Pinal County prosecutors, pushing for the maximum 15 years in prison for the estranged wife of Maricopa County Supervisor Fulton Brock, portrayed Susan Brock as a predator who repeatedly molested a teenage boy after initially pursuing his older brother without success - all while they said the Mormon church concealed the abuse.
Susan Brock sentenced to 13 years in prison
Prosecutors spent 2 1/2 hours Thursday presenting their case in a Maricopa County courtroom, with Pinal County deputy attorney Jason Holmberg presenting emails and documents that detailed the sexual relationship of more than three years. Holmberg said Bishop Troy Hansen of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had been informed of the allegations of sexual abuse from fellow Bishop Matt Mires, but did not report it to authorities.
A Church official denied the prosecutions allegations.
"This matter was reported to the police when it was first disclosed to Church authorities before Susan Brock confessed," said Church spokesperson Kim Farah. "One of the victims reported to the police as encouraged and facilitated by the Church.
"Arizona law is clear that no priest can disclose any confession even when it concerns child abuse. Nevertheless, Church leaders worked effectively within the law, and with those involved, to facilitate prompt reporting to the police while protecting the victim.
"It is absolutely false to suggest that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints engaged in doing anything other than help bring the perpetrator to justice in this tragic case."
According to prosecutors, Susan Brock began to "groom" the boy when he was 11 and in sixth grade, and the sexual abuse began when he was 14. The boy, now 17, is attending school out of state and getting counseling.
Prosecutors say that after Susan Brock was arrested, Fulton Brock tried to set up a meeting to pressure local Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints officials and the boy's family for forgiveness, but that meeting never took place.
Earlier this year, Susan Brock pleaded guilty in Maricopa County Superior Court to three counts of attempted sexual conduct with a minor. On Monday, Chandler police detectives said they served a search warrant to get handwriting samples from Fulton Brock.
Susan Brock began the three-year relationship with the boy after her daughter Rachel Brock, 21, began having sexual encounters with him, according to police. Rachel Brock has been indicted by a grand jury on five sexually related counts of sexual conduct with a minor and furnishing harmful materials to a minor.
Court records show Rachel Brock sent nude photos of herself and an explicit video to the boy's cell phone. The trysts occurred when she was 18 and the boy was 13.
The boy attended the same Church of Jesus Chris of Latter-day Saints as the Brocks. Documents show Susan Brock initially denied any wrongdoing during a meeting with a church official, but that Fulton Brock took an iPhone his wife gave the boy and put it in a lockbox. The phone allegedly had sexual content Susan sent the boy, and officers later obtained the phone through a search warrant to examine its contents.
Holmberg said Thursday that Fulton Brock told investigators he didn't know where the phone was, but that after police conducted a 45-minute search of his home he turned it over. "In the end, he did the right thing," Holmberg said.