Dec. 15. Until then, he will remain out of custody on GPS monitor that does not count toward the jail sentence.

      He will also serve 36 months on probation, register as a sex offender and complete psychosexual evaluation. The judge also ordered him to write apology letters to the two undercover agents who claimed they experienced distress and trauma after the encounter.

      He is also prohibited from serving in church positions, community coaching, advising, mentoring or leadership roles in non-profit or clubs involving youth.”

    • More details at FLOODLIT.org/a248
  • FLOODLIT.org Mormon sex abuse case #284: Eneudo Petit

    • Born in 1973.
    • Eneudo Petit was a former Mormon bishop in Provo, Utah; allegedly avoided arrest warrant for sexual abuse by fleeing the US to Venezuela.
    • Worked in the LDS church as a Bishop, .
    • Was a Bishop, when publicly accused.
    • Was married in an LDS temple .
    • from ABC 4:

      “Eneudo Petit is wanted on sexual abuse charges by Utah County authorities

      [with video]

      PROVO, Utah (ABC 4 News) – Police say a man who was accused of sexual abuse in Utah County is avoiding the law in Venezuela.

      Eneudo Petit was an LDS bishop when he was accused of sexual abuse of two minor girls who are related to him. ABC 4 News has obtained his graphic, seven page arrest warrant that details the charges and allegations. To learn even more about the situation we also spoke to police and to people who know the 39-year-old wanted man.

      One of those we spoke to is Ryan Ostler of Springville. “People like this need to be caught and brought to justice and punished for the things that they do.” Ostler knows Petit because he served with him as a counselor of an LDS ward in Provo. “People respect Bishop’s and find it hard to believe that something this atrocious could be done by someone that everybody trusted.” Ostler says he served with Petit for two years and shared a lot of experiences – including one situation that is eerily similar to what Petit is charged with today. “A young girl came into his office and said that her uncle was molesting her.”

      According to arrest warrant – the Utah County Attorney charged Petit with sodomy on a child and aggravated sexual abuse of a child. Police tell me when the charges came down – Petit fled first to Nogales, Arizona. They say that is where he then went into Mexico. And they add he eventually made his way to his native Venezuela.

      Ostler is sad about the charges, but also says Petit needs to man up and deal with them. “Fleeing the country and getting away from it. That makes it difficult to believe one is innocent with that behavior.” Ostler is also worried that there could be more victims or future victims if Petit isn’t caught. “Its important that people know. Its important that people are aware.”

      Ostler says that Petit’s wife and children still live in Provo. Police say they’ve actually spoken to Petit over the phone in Venezuela, but no word on when or if they’ll be able to bring him back to Utah to face the charges.”

    • More details at FLOODLIT.org/a284
  • FLOODLIT.org Mormon sex abuse case #645: Keith Richard Price

    • Born in 1956.
    • Also known as Bishop Price.
    • Keith Price was a Mormon bishop in Pleasant Grove, Utah; found guilty of class A misdemeanor voyeurism; secretly recorded underage girls; the crime occurred while he was serving as bishop.
    • Connection to Mormon leaders: Bishop.
    • Worked in the LDS church as a Bishop, .
    • Was a Bishop, at the time of alleged or confirmed criminal activity.
    • Was a Bishop, when publicly accused.
    • Was married in an LDS temple .
    • Keith Price was an LDS bishop in Pleasant Grove, Utah who was caught secretly recording underage girls. He was convicted of a Class A misdemeanor charge of voyeurism.

      According to multiple sources familiar with the case, Price allegedly attempted suicide in or shortly before June 2017 by jumping off his roof, but failed. A GoFundMe fundraiser was started soon after that to offset Price’s medical bills.

      Price’s LDS temple marriage ended in divorce.

    • Latest update: 2023: registered sex offender; lives in American Fork, Utah;.
    • More details at FLOODLIT.org/a645
  • FLOODLIT.org Mormon sex abuse case #301: Alberto Reyes

    • Alberto Reyes was a Mormon bishop in Argentina; accused of a sex crime; convicted.
    • Worked in the LDS church as a Bishop, .
    • Was a Bishop, when publicly accused.
    • Was married in an LDS temple .
    • 12/14/04 – Argentina

      LDS church member Alberto Reyes, a Bishop in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was arrested and convicted of sexual assault of a nine year old girl.

      “This pedophile has a long history of child abuse against his own daughter who is now 23 and testified against him.

      “Reyes, preached in a chapel of Jose Leon Suarez, in the Buenos Aires province, was arrested and prosecuted for alleged sexual assault of a child under nine years.” “He is also suspected of abusing another child who was 11 years old.

      “He was married for 15 years.

      The child was examined physically and specialist observed signs which were presumably a result of the abuse.”

    • More details at FLOODLIT.org/a301
  • FLOODLIT.org Mormon sex abuse case #406: Keith Robert Vallejo

    • Born in 1974.
    • Also known as Keith Vallejo.
    • Keith Vallejo was a Mormon bishop in Utah; convicted of sexually abusing and raping two underage girls; sentenced in 2017 to five years to life in prison.
    • Worked in the LDS church as a Bishop, High priest, Other leader, .
    • Was a Bishop, at the time of alleged or confirmed criminal activity.
    • Was a Bishop, when publicly accused.
    • Was married in an LDS temple .
    • Vallejo was a Mormon bishop who went to prison for raping and sexually abusing two underage girls while he was serving as a bishop.

      In 2014, Keith Robert Vallejo, a Mormon Bishop was found “guilty of nearly a dozen sex abuse-related crimes… 4th District Court jury found Vallejo guilty often counts of second-degree felony forcible sexual abuse and one count of object rape, a first-degree felony. The second victim reported to police that Vallejo also groped her while she was sleeping on a couch at the Vallejo home in 2014, when she was 17 years old. A family member reported the abuse to police in January 2015, according to court records. A lawyer with the firm that represents the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints also reported the allegations during that time.”

      Vallejo, upon conviction in 2016 or 2017, wasn’t taken into custody and for more than a month, was a free man, despite being found guilty of rape.

      At the sentencing hearing in Provo, Utah, Fourth District judge Thomas Low (who was then serving as a Mormon bishop of the Valley Hills First Ward of the Heber City Utah North Stake) praised Vallejo as a “an extraordinarily good man” in front of his two victims.

      According to a member of Vallejo’s LDS ward at the time of the trial, after the former bishop served time in prison, wealthy ward members pooled a large amount of money to have his name removed from the sex offender’s registry, and Vallejo was reinstated with full membership status back into the ward, assigned to be a youth seminary teacher and a high priest teacher.

      That ward member also reported that many ward and stake members had not been informed of Vallejo’s former abuses, and that he victims and their families had been marginalized by the ward and stake for not being more “forgiving” and for not “understanding the atonement.”

      In 2022, Vallejo’s wife filed for divorce.

      2017-03-29 – Salt Lake Tribune:

      Moments after a jury found him guilty of nearly a dozen sex abuse-related crimes, Keith Robert Vallejo walked out of the Provo courthouse last month a free man.

      Despite requests from a prosecutor to have him jailed until his April sentencing date, a Utah County judge instead allowed the former Mormon bishop to remain free on bail, and to go home to his wife and eight children.

      After three days of testimony, a 4th District Court jury found Vallejo guilty of ten counts of second-degree felony forcible sexual abuse and one count of object rape, a first-degree felony. Two women testified at the trial that he had inappropriately touched them during separate stays at his Provo home in 2013 and 2014.

      “I still feel like, even after he’s convicted, no one is really saying he’s guilty,” said Julia Kirby, who was 19 when Vallejo abused her. “Because if they were, why would the judge let him go home to a house full of young girls? I don’t understand why that’s a privilege he’s given, when he’s been convicted. He’s been found guilty. It just, to me, says, ‘Yeah, here a jury of his peers believed you, but this judge doesn’t.’ ”

      The now-23-year-old woman, who lives in West Virginia, said this week that when the jury returned their guilty verdict late in the evening on Feb. 17, she feared Vallejo, who is her brother-in-law, being free because she had to stay in Provo that night.

      “We didn’t know what he’s capable of doing,” she told The Tribune. “He’s still going to be living at home with his eight kids. … He could still be out walking around with no consequences.”

      After the verdicts were read, Deputy Utah County Attorney Ryan McBride cited state statute, which reads that, upon conviction, “the court shall order that the convicted defendant who is waiting imposition or execution of sentence be detained.” The law, however, allows for a defendant to remain free if a judge finds “clear and convincing evidence” that the defendant will not flee and is not a danger to anyone in the community.

      Fourth District Judge Thomas Low found that because Vallejo had posted a cash bail, has a large family and works in the community, he would not be a risk. The judge also ruled there would be “minimal damage” to the victims because they live out of state.

      “It is clear that [the victims] have been heard and have been believed,” the judge said, according to a recording of the hearing. “And if that’s the closure they’re seeking, that’s closure. Watching a man being taken away in chains isn’t the kind of closure the court is willing to endorse at this time.”

      Kirby said she found the judge’s remarks offensive, and added that she felt Low was “thinking more about the guilty defendant and his family sitting in the stands.”

      Vallejo was accused of inappropriately touching Kirby in April 2013, when she stayed at his Provo home while she attended Brigham Young University. She told police Vallejo groped her several times while she pretended to be asleep on his couch.

      The second victim reported to police that Vallejo also groped her while she was sleeping on a couch at the Vallejo home in 2014, when she was 17 years old.

      A family member reported the abuse to police in January 2015, according to court records. A lawyer with the firm that represents the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints also reported the allegations during that time.

      The Tribune does not generally identify victims of sexual abuse, but Kirby agreed to be named.

      Attorneys are expected to be in court on Thursday, where McBride — who filed a motion asking the judge to reconsider releasing Vallejo — will ask the judge again to keep Vallejo behind bars until his April 12 sentencing.

      McBride told The Tribune that allowing a defendant to remain free on bail post-conviction is “out of the ordinary” in his experience. With Vallejo facing the possibility of a prison sentence, McBride said he fears the defendant will flee.

      “I don’t see an incentive for him to stay,” he said. “These girls have been through enough, for them to have to worry about him fleeing and getting away with this. They also have other fears and anxieties. Rational or not, they’re scared of him, because of what he’s done to them. [Vallejo’s incarceration] would mean something to them and it would make them feel like what happened to them was bad.”

      Vallejo’s defense attorney, Edward Brass, argued in court papers that his client has never missed a court hearing and has not contacted the victims in the case, as a judge ordered. He should be allowed to go to work and remain free on $25,000 cash-only bail until the sentencing, Brass argued.

      “Mr. Vallejo testified at trial and maintained his innocence,” Brass wrote, “and would do nothing to prejudice his chance … for a new trial on appeal.”

      Brass, who told The Tribune that whether a defendant is allowed to be free post-conviction is established on a case-by-case basis, said he does not believe the judge’s ruling was unusual.

      Kirby said the judge made other rulings throughout the trial that made her question whether he believed their accounts. Notably, she said, Vallejo was allowed to testify at length about how he enjoyed his work as a bishop for the LDS Church. But the victims, she said, were not allowed to talk about seeing Vallejo watching pornography.

      “Why would the judge do that?” Kirby questioned. “I’ll never understand.”

      Eric Hawkins, spokesman for the LDS Church, said in a statement Tuesday that Vallejo was released from his bishop duties as soon as local leaders learned of the allegations in 2015. He said the church has “zero tolerance for abuse of any kind,” and supports the law enforcement authorities who investigated and prosecuted the case.”

      2017-04-14 – Yahoo! News:

      “PROVO, Utah (AP) — A woman says she is shocked by a Utah judge’s comments in which he called a former Mormon bishop convicted of sexually assaulting her a “good man” during his sentencing hearing.

      Julia Kirby said Friday that Judge Thomas Low appeared to care more for her attacker than he did about her.

      “He only cared about the person he was convicting, and I think that is really kind of despicable,” said the 23-year-old Kirby, who has given The Associated Press permission to publish her name

      Low sentenced Keith Robert Vallejo to up to life in prison this week after a jury found him guilty of 10 counts of forcible sexual abuse and one count of object rape.

      Kirby said she was 19 when Vallejo, a relative, groped her multiple times when she stayed at his house while attending Brigham Young University in 2013.

      Kirby plans to file an official complaint against Low in the hopes of getting him removed as a judge.

      Low is facing a deluge of complaints after saying “The court has no doubt that Mr. Vallejo is an extraordinarily good man…. But great men sometimes do bad things.”

      The criticism began around the time Low freed Vallejo from custody after a jury convicted him, said Jennifer Yim, executive director of the Utah Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission.

      But Yim said most of the roughly 40 emails, six voicemails and some Facebook messages received since late March came after Low sentenced Vallejo this week and seemed to get emotional during the hearing.

      Ryan McBride, the prosecutor on the case, said Low’s comments were inappropriate and said it may have come in response to more than 50 character letters about Vallejo, most of them detailing the good things he has done. The defendant’s brother spoke at the hearing and compared Vallejo to Jesus in making the argument that he was wrongly convicted, McBride said.

      “I don’t think it’s wrong to acknowledge the good things that someone has done in their lives,” the prosecutor said. “But I think whenever you do that in a case like this, you’ve also got to say, ‘But it doesn’t excuse what you’ve done.’ ”

      Low declined comment through a court spokesman.

      “I maintain my innocence,” Vallejo said during the hearing after a brief comment on how the justice system bullies people into confessing.

      The abuse occurred in Provo, a Mormon stronghold that is home to Brigham Young University. Low attended the school, where almost all students are Mormon, but it is not clear whether he is a member of the faith.

      There was no indication that the judge had any prior relationship with Vallejo, McBride said. Low would have to disclose something like that, he said.

      In the faith, bishops are regular church members who lead their congregations for four to five years. The position is unpaid and part of the religion’s lay clergy structure that makes it different from many other religions.

      Low’s comments also sparked outrage Friday from advocates for sexual assault victims.

      “The signal that it sends to sexual violence survivors is that if you choose to disclose, that we’re still going to treat your perpetrator as if they’re a good person,” Turner Bitton, executive director of the Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault.”

    • More details at FLOODLIT.org/a406
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