Former West Bountiful mayor, Davis County bishop, charged with multiple felonies for alleged sex abuse of children in 1990s

Davis County Sheriff's vehicle. Photo: Gephardt Daily/Nancy Van Valkenburg

FARMINGTON, Utah, Sept. 8, 2022 (Gephardt Daily) — A former West Bountiful mayor who also served as a bishop of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was arrested Wednesday and has been charged with seven felony counts of aggravated abuse of a child.

Seventy-seven year old Carl Matthew Johnson, now a resident of Orem, faces five first-degree felonies and two second-degree felonies in the case.

“Johnson is accused of abusing victims ages 2-12 over the span of decades,” says a statement released by the Davis County Sheriff‘s Office.

“During the investigation, multiple victims were identified and interviewed, and all disclosed numerous instances of abuse by Johnson. Johnson was a Davis County resident when the crimes occurred.”

A probable cause statement filed Wednesday by arresting officers says “Johnson has showed a long history of sexual abuse of children some as young as 2 years old. Johnson admitted that he has a problem of controlling his sexual urges and has struggled with this problem for most of his life.

“Carl has held numerous positions of trust in his church as being a bishop in the LDS church and as a prior mayor of *Bountiful.”

(*Johnson was mayor of West Bountiful in the 1990s.)

Johnson’s charging documents say police interviewed three witnesses, all of whom said Johnson held a position of trust in their lives.

  • Victim 1 reported being victimized in or about 1996, when she was between 5 and 8 years old. She said she was taken to a room away from others in Johnson’s house and was touched under her clothing. It happened at least five times, she said.
  • Victim 2 told investigators she was about 5 at the time she was abused, in about 1985. She told investigators she was digitally violated by Johnson while he showered with her, and that he had admitted the violation years later, the probable cause statement says.
  • Victim 3 told investigators she was about 12 in 1993 when Johnson had touched her while she was in a bed at his house. She pretended to be asleep during the abuse, the probable cause statement quotes the victim as saying.

“Johnson was interviewed about these incidents and other possible crimes that he had committed,” the court document says. “Post Miranda, Johnson admitted to touching” all three victims inappropriately.

The DCSO statement also notes, “There are currently other cases of abuse being investigated and have not come to a conclusion.”

A statement issued Thursday by Capt. Taylor West, Davis County Sheriff’s Office, thanks those who “came forward and shared their stories.

“Without their willingness to recount the abuse they suffered, others may have continued to be victimized by Johnson.”

Johnson is being held without bail in the Davis County jail system.

Anyone with additional information about Johnson is asked to call the DCSO dispatch center at 801-451-4150.

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