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Police: Utah man arrested for taking pictures of young boy in LDS church bathroom

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Posted at 4:13 PM, Jan 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-14 23:17:56-05

LEHI, Utah - Police have arrested a Lehi man accused of taking pictures of boys in a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints bathroom.

According to police, 39-year-old Jeffery Young is accused of "peeping in on" young boys in the bathroom of a LDS church building in Lehi on at least three separate occasions.

Officers said the first incident they are aware of was Nov. 8, 2015 at the chapel near 3200 N. and 600 E.  when an 8-year-old boy was in a bathroom stall and a "suspicious male" in the next stall put his phone between the stall and the wall and took a photo of the boy.

"The report indicated that the individual was seen with a camera pointing into a stall where a young boy was at, trying to take pictures of him," said Lt. Toby Peterson of the Lehi City Police Department.

Police said a month later on Dec. 6 Young was accused of following a Sunday School class of boys into bathroom after appearing to leave the bathroom. 

Then on Dec. 27, reports state Young went into a bathroom stall and was sitting on the toilet with his pants on.

Officers said church-goers did not recognize Young but that it was because he usually attended church at another location in Lehi.

"It was really creepy, and that it happened multiple times was even more unsettling," one member of the congregation who did not wish to be identified told FOX 13. "We were all on high alert, but it was still very scary because we only had a couple people who had seen him."

Reports state Young told officers he went to the new building because he was on a new medication which upset his stomach and he was embarrassed to use the restroom at his church.

Officers asked to search Young's phone for pictures but he told them no.

Authorities then got a warrant and went to Young's home Wednesday.

According to the report, officers talked with Young's wife who told them he "had a problem with taking pictures of children in bathrooms."

When police presented the warrant to search Young's phone, he told them he had destroyed it and thew it in a dumpster in American Fork.

"He took the hammer, smashed it up with a pipe wrench and put the pieces in a plastic bag, filled it with water and discarded it in a dumpster," Peterson said.

Investigators found the phone and arrested Young on suspicion of felony voyeurism and a felony charge of tampering with evidence.

He has since posted bond and is out of jail.

LDS Church spokesman Eric Hawkins sent Fox 13 News this statement:

"The Church was instrumental in ensuring this was reported to authorities. We condemn abuse in any form, and support the investigation of law enforcement into this matter."