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Former Mormon bishop charged with sexually assaulting teen girls

June 4, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Strong allegations against a former member of the Mormon Church in Menifee: The man is charged with sexually assaulting two teenagers, and police say there could be more victims.

The suspect has pleaded not guilty to the charges. He apparently met the two teens while he was at the church.

Murrieta resident Todd Mitchell Edwards, 49, is accused of sexually assaulting two teenage girls who reportedly went to the church where he was a bishop at one time. Edwards has pleaded not guilty to all charges. If convicted he faces up to nine years in prison. He remained incarcerated Tuesday on $65,000 bail.

"He's been charged with three felony counts, one of sexual penetration with a foreign object by force," said John Hall, a Riverside County District Attorney spokesman.

Hall says the victim in that incident was a child, and it happened last year. He says the second victim was 18 at the time, and that incident happened in 2006.

"The defendant and both victim in this case all attended the same church," said Hall.

People leaving the church Tuesday told Eyewitness News they couldn't comment on the allegations, but we did get this statement: "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has zero tolerance for abuse of any kind. Anyone who abuses a child is rightfully subject to both criminal prosecution and formal Church discipline," said George Kramer, Menifee Public Affairs.

The district attorney's office says it's possible there could be other victims.

"In any of these types of cases, there's always that possibility, and so if anyone believes that they may have been a victim of this defendant, Todd Edwards, we would encourage them to contact their local law enforcement agency," said Hall.

The Riverside County Sheriff's Department said they investigated a third case of alleged sexual assault, but the statute of limitations had expired.

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