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Man arrested in undercover human trafficking investigation is an LDS bishop in Utah

Moss bishop arrest.jpg
David N. Moss (Photo: Utah County Sheriff's Office)

(KUTV) — A man arrested as part of an undercover operation targeting human trafficking is currently the bishop of an LDS ward in Lehi, Utah.

On Tuesday, detectives arrested David N. Moss, 51, who is currently the bishop of a congregation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Lehi. Sgt. Spencer Cannon, with the Utah County Sheriff's Office, said they have no evidence, but are investigating the possibility of other victims because of his position of trust as a local church leader and a vice police officer as late as 2012.

Investigators are requesting anyone who may have had inappropriate involvement with Moss to contact Utah County Sheriff's Office at 801.851.4010.

Another man was arrested in the same undercover investigation. Richard Michael Martin, 29 of Riverton, Utah, was trying to arrange an encounter with underage girls.

Cannon said because of Moss's role as a bishop interviewing vulnerable adults and children as a religious leader, they are concerned that there could be other victims. Also concerning to investigators was Moss's position in the past as a Lieutenant with the St. George Police Department where he supervised the vice squad.

During the undercover operation, detectives established contact with a man who uses the name "Pilot" on Feb. 14. They identified that person as Moss, according to a press release. Moss characterized himself to undercover detectives not as a pimp but as someone who could help them avoid being caught by law enforcement. He told police he had "run" other girls when he was asked if he had previous experience managing girls in prostitution.

Detectives sent photos to Moss -- presumably of girls -- and then prices were discussed and an arrangement to meet was made. During the meeting, Moss showed them money and said, "I am not opposed to paying."

During the part of the conversation about avoiding police, police said Moss grabbed the hand of one of the detectives and forcibly put it on his genitals over his pants, then unzipped his pants and exposed his genitals to the two detectives. Moss was released that day while further evidence was collected before his arrest on Tuesday in Lehi. He was booked into the Utah County Jail for suspicion of:

  • Exploiting a prostitute
  • patronizing a prostitute
  • sexual battery
  • two counts of lewdness

Bail was set at $10,260, cash or bond.

Moss resigned his employment with the St. George Police Department in 2012. Utah County Sheriff's office said he would have had contact with "vulnerable individuals who could easily be exploited" because of his police work. It also said his church service "also allowed him to contact with vulnerable individuals who could be exploited."