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Former LDS bishop sentenced for molesting young girls

By Gene Kennedy  |  Posted Dec 17th, 2008 @ 4:51pm


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A former bishop in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who pleaded guilty to sexually abusing three young girls in his Harrisville ward, cried today as he was sentenced for his crimes.

But the emotion Timothy McCleve showed wasn't enough to get a lighter sentence: He will spend two to 30 years in prison for molesting the three sisters.

There were no apologies for the cameras, but in court it was a different story. With his lip quivering, Timothy McCleve told the parents of three girls he abused that he was deeply sorry.

The mother, equally emotional, said, "We want to say that we do not hate the defendant, nor do we wish him harm. However, we do not want him to be able to hurt others with his sickness. He has been free all this time while they [the victims] have been withdrawn, suicidal and full of anger."

While he was an LDS bishop, McCleve sexually abused three sisters from his ward. The molestations took place more than a dozen times in their home.

In September, McCleve pleaded guilty. This afternoon, Judge Ernie Jones had to weigh two very different recommendations on the bishop's fate.

The defense pushed for probation and presented a report from a psycho-sexual doctor saying McCleve's condition is treatable. But the prosecution wasn't going for it, and argued that McCleve abused five victims over a period of several years.

The other victims are now adults and came forward after the Harrisville sisters did. Despite all the emotion today, in the end, a bailiff handcuffed the former bishop and took him to prison.

At one point during the sentencing, the father of the victims actually wanted to physically approach McCleve to reassure him that the family still cares for him and holds no ill well against him.

E-mail: gkennedy@ksl.com

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