Summarized by Kent Larsen
Another LDS Bishop Escapes Failure to Report Charges
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- Just one day before a scheduled court date, LDS
Bishop David Maxwell reached an agreement with prosecutors to have the
charges against him dismissed. The so-called "diversion" agreement requires
only that Maxwell "take advantage of the standard educational opportunities
provided to all ecclesiastical leaders in [Utah's failure-to-report
statute]." Charges against him will then be dismissed in 90 days.
Maxwell was charged in February with failure to report a case of abuse after
an LDS seminary teacher learned of the case and went to police. Maxwell had
met with the 16-year-old girl, who claims she was raped, and with the
15-year-old boy accused of the rape. Maxwell claims he determined that the
girl was actually the perpetrator in the case.
Sandy police Lt. Mark Nosack told the Salt Lake Tribune that he believed the
diversion agreement was the best solution in the case. "The bishop realizes
he was wrong. And he's learned something as a result of the process," Nosack
said. "He's not a bad guy -- he's a good guy. And he doesn't need to be
hurt." Nosak added also that the girl didn't want to testify against her
Prosecutor David Yocum said that the recent cases against clergy has led him
to change his procedures. He will now personally screen any future cases.
"It involves people we don't ordinarily see in the criminal justice system,"
Yocom explained. "They are good people trying to do a job -- upstanding
members of the community. We want to make sure that the evidence is there
before we charge them. We are more interested in compliance [with the
reporting law] than with charging people with criminal offenses. The
important thing is the protection of the victims." He advised clergy to err
in favor of the child in abuse cases.
The case against Maxwell is the second case resolved this week, following
charges against LDS Bishop Bruce Christensen which were dismissed on Monday.
A third LDS Bishop was charged earlier in the year, leading to a diversion
agreement requiring 100 hours of community service and payment of court costs.
Deal Means No Trial For Bishop
Salt Lake Tribune 5Oct00 N1
By Stephen Hunt: Salt Lake Tribune