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Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended July 23, 2000
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News about Mormons, Mormonism,
and the LDS Church
Sent on Mormon-News: 22Jul00

Summarized by Kent Larsen

ex-LDS high priest sentenced in molestation
Houston TX Chronicle 19Jul00 D2

DALLAS, TEXAS -- Former LDS Church member Gene A. Guinn, 68, was convicted Wednesday of indecency with a child and sentenced to 68 years in prison. Since Guinn will not be eligible for parole until half his sentence has been served, the sentence is effectively for the rest of his life. Guinn was excommunicated from the LDS Church because of the offense.

The evidence presented at the trial indicated that Guinn molested a 10-year-old girl from the family of fellow LDS Church members in August 1994. The girl testified during the trial that Guinn only stopped molesting her when her brother entered the room. She said she didn't tell anyone about the abuse. "I didn't say anything because I didn't think anyone would believe me," she said. "I was 10, and he was a friend of my mom's." Her brother testified that his mother told him not to call the police.

According to testimony, the family initially trusted local Church leaders to handle the case, but eventually decided to go to the police after Guinn continued to have contact with children, in spite of counseling from Church leaders. During the sentencing portion of the trial, another 5 women testified that Guinn had molested them also.

According to the Associated Press, the case also involved a dispute between prosecutors and the Church over records of the disciplinary court that excommunicated Guinn. The Church successfully maintained that the disciplinary records were confidential under the principal of priest-penitent privilege and kept the records out of the trial.


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