Former West Bountiful mayor, LDS bishop arrested on child sex abuse charges

Posted at 3:03 PM, Sep 08, 2022

OREM, Utah — A man who served as mayor of West Bountiful and a former bishop with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was arrested Wednesday as part of an ongoing sex abuse investigation in Davis County.

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Carl Johnson, 77, was taken into custody in Orem and faces seven counts of aggravated sex abuse of a child. He is currently being held without bail in the Davis County Jail.

According to court documents, three victims were identified during the investigation, with some incidents occurring as early as 1985 at Johnson's home.

One female victim said she was five years old when Johnson began allegedly sexually assaulting her over a three year period beginning in 1996. Another woman said she was also five when Johnson assaulted her at his Davis County house.

All the victims told police that Johnson warned them about telling anyone about the abuse.

Johnson was mayor of West Bountiful for two terms before leaving office in 1997, and police said his positions of trust had particular influence over those he abused.

"Johnson used his position of trust to influence any disclosures," the police report stated.

During a police interview, Johnson admitted to the sexual assaults and other crimes that he had committed. He said he had a problem "controlling his sexual urges and has struggled with this problem for most of his life."

SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said in a statement they stand by the victims in the case and hope church leaders respond to claims of involvement.

"Sadly, in the Mormon church and other denominations, church officials still often try to handle serious criminal matters quietly and internally, acknowledging an investigation later and often only under serious external pressure," the statement reads in part.

"We applaud the victims who bravely detailed their horror to investigators, we stand with them and wholeheartedly believe that other victims will hear them," the statement continues. "Given Johnson's age and extended career, we suspect there are many more than six victims."

Other sexual abuse cases involving Johnson are still under investigation.