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Homeless man charged with stalking Mormon church president

Published: Friday, July 8 2011 7:49 p.m. MDT

SALT LAKE CITY — A homeless man was charged Friday with stalking the president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Benjamin Tucker Staples, 36, was charged with stalking, a class A misdemeanor.

Salt Lake police officers were called to the LDS Church Office Building, 50 E. North Temple, on July 5 after receiving a report of a trespasser. Officers were told Staples had been to the building about five times since June 25 asking to speak with President Thomas S. Monson.

Staples was "told on every prior appearance that he is not to return to the premises," the charges filed in 3rd District Court state. "Each prior incident, the defendant was arrested and booked into the jail."

Staples, who has the alias of "Jesus Christ" listed in the Salt Lake County Jail booking information, told officers "he intends to keep returning to the offices" until he meets President Monson, the charges state.

Each time, he refused to leave voluntarily, "choosing instead to be arrested by police," according to the charges.

"Church security is concerned for the safety of the president and those employed in the building because of defendant's persistence even after being told not to return and given a written trespass order," the charges state.

Staples is being held in jail on $25,000 bail.

— Brian West

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