UTAH STATE PRISON — A man who created an uproar in his community when he was caught taking photographs of young boys in the bathroom of a church meetinghouse, says being sent to prison was the best thing that happened to him.
"I never thought coming to prison would be such a benefit to me, but it has,” Jeffery Aaron Young said in recording of his parole hearing on Tuesday,
Young, 42, of Lehi, was charged in 2016 with multiple counts of voyeurism by electronic equipment, sexual exploitation of a minor and obstructing justice. He was accused of walking into a Lehi meetinghouse of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints down the street from his own church building, and filming boys in the restroom using a crack between the wall and a stall.
He was convicted of all 14 charges he faced, and as was pointed out by a member of the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole at his latest hearing, received an "extremely harsh" sentence. If he serves his full time, Young would be released in 2086.
But it was also noted on Tuesday that since his last parole hearing, Young has done everything the parole board has asked of him, including completing sex offender treatment, and has had no disciplinary violations.
"The last three years has been life changing for me," said Young, who noted that therapy had "opened my eyes."
"I was in a fog for so long. I feel that fog has been cleared," he said.
Hearing officer Joel Robinson told Young that his evaluations conducted by therapists indicates he presents an "average" risk to commit another sexual offense if released. He told Young that he would need a stable home environment if released and continued therapy.
Young said he hopes that his actions moving forward "hopefully repair some of the damage I’ve caused."
His mother, father, sisters and ex-wife were in attendance at Tuesday's parole hearing.
The full five-member board will now decide whether to grant parole.