Summarized by Kent Larsen
Former LDS Missionary Sent to Prison Despite Suicide Fear
Deseret News 15Jan00 D2
By Edward L. Carter: Deseret News staff writer
NEPHI, UTAH -- Former LDS missionary James W. Penrod, 22, will go to
prison, despite the possibiliy of suicide, decided Utah's 4th District
Court on Friday. Judge Lynn W. Davis said that Penrod didn't meet the
statutory requirements for probation, despite Penrod's claim that prison
may lead him to commit suicide.
Penrod was forced to return from an LDS mission and arrested in July
1997 after he was accused of sexually molesting several children. In
1998 he plead 'guilty and mentally ill' to three charges of child abuse
and to providing harmful material to a minor. Last year a judge
determined that Penrod was not mentally ill, and sentenced him to six
years in prison.
With time served in the county jail and in the Utah State Hospital in
Provo, where he was given psychiatric evaluations, Penrod still has at
least three-and-a-half years remaining on his sentenced, which will be
served in the Utah State Prison.
Penrod's attorney tried to persuade Judge Davis on Friday that Penrod,
who had been a victim of child abuse himself, should be given probation.
But the Judge decided that Penrod was at least partially responsible for
his crimes. "Something endemic to all of this is pornography made
available to children," the judge said. "There are those on crusades who
attempt to protect (pornography), but I condemn it."
Juab County Attorney David Leavitt did admit that he had a difficult
time deciding whether to recommend prison or probation with therapy for
Penrod. He says that society must balance the safety of victims with the
need to rehabilitate people like Penrod. But, Leavitt says that there is
little question what will happen in the end, "I think everyone agrees
the day will come when Mr. Penrod again will walk the streets of Nephi,