OREM, Utah (KUTV) — A former bishop of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been arrested as part of an ongoing sex abuse investigation involving multiple victims over the course of several decades.
Carl Johnson, 77, was arrested in Orem on Wednesday and booked into the Davis County Jail on seven counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a child.
Detectives say Johnson abused children as young as 2 years old and held numerous positions of trust in the Church, including as a bishop. Johnson also served as Mayor of West Bountiful City in the 90s.
“In all these cases, the victims were told not to tell anyone else about what happened to them. In some cases, these crimes were suppressed in one way or another by Johnson when any disclosures were made. Johnson used his position of trust to influence any disclosures,” a police affidavit says.
The Davis County Sheriff’s Office estimates there are at least six victims and more cases currently under investigation.
The police report released publicly on Thursday details abuse against three victims between 1985 and 1996. The victims each described sexual abuse by Johnson on different occasions in Davis County. During an interview with detectives, Johnson admitted to the allegations of abuse by the three victims, according to police.
“Johnson has showed a long history of sexual abuse of children, some as young as 2 years old. Johnson admitted he has a problem of controlling his sexual urges and has struggled with this problem most of his life,” a detective wrote in the affidavit.
Johnson is currently being held in the Davis County Jail without bail.
The Davis County Sheriff's Office has asked any additional victims to contact their detectives at 801-451-4100.
“We just want victims to feel comfortable that if they do come forward, we are going to listen to them, we are going to hear what they have to say and we’re going to pursue justice," Captain Taylor West said.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Days Saints sent a statement to KUTV in response to an inquiry about Johnson's arrest.
"The allegations against this individual are serious and deeply troubling. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has no tolerance for abuse of any kind. Those who engage in abusive behavior are rightfully subject to prosecution by legal authorities and also face loss of Church membership.”