Parents of three children molested by purported Ogden religious sect leader Arvin George Shreeve have said their children weren't traumatized by the incidents.
One of the parents said she didn't believe Shreeve was "lustful" when he committed the acts against the children, who were members of his religious group.Shreeve, a 61-year-old retired landscaper, appeared at a sentencing hearing before 2nd District Judge David E. Roth Monday. Weber County prosecutors are asking for maximum prison terms.
Shreeve pleaded guilty Nov. 7 to two first-degree felony charges of child sodomy and two second-degree felony charges of child sexual abuse. The pleas resulted from a plea negotiation in which county prosecutors agreed not to bring numerous additional charges.
The two first-degree charges carry minimum mandatory sentences of from five, 10 or 15 years to life.
Weber County Attorney Reed Richards has indicated he will ask for consecutive minimum 15-year-to-life terms for Shreeve, ensuring that the former Weber High School student-body president and state debate champion spends at least 30 years in prison.
One parent, Shreeve's daughter-in-law, testified Monday that the sexual abuse of her daughter was apparently based on Shreeve's religious beliefs.
She said Shreeve had told adults "the only basis for sexual relationships was to bring you closer together as husband and wife." She added that Shreeve apparently extended this relationship to children without her knowledge.
The Clearfield woman said Shreeve appeared repentant and told the court, "I could not say he was lustful or out for self-gratification."
A Kaysville man, the parent of two girls Shreeve admitted molesting, said Shreeve was a "compassionate, generous man who would do any thing he could . . . to assist anyone in need."
Both parents testified their children had been far more traumatized by a police raid and subsequent questioning than by the sexual abuse.
The woman said her child had given no indication of physical or psychological damage, while the man said he had not seen any "significantly evident" trauma in his daughters.
"It may be the interrogation and investigation have overshadowed it so far that it has been suppressed," he said.
The woman said her daughter still expressed love for her grandfather, while the man said his children had not given any indication they feared Shreeve, whom he described as a former neighbor and friend.
Former members of Shreeve's religious sect have said the group lived a communal lifestyle and practiced a form of polygamy in which several women were sexually linked to a single man and with each other within a "sister council."
The children Shreeve admitted molesting reportedly were members of his council, a group of more than two dozen women and female children under the patriarchal direction of Shreeve as their "eternal companion."
Two female members of Arvin Shreeve's sister council, including his daughter, Jennifer Shreeve, have also pleaded guilty to child sexual abuse and a third woman from his group is awaiting arraignment on similar charges.
An arrest warrant was issued for Shreeve following an Aug. 2 police raid on seven of the 10 homes owned by group members. Nine children were taken into custody, although most have since been returned to their families.
Shreeve turned himself in to Cedar City police Aug. 9.