SALT LAKE CITY — An audience member who disrupted a general conference session of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 2018 has been fined $340 and ordered to stay away from Temple Square for a year.
Following a brief trial Monday in Salt Lake City Justice Court, a judge found Crystal Legionaires guilty of disrupting a meeting, an infraction.
“I understand that what you have to say is a very important message,” Judge Sydney Magid told Legionaires. “But it is not a message that is allowed to disrupt a meeting.”
Legionaires, 25, of Ogden, shouted “stop protecting sexual predators” three times from a balcony seat. Legionaires testified the planned outburst was intended to make a point, but did not intend to disrupt the Saturday afternoon session on March 31, 2018. At the time of the interruption, newly sustained leaders within the church were taking their seats on the rostrum behind the pulpit.
Legionaires claimed a loved one was victimized by a member of the church and said the church did not take meaningful action against the aggressor or call police.
Video played in the courtroom showed security officers reacting and some at the session turning toward a balcony as Legionaires called out and repeated the phrase in an even voice.
A woman testified Monday she was sitting near Legionaires and was distracted by the noise.
Prosecutor Paige Williamson argued it was an important, spiritual moment for those assuming new posts and for church members who were taking in the significance of the new leadership.
“This was a life-changing moment for them,” Williamson said.
Defense attorney Greg Skordas noted his client cooperated with security. Legionaire’s conduct didn’t knock the ceremony off course, he argued, saying it was only as disruptive as a baby crying or a cellphone going off.
But a phone ringing or a baby crying isn’t intentional, the judge countered.