Since Jay Toombs was charged with sexual abuse, Logan Police Detective Rod Peterson says he has received more than a dozen calls from other alleged victims and their parents.

Peterson said some claims date back 20 years. But what frustrates Peterson and Cache County Attorney Scott Wyatt is that so many people did not tell police earlier.

"Pedophiles repeat. That much we know," said Wyatt.

Toombs was charged in February with three counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a child, a first-degree felony, stemming from allegations that he fondled a boy over three years until the boy's parents found out in 1994.

This month, Toombs was charged with sexually abusing another child in 1989.

Toombs and his attorney, Gil Athay, wouldn't comment. Toombs is free on bond, awaiting a preliminary hearing Wednesday.

A former Scoutmaster and private investigator who taught clogging dance classes, Toombs is well-liked, even by some who claimed he once abused them or their sons, Peterson said.

"They've forgiven him. They believe him, that he's repented," Peterson said.

Wyatt had considered charging a West Valley City counselor and two Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints bishops for failing to report the abuse, but did not.

Clergymen aren't required by law to report abuse when they learn of it from a perpetrator, but are if they hear about it elsewhere, Wyatt said.

Had the four-year statute of limitations not lapsed, Wyatt said he would have charged Vickie Cooper, a substance abuse counselor at The Utah Boys Ranch who runs self-improvement workshops on weekends, with failing to report the abuse.

In Utah, the statute of limitations for misdemeanors is two years, and for felony cases it is four years. Failure to report child abuse is a misdemeanor crime but the Legislature extended the statute of limitations to four years.

"We still haven't answered the questions as to who acted inappropriately, but because of statute-of-limitations problems, it's a moot point," Wyatt said.

Wyatt said Cooper heard many times that Toombs was abusing boys; Cooper denies it. She said she heard of one incident in the 1980s, before she knew Toombs, and was not obligated to report it.

"He is not a predator. He's a very loving father," Cooper said. "He has had problems in the past. As far as I'm concerned he has taken care of it legally, spiritually … in every possible way."

The mother of the boy allegedly abused for three years said she and a counselor from Mormon Social Services reported Toombs to police late last year. And she said she told Cooper, two bishops and Toombs' family between 1991 and 1999.

"I didn't want to see him go to prison. I wanted him to get help," she said. "I was always told to be patient with Jay, he was a good man. I was even given priesthood blessings that I had been chosen to help him."

The bishops told her that church officials decided Toombs didn't need to be reported as long as he was repentant and getting professional help, the mother said.

The bishops referred questions to church attorney Von Keetch, who said the bishops acted appropriately and made sure local law enforcement knew of the abuse, although neither called police.

Keetch said one, Bishop Robert Owens, knew the Cache County Sheriff's Office investigated Toombs in 1989 and the second, Bishop Brent Bryner, made sure a counselor notified authorities in 1997.

But the mother said she told Bryner of the abuse four years earlier. In her statement to police, she outlines numerous discouraging conversations with both Bryner and Cooper. In one such conversation, she said Cooper accused her of wanting Toombs to go to prison and being unable to find forgiveness in her own heart.

"Vickie (Cooper) told me I hadn't forgiven Jay and that is why I wanted him to go to prison," she said in her statement to police. "I told her … I wanted Jay to own up to what he has done to so many young men and be completely honest about it so he can get the help he needs."

In another conversation, the mother said Bryner told her he had "called Salt Lake City" - presumably LDS Church headquarters - and was told he did not have to report Toombs.

The earlier investigation by the sheriff's office was dropped. Wyatt said the investigating deputy said he was unable to substantiate allegations that Toombs kissed and fondled a 12-year-old boy.

That boy's mother said Toombs was always "too good to be true."

"He was always coming to get him, wanting him to be his son, wanting him to stay overnight."

Jerry Toombs, Jay Toombs' brother and a Mormon stake president, said he and his father were never warned about his brother's alleged abuse.

Keetch said Jerry Toombs was told of suspicions, but learned that law enforcement had already investigated.

Last year, Jerry Toombs made a controversial recommendation that convicted child abuser Shonn M. Ricks be allowed to serve a Mormon mission after spending 14 months in prison. The mission call was withdrawn after the victim's father complained.


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