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Former LDS bishop sentenced for child sex abuse

Published December 17, 2008 6:39 pm

Up to 30 years » Despite defense request, judge sentences him to the max.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2008, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

A former Harrisville LDS bishop who sexually molested three Weber County sisters -- whom he frequently visited at home while their parents were away -- was sentenced Wednesday to prison for up to 30 years.

Timothy O'Sean McCleve, 53, got the maximum sentence from 2nd District Judge Ernie Jones, who ordered two counts of second-degree felony sexual abuse of a child to run consecutively.

Defense attorney Randall Skeen asked for probation and a year in jail, citing McCleve's "extensive record of community service," as well a psycho-sexual evaluation indicating McCleve was "treatable and manageable within the community."

But the judge rejected that option because of the number of victims.

McCleve used his influence as a one-time bishop for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to visit the three sisters -- ages 6, 8 and 12 at the time of the abuse -- and molest them, according to charging documents.

Also, a 21-year-old woman came forward to say McCleve had abused her as a 6-year-old child.

The abuse of the sisters began in July 2006, Harrisville Police Chief Max Jackson has previously told The Salt Lake Tribune.

In March 2007, one of the girls reported the abuse to her parents while watching a news report about a Riverton teacher arrested on suspicion of child molestation. The other two girls then verified their sister's story, Jackson said.

McCleve was initially charged with three counts of first-degree felony aggravated sexual abuse of a child. Prosecutors later added a fourth count of second-degree sexual abuse of a child after the 21-year-old said she also was abused as a child.

In September, McCleve pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual abuse of a child and the other counts were dismissed.

McCleve was a bishop until 2004, according to Jackson, who was a member of McCleve's ward. Most LDS bishops serve for about five years.

Skeen noted that the parents of the three girls were "extremely gracious" toward McCleve during the sentencing hearing.

According to Skeen, the girls' father told the judge: "I love him like a brother. I don't hate him. But we do need to protect my daughters."

shunt@sltrib.com