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Jury finds ex-bishop guilty of trying to sexually abuse teenage boy

By Annie Knox, KSL | Posted - Apr 30th, 2019 @ 8:27am


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SALT LAKE CITY — A former Latter-day Saint bishop was convicted Monday of inappropriately touching a teenage family friend in his congregation and being lewd with other boys.

A jury found Jeffrey Byron Head, 54, of Draper, guilty of attempted forcible sexual abuse, a third-degree felony, and two counts of lewdness, a class B misdemeanor. Jurors also found him guilty of a lesser offense of sexual battery, a class A misdemeanor, instead of a more severe count of forcible sexual abuse, a second-degree felony.

Prosecutors say Head went to one boy's house in May 2016 and asked about a recent surgery to his genitals, then asked "to see the surgery" before the teen pulled his pants down and Head inappropriately touched him. The same boy said Head rubbed his shoulders and placed the boy's hand on his own thigh during an outing to buy milkshakes in 2016.

At a preliminary hearing in February, the teen testified the behavior happened when he was 16 and 17. Head was his bishop and the teen sometimes attended church but was not very devout, he recalled.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said it removed Head from his position, notified police after the allegations surfaced and emphasized that abuse of any kind cannot be tolerated.

Another boy told police that Head would discuss sex "all the time" and once drove him home from a church activity in August 2017, but locked the doors and insisted they discuss masturbation, charges 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.

A third boy told investigators that Head was "really touchy feely," but the touching stopped at shoulder rubs, hand rubs and thigh grabbing.

Head was originally charged with another count of forcible sexual abuse, but prosecutors reduced the count to attempted forcible sexual abuse in February, court records show.

His attorney Scott Williams declined comment Monday.

Sentencing is scheduled for June 11.

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