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SBC sex abuse report


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58 minutes ago, bsjkki said:

This must have been known about by the Bishop and PP. The fact this was ‘allowed’ to happen at all shows we have a long way to go in educating leaders about protecting their flock. He was probably a super nice guy and everybody loved him. 🤦‍♀️

I don’t agree that it must have been known. Bishops are often assigned a level of omniscience they do not have. Unless a parent told the leadership how would they know?

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2 minutes ago, The Nehor said:

I don’t agree that it must have been known. Bishops are often assigned a level of omniscience they do not have. Unless a parent told the leadership how would they know?

I think they would know if a primary teacher is inviting their class over for a sleepover. Word would get around. Many families involved.

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4 minutes ago, bsjkki said:

I think they would know if a primary teacher is inviting their class over for a sleepover. Word would get around. Many families involved.

I don't see anywhere that says he invited the class over.  It looks more like he invited the neighborhood over.  Most of the members of the neighborhood was part of his class but it also included many others, some not even in the church.  And one of the articles you linked to indicate that it might be a normal cultural thing for members of that branch.  So they probably had no issue with it.  Same with the rest of the families.  It is possible that many other sleep overs happen with other families and he just was the bad person in the bunch.

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13 minutes ago, webbles said:

I don't see anywhere that says he invited the class over.  It looks more like he invited the neighborhood over.  Most of the members of the neighborhood was part of his class but it also included many others, some not even in the church.  And one of the articles you linked to indicate that it might be a normal cultural thing for members of that branch.  So they probably had no issue with it.  Same with the rest of the families.  It is possible that many other sleep overs happen with other families and he just was the bad person in the bunch.

 

ED9A9170-4AD2-4401-B995-57944A41677F.jpeg

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47 minutes ago, bsjkki said:

The plea agreement is complete crap too. He admitted to at least three victims. Society doesn’t take this stuff serious enough. 

The plea agreement is odd not even with the three victims (though, technically, he admitted to three events, not three victims).

He pleaded guilty to "sexual abuse of a child" which is a third degree felony and is 1-15 years.  But he is a "religious leader" (even if it wasn't at a church activity, he still was the victim's primary teacher).  That automatically makes it "aggravated sexual abuse of a child" (https://le.utah.gov/xcode/Title76/Chapter5/76-5-S404.3.html, see section 2(a)(viii)) and that is a first degree felony with 15-life.  He was initially charged with 5 "aggravated sexual abuse of a child" which also means that it must be aggravated (see section 2(a)(vii)).

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1 minute ago, bsjkki said:

 

ED9A9170-4AD2-4401-B995-57944A41677F.jpeg

Yeah, I saw that.  It doesn't say that the primary class went over, just that members of the primary class plus a bunch of other children.  So it is a neighborhood sleepover, not a "primary class" sleepover.  The primary class members were in the neighborhood, so they were there as well.

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He was not married and has no children. 
 

And leaders, if you have a primary teacher or really any ward member who is single, unmarried with no children having sleepovers with minors, I would definitely say something. If it’s a primary teacher with his class members, this is not hard. 

Edited by bsjkki
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1 hour ago, bsjkki said:

 

ED9A9170-4AD2-4401-B995-57944A41677F.jpeg

So, I tracked down the court documents and read a few of the preliminary documents.  This statement isn't correct.

Some mothers (it appears that there was a regular one but others did do it as well) in the ward would drop off children at his house for the weekend.  He was more like a babysitter (he didn't invite the children over).  In addition to their children, they would also include cousins and friends of their children.  The victim was not a member of his ward but instead a niece of one of the mothers.  Sometimes, the "regular mother" would also stay over for the weekend.  So some weekends, both the abuser and the mother would be in the house together (no idea what they were doing) and some weekends, he was by himself with the victim and other children.

In addition, he confessed to two instances where he abused the victim.  She said that it was 5 times.  The police have yet to find other victims.

Edited by webbles
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1 hour ago, webbles said:

The plea agreement is odd not even with the three victims (though, technically, he admitted to three events, not three victims).

He pleaded guilty to "sexual abuse of a child" which is a third degree felony and is 1-15 years.  But he is a "religious leader" (even if it wasn't at a church activity, he still was the victim's primary teacher).  That automatically makes it "aggravated sexual abuse of a child" (https://le.utah.gov/xcode/Title76/Chapter5/76-5-S404.3.html, see section 2(a)(viii)) and that is a first degree felony with 15-life.  He was initially charged with 5 "aggravated sexual abuse of a child" which also means that it must be aggravated (see section 2(a)(vii)).

In the court documents, there was some argument over whether he actually occupied a "position of special trust".  The defense argued that since he wasn't the primary teacher of the victim, then he couldn't be.  The prosecutor argued that just because he wasn't the actual primary teacher, he was the primary teacher of one of the kids and so the victim would have treated him similarly (they used the idea of a teacher inviting students who bring their friends; the friends would still treat the teacher as a teacher).  The prosecutor also argued that it doesn't matter because the last definition of "position of special trust" says "any individual in a position of authority, ... , which enables the individual to exercise undue influence over the child."  As the adult in the house, he defined their bed time.

I would agree with the prosecutor, but maybe there was enough wiggle room in there that the prosecutors decided to accept the plea argument so they would get some jail time vs letting him go free.

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13 hours ago, bsjkki said:

I think if he was inviting kids from his primary class to sleep over (more than one at a time or was it one at a time), the accessibility being primary makes it his business. If you had youth leaders having sleepovers, that should be shut down.  I think if the organization is where the relationship is formed and access given, it is very much a church issue. 

Agreed. I could be remembering wrong, but my impression from BSA's YPT was that the "policies" being explained applied well beyond just when I was wearing the uniform. They applied all the time just because I was a leader in the BSA. Perhaps this was a difference between the Church's YPT and BSA's YPT, but I don't recall the same kind of emphasis in the Church's training video.

I sometimes think that we are too prone to see YP "policies" as some kind of bureaucratic loophole or something that is only there to protect the institution, but really has no real world value, and I think that is a mistake. The so-called "policies" are really just best practices for behavior in any adult-youth interaction or relationship (except maybe parent-child). I think we will be better served to see these kinds of things (no 1 on 1 interactions, no special gifts or favors, etc.) as general best practices that protect youth from abusive relationships (and adults from false accusations).

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50 minutes ago, MrShorty said:

Agreed. I could be remembering wrong, but my impression from BSA's YPT was that the "policies" being explained applied well beyond just when I was wearing the uniform. They applied all the time just because I was a leader in the BSA. Perhaps this was a difference between the Church's YPT and BSA's YPT, but I don't recall the same kind of emphasis in the Church's training video.

I sometimes think that we are too prone to see YP "policies" as some kind of bureaucratic loophole or something that is only there to protect the institution, but really has no real world value, and I think that is a mistake. The so-called "policies" are really just best practices for behavior in any adult-youth interaction or relationship (except maybe parent-child). I think we will be better served to see these kinds of things (no 1 on 1 interactions, no special gifts or favors, etc.) as general best practices that protect youth from abusive relationships (and adults from false accusations).

I agree with you and bsj.

My only point was that, if the man and the parents wanted to persist with the sleepovers, there isn't anything the bishop could do to stop it.  He could release the man from his calling in primary, but it doesn't sound like the sleepovers were ever done as an aspect of his calling anyway so I'm not sure what effect that would have had.  

This essentially was between parents (who sounded like they enjoyed having a free babysitter) and a member of the ward claiming to offer babysitting services out of the kindness of his heart.  The bishop could counsel but what else could he do?  

People have their agency.

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2 hours ago, bluebell said:

I agree with you and bsj.

My only point was that, if the man and the parents wanted to persist with the sleepovers, there isn't anything the bishop could do to stop it.  He could release the man from his calling in primary, but it doesn't sound like the sleepovers were ever done as an aspect of his calling anyway so I'm not sure what effect that would have had.  

This essentially was between parents (who sounded like they enjoyed having a free babysitter) and a member of the ward claiming to offer babysitting services out of the kindness of his heart.  The bishop could counsel but what else could he do?  

People have their agency.

And thanks to @bsjkki's link, https://kutv.com/news/local/cultural-misunderstanding-says-lawyer-of-lds-primary-teacher-accused-of-child-sex-abuse, we can see how this could definitely evolve into a big problem when certain cultures come into play. It's no longer what I was thinking, I thought it could be similar to when a class gets a reward in this man's class for something where he plans a party and parents allowed their child to go.

And in my mind's eye, thought the guy was probably married and had a a family etc. Not that single guys are a red flag, it's just what I was thinking. So a wife there as well, to be the second person, but still it would be so unusual to have a slumber party vs a day party consisting of a couple of hours eating ice cream or pizza. But sounds like this guy had a woman or someone that was adult around too, not sure if they were there when the abuse took place. The following gives context to what I just said, but you probably saw it.  

“We were a little taken a back but certainly those are within the discretionary functions of the court,” said District Attorney Sim Gill.

Gill said his office has requested a bail hearing, which will likely happen Monday.

“There was a concern of ongoing potential abuse so we wanted to protect the community,” Gill said.

However, Simms said the protection isn't necessary and Sund looks forward to sharing his side of the story.

“He absolutely denies the allegations that are charged,” Simms said.

Sund served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Micronesia and fell in love with the culture, Simms added.

He attended a Micronesian branch where he served as the primary teacher to children.

“In the Micronesian community people will have large sleepovers and people are more likely to sort of interact in that family way that may seem odd to Americans and western culture. It’s very much accepted in the Micronesian culture to have a large sleepover,” Simms said.

Simms added with emphasis that Sund has no criminal history and was never alone with the 8-year-old girl accusing him of the abuse.

“Not alone, not alone there were people everywhere in that bedroom," Simms said. "Everybody is in a sleepover, everybody’s there; (she was) mistaken that she was sexually touched. That’s it.”

West Jordan Police said because of Sund's position of trust that the fear is there could be more victims.

J.C. Holt is a sergeant with West Jordan Police said, “We hope there are not potential victims but we don’t know.”

That speculation of more victims upsets Simms. He said, “You can say that I am a victim in this case and then sue the LDS Church. So, our concern in this particular matter is they are creating and generating victims that don’t currently exist."

Sgt. Holt added his concern to the district attorney over bail being lowered saying, “We are worried about his behavior.”

He said the best place for Sund is behind bars.

“We are interested in the perpetrator staying in jail absolutely, especially a case as egregious as this where we have aggravated sexual abuse of a child," Holt said.

West Jordan Police ask if anyone has any information or believes they could be a potential victim, to contact them immediately at 801-256-2000.

Edited by Tacenda
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16 hours ago, bsjkki said:

I think they would know if a primary teacher is inviting their class over for a sleepover. Word would get around. Many families involved.

I remember having a sleepover for a primary class when I was growing up.  As far as I know, no one was abused. 

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2 minutes ago, Danzo said:

I remember having a sleepover for a primary class when I was growing up.  As far as I know, no one was abused. 

That you know of and we know a lot more now. 

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14 hours ago, webbles said:

I would agree with the prosecutor, but maybe there was enough wiggle room in there that the prosecutors decided to accept the plea argument so they would get some jail time vs letting him go free.

Most likely the prosecutor agreed to accept the plea argument so the prosecutor would have less work to do.

Trials can be a lot of work.

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17 hours ago, bsjkki said:

I think if he was inviting kids from his primary class to sleep over (more than one at a time or was it one at a time), the accessibility being primary makes it his business. If you had youth leaders having sleepovers, that should be shut down. 
 

I think if the organization is where the relationship is formed and access given, it is very much a church issue. 

I had some youth over to my house overnight a while ago.  Do I need to report this to my bishop?

Edited by Danzo
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50 minutes ago, Danzo said:

are you making an accusation?

No, but you really don't know what might have happened with the other kids. We need to quit thinking activities like this are okay. They are not. We live in different times. 

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55 minutes ago, Danzo said:

I had some youth over to my house overnight a while ago.  Do I need to report this to my bishop?

Was it a church activity? Are you their youth leader? Were you following church guidelines with two deep leadership? Was it approved? 

I realize, if you're a parent you might have your child's friends sleep over. This is your choice and the choice of the other parents but a word of caution. Following rules of two deep and not being alone or one on one with 'friends' is a good safety measure for you. Personally, I would not host sleepovers at my house if it didn't involve my child's friends and in all honestly, we banned sleepovers except in extraordinary circumstances (such as a family emergency.) 

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11 minutes ago, bsjkki said:

No, but you really don't know what might have happened with the other kids. We need to quit thinking activities like this are okay. They are not. We live in different times. 

we never know what might have happened with anyone.  

However, accusations should not be made, nor implied based what "Might have Happened"

 

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1 hour ago, Danzo said:

Most likely the prosecutor agreed to accept the plea argument so the prosecutor would have less work to do.

Trials can be a lot of work.

I don't have any person experience trying or handling cases, obviously :rolleyes:, but in cases in which abuse of minors is involved, oftentimes, plea agreements are reached to spare victims from having to testify.  I wouldn't be surprised if that were the case here.

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9 minutes ago, bsjkki said:

Was it a church activity? Are you their youth leader? Were you following church guidelines with two deep leadership? Was it approved? 

I realize, if you're a parent you might have your child's friends sleep over. This is your choice and the choice of the other parents but a word of caution. Following rules of two deep and not being alone or one on one with 'friends' is a good safety measure for you. Personally, I would not host sleepovers at my house if it didn't involve my child's friends and in all honestly, we banned sleepovers except in extraordinary circumstances (such as a family emergency.) 

It was not a church activity (unless you count ministering as a church activity).

You seem to imply that the bishop should be aware of everyone's sleeping arrangements. 

Does it matter that the children staying at my house were extended family members? According to statistics, a family member is the most likely to abuse someone. 

Does it matter that I am an elders quorum president?

Does it matter that the mother was recovering from cancer surgery and couldn't lift her children?

 

You seem to indicated that you would not host a sleepover if it didn't involve your children's friends,  Isn't this mostly the case when it comes to child abuse? family and friends?

 

 

 

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4 minutes ago, Kenngo1969 said:

I don't have any person experience trying or handling cases, obviously :rolleyes:, but in cases in which abuse of minors is involved, oftentimes, plea agreements are reached to spare victims from having to testify.  I wouldn't be surprised if that were the case here.

Most likely it was a combination of things.   Trials are always a lot of work.  you never know what the witnesses will say under cross. you never know what the witnesses will say under direct. Accumulating, categorizing and presenting evidence is tedious.

You never know if the judge is taking his medication.

 Almost all criminal cases in the US are resolved through plea bargaining.  It starts by the prosecutor overcharging then they bargain it down with the sole objective of getting the defendant to plea to something lesser. 

One of the big ironies in US Criminal law is that those who are truly innocent are often convicted of more severe crimes and sentenced more severely because they didn't plead the the lesser crime that the prosecutor was willing to give them.  These extra punishments are only due to the prosecutor being annoyed about having to take the case to trial in the first place. 

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37 minutes ago, Danzo said:

Does it matter that the children staying at my house were extended family members? According to statistics, a family member is the most likely to abuse someone. 

Well, I have heard tons more stories about people’s family members, so it was out of bounds for the majority of my relatives unless parents are part of the sleepovers.  The benefits are too far outweighed by the costs even if the benefits are tons more common than incidents of abuse or inappropriate behaviour.

It also matters to the members of my extended family who are therapists, of which there are several. None of them allowed sleepovers with family members back in the 90’s, even with their own siblings’ families.  I thought it was so overcautious, but then we learned one of their uncles sexually abused his own children and likely abused other kids…very young ones, including possibly in the extended family.  No one had a clue.  Everyone knew him as a great guy, one of the more popular uncles…until he wasn’t.  And then I heard of it happening again in family after family among my friends.  It would be interesting to find the statistical probability of having a predator in extended family with an average family size of 2.5 kids and extending out to families of first cousins and then second cousins…what one might encounter at family reunions.
 

Nowadays I am thinking my overly cautious in-laws were quite wise.  Sure those cases are in a minority, but the level of damage they cause when they do occur destroys lives and families and even damages deeply those the abuse was only indirect.

Then there are the cases I have heard among my many brother in laws about being exposed to porn and homosexual sexual activity for the first time at sleepovers with friends.  I suspect if there were mixed sexes sleepovers, heterosexual sexual activity exposure would be common as well.  Even when it isn’t abuse that happens, there can still be harm done.  

Edited by Calm
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40 minutes ago, Danzo said:

Does it matter that the mother was recovering from cancer surgery and couldn't lift her children?

Yes, this is pretty much the sole exception in my list where parents are not staying over as well..there is a family or friend emergency.  At that point a sleepover isn’t just for fun or convenience, but a necessity of proper care of children.  When not having a sleepover causes harm, the cost benefits are shifted dramatically. 

Edited by Calm
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