SALT LAKE CITY — A former Latter-day Saint bishop apologized to his family, his congregation and to victims of sexual exploitation before being sentenced to prison Wednesday for having child pornography on his cellphone.
Timothy James Hallows, 62, told a federal judge that he recognizes pornography is a bane on society and possessing underage images “goes beyond pale.” He said he deeply regrets getting involved with child pornography.
“I’m fully aware of my culpability in this case, and I take full responsibility for the things that I have done and for the actions that I have taken. There’s no one else responsible but myself,” he said, appearing in court from the Davis County Jail via video conferencing.
Hallows, 62, of Kaysville, pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography in an agreement with federal prosecutors in July. He admitted to having images of prepubescent children being sexually assaulted by adults on his cellphone and sending them to a woman in the Philippines last November.
U.S. District Judge Howard Nielson sentenced Hallows to 46 months in federal prison, with credit for the 13 months he has served in jail. He also imposed five years of supervised release and ordered him to register as a sex offender.
Hallows was bishop of the Wellington Ward in the Kaysville Utah Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when he was arrested last year and later charged with eight counts of sexual exploitation of a minor in 2nd District Court.
The state charges were dismissed last June after the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Davis County Attorney’s Office decided to pursue the case in federal court.
Assistant U.S. attorney Carol Dain said prosecutors had “grave” concerns that Hallows’ position in the church gave him access to children. He agreed to a polygraph test that showed he had not committed any “hands-on” offenses, she said.
Defense attorney Tara Isaacson said Hallows had a successful career, loving family and virtuous life but started going down a dark path online with adult pornography that eventually led to underage images.
“He felt wracked with guilt. He felt terrible. He knew what he was doing was wrong,” she said, adding he was relieved when investigators executed a search warrant at his home.
Isaacson said Hallows, a father of five adult children, is fortunate that though troubled by what he did, his family supports him and recognizes he needs help.
Hallows apologized to his wife and said he deeply regrets putting her in a bad light. He said she had no idea what he was doing. He also apologized to his Latter-day Saint ward.
“I love my church congregation. There are so many good people. I loved serving them and I loved serving with them,” he said.
Hallows said he prays for the well-being of the child victims in the images.
“I hope that they can be rescued and receive the help that they need to live a normal childhood,” he said.
A Microsoft Online Operations complaint with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children led investigators to a user who uploaded and made publicly available child sexual exploitation material to or from a Skype account. Phoenix police initially investigated the cases because the IP address tracked to a Holiday Inn in Arizona. Investigators determined the address belonged to Hallows.
Eric Hawkins, a spokesman for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-days Saints, called the allegations serious and deeply troubling after Hallows’ arrest last year.
“When local leaders learned of these allegations, this individual was immediately removed from any position that would place him in close contact with youth or children. This is done to ensure the safety of others and to allow this individual to address these serious allegations,” he said in a statement.
Hawkins said the church has no tolerance for abuse of any kind, including child pornography, and teaches its members and leaders that such behavior is offensive to God and to his church.