Former Menifee Mormon Bishop Pleads Guilty to Sex Crimes

Story updated at 3 p.m. with new statement from church official and correcting Edwards' current ...

Story updated at 3 p.m. with new statement from church official and correcting Edwards' current state of residence to Nevada.

A former Mormon bishop serving in Menifee pleaded guilty today to two felony sex crimes involving teenage girls who attended his church.  He will serve three years in prison.

Todd M. Edwards, 49, entered the guilty pleas as part of an agreement. The first count, sexual penetration with a foreign object with force and against the victim's will, is a felony and strike. The second count, sexual battery, also is a felony.

Judge Becky L. Dugan said the first count carries with it a strike because of the severity of the crime. Edwards remains free on $65,000 cash bail until he returns to court on Dec. 11 to be remanded into custody. If he doesn't appear on that date, a bench warrant will be served, the agreement will be null and void, and Edwards could serve nine years per count.

Edwards declined comment. He must register as a sex offender for life.

Edwards, who currently resides in Nevada, was released as bishop of the Menifee Ward after church officials learned of the investigation in 2012. He was arrested at his Murrieta residence May 28, 2013 following an investigation into allegations of sexual crimes in November 2006 and February 2012.

According to the police incident report, the 2006 incident involved a 16-year-old girl. The victim in the 2012 incident was 18 at the time. Both girls attended the Menifee Ward, according to police documents. Edwards was not serving as bishop at the time of the 2006 incident.

George Kramer, a spokesman for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, released the following statement today on behalf of the LDS Church:

"We are very saddened by the news surrounding the admission of sexual abuse by Todd Mitchell Edwards, 49, of Murrieta, CA. As the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has zero-tolerance for any such conduct, we fully support the legal proceedings surrounding Mr. Edwards’ criminal prosecution and subsequent conviction. Our primary concern is for the physical, emotional and spiritual well being of the victims involved."

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