SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah (ABC4 News) – A former bishop for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints charged with sexual abuse of young boys was sentenced Tuesday to 120 days in jail.
Jeffrey Byron Head originally faced two counts of felony forcible sex abuse and two counts of lewdness. Head was found guilty by a jury in April of third-degree felony attempted forcible sex abuse, misdemeanor sexual battery, and two counts of misdemeanor lewdness.
Head was given a suspended sentence of 0-5 years at the Utah State Prison should he not comply with the terms of his 4-year probation. He is to not have any contact with the victims or their families.
He was also given a fine of $9500 and is required to register as a sex offender.
Jeffery Byron Head, 54, of Draper, convicted of inappropriately touching boys on several occasions between May 2016 and August 2017. Charges indicate the victims were at least 14 years old.
Head was previously a bishop with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He was removed from his position after the allegations came to light.
A church spokesman Eric Hawkins released the following statement after charges were filed and an arrest warrant was issued:
“Abuse of any kind cannot be tolerated in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Anyone who engages In such behavior is rightfully subject to criminal prosecution and will also face discipline from the Church, including loss of Church membership.
Upon learning of these allegations, we took steps to notify authorities and to support their investigation into this matter. This individual was also immediately removed from any position in the Church.”
According to court documents, Head touched one victim inappropriately while in the presence of other minors. Two other witnesses told detectives they saw this happen.
Another victim told investigators Head would “discuss sex and masturbation all the time.” He said once the defendant offered to give him a ride home following a church activity. While in his driveway, Head reportedly locked the doors and stated, “we have to figure this masturbation thing out. You’re not leaving until we figure this out.”
The victim told police he could have left but chose not to because Head was “supposed to be a family friend, a leader for him to look up to,” and he would be angry if he ran away.