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Former LDS bishop in Nampa pleading guilty to one count of child sexual abuse

Idaho

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NAMPA (Idaho Statesman) — A former Nampa bishop in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has entered into a plea agreement after being charged with four sex crimes involving two minors, and he could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison in January.

The plea agreement was drafted during mediation between the prosecution and defendant Dylan Kevin Whiting, 33, and it was presented at a hearing in 3rd District Court in Canyon County on Nov. 3, according to records obtained by the Idaho Statesman. Whiting is pleading guilty to one count of child sexual abuse — with a sentence of three years fixed and seven years indeterminate, meaning Whiting would be eligible for parole after 36 months.

Whiting also would serve five years of probation and have a five-year no-contact order with the two girls. After completing his sentence, the prosecution would not resist the defendant’s efforts to be removed from the sex offender registry.

Under the deal in place, the judge is bound by the agreed-upon sentence if the guilty plea is accepted. However, the judge has the ability to reject the sentence as insufficient, which would allow Whiting to withdraw his plea at the sentencing hearing on Jan. 24.

Whiting was a lay bishop of Nampa’s 30th Ward from December 2019 until January 2021, when the LDS church removed him from his post after becoming aware of allegations against him, according to a church spokesperson. Nampa’s 30th Ward is within the Nampa Idaho East Stake, which includes multiple wards.

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Whiting was initially charged with two counts of lewd conduct with a child and two counts of child sexual abuse, according to a criminal complaint. The allegations involve two underage girls known to Whiting personally rather than through the church, according to an affidavit from the Nampa Police Department.

Whiting was arraigned on the four felony charges on April 12, and on June 28 he pleaded not guilty, according to court records. Conviction of lewd conduct with a minor is punishable by up to life in prison, and child sexual abuse may be punished by up to 25 years in prison.

Earlier this month, Whiting agreed to plead guilty to one felony count of child sexual abuse, with the other three counts dismissed as part of the agreement.

Third District Judge Gene Petty ordered a presentencing investigation and a psychosexual evaluation prior to the sentencing hearing. Those evaluations can affect the sentencing, according to a guilty plea advisory in the case.

Whiting has been released on a bond of $100,000, and a GPS ankle monitor was removed at his Nov. 3 hearing.

As a lay bishop in Nampa, Whiting was an unpaid leader of his ward charged with overseeing spiritual and social needs among members, according to the church’s website. Bishops usually serve for around five years, with the assistance of two counselors.

“Upon learning of these allegations in early January, Church officials immediately took steps to remove this individual from his lay leadership position,” Sam Penrod, a spokesperson for the church in Salt Lake City, said in a statement emailed to the Statesman in September. “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.”

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