SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – The daughter of a ward member expressed feelings of anger, disgust, and frustration after a bishop for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of child pornography.
Ria Perry spent her mother’s last moments with her before she passed away in 2017. She said her mother’s bishop, Timothy Hallows, was also part of that difficult time for her family.
“He came in, asked her if she wanted a priesthood blessing. He basically wanted to tell her he loved her, appreciated her, and that she was a good member of the community and ward,” she said.
Hallows also officiated her mother’s funeral and housed her best friend’s ex-spouse in his basement, where their children often stayed.
“Everybody went to him [Hallows] with concerns. He was a highly regarded person in our community, in talking to some of my family members who are part of that ward,” said Perry. “He was like an extension to your family.”
On Wednesday, Davis County Sheriff’s Office arrested Hallows on charges of sexual exploitation of a minor. According to probable cause statements, he admitted to distributing child porn images on Skype.
Police records stated thousands of images were found on his computer. Investigators said given his access to children, they believe he may have had inappropriate contact with children.
“My heart sank,” said Perry. “When you have someone like a bishop, who in a way is judging you, making sure you’re doing what you’re supposed to as a person with a high position in the church, you feel betrayed knowing that he did this.”
Hallows is currently being held without bond at the Davis County Jail, awaiting charges. A spokesperson with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued a statement Thursday after learning about the allegations, stating Hallows was immediately removed from any position that would place him in close contact with youth or children.
“He needs to have justice served for what he has done. It not only affects the person who has been abused but their family and people that they know,” said Perry.
Perry said she is a survivor of child sex abuse herself and now actively engages in efforts to empower victims to come forward.
“This is a cause that’s very dear to my heart because the children can’t protect themselves. It’s the responsibility of the community and adults to protect the kids,” she said. “If someone comes forward, believe them, tell them they’re brave and strong. Tell them you support them in any way that you can.”
Deputies said Hallows’ case is an on-going investigation that spans across state lines with the FBI involved. If you have any information, you’re asked to call the Davis County Police Department at (801) 451-4100.
Internet Crimes Against Children: Report child pornography to law enforcement by contacting the ICAC Tip Line at 801.281.1211 or your local law enforcement agency.
Child Abuse: If you suspect child abuse or neglect contact the DCFS 24/7 hotline: 855-323-3237. For more information, visit dcfs.utah.gov.
Sexual Assault: If you or someone you know needs help, call the Rape & Sexual Assault Crisis Line 1-888-421-1100.