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LDS branch leader booted after sexual assault charge

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Efrey Guzman, 46, a former LDS Branch president in Sandy, is accused of biting another man's penis during an altercation. Courtesy of the Salt Lake County jail

By Cimaron Neugebauer

The Salt Lake Tribune

First published Aug 08 2012 06:19PM
Updated Aug 9, 2012 09:21AM

A church leader in Sandy was promptly released from his calling after allegedly biting another man’s penis and sexually abusing that man’s little sister.

Prosecutors charged Efrey Guzman, 46, of Sandy, on Tuesday in 3rd District Court for aggravated sexual assault, aggravated burglary, both first-degree felonies, and sexual abuse of a child and forcible sexual abuse, both second-degree felonies.

Guzman was an LDS branch president of a Latino congregation in Sandy. A branch is smaller than a ward.

In a statement from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, spokesman Scott Trotter wrote, "The church has zero tolerance for abuse of any kind. Mr. Guzman has been released from his church duties effective immediately and faces further church discipline following the legal process."

On May 8, Guzman knocked on the door of the 13-year-old girl’s house, near 4500 South and Gordon Lane (345 East), according to charging documents.

The girl, who referred to Guzman as a "family friend," told police Guzman suddenly grabbed her, hugged her tightly, started kissing her on the mouth and grabbed her buttocks. The girl’s 20-year-old brother walked into the room, and Guzman left.

According to court documents, no report was filed with police.

On Aug. 2, Guzman returned to the house, asking to see the girl again. The mother answered the door, refused to let him see her and told Guzman to leave. Guzman pushed his way into the house and attacked her, ripping her shirt and grabbing her exposed breast, court documents state. When the mother called out for help, her son came into the room.

As the son was trying to pull Guzman off his mother, Guzman attacked the son, grabbed his penis from his boxer shorts and "bit his penis, causing severe damage that required surgery," according to charging documents.

Guzman is being held in the Salt Lake County jail on a $300,000 bond. His initial court appearance is scheduled for Friday.

Court records indicate Guzman does not have a prior criminal history in Utah.

cimaron@sltrib.comTwitter: @CimCity

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