Former LDS church leader appeals criminal sexual conduct sentence

(ABC 6 News) – Michael Adam Davis, a former leader in the Kasson Church of Latter-Day Saints, appealed his 30-year criminal sexual conduct sentence in Minnesota’s appeals court Thursday, March 7.

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The appeals court has 90 days to determine whether Davis is eligible for a new trial.

Davis was convicted of two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, two counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct, and one count of indecent exposure in front of a minor in 2022.

His defense attorney Aaron Roy argued Thursday that evidence the state used to claim that Davis had a position of authority over his alleged child victim — including text messages from Davis to a family member and the testimony of a former LDS church member who did not attend the Kasson church or know Davis personally — was unfair and prejudicial.

Prosecuting attorney Peter Magnuson argued that even if the state had not presented text messages or used the outside LDS member’s description of church structures to demonstrate Davis’ authority, other statements by witnesses would have resulted in the defendant’s conviction.