Leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued a second, stronger statement regarding last week’s incident when Matt Aune and Derek Jones were detain and cited for trespassing on the Main Street Plaza near the Salt Lake Temple.
Aune and Jones claimed that they were stopped by church security as they were going through the plaza and paused, Aune put his arm around Jones and kissed him on the cheek.
The new statement refutes their story, saying they were “engaged in passionate kissing, groping, profane and lewd language, and had obviously been using alcohol.”
LDS Church security officers detained the men and called Salt Lake City Police, who issued the men citatons for trespassing.
The new statement issued by the Church today:
“There has been a good deal of publicity surrounding an incident where two men were cited for trespassing because of belligerent and profane behavior on the Church Plaza, which is an extension of the Salt Lake City Temple grounds and Church headquarters. While this property is owned by the Church, we want it to be a place of beauty and serenity in downtown Salt Lake City for everyone.
As we said earlier on this matter, these men were asked to stop engaging in behavior deemed inappropriate for any couple on the Plaza. There was much more involved than a simple kiss on the cheek. They engaged in passionate kissing, groping, profane and lewd language, and had obviously been using alcohol. They were politely told that the Plaza was not the place for such behavior and asked to stop. When they became belligerent, the two individuals were asked to leave Church property. Church security detained them and Salt Lake City police were called.
There is nothing satisfying in learning that there have been problems for anyone on Church property. We hope the Plaza will continue to be an asset to the community and enjoyed by the many that cross it each day.”
Church leaders have yet to release surveillance video of the public display of affection.
Aune and Jones will be arraigned July 23.