MAPLETON, Utah, June 23, 2017 (Gephardt Daily) — A former bishop for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been booked into the Utah County Jail on two dozen felony charges involving the alleged sexual abuse of two minors.
Erik Wayne Hughes, 51, was arrested Wednesday night by Mapleton police.
He’s now being held on 20 counts of forcible sexual abuse, one count of sexual exploitation of a minor, one count of dealing in harmful materials to a minor and one count of witness tampering.
Mapleton police investigators said the charges were prompted by the recent admissions of two adult men, ages 18 and 21, who said they’d been molested by Hughes over the course of a few years when he was their LDS bishop.
Both men, then juveniles, said some of the encounters took place after they had been drugged by Hughes — twice in the form of spiked beverages, twice more with altered pills.
In one of the alleged dopings, police said Hughes provided one of the teens with a fake melatonin tablet to help him sleep. The victim said he awoke to find Hughes touching him in a sexual manner.
Eric Hawkins, spokesperson for the LDS Church released the following prepared statement to Gephardt Daily:
“There is zero tolerance for abuse of any kind in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. When local leaders first learned about this matter, they immediately reported it to law enforcement. We have supported and been cooperated fully with the law enforcement investigation. This individual has been removed from any position within the church.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims. We will continue to reach out to them and their families to provide support and love.”
Hughes’ case has been filed in 4th District Court in Provo.
He is currently being held on a $25,000 cash-only bail.