KAYSVILLE — A Latter-day Saint bishop faces potential criminal charges for allegedly possessing and distributing what investigators described as “child sexual abuse material.”
Timothy James Hallows, 61, was booked into the Davis County Jail for investigation of eight counts of enticing a minor by internet or text. Hallows has served as bishop of the Wellington Ward in the Kaysville Utah Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Hallows “admitted to distributing child sexual abuse material” on Skype and to sexual gratification to prepubescent children, according to a police affidavit filed Thursday in 2nd District Court.
“Hallows stated the children are not real, and provided several incidents of justification and rationalization for the conduct,” a Davis County sheriff’s deputy wrote in the affidavit.
Investigators said Hallows refused to take a polygraph test with questions regarding whether he had ever had sexual contact with young children.
“Hallows was told investigators believe that he has had sexual contact with children, he stated, ‘Uh huh,’ and shook his head in affirmation. Hallows rationalized several reasons why he believed he would fail the polygraph,” the affidavit states.
Eric Hawkins, a spokesman for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-days Saints, called the allegations serious and deeply troubling.
“When local leaders learned of these allegations, this individual was immediately removed from any position that would place him in close contact with youth or children. This is done to ensure the safety of others and to allow this individual to address these serious allegations,” he said in a prepared statement.
Hawkins said the church has no tolerance for abuse of any kind, including child pornography, and teaches its members and leaders that such behavior is offensive to God and to his church.
Hallows said he has “done nothing regarding sexual contact with children long term,” according to the affidavit, a probable cause statement.
“He described camping trips with children where he took pictures of children, expressing that this could lead to a failed polygraph. He did these camping trips while acting his role as a bishop for the LDS Church,” the deputy wrote.
Investigators noted that Hallows holds a special position of trust as a bishop in Kaysville, including “unfettered” access to children in his congregation and in private.
“Hallows made several concerning statements that led investigators to believe he has had sexual contact with children. Hallows has conducted this behavior in other states, while he travels, which is done frequently. Hallows also admitted to engaging in this conduct with international suspects,” the affidavit states.
Investigators say Hallows is wealthy, and requested high bail or no bail until a court hearing can be scheduled to determine whether he is a threat to the community. No criminal charges have yet been filed in the case.
Microsoft Online Operations filed a complaint on Oct. 6 with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that a user uploaded and made publicly available child sexual exploitation material to or from a Skype account. Phoenix police initially investigated the cases because the IP address tracked to a Holiday Inn in Arizona. Investigators determined it belonged to Hallows.
A search warrant was issued at Hallows’ home on Wednesday. The affidavit says investigators located “thousands of images of pornography, including many images of child sexual abuse.”