Utah, Arizona Dismiss Bar Complaints against LDS Church Lawyer Who Gave Advice on When to Report Sex Abuse

By Nate Carlisle
Salt Lake Tribune
July 5, 2019

In a case that highlighted when lay clergy within The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints might report sex abuse, the agencies that regulate attorneys in Utah, Arizona and California have dismissed complaints a prosecutor filed against a lawyer representing the Utah-based faith.

Arizona’s was the last bar association to dismiss the complaint filed against Joseph Osmond, a lawyer with the Salt Lake City firm of Kirton McConkie. In an April 29 letter, a senior counsel for the State Bar of Arizona wrote that the case had been investigated and staff determined “no probable cause exists for the filing of a formal complaint."

“The charges have, therefore, been dismissed.”

The letter was addressed to the complainant, James Schoppmann, chief deputy of the Mohave County Attorney’s Office in Kingman, Ariz. Schoppmann, who shared the letter and similar notices from the Utah and California bars with The Salt Lake Tribune, had complained that Osmond gave legal advice in a state where he was not licensed to practice, and that advice caused a case of child sexual abuse to go unreported for a time.

Court documents allege a now-teen was sexually abused from 2006 through April 2016. In January 2018, a grand jury in Mohave County indicted one of the teen’s parents on four felony counts related to abuse. Then, in April 2018, another grand jury indicted the second parent on one felony count of child abuse and two felony counts of failure to report child abuse.








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