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LDS bishop will stand trial for failure to report abuse charges
KSL.com ^ | Feb. 8, 2012 | Geoff Liesek

Posted on 02/09/2012 12:03:07 PM PST by Colofornian

DUCHESNE — A judge has ordered an LDS Church bishop to stand trial on charges of witness tampering and failure to report abuse.

But the defense attorney for Bishop Gordon Moon called the judge's order "a far cry from a ringing endorsement of the prosecution's case."

"I think anyone who reads the bindover order can see that," attorney David Leavitt said Wednesday. "From our perspective, the bindover was something we expected because the burden of proof is so low."

Moon, 43, is accused of failing to notify police about a 17-year-old girl's disclosure that she had been sexually abused by a teenage relative. The bishop also told the girl not to seek a protective order against the teenage boy and the boy's mother when the girl came to him for counsel, according to Duchesne County prosecutors.

Moon appeared in 8th District Court on Dec. 22 for a preliminary hearing. Judge Lyle Anderson took the case under advisement and issued a decision last week.

In his nine-page order, Anderson wrote that his duty at this point in the case was not to determine whether Moon violated the law, but to decide whether there was probable cause to believe he committed the offenses of witness tampering, a third-degree felony, and failure to report abuse, a class B misdemeanor.

"The court finds that there is probable cause to believe the defendant committed the offense(s)," Anderson wrote.

In reaching his decision, Anderson relied largely on transcripts from a videotaped interview a Duchesne County sheriff's investigator conducted with the teen girl, and a separate recorded interview with the girl's father.

The father, a member of Moon's congregation, told the investigator he asked Moon to meet with his daughter in his ecclesiastical role because she had disclosed an incident of sexual abuse, court records state. The disclosure was causing conflict between family members, the man told investigators.

Leavitt, during the preliminary hearing, argued that the girl never clearly told Moon she had been sexually abused. She only told the bishop that "something had happened" between herself and the boy, Leavitt said.

He also pointed out that his client was at least the sixth person to know about the abuse before police were contacted, but is the only person charged with a crime.

Prosecutor Grant Charles said Moon is charged because he's "the only one who did something to try to prevent" the girl from going to the authorities.

"And then he said that I need to think about what (the boy) is going through, and I don't need to start telling the cops or anything because he's already going to have to go through a bunch of repentance and all that stuff," the girl told the investigator.

During her interview with a sheriff's investigator, the girl said she told the bishop she wanted to obtain a protective order against her abuser and his mother so she wouldn't be "terrorized," according to the interview transcript. The teen boy was no longer living in the community, however, and Moon questioned whether a protective order was necessary, the girl said.

"And then he said that I need to think about what (the boy) is going through, and I don't need to start telling the cops or anything because he's already going to have to go through a bunch of repentance and all that stuff," the girl told the investigator.

Moon also told her she needed to consider what the boy "has to deal with for the rest of his life," the girl said. She said she replied: "Yeah, but I have to deal with stuff for the rest of my life, too."

The witness tampering statute does not apply to discouraging someone from pursuing a civil action, like obtaining a protective order. However, Anderson said the decision to bind Moon over on the charge was based on "whether the defendant's advice is interpreted as discouraging the girl from going to the police to get a restraining order or from going to police to initiate a criminal investigation."

Anderson said it's not "crystal clear" whether the girl ever told Moon she intended to tell police about the abuse with the intent of having a criminal case filed against her abuser. But he also noted that, based on the girl's account of her conversation with Moon, "it can be reasonably inferred that (Moon) sought to forestall a criminal investigation."

The girl's abuse allegations were turned over to authorities in Kane County, where the alleged assault is said to have occurred. The teenage boy was referred to 6th District Juvenile Court for unlawful sexual conduct with a 16- or 17-year-old as a result of the investigation.

Information on the status of the boy's case was not immediately available Wednesday.

Utah law requires anyone who “has reason to believe that a child has been subjected to abuse or neglect, or who observes a child being subjected to conditions or circumstances which would reasonably result in abuse or neglect” to report that information immediately to the nearest law enforcement officer or to the state Division of Child and Family Services."

Members of the clergy are exempt from the reporting requirement only if they learn about abuse through a confession from the abuser, unless that person grants them consent to disclose the information.

During the preliminary hearing, Anderson questioned whether Moon acted "willfully" when he didn't contact police — as required for a conviction in a failure to report case — or if was he simply ignorant about his responsibility to report it.

Anderson returned to that question in his order, writing that he is "persuaded that the use of 'willfully' means that the state will be required to show that (Moon) considered whether to report what the girl told him to authorities and made a deliberate decision not to report."

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints provides training for its lay clergy on how to handle disclosures of abuse, said LDS Church spokesman Scott Trotter. It also maintains a hotline that clergy members can call for legal advice.

Moon continues to serve as an LDS bishop, and as vice president of the Duchesne County School Board. He is scheduled to be arraigned on Feb. 23.


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Extended News; US: Utah
KEYWORDS: abuse; bishop; lds; mormon
From the article: A judge has ordered an LDS Church bishop to stand trial on charges of witness tampering and failure to report abuse...witness tampering, a third-degree felony, and failure to report abuse, a class B misdemeanor.

From the article: Moon continues to serve as an LDS bishop, and as vice president of the Duchesne County School Board. He is scheduled to be arraigned on Feb. 23.

For more background on this and other Lds cases involving alleged Lds bishop cover-ups of abuse, see: Judge weighing whether Mormon bishop should stand trial for failure to report abuse

For other cases, see post #1 at the above link.

1 posted on 02/09/2012 12:03:16 PM PST by Colofornian
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To: reaganaut

LDS cult ping!


2 posted on 02/09/2012 1:00:12 PM PST by sickoflibs (You MUST support the lesser of two RINOs or we all die!)
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To: Colofornian

3 posted on 02/09/2012 2:08:30 PM PST by Elsie (Heck is where people, who don't believe in Gosh, think they are not going)
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To: sickoflibs
 
 

4 posted on 02/09/2012 2:09:28 PM PST by Elsie (Heck is where people, who don't believe in Gosh, think they are not going)
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To: sickoflibs; colorcountry; reaganaut; AnTiw1
"And then he said that I need to think about what (the boy) is going through, and I don't need to start telling the cops or anything because he's already going to have to go through a bunch of repentance and all that stuff," the girl told the investigator.

she replied: "Yeah, but I have to deal with stuff for the rest of my life, too."

This is very typical in the mormon mindset. First of all, blame the woman, secondly elevate the "priesthood" holder male to a superior position...his needs are more important that the woman's.

Women are guilty of "enticement" and the poor, beleagured male is tempted beyond refusing. Sickening!

5 posted on 02/09/2012 2:11:06 PM PST by greyfoxx39 (Don't call us bigots! "Bigotry" is 98% of mormons in NV voting for Mitt Romney.)
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To: Elsie; Utah Binger

I hope this bishop gets a jury of his ‘peers’ in rural UTAH!


6 posted on 02/09/2012 2:28:12 PM PST by Elsie (Heck is where people, who don't believe in Gosh, think they are not going)
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To: Colofornian
Wow, lots of Mormons in the news lately.

The teenage girl who killed the 9 year old girl, the dad who burned himself and two sons to death, Harry Reid trying to destroy first amendment internet activity, this corrupt bishop covering up incestual rape, Mitt Romney's filth machine attacking Santorum, Warren Jeffs ruling with a vengeance from prison....

Matthew 7, Jesus Christ

15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.







7 posted on 02/09/2012 3:55:19 PM PST by SENTINEL (Romney is to Conservatism what Mormonism is to Christianity.)
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To: SENTINEL

BTTT


8 posted on 02/09/2012 3:57:34 PM PST by greyfoxx39 (Don't call us bigots! "Bigotry" is 98% of mormons in NV voting for Mitt Romney.)
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To: Elsie

Sorry I didn’t ping you too. I actually didn’t remember your name until I left my computer access when I was at the gym.


9 posted on 02/09/2012 4:57:40 PM PST by sickoflibs (You MUST support the lesser of two RINOs or we all die!)
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To: greyfoxx39; colorcountry; reaganaut; AnTiw1; Elsie
RE :"This is very typical in the mormon mindset. First of all, blame the woman, secondly elevate the "priesthood" holder male to a superior position...his needs are more important that the woman's. Women are guilty of "enticement" and the poor, beleagured male is tempted beyond refusing."

Actually that is the part I find appealing about LDS, the attractive Stepford servant-like slave wives LOL, and they always seem to be smiling.

'Milk before meat'.

10 posted on 02/09/2012 5:05:31 PM PST by sickoflibs (You MUST support the lesser of two RINOs or we all die!)
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To: SENTINEL
Wow, lots of Mormons in the news lately.

The teenage girl who killed the 9 year old girl, the dad who burned himself and two sons to death, Harry Reid trying to destroy first amendment internet activity, this corrupt bishop covering up incestual rape, Mitt Romney's filth machine attacking Santorum, Warren Jeffs ruling with a vengeance from prison....


Just imagine if, God forbid, Romney got the nomination. The MSM would make sure to talk all about these Mormons, and would make sure that everybody knows that Willard is a Mormon.
11 posted on 02/09/2012 5:57:30 PM PST by af_vet_rr
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To: af_vet_rr

bttt


12 posted on 02/09/2012 6:38:15 PM PST by Elsie (Heck is where people, who don't believe in Gosh, think they are not going)
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