Utah sex offender who became Mormon Church leader convicted of sex abuse again

KUTV NBC News, Utah/May 17, 2022

By Jeremy Harris

Salt Lake City – A registered sex offender who became a leader in a Utah congregation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been convicted of sex crimes again.

A jury in Dodge County, Minnesota, found Michael Adam Davis, 37, guilty of one count of criminal sexual conduct – a first-degree felony – two counts of second-degree felony criminal sexual conduct, and once count of indecent exposure.

According to court records, Davis met his teenage victim at a congregation in Kasson, Minnesota, in 2018 while Davis was serving in a ward leadership position known as Elders Quorum President.

Davis was given that role despite his status as a sex offender, stemming from a previous sex abuse conviction in Utah.

Court records show Davis was convicted of two counts of attempted forcible sexual abuse in Davis County in 2006 when he was living in Sunset. Since his conviction, Davis has been listed on the Utah Department of Corrections Sex and Kidnap Offender registry.

KUTV asked the Church by email if local leaders were aware of Davis’ status as a sex offender when he was called as Elders Quorum President, as well as if his church membership record was flagged that he was a sex offender.

In a written statement provided by Church headquarters, Rochester, Minnesota Stake President Randal Thomas did not address either question, but said the Church does not tolerate any kind of sex abuse.

“Anyone who abuses a child is rightfully subject to both criminal prosecution and would also be subject to formal discipline from the Church, including loss of their membership. When the leader of our local congregation learned of this alleged abuse, he assisted the family to ensure a report was made to the authorities. This individual was not serving (and has not served) in any position in the congregation associated with youth or children. When leaders learned about these allegations, Davis was immediately removed from any position in the congregation, and has not served in any capacity since that time. We extend our love to this family as they continue their healing process,” Thomas wrote.

For Sam Young, the founder of Protect LDS Children, this case represents a systemic failure in the Church.

Young is a former bishop who was excommunicated from the church in 2018. He held a hunger strike in the summer of 2018 when he asked the church to end one-on-one interviews with children behind closed doors and to stop allowing church leaders to ask sexual questions during worthiness interviews.

“They’ve implemented a few minor changes, but they still have big dangers that are built into their system,” Young said.

Davis’ sentencing date in Minnesota has not been set. The first-degree felony count carries a maximum prison term of 30 years and a $40,000 fine. Each second-degree felony count can carry a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison.

Davis’ case was featured earlier this year in a report by KMSP in Minneapolis.

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