Decades-old allegations are hard to prove, law professor says

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  • @LDS
    March 15, 2010 11:08 a.m.

    Don't hold your breath.

  • Trowe
    March 15, 2010 7:03 a.m.

    Re: Re: Re: President Monson | 2:31 p.m. March 14, 2010

    The church released a statment saying that Pres. Monson's office did receive this letter and reffered it to local authorities to handle. The statement related that the office of the first presidency sent her a letter informing her that it took such allegations seriously and would be looking into them. The Trib ran that story yesterday.

  • Trowe
    March 15, 2010 6:12 a.m.


    Thanks for the info.

  • Pioneerkid
    March 14, 2010 10:05 p.m.

    Sorry for being cynical; but hush money is hush money: It was paid to protect the reputation of a politician who would loose power if the public became aware of his personal conduct. It was paid for the same reason Richard Nixon paid hush money: To cover up a crime long enough to get reelected. It is a perversion of a democratic system: We have a right to know the character of our elected officials, and judge them by their actions - both legal and illegal.

    Public figures - right or wrong - will be judged by their private conduct; and shedding light on this conduct limits the possibility of bribes, graft, collusion extortion and conspiracy.

    The failure of the Deseret New to report this activity ten years ago is disappointing: The media have a stewardship that includes reporting inconvenient truths.

  • rj
    March 14, 2010 8:41 p.m.


    There may not be a statute of limitations now for sexual offenses against minors, but there was one until fairly recently in Utah--if the crime occurred before the laws changed (which it did), then she would have had until she turned 18 plus 3 years.

    So it might be outside the old statute.

    Thank goodness for the new one!

  • LDS
    March 14, 2010 6:14 p.m.

    The good church members deserve for our President Monson to be honest with us and address this terrible issue publicly so that we may have confidence in our church leadership. We can only forgive that what we know.

  • Ace
    March 14, 2010 5:18 p.m.

    Obviously, a crime was committed. He says and she says. So who prosecutes the case. Laura Miller? Come on. Get serious. Or maybe Mark Shurtleff. Really, come on. Get serious. The cupboard is bare.

  • An Observer
    March 14, 2010 5:17 p.m.

    IF this were dem ocrat,

    they LIBERALS would attacking the victim


    saying ot so lon ago it should not matter,


    it is simply no ones businees.

    Criminal activity?


    Politics from the left?


  • Re: Should be Done Now@9:22 a.
    March 14, 2010 4:05 p.m.

    "She was a victim back then, but she was not a victim in 2002. It's kind of hard to say "go and punish him now", after taking money and signing documents."

    God help you if you, or your children or grandchildren are ever sexually exploited by an older man before they are of age, esp a man who wields power over them and religious sway.

    We don't let me men mess with young girls, because IT MESSES THEM UP.

    This is what "messed up" looks like, my friend.

    In your mind, the action was so minor as it shouldn't affect you in your adult life. But if that were the case, felony child abuse should just be a misdemeanor then, because after all, "you get over it." Right?

    Well, you don't. You're own daughter wouldn't. This woman is haunted because this event has been invalidated in her life, and hushed up, while her abuser went on to achiever great power and wealth.

    Hopefully NOW she can get over it.

  • non disclosures
    March 14, 2010 3:50 p.m.

    Signed a non disclosure regarding a sexual abuse issue with the Chatholic Church in conjuntion with a financial settlement. Wasn't anywhere near $150K. Those non disclosures typically forbade writting a book, going on talk shows, talking with the press or in any way make public the situation. They also generally carry a heavy penalty for violating the non disclosure...triplicate what was paid. They do not forbade or give up your LEGAL right. Day in court, testifying in court, etc. This are done frequently in sex abuse cases and are legal and provide protection from a civil suit, as was mentioned. I'm curious if she broke her contract. She could be in a lot of trouble, financially speaking.

  • Pres. Monson....
    March 14, 2010 2:42 p.m.

    deals with this kind of thing often. Sexual miscouduct by high officials is not tolertated and it faces disciplinary action. Actually no one can prove all this junk trying to involve the church with this kink of stuff. the enemies of the church just wish for such omissions. I know differently.
    Just keep quiet unless you have proof in starting such wicked rumors. It is just vicious gossip you spread.

  • Gordon
    March 14, 2010 2:37 p.m.

    There is no doubt but what the church played a major part in protecting Garn and covering up the crime. It will be good if the church gets out in front of this scandal with truth and repair and not try to further avoid its responsiblity like the Catholic church did with child crimes.

  • Anonymous
    March 14, 2010 2:33 p.m.

    I agree with "It Should Be Done Now" Dragging this on hurts everyone.

  • Re: Re: Re: President Monson
    March 14, 2010 2:31 p.m.

    Just because the woman said she sent a letter to President Monson doesn't mean she did. If she really did send the letter, it doesn't mean his office received it (the post office doesn't have a perfect delivery record). If his office really did receive the letter, doesn't necessarily mean that it was brought to President Monson's attention. If it were brought to President Monson's attention, how do you know that he or someone from his office didn't contact the authorities?

    Also, to those who say the Bishop & church never contacted the authorities or that Garn never received church discipline, how do you know? It's not like law enforcement or the church tells the press & public everytime an investigation or disciplinary action has commenced.

    BTW, the whole obstruction of justice charge could only work if he knew there was an investigation into the matter and he attempted to interfere w/ it.

    For what it's worth, Garn is a loser and probably a criminal, but in all likelihood, there will be no charges 25 years & $150K after the fact.

  • Henry Drummond
    March 14, 2010 2:21 p.m.

    re: President Monson

    The Church has released a statement that they were made aware of this by 2008 and took action and that confidentiality laws precluded them from saying any more publicly. I do know there are laws that require even Bishops to report incidences of child sexual abuse to the authorities. If they were required to do so, I would be shocked if they didn't if for no other reason than the problems they encountered with lawsuits in the past especially in Washington State.

    I don't know if these same rules apply to newspaper reporters or others. As a parent I would hope that those with knowledge of this event at least checked into their legal responsibilities before deciding to remain silent. Maybe someone did report this and as the article suggests, the prosecutors decided they either didn't have the evidence or the statute of limitations precluded prosecution. I would hope that everyone involved, including this newspaper, would have taken the safety of children seriously enough to at least check into the law. I am simply shocked and sickened by this whole affair.

  • A good man?
    March 14, 2010 2:07 p.m.

    She may have had alterior motives, especially money, but don't call Garn "a good man."

    How does cheating on your wife, admitedly, by hot-tubbing in the nude with a minor make one a good man? He got caught, so had to confess.

    Anyone who sides with this predator has obviously never had a loved one suffer sexual abuse at the hands of a trusted older male figure.

  • Observer
    March 14, 2010 1:57 p.m.

    25 years ago. Nothing was said until Garn was running for election, and then the issue of $ cropped up. Garn admitted to the incident, something he didn't have to do. The fact that he admitted to doing something instead of denying it, is in my mind, a brave act of a man who would not repeat the same thing today.

    My opinion is that the woman is trying to cash in, and in so doing has cost a good man his career.

  • Re: Re President Monson
    March 14, 2010 1:56 p.m.

    According to innitial reports in both local newspapers, the woman contacted church officials and Garn's bishop even negotiated the hush money in 2002. She, at the same time contacted church authorities and Monson was made aware of the situation.

    The church does have something to do with the story since it owns and operates the Deseret News, KSL tv, and KSL radio, all who reported these allegations.

    Cover up may be going a little too far but it does smell bad.

  • re: President Monson
    March 14, 2010 1:25 p.m.

    Give proof of your accusation. Otherwise you're just a shill trying to attack the church, which had NOTHING to do with this story.

  • President Monson
    March 14, 2010 12:52 p.m.

    Is a former chair at DNews and apparently was aware of this former LDS bishop and stake president.

    Smells like a cover up from the highest levels of church hierarchy and media.

  • believe victim
    March 14, 2010 12:40 p.m.

    I tend to believe the woman.
    Garn already has admitted to being nude in a hot tub with a child.
    How easy would it be for the woman to say they had sex, if she wanted to be malicious and lie?
    What she says happened, is what happened.

  • re: wrong victim and anon
    March 14, 2010 12:22 p.m.

    If she was trying to extort money, she would have contact him, and told him "pay me x amount of money or I will go to the press"
    What she did was go to the press, he found out, called her and tried to offer her money to stay quite, her husband found out, ordered the woman to demand more money.
    Garn bribed the woman to keep her quiet, and made sure the press dropped the story.
    In retrospect, a man who is powerful enough to get this kind of story covered up, is a powerful man indead, with an equally powerful wife, who was in on the deal.
    After he abused the woman, Garn did nothing to help her, did not offer to pay for counseling.
    He was only concerned about himself when he thought it would hurt his powerful political career.
    I wonder if there are other victims that will now come forward.
    The fact this woman is still alive and fighting against this show what a good and resislant person she is.

  • Cassell's Missing the Point
    March 14, 2010 12:21 p.m.

    With all due respect to Prof Cassell, a prosecutor who can't prove that abuse occurred in this case ought to find another profession. Garn has publicly admitted that he enticed an underage girl to take off her clothes and go skinny-dipping with him at a hot tub facility. The victim corroborates Garn's account but adds that Garn plied her with alcohol and really liked "massages." Even if you don't believe the victim's story, Garn is guilty by his own admission of child abuse. Slam dunk.

    The statute of limitations issue is considerably trickier and could thwart a prosecution, but proving that the abuse actually occurred would not pose a problem for any competent attorney.

  • It is clear
    March 14, 2010 12:12 p.m.

    That this woman is unstable and has curious intentions. But the fact remains that this guy, a married man at the time, provided alcohol to a minor and was nude with her in a hot tub, folks. Don't reflect the blame on the woman in order to excuse the man.

  • Doug G
    March 14, 2010 11:43 a.m.

    I'd bet one or the other side of this exercise could produce the 'hush' documents that went along with the cash. I'd also bet that document would make for a pretty iron clad case even this long after the fact.

  • This is just an article
    March 14, 2010 11:13 a.m.

    the Deseret News wrote to try and cover the mistake they made by not reporting this mess in 2002 when they had the news. Now they are trying to make it sound like it is no bid deal. That it would be hard to prove, blah blah blah.

    How about an article on the political reasons you did not run the story back then DN?

  • total1096
    March 14, 2010 9:23 a.m.

    In consideration of a possible sexual abuse charge, the statute of limitations that would apply is what the law read at the time of occurrence, not how it reads today (meaning statute of limitations law not sexual abuse law)

  • Should be Done Now
    March 14, 2010 9:22 a.m.

    He has resigned. He should no longer be a public figure. She got her day in the media and $150,000.
    It should end now.

    He has paid a huge price, maybe not prison but he will be in his own prison for a long time. Not sure what she will get now. Peace of mind, hopefully, that is enough. I don't think there is a book in the making.

    I am glad she came forward, he should not be in the house of reps. She is another story though. She was a victim back then, but she was not a victim in 2002. It's kind of hard to say "go and punish him now", after taking money and signing documents.

    So, in the end, in my mind, they both committed offenses but it should now end. He is out of politics and she has her closure. Should be enough.

  • Anonymous
    March 14, 2010 6:01 a.m.

    When she was 15, she was a victim.

    When she demanded and received $150,000 she was an adult. Perhaps the $20,000 was understandable, as it was to pay for counseling. The other $130,000? She and her husband were extortionists. When David Letterman went to the police, perhaps he could have been accused of sexual harrassment because the woman worked for him, but the extortionist did not. The extortionists in this case did not work for him. The husband has no excuse whatsoever. She could be excused for the $20,000 for healing. The rest is pure extortion. Who is the victim?

    Now? She is an adult who has broken a contract. Who is the victim?

  • Anonymous
    March 13, 2010 11:48 p.m.

    What the heck is up with the blame the victim mentality here in Utah? It's almost as if it is a culture founded upon that mindset.

  • Anonymous
    March 13, 2010 11:06 p.m.

    "Modern politicians have apparently forgotten that this Country was founded upon the principle that in order to become and remain stron, a nation must practice moderation, prudence, chastity, and honesty."

    Is that in the Constitution somewhere? I must have missed it! How many mulatto childen did Thomas Jefferson sire? How many other other founding fathers were founding philanderers? We'll never know will we? Hypocrisy and immorality and stupidity and cover-ups are not an invention of "modern politicians"!

  • Justice for all
    March 13, 2010 10:13 p.m.

    What ever he and her did in the hot tub and beyond, only they will ever know. He paid to hush her up which is obstruction of justice to a felony. I hope the laws he put in place will apply to him as they do the rest of us. No one is above the law and just because he's rich and famous, he should be treated the same way. He already publically admitted being with her, naked in a hot tub and paid her to keep quiet. Two huge mistakes that deserve to be reprimanded. She and her former husband should be prosecuted for extortion then everyone will be even and it will be over in the public scrutiny.

  • Anonymous
    March 13, 2010 8:05 p.m.

    I do believe the Garns contradicted their story, in one report the pay off happened after the 2002 election, in another it was before.

    So, REAL investigative reporters who want the truth for our country, find out which it was, before or after.

  • P.
    March 13, 2010 7:54 p.m.

    You know what. Regardless of how long ago this happened, if any business owner or politician or adult persuaded or seduced a child to do something that would later haunt them for years because of their religious upbringing, well, in my book the persuader is at fault, not the child or younger person. Especially if the older adult persuader is of the same faith. He was twice her age, of the same faith, he swayed her to betray her faith.

    Stop excusing the behavior. There may be blame enough for both, but the scale should tip in Garns direction as far as who was responsible.

  • Trowe
    March 13, 2010 7:49 p.m.

    @Clark Sanders,

    I haven't seen any reports that she asked for more money, from either the Garn camp or her. I've only heard her statements that she felt she couldn't heal until this was out in the open. Do you have info that she did demand more money?

    And to your other point, I have a daughter nearing 15. If I found out in 25 years that someone had violated done this to her, I would still be piping hot mad. She was a kid. He was married. Time doesn't change that.

    Obviously no-one is perfect. And maybe he got has since been a model citizen. But that doesn't mean that he shouldn't be held responsible for what he did to this girl. Especially considering that this was a months long relationship, not a spur of the moment, I was drunk and made one mistake (which I could understand, except for that fact that she was only 15).

  • Trowe
    March 13, 2010 7:41 p.m.

    @Wrong Victim-

    She was 15, he was 30. He was the perp, she was the victim. The law does not even allow for the possibility of her being at fault. She was a minor, and he a married ADULT. Hence, he was the victim. As to the extortion- she went to the Dnews and Trib, told her story. They held the story, called her and offered to buy her silence. That's not extortion. Now, she did ask for more money, which might be extortion, but it sounds like he intitiated the money discussion, so I have a hard time seeing him as a victim in that, too. If she had taken him to civil court she could have gotten a much bigger settlement.

    Also, please stop calling this a mistake. This was wanton criminal behavior. He took a 15 year old to a private hot tub, with alcohol (according to her), and got her clothes off. He should be looking at a class A misdemeanor sexual abuse, which doesn't require any contact, although I believe it probably took place. There is no statute of limitations. UTCode 76-5-401.

  • Hard to prove?
    March 13, 2010 7:25 p.m.

    No one is denying this. He said it happened. She said it happened. His money said he was really worried about the details coming out. His calls to the Deseret News said he was really worried about the details. The details that he could be charged with is disputable, but both parties say it happened. And now the world knows.

  • Leislative Ethics, an oxymoron
    March 13, 2010 5:31 p.m.

    Whether or not the allegations could be prosecuted the fact remains that there was an exchange of $150,000. This was for alleged help in allowing a minor to become an adult without problems in return for quietude. That alone raises issues that could become a problem.

    So it may have been a bribe or just hush money; he admitedly paid it. Why?

    Where did the money come from? Was it diverted from campaign funds? Or did it come from a personal fortune; and, did Mrs. Garn know of that expenditure?

    Was it a gift, except admittedly there were strings attached?

    Who paid the taxes on that money? Was there a 1099 or W2 issued with the check?

    No, I do not think that Garn deserves the ovation that the Legislative nit wits gave him. They may want a pass for him but I think he should let us have answers to these and many other questions.

  • Baloney
    March 13, 2010 4:39 p.m.

    In the midst of his campaign in 2002 he paid her a bribe to keep her quiet. Of that there is NO question, and the statute of limitations hasn't run out on that.

  • Clark Sanders
    March 13, 2010 4:25 p.m.

    It was 25-years ago! WHATEVER. She got $150,000 and signed a non-closure agreement. If anything, she should be held liable for breach of contract. She was just trying to shake him down for more money. A sad situation.

  • John Charity Spring
    March 13, 2010 4:04 p.m.

    This article has missed the point. The point is not that this crime would be hard to prosecute in a court of law, the point is that it never should have occurred in the first place. There has been an epidemic of immorality among our politicians in the last twenty to thirty years. Too many politicians have accepted the modern view that chastity is a concept that is outdated. Modern politicians have apparently forgotten that this Country was founded upon the principle that in order to become and remain stron, a nation must practice moderation, prudence, chastity, and honesty.

  • wrong victim
    March 13, 2010 3:55 p.m.

    The person that should be prosecuted, but the statute of limitations have run against the looney woman and her estranged husband who extorted $$. Garn should have turned them in then, at least letterman did that. And to come back purportedly for more money, bc the lady's husband is dumping her smells bad. For all i know Garn is a decent man who made a mistake 25 yrs ago, had made amends, and then this lady raises her snakey head. Sad, sad, for Garn and his family.

  • Anonymous
    March 13, 2010 3:52 p.m.

    Absolutely not!