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pogi

Another Bishop and Sexual Misconduct

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I never blamed the judge .  I still assert it was a ridiculous outcome. 

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3 minutes ago, MustardSeed said:

I never blamed the judge .  I still assert it was a ridiculous outcome. 

I agree.

And what is described below, should never happen.  I hope this boy is receiving some apologies now;

“Head was also convicted in April of two counts of lewdness, a class B misdemeanor, after a different boy told police that Head would discuss sex "all the time" and drove him home from a church activity in August 2017, but locked the doors and insisted they discuss masturbation, court documents state. Their discussion continued about a week later when Head came to that boy's house unannounced and the two sat on the teen's bed.

That boy declined to attend Tuesday's hearing, where his mother told the judge he has been "shunned, ignored and gossiped about by many so-called friends and even church leaders in our area." Once a star athlete and a young leader in their church, he has withdrawn from sports, let his grades tank and has lost conviction in his faith, she said.”

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35 minutes ago, cinepro said:

But Van Wagnen was charged with a First-degree felony, and the guy in this thread (Jeffrey Head) was charged with a Third-degree (lesser) felony.

According to this site, these are some other Third-degree felonies:

So the rational thing to do is compare it to penalties given for other Third-degree felonies, not for penalties given to other more severe cases of abuse (that were charged more heavily).

If the crime was mis-classified and should have been a First-degree felony, then the fault lies with the DA (I assume), and not the judge who did the sentencing.

Good points.  It is a shame that the same actions could be charged so differently.  Something weird is going on there.  I bet Van Wagnen will be pissed when he reads his morning news.  

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Posted (edited)
31 minutes ago, pogi said:

Something weird is going on there

Maybe the DA went with a lesser charge to ensure jury convicting.

If there was a jury trial, the guy didn't likely confess until after convicted, right?

And that might have been with the intent to get a lighter sentence.

Edited by Calm

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Posted (edited)

And in this quote from the KSL article, the boy that was abused has dropped out of his former life basically. There is something up here. I think it may be because Head was a bishop compared to Van Wagenen's status possibly, of course Sterling produced temple movies!

The young man's life will equally be changed as some mentioned Heads will be, but the young man is innocent and Head isn't.

" Once a star athlete and a young leader in their church, he has withdrawn from sports, let his grades tank and has lost conviction in his faith, she said." ETA: I was mistaken, the quote isn't the boy who was told to pull his pants down and show the surgery, but the other boy but I'm sure both are severly affected by Head's actions.

Also, I need to share that Sam Young's project of protecting children from bishop's one on one interviews stands solid, sadly the church ex'd the guy, but I wonder how many bishops etc. are ex'd? Nope, they are given another chance for repentence usually, which can be done in jail, honestly. And Sam was a bishop, but he went against the church. I think the children are more important than the church here. Maybe that's considered a strawman. But I believe the church's past history seems to forget the innocent sometimes. 

 

Edited by Tacenda

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The judge agreed. She asked whether there is a for-sale sign outside Head's home, "because they are correct. He should be the one to move.”...

The judge told the parents the abuse was not their fault and emphasized that a jury believed their sons.

A religious post like Head's requires extra care to be appropriate, and the type of behavior he engaged in is "highly offensive when it's someone in a position of special trust," Bernards-Goodman said.

A third boy had told investigators that Head was "really touchy feely" but did not report being victimized, a statement the judge seemed to reference Tuesday.

"I don't care if presidents are touchy-feely," Bernards-Goodman said. "It’s not OK."

Sounds like the judge did okay if the sentencing guidelines reported here are accurate, except perhaps jail vs. prison, but maybe the abuser agreed to getting a higher level of treatment.

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Prosecutor Brett Keeler had argued for prison time, in part because Head could get better sex offender treatment there than in jail.

 

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, pogi said:

https://www.ksl.com/article/46571927/ex-bishop-sent-to-jail-for-sexual-misconduct-lewdness-with-teens

A couple things that stood out to me about this case is 1) the slap on the wrist sentence, and 2) the dozens of letters of support for Mr. Head that were sent to the judge ahead of sentencing - even though he acknowledged his guilt.  One of the letters came from former Utah House Speaker Greg Hughes (his brother-in-law) who will be running for governor in 2020.  Well...he has lost my vote! 

The letters of support should be sent to the victims and not in support of the perpetrator.  What is wrong with people!? 

Despite his acknowledge guilt, his community still seems to trust him while the victims feel shamed by the community.  What is going on here?  

It actually says the community is divided. Why that would be, who knows...? Assuming the community is largely united by church-going, the divisive factors might be a small world with many tight family / business ties, sick traditions that wink at this sort of thing, apathy, naivete? Maybe the community values assignation of guilt over sentencing or punishment for the same reasons.

Edited by CV75

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2 minutes ago, HappyJackWagon said:

We sure seem to be hearing about more of these stories. I really don't think it's because it is happening more now, than it has in the past, but rather because people are becoming more willing to speak out and report the abusers. So in that way, it's a good thing we're seeing more stories. But man, we need to throw the book at these people.

 

I wonder how much "the book" is a deterrent.  If not much, I would prefer the time and money the community invests go more to treatment and long term supervision than punishment for the sake of future victims.  I personally don't think much of our laws when it comes to past and future potential victims.

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12 minutes ago, Calm said:

This is not unusual for abused victims, especially if the abuser is still a part of their community or there are other reminders.

Hopefully Hill moves.  Hard on his family (they are his victims as well), but to help the abused victims to heal, I think it is not too much to ask them to sacrifice, to choose between moving or kicking the guy out of the home. (Which if I was his wife, I would find it hard not to do if for some reason I decided best for my children for him to stick around; so disgusting I wouldn't even want the guy to ever look at me again, I would hate that I married him).

Part of the repentance process requires that restitution be made to the fullest extent possible; in this case, that absolutely should include moving. If I was Head's bishop, I would absolutely encourage him to move in restitution and mercy towards his victims. 

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Posted (edited)

I know life isn't fair...but what would a sentence look like if this had not been a mormon? This has to do with the law...standards and values of a state.  It has nothing to do with repentance and forgiveness...until it does.

Edited by Jeanne

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2 minutes ago, Jeanne said:

I know life isn't fair...but what would a sentence look like if this had not been a mormon? This has to do with the law...standards and values of a state.  It has nothing to do with repentance and forgiveness...until it does.

And unless we learn the reasons why the DA chose to set the charges at third degree felony, speculation it was because he was LDS is useless imo.

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13 minutes ago, Calm said:

And unless we learn the reasons why the DA chose to set the charges at third degree felony, speculation it was because he was LDS is useless imo.

In real courtroom life judges will almost always go by the sentencing guidelines for first timers. 

Here, your response to Jeanie is 100% correct. If he was not LDS, but was a first time charge, the judge would have went by sentencing procedures and probably would have got the same. For some reason Jeanie posts "...if this had not been a mormon?" implying it would have been worse.

I have greater faith in Utah judges and do not accept their sentencing are harsher or milder if the criminal is LDS or not.

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Ripping this off from .reddit, appreciation to the poster who put this up.

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Lots of folks are making hay out of this guy being Mormon, which isn't really relevant to sentencing. He undoubtedly abused his power and influence over his victims in his capacity as a leader, but it's far more likely his relationship with Hughes matters a lot more than his being Mormon.

The sentencing guidelines are here if you're curious (PDF Warning).

It is very, very, difficult for anyone to see prison time in Utah (or anywhere, for that matter). Something between 1/3 and 1/2 of individuals at Point of Mountain are murderers, and most of the remainder are repeat violent felons.

The sentencing matrix for a first-time third-degree felony means, usually, jail time, not prison time. Even most second-degree felons land in jail for the first offense, not prison.

The way this works, AP&P will prep a report for any felony offender. They'll put values into the matrix and hand the results off to the judge; depending on the nature of the crime, they may ask the victim what their preference is (victims actually have a considerable amount of influence here; if it's a financial crime, for example, the victim may prefer the offender stay out of jail and work towards restitution). The judge then hands down the sentence. If there's a guilty plea, then the plea can be conditioned on the prosecutor recommending a particular sentence or leave it up to the judge. In many cases the prosecutor will not want to put a victim of a sexual crime on the stand (this is, unsurprisingly, traumatizing for the victim).

There are hardly any third-degree felons in the prison unless they're multiple and violent offenders.

None of which is to say I approve or disapprove of this sentence (I'd argue that chemical castration, as Florida is adopting, should be a condition of probation for any aggravated sexual crime), but a lot of people who commit crimes like this simply plead out and end up with probation.

If you're unhappy with this, you can always vote against retention for this judge the next time he's up for retention (If you're unfamiliar with Utah's retention process - in short, Utah does not elect judges, but Utah requires every judge be voted to be retained periodically)....

It's really what the sentencing guidelines recommend - depending on how AP&P construed some of the mitigating/aggravating factors. The PDF I linked upthread has all the matrices, as well as the mitigating/aggravating circumstances document, though it's worth a read in its entirety if you wish to know the math and psychology that goes into the standardized sentencing matrix.

There is some level of subjectivity involved, but a married/non-drug-using/no-priors individual pretty much checks all the boxes for mitigating circumstances.

I can't recall offhand if the AP&P report is GRAMA-able. The prosecutor did argue for prison (FWIW), but that's not really here nor there.

There is some additional perversity with respect to sentencing, too - in this era of oversight of overcriminalization, one of the aspects the Judicial Committee looks at before recommending retention for a judge is whether they are overly harsh in their sentencing as part of their procedural review. So judges that are worried about retention may find themselves strictly hewing to the sentencing guidelines in order to avoid being called out as unfair. You can read the judicial retention report here(More PDF warning) if you're so inclined.

I'd add, in passing, that AP&P uses tools in-house to generate the sentencing recommendations, and they're not subject to a great deal of review (though this report is an opportunity to put a thumb on the scale, as it were). There's every possibility here that AP&P simply went through the motions, handed off the report to the judge without really taking a great deal of concern as to context (and AP&P issues dozens of these reports per day), who then felt compelled to stick closely to it lest she wander too far out of the sentencing recommendations. I don't agree with this system, but states that have implemented statutory minimums often have their own set of issues.

https://www.reddit.com/r/SaltLakeCity/comments/bzsnr9/can_anyone_explain_why_jeffrey_byron_head_only/

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So it seems like if I think this sentencing was too lenient I should be pushing for harsher sentencing guidelines in sexual assault cases.

Yep. You can also push for reclassification of the third-degree felony in this case to be a second-degree felony if it's committed by a person in a position of authority (teacher, ecclesiastical leader, sports coach, etc.). That would increase minimum sentencing in law without having to tune the matrix too much.

 

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Posted (edited)

I have been trying to find how Utah is viewed on the severity of its sexual abuse law.

So far I got this, but it is from a lawyer soliciting business, so high risk of him trying to paint "you need me badly" picture.

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Known for its strict and harsh laws against sex-related crimes, Utah law can range from imprisonment to mandatory registration on the sex offender registry list if you’ve been convicted of a sex crime.

https://www.schatzanderson.com/sex-crimes/

Interesting option in Utah...victims can petition to require a case be brought:

Quote

Sex-crime prosecutions are widely accepted as some of the most challenging in the criminal justice system.

Sexual assaults rarely happen with other witnesses present, and anything that deviates from the cliche of a masked, armed man committing a rape in an alleyway adds a variable that must be explained to frequently judgmental juries.

In Salt Lake County, Cassell said, assistant district attorneys operate under outdated notions of what cases are winnable, saying that prosecutors who are fearful of losing are the real barrier to successful prosecutions.

Gill, who is up for reelection this year, agreed that these are difficult cases for prosecutors. But, he said, that doesn’t mean his office refuses to prosecute them.

An average of 44 percent of violent crimes are reported to law enforcement and result in arrest, according to a statement released by Gill on Tuesday. Sexual crimes, he said, vary dramatically.

In Utah, 12 percent are brought forward — meaning 88 of 100 people fail to report sexual assault claims, Gill told The Post. He also said that last year, his office filed charges in 39 to 40 percent of 600 sexual assault reports, consistent with the national average.

Gill said there’s a social stigma associated with sexual assault, and because only a small percentage are reported, a systemic attrition happens.

“We need to figure out what the balance is — to reassure victims that we see and hear them, while asking if the interests of justice will be met by bringing the case forward. Can we meet the legal burden in good faith?”

Gill pointed out that sexual assault cases have nuanced complexity. One major consideration, he said, is whether to re-traumatize a victim by having her testify in a case that would be challenging to win.

Deborah Tuerkheimer, a professor at Northwestern University’s School of Law and a former prosecutor, said, “The problem with prosecutors is that they’re not just thinking about legal sufficiency, they’re thinking about convictability” — the likelihood that 12 jurors can be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt. “Often, jurors are unpersuaded because of biases and rape myths. When prosecutors take that into account in charging decisions, even anticipatorily, they’re embedding them into the system.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2018/10/22/utah-refused-prosecute-their-sexual-assault-cases-so-four-women-set-out-do-it-themselves/?utm_term=.3129ca3a0f95

changes in statute of limitations for serious sex crimes

https://www.abc4.com/news/local-news/utah-dropped-the-statute-of-limitations-for-serious-sex-crimes-has-it-helped/

Utah trafficking report card:

https://sharedhope.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/2018ProtectedInnocenceChallengeToolkit.pdf

12 in nation, high B up from F in 2011

Not the same as sexual abuse from family and neighbours, but I assume similar levels...

Edited by Calm

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I need someone to explain the math behind saying that 88 % of sex crimes are NOT reported? 

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6 hours ago, pogi said:

https://www.ksl.com/article/46571927/ex-bishop-sent-to-jail-for-sexual-misconduct-lewdness-with-teens

A couple things that stood out to me about this case is 1) the slap on the wrist sentence, and 2) the dozens of letters of support for Mr. Head that were sent to the judge ahead of sentencing - even though he acknowledged his guilt.  One of the letters came from former Utah House Speaker Greg Hughes (his brother-in-law) who will be running for governor in 2020.  Well...he has lost my vote! 

The letters of support should be sent to the victims and not in support of the perpetrator.  What is wrong with people!? 

Despite his acknowledge guilt, his community still seems to trust him while the victims feel shamed by the community.  What is going on here?  

Makes me so mad, this kind of stuff, thanks for posting.  Unfortunately, we've seen this kind of sympathy for the offender rather than the victim, play itself out many times in the past. 

Also, the church is negligent again with respect to its policies.  No more 1 on 1s with the youth, not in a car and not in an office.  No more discussions of sex in interviews with minors, end that practice now, this is so frustrating.  Bishops and SPs should not be exempt from these policy requirements.   Never.  It shouldn't happen, and needs to stop.  To some extent I believe the church is complicit on this abuse.  

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10 minutes ago, cinepro said:

But Van Wagnen was charged with a First-degree felony, and the guy in this thread (Jeffrey Head) was charged with a Third-degree (lesser) felony.

According to this site, these are some other Third-degree felonies:

So the rational thing to do is compare it to penalties given for other Third-degree felonies, not for penalties given to other more severe cases of abuse (that were charged more heavily).

If the crime was mis-classified and should have been a First-degree felony, then the fault lies with the DA (I assume), and not the judge who did the sentencing.

This.  And notice the Church got rid of the guy ASAP unlike some other religions that I could name.

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5 hours ago, changed said:

Everyone needs to do the thought experiment, plan ahead - be prepared.  If someone accuses someone you love - accuses your own bishop, your sibling, you parent or grandparent- what will your reaction be?  

It is a physical disease.  You can choose to be angry at the disease instead of the person, but the disease needs to be acknowledged and dealt with.  There is a reason for sex offender lists, and for parents to be aware and do background checks.

We must adhere to the very foundation of our judicial system and assume innocence until proven guilty. Then we let the process procede unimpeded by social mob mentality.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Tacenda said:

And in this quote from the KSL article, the boy that was abused has dropped out of his former life basically. There is something up here. I think it may be because Head was a bishop compared to Van Wagenen's status possibly, of course Sterling produced temple movies!

The young man's life will equally be changed as some mentioned Heads will be, but the young man is innocent and Head isn't.

" Once a star athlete and a young leader in their church, he has withdrawn from sports, let his grades tank and has lost conviction in his faith, she said." ETA: I was mistaken, the quote isn't the boy who was told to pull his pants down and show the surgery, but the other boy but I'm sure both are severly affected by Head's actions.

Also, I need to share that Sam Young's project of protecting children from bishop's one on one interviews stands solid, sadly the church ex'd the guy, but I wonder how many bishops etc. are ex'd? Nope, they are given another chance for repentence usually, which can be done in jail, honestly. And Sam was a bishop, but he went against the church. I think the children are more important than the church here. Maybe that's considered a strawman. But I believe the church's past history seems to forget the innocent sometimes. 

 

CFR that bishops found guilty of abuse, molestation, or other serious crimes retain their membership. Why should such people not be given another chance for repentance? Shouldn’t we all be given as much chance for repentance as possible?

Edited by Bernard Gui
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Posted (edited)
34 minutes ago, Bernard Gui said:

 Why should such people not be given another chance for repentance? Shouldn’t we all be given as much chance for repentance as possible?

Of course anyone should be given the opportunity and support to repent.

But they should never again be put in a calling over those they abused where they may be alone with them (children, youth etc.) or use their position to potentially abuse again. 

Edited by JulieM
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25 minutes ago, Bernard Gui said:

CFR that bishops found guilty of abuse, molestation, or other serious crimes retain their membership. Why should such people not be given another chance for repentance? Shouldn’t we all be given as much chance for repentance as possible?

In jail they can have repentance. And pretty sure I could give you a long list of bishops that have abused, but haven't seen where they've been ex'd have you? If most have then I'll eat my words and apologize. It will be interesting to see how Jeff Head will do, if he'll be ex'd. This is current enough that we can see together. 

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