Former West Bountiful mayor arrested on child abuse charges

Sep 8, 2022, 2:17 PM | Updated: 2:19 pm
FILE PHOTO (Deseret News)...
FILE PHOTO (Deseret News)
(Deseret News)

DAVIS COUNTY, Utah — A former mayor of West Bountiful was arrested Wednesday for investigation of multiple counts of aggravated child sex abuse, which allegedly spanned decades.

Carl Matthew Johnson, 77, of Orem, Utah, is accused of abusing multiple victims ages 2-12.

He is being held at Davis County Jail and faces several charges, including:

  • Five counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a child — a first-degree felony
  • Two counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a child — a second-degree felony

Officials with the Davis County Sheriff’s Office said Johnson was a resident of Davis County when the crimes occurred.

“During the investigation, multiple victims were identified and interviewed, and all disclosed numerous instances of abuse by Johnson,” read a Thursday morning press release from the Davis County Sheriff’s Office.

According to arresting documents, the first victim said she was 5 to 8 years old when Johnson took her into a room in his Davis County home, away from other people, and touched her inappropriately. She said this occurred several times over years, first starting around 1996.

“Victim 1 remembered Carl telling her to stay quiet and not tell anyone about what happened,” the documents stated.

The victim told deputies she she could remember at least five times when Johnson would touch her.

The second victim, according to the probable cause statement, said she became victimized by Johnson on or about 1985.

She was about 5 years old at the time and described Johnson showering with her at his home in Davis County.

Later in life, the victim said Johnson admitted to inappropriately touching her during that incident.

The third victim said it was around 1993, when she was 12 years old, that Johnson came into her room at night and laid down next to her. He then began to touch her body and back, according to documents, before reaching under her shirt.

During the interaction, the victim said she pretended to be asleep.

Deputies said Johnson was interviewed about these incidents, where he admitted to committing those sexual acts.

“In all these cases the victims were told not to tell anyone else about what happened to them. In some cases these crimes were suppressed in one way or another by Johnson when any disclosures were made. Johnson used his position of trust to influence any disclosures,” arresting documents stated.

Deputies said Johnson admitted there were additional victims, estimating there were more than six victims as young as 2 years old.

Anyone with additional information about the suspect or his potential victims has been asked to call 801-451-4150.

In addition to being a former mayor, investigators noted that Johnson has held numerous positions of trust throughout his life, including as a bishop for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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Former West Bountiful mayor arrested on child abuse charges