Utah judge sends former Mormon bishop to prison for sexually abusing boys in his congregation

| Courtesy of Utah County Sheriff's Office Erik Wayne Hughes

A former Mormon bishop from Mapleton has been sentenced to prison for sexually abusing two boys in 2014, when they were members of his congregation.

Erik Hughes, 51, was charged in July in 4th District Court with two second-degree felony counts of forcible sexual abuse that allegedly occurred in June 2014, as well as a count of tampering with a witness, a third-degree felony.

In August, Hughes pleaded guilty to all three charges.

On Tuesday, Judge Thomas Low sentenced Hughes to concurrent one-to-15-year prison terms on the sexual abuse counts, and zero to five years for the witness tampering counts.

According to a probable cause statement from the Mapleton Police Department, an 18-year-old man told police in April that when he was 15, he had been sexually abused by Hughes, who at the time was his bishop in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“[Hughes], at the time, was the victim’s LDS bishop, thereby occupying a position of special trust in relation to the victim,” charges state.

After Hughes learned the abuse had been reported to police, he approached a second victim in June 2017, a probable cause statement said, “and advised the victim that he might be contacted by police, and told that victim what to say to ensure [Hughes] would not get into trouble.”

Police said the second boy was also sexually abused by Hughes when he was a teenager and a member of Hughes’ LDS ward.

A church spokesman said in June that Hughes had been removed “from any position within the church.”