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Latter-day Saint bishop facing sexual abuse charges removed from post

Crime Watch

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(Idaho Statesman) — A bishop of Nampa’s 30th Ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was removed from his post after allegations that he sexually abused two minors. He has since been charged with two counts of lewd conduct with a child and two counts of child sexual abuse, according to court records.

Dylan Kevin Whiting, 33, of Nampa, served as a lay bishop in the LDS church from December 2019 until January 2021, when he was removed from his position after the church became aware of allegations against him, according to a church spokesperson. Nampa’s 30th Ward is within the Nampa Idaho East Stake, which is a larger district made up of multiple wards.

According to an affidavit from the Nampa Police Department, the two individuals in Whiting’s case are known to him personally rather than through his church involvement. The abuse allegedly occurred between 2011 and 2020.

Whiting has been charged with touching two underage girls in a sexual manner, according to a criminal complaint. Lewd conduct with a minor is punishable by up to life in prison, while child sexual abuse is punishable by up to 25 years.

In the LDS church, a bishop is an unpaid leader of a local congregation — called a ward — who “oversees the spiritual and social needs of their ward members,” according to the church’s website. Bishops usually serve for around five years, and are assisted by two counselors. All three individuals are together called the bishopric.

“Upon learning of these allegations in early January, Church officials immediately took steps to remove this individual from his lay leadership position in the Church,” Sam Penrod, a spokesperson for the church in Salt Lake City, said in a statement emailed to the Idaho Statesman. “Abuse of any kind is not tolerated in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Anyone who engages in such behavior is rightfully subject to criminal prosecution and also faces discipline from the church, including loss of church membership.”

The church declined to say whether Whiting is still a member, the Statesman reports.

Whiting was arraigned in Canyon County District Court on the four felony charges on April 12. On April 15, he posted $100,000 bail. On June 28 he pleaded not guilty to all four charges, and the case was ordered to mediation on Sept. 3, according to court records. A no-contact order with the two individuals is active while the case is ongoing, or until 2023.

Attempts to reach Whiting by email and phone were unsuccessful.

In legal mediation, a neutral arbiter — a judge — assists those involved in reaching a mutually acceptable agreement. Participating in mediation is voluntary, and can be used to resolve “some or all” of a case’s issues, according to the Idaho Supreme Court. Mediations are also confidential, and the arbiters involved do not preside over any future proceedings related to the case.

The mediation in this case is set for Sept. 22.

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