Summarized by Kent Larsen
Mormons jailed for child sex assaults
London UK Times 27Nov99 D2
By Stewart Tendler: Crime Correspondent
BRISTOL, ENGLAND -- Four LDS Church members in Bristol, England have
been convicted of sexually assaulting children in their congregations
over the past 17 years. A two-year police investigation, started after
one of the victims met an LDS Church member on the street and remembered
abuse he had "blacked out" as a child.
Martin Hayward, 45, Kenneth Gunton, 72, Jeremy Brown, 29, and Murray
Collins, 51, have all been convicted and given various sentences for
their crimes. Brown was convicted of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old
girl during a church "confession" according to the Times.
Collins' abuse was first reported 17 years before the investigation
began, according to the Times, when a victim went to local Church
authorities, leading to repeated Church disciplinary procedings against
Collins. The Times claims that Collins was "allowed to keep his position
of power in the church," despite repeatedly abusing children. The police
were never notified.
Local police say that their investigation was also frustrated because
the LDS Church refused to provide documents relevant to the case. "We
had no co-operation whatsoever from the Mormon church. They refused to
give us records voluntarily and indicated that if there was any attempt
to obtain them they would vociferously defend any legal action we took,"
said Detective Chief Inspector Dave Johnson, who led the investigation.
An LDS Church spokeswoman explained that the records were confidential
and covered by priest-penitent privilege, "Church policy is that we will
never discuss individual cases. That is the matter between the person
disciplined, the church and the Lord. The church would always comply
with the law of the land."
In addition to the four LDS Church members convicted, two others, Police
officers Sergeant Mark Lewis, 36, and PC Anthony Henley, 27, both of
whom are also members of the LDS Church, were acquitted of the charges