Thursday, February 11, 2010

LDS Church Takes Proactive Protective Measures Against Cory Campbell, Accused Of Sexual Abuse Of Underage Girls In Farr West, Utah

In response to the disclosure that LDS youth leader Cory Campbell was arrested on suspicion of sexual abuse in Farr West, Utah, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints immediately took proactive protective measures to minimize any threat Campbell might pose to other youth. Not only has Campbell been relieved of his leadership calling, but LDS Church spokesman Scott Trotter, reiterating that the Church has a zero-tolerance policy for child abuse, said that if Campbell is ultimately found guilty, he will face church disciplinary action, regardless of whether the abuse happened in connection with his position. In this case, disciplinary action would consist of disfellowshipment or, more likely, outright excommunication. [Update at the end of this post.]

"While we are unfamiliar with the facts uncovered by the police, it is our understanding that none of the abuse was related to any church service or activity," Trotter said in a statement. "Local church leaders will continue to cooperate fully with law enforcement authorities and will offer counseling and other resources to help the victims in their healing process."

This story is also covered by the Deseret News, the Ogden Standard-Examiner, KTVX Channel 4, and KSL Channel 5.

Campbell, 37, of Farr West, is accused of inappropriately touching three teenage girls, ages 14 and 15. The alleged abuse, which began in October 2009, happened during a slumber party at his home on the 2500 block of Remuda Drive and did not appear to be related to his position as a Young Men's leader with the LDS Church. The investigation started about two weeks ago when one of the girls reported it to her parents. Police quickly found the other two alleged victims and believe there may be more. Church authorities relieved Campbell of his youth leadership calling after the investigation began. On Tuesday February 9th, Campbell was arrested on two counts of forcible sex abuse and two counts of sexual battery). He posted a $30,000 bond and was released. No court date has yet been set.

Update: On February 13th, the Salt Lake Tribune reported that Campbell has now been accused of sexually abusing a fourth girl, who is in the same age group as the other three.

Discussion of this case has broken out on the LDS Bloggernacle. A blogger on Mormon Mentality claims that the Tribune story represents more bias against the LDS Church, wondering why the religion of the accused was reported. Although the Tribune is somewhat skeptic in its reporting of LDS issues, there is a good reason why Campbell's religion is relevant to the story; the Tribune serves an area which is over two-thirds Mormon.

But the Tribune story also makes the LDS Church look good, because they report on the Church's official reaction, which shows they are on top of the situation. The LDS Church in the past has been accused of not taking allegations of sexual abuse seriously.

Update December 17th: Cory Campbell pleaded guilty to three counts of second-degree felony forcible sexual abuse, each punishable by a one-to-15-year prison terms. Judge Michael Lyon sentenced him to the three terms, but ordered the three terms to run concurrently, which puts a 15-year limit on Campbell’s sentence.

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