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Former bishop accused of abusing teen at girls camp

Prosecutors in Duchesne County have filed a criminal charge against a former bishop after a teenager told police he inappropriately touched her during a summer girls camp.

Prosecutors in Duchesne County have filed a criminal charge against a former bishop after a teenager told police he inappropriately touched her during a summer girls camp. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)



Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

DUCHESNE — A former Latter-day Saint bishop accused of inappropriately touching a teenage girl during a girls camp has been ordered to appear in court.

James Douglas Robinson, 63, was charged Thursday in Duchesne County's 8th District Court with forcible sexual abuse, a second-degree felony. An arrest warrant was originally submitted to the court for a judge to sign. But Thursday afternoon, it was determined that the affidavit "does not contain sufficient information to support the issuance of a warrant," according to court records. Instead, a summons was issued for Robinson to make his initial appearance in court on Oct. 26.

The alleged incident happened in June at Reid Ranch Resort in Hanna, Duchesne County. A 15-year-old girl said she was alone in a kitchen area when Robinson, her church bishop at the time, approached her from behind, "pinning her to a kitchen counter," and inappropriately touched her over her clothing, according to the arrest warrant affidavit.

"After a few minutes, she was able to turn around and face him," the affidavit states. "At this time he backed up and left the area."

"The church reported these allegations to law enforcement as soon as they were brought to the attention of local leaders and the individual was immediately released from his leadership position to allow him to focus on his legal defense," church spokesman Sam Penrod said in a statement. "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has zero tolerance for abuse of any kind and is awaiting the outcome of this case in the legal system before commenting any further."

Police were notified about the allegation in July and the girl was interviewed in August. "During the course of this investigation, I learned that Mr. James Robinson was released as bishop and that he left the state" and moved to Idaho, according to the warrant.

"I contacted Mr. Jim Robinson by telephone. I informed him that I needed to meet with him to discuss the allegations regarding this incident. Jim told me that he thinks he has and needs a lawyer," the Duchesne County sheriff's sergeant wrote.

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