The Salt Lake Tribune reports:
Andrew was feeling crushed by the cultural expectation to get married. Twenty-two years old, he had just returned from a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and was attending a singles’ ward in Provo — a local congregation of unmarried college students. But Andrew is gay. And marriage between a man and a woman is a central tenet of the Latter-day Saint faith, which teaches that the highest level of heaven is reserved only for married, heterosexual couples.
So in the fall of 2015, he did as many Latter-day Saints do when they are having a crisis: He went to his bishop. The lay leader suggested trying therapy, Andrew remembered. In fact, the bishop said he had just gotten a referral that same day for a local therapist named Scott Owen who worked well with gay men who were members of their faith. Owen co-owned a Provo therapy business called Canyon Counseling and, at that time, was also a regional leader in a Provo-area stake.
For five months beginning in October 2015, Andrew said, the clinical mental health counselor groped him, encouraged him to undress and kissed him during sessions. Andrew said Owen told him that the touching was a therapeutic way to learn how to accept love and intimacy. By March 2016, Andrew had reported Owen to both his bishop and to state licensing officials.
A new investigation from The Salt Lake Tribune and ProPublica shows how Utah licensers allowed Owen to continue practicing and church leaders repeatedly heard concerns but took several years to take official action. For nearly two years after Andrew’s report, Owen provided therapy to clients, some of whom were men referred for “same-sex attraction” counseling.
As you’d expect, there’s much more to the story. Both of the reports linked above have no paywall.
Several young Latter-day Saints sought therapy with Scott Owen on the advice of church leaders or parents. The men allege that Owen sexually abused them during their sessions, and it took multiple complaints for concrete action to be taken. https://t.co/8RUjw4BBMe
— The Salt Lake Tribune (@sltrib) August 4, 2023
LDS Church leaders recommended Scott Owen, a Utah therapist, to young men in the church.
Several patients complained to the church or the state licensing board about inappropriate touching before Owen gave up his license.
— ProPublica (@propublica) August 4, 2023