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Saving seats at Mormon church in Plain City leads to assault, arrest

Published: Tuesday, July 2 2013 10:00 a.m. MDT

On Sunday, a man was arrested at an LDS Church meetinghouse after a fight broke out over saved seats in the chapel.

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PLAIN CITY, Weber County — It's supposed to be a place of peace and worship.

But on Sunday, a man was arrested at an LDS Church meetinghouse after a fight broke out over saved seats in the chapel.

On Sunday, the Meadows Ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had a full house during sacrament meeting because of a missionary farewell and a baby blessing.

A family that normally does not attend that ward but was there Sunday for the blessing had sat down in a pew and was reserving seats for other family members, said Weber County Sheriff's Lt. Mark Lowther.

When 51-year-old Wayne Dodge, a regular member of the ward, sat down in one of the seats being reserved, angry words were exchanged between the two parties.

After the meeting, more words were exchanged, Lowther said. And after church was done for the day, the two sides ran into each other in the parking lot and the argument continued. The fight became even more heated between Dodge and a male member of the other family.

"(Dodge) ended up throwing a couple of punches and striking this individual. He had some blood coming from his face, so he went inside the church to clean up. And when he exited the church, (Dodge) was in his car. I guess there was another confrontation," Lowther said.

Investigators say Dodge then hit the man with his vehicle.

"Ultimately, the victim ended up on the hood of the car," he said. "(Dodge) exited the vehicle and some other people that attended the church service restrained him. And I don't know how, but he ultimately ended up in the bishop's office until law enforcement arrived."

The man who was hit suffered minor injuries and refused to be transported to a local hospital.

Dodge was arrested for investigation of aggravated assault and disorderly conduct.

Lowther said the entire incident could have been avoided if cooler heads had prevailed.

"It's not worth the injury, and it's not worth the legal consequences for something as basic as this," he said.

Email: preavy@deseretnews.com

Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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