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Utah man, once an LDS bishop, jailed for child sexual abuse

Francis Fuller via Utah County.jpg
Francis Fuller (Photo: Utah County)

A Utah man, who once was a bishop in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is in jail on a two-year sentence after he pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual abuse of a child.

Francis Heber Fuller, 78, was originally charged with 11 counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a child, one count of first-degree sexual abuse of a child and lewdness involving a child. Fuller was to face a jury trial this year but instead pleaded guilty to two of the charges that were reduced to second-degree felonies while the rest of the charges were dismissed with prejudice; they cannot be brought against Fuller in the future.

Prosecutors sometimes agree to plea agreements to spare victims of sexual abuse from testifying in court. KUTV does not typically name victims of sexual abuse.

Court documents show that each of the two counts carried a possible one- to 15-year sentence but the prison term was suspended by the court to a one-year sentence for each count with a requirement to serve the full term for each count. Fuller received credit for 11 days already spent in jail.

Court documents also state he will be given "all necessary and appropriate medical treatment" while in jail. He was fined $2,586.

When released from the Utah County Jail after completing the two-year sentence, Fuller will be on probation for four years and must follow Utah's conditions for sex offenders that includes participating and completing sex offender therapy, observing curfews, having no contact with the victims or their families, not having contact with children under 18, not entering schools, playgrounds, parks or other places where children are present and other rules under the observation of a parole officer.

Fuller was a bishop, leading an LDS congregation in Highland, Utah in 1993. He was featured in an American Fork newspaper announcing the position leading the congregation.

Fuller is may have founded Wasatch Transportation, a company now directed by his son, that transports special needs children to Utah schools but that could not be confirmed. Fuller spoke to the Deseret News as a representative of Wasatch Transportation in 1997.

A video interview with one victim was considered probable cause for arraignment in 2017, court documents state. In 2018, a second victim came forward, delaying court proceedings. Prior to a scheduled June jury trial, Fuller changed his plea.

Fuller was sentenced Aug. 22, 2019, by Judge Kraig Powell.

KUTV contacted the Church but did not receive an official comment about this case at the time of publication.