Erik Hughes, a 51-year-old former Mormon bishop, has been arrested for allegedly drugging and sexually abusing two teen boys. At the time of the alleged abuse, Hughes was the bishop (a trusted Mormon authority figure) of at least one of his accusers. The disturbing sexual abuse reportedly took place several years ago and happened repeatedly.
According to the first victim, who is now 18-years-old, he was drugged and sexually abused by Erik Hughes approximately three years ago. The alleged victim told investigators that Huges was his Mormon bishop at the time of the abuse, and at first seemed "very friendly," reports Fox 13 Now. At one point, Erik Hughes allegedly provided the teen with what the child believed to be melatonin, a natural supplement often used as a sleep aid.
The victim says that he had taken the supplement in the past, but after he took the pill given to him by then-Mormon bishop Hughes, he knew something was wrong. The teen claims that he "felt disoriented" after taking the pill, and added that Hughes apologized for accidentally "giving him the wrong medication." Despite the apology, the alleged victim told investigators that the incident with the "melatonin" wouldn't be the only time the Erik Hughes gave him a substance that made him feel out of sorts.According to the alleged victim, his then-Mormon bishop gave him a smoothie on a separate occasion, a smoothie that the unidentified teen victims called "bitter-tasting." Shortly thereafter, the victim says he felt as "woozy and disoriented," as he had felt after Erik Hughes allegedly gave him an unidentified pill instead of melatonin.
The victim went on to tell police that, after serving him the allegedly tainted smoothie, his Mormon bishop "helped him to bed" and began to touch him inappropriately. At some point, the victim reportedly fell asleep/passed out, and when he woke he claims that he was no longer wearing underwear and he was being sexually abused by Hughes.
The now-18-year-old victim is not the only one to come forward with allegations of abuse against Erik Hughes. As the Daily Herald reports, a second victim says that the former Mormon bishop sexually abused him dozens of times when he was just 17-years-old. The abuse allegedly took place roughly five years ago, and had even escalated to the point that Hughes demanded nude photos of his victim.The victim also alleges that Erik Hughes sent him naked photographs of himself.
Investigators have not confirmed that this alleged exchange took place.
According to the second victim, he was also drugged and sexually abused by Hughes in a hotel room.
Investigators claim that Erik Hughes attempted to tamper with the second victim as a witness after his first accuser came forward and spoke to law enforcement. Reportedly, the former Mormon bishop made unexpected contact with the second alleged victim after the first allegations were brought to life, telling him that he was being "falsely accused" and attempting to discover how the second victim might respond if contacted by police.Erik Hughes has been arrested and charged with suspicion of 20 second-degree felonies of forcible sexual abuse, one second-degree felony of sexual exploitation of a minor, one third-degree felony of dealing in materials harmful to a minor, and one third-degree felony of tampering with a witness. The former Mormon bishop is being held at the Utah County Jail on a $25,000 cash-only bail.
The LDS (Mormon) Church has reportedly made contact with the Utah County Sheriff's Office with regard to the allegations concerning former bishop Erik Hughes.
[Featured Image by Utah County Sheriff's Office]