In this episode of Mormon Stories, we hold a panel discussion with Dr. Darron Smith—author of When Race & Religion Collide: Black Athletics at BYU and Beyond, Ryan McKnight—MormonLeaks publisher, and Vanessa Judd—a victim of assault by a BYU athlete.  We discuss the MormonLeaks video which depicted an interaction between the Provo Police Department, a BYU football player, and other unidentified individuals. The video was recorded on December 4, 2016 and in it we learn that this is the second visit from the police that night and one of multiple visits they have had to make over time to the athlete.

We discuss:

  • The ethics of releasing the video
  • The ethics of NCAA athletics (especially at BYU), and
  • The relationship between Provo Police, BYU and the Honor Code, especially regarding the many claims and accusations made concerning students being expelled or suspended for less than what is admitted to in this video



  1. Ashley A September 1, 2017 at 2:12 pm - Reply

    I am sorry but WTF?? How is this athlete a victim? The police try to give him a few chances and he’s getting a free education while breaking the rules that he agreed to, and all I hear is a rant about how black athletes are victims (which, by the way, he was Polynesian). I had to turn it off. I am a white former student with six figure student debt that will follow me to my grave. But the kid partying and going to school for free is the disadvantaged one, right?

    • khoeh September 1, 2017 at 4:27 pm - Reply

      The athlete was the perpetrator not the victim. John describes this clearly.

      • MonkeyKing September 2, 2017 at 1:59 pm - Reply

        In my opinion the recording of the conversation was illegal.

        In-person conversations: The consent of at least one party to a conversation is required to record an “oral communication,” which is defined as “any oral communication uttered by a person exhibiting an expectation that the communication is not subject to interception, under circumstances justifying that expectation.” Utah Code Ann. § 77-23a-3.

        Hidden cameras: It is a misdemeanor to install or use a hidden camera or audio recorder in a place where one may reasonably expect to be safe from intrusion or surveillance, and to use a device for recording sounds originating in the place that would not ordinarily be audible or comprehensible outside. Utah Code Ann. §§ 76-9-402, 76-9-401.

        I expect that others may disagree with me but, I think that a person does have a reasonable expectation of privacy when speaking to someone at the doorway of their apartment, unless there are other people present or there are openly visible cameras or recording devices. The person recording the private conversation violated the law when he covertly recorded the conversation.

        Disclosing recordings: Disclosing the contents of a wire, electronic or oral communication obtained through illegal recording is a felony. Utah Code Ann. § 77-23a-4.

        By disclosing the secretly recorded conversation mormonleaks may have committed a felony.

        In this age of media everyone needs to be aware that secretly recording people, not in a public place is a crime in most states. A couple years ago in Utah a mother was convicted under these statute for recording private conversations between her ex-husband and her children by putting a recording device in a diaper bag.

        • thegrof September 6, 2017 at 7:29 am - Reply

          I think you’ve made a couple assumptions that have skewed your analysis of the situation. I would first suggest that the recording was made in either a public setting, or in a community setting where the recorder had a right to be. Either way, anyone can record/photograph/videotape almost anything (with the exception of a few things relating to national security concerns, like powerplants) so long as they are on public property/not committing trespass. No one has a reasonable expectation of privacy when out in public. If you’re in your doorway, and you’re able to be seen/heard by someone standing in a public or communal spot with a videorecorder, then you have no expectation of privacy, and the recorder doesn’t need to get your consent to record. If this wasn’t the case, then any photographer that ever took a picture wherein someone just happened to be exiting a residence would be guilty of this (or a similar) offense, unless they first got permission. On that same note, speaking to a group of people, even if they are all/mostly police officers, further attenuates any expectation of privacy. In fact, I would caution anyone against assuming they have an expectation of privacy in any communication they make with law enforcement. You make a statement to a public officer, it will become part of the public record.

          Second, the recorder spoke during the recording. Hence, there is a good argument that they were a participant in the total conversation. It is implied that the recorder consents to being recorded when they record themselves. Therefore, even assuming that the athlete had a reasonable expectation of privacy, the single-party consent requirement is still fulfilled.

  2. khoeh September 1, 2017 at 4:48 pm - Reply

    Actually, I just listened to it all the way through and I see where Ashley is coming from. When does someone become accountable for their choices?

  3. Toxic Mormons September 2, 2017 at 4:22 am - Reply

    Mormom-land is toxic.

    Hopefully more athletes will avoid taking BYU scholarships in the future.

    What a mess.

    A church scoop that dictates everything, a toxic group of people who support the church, and a toxic group of people who have left the church and have no qualms over publicly debating the problems no matter who gets hurt or how.

    I’m disgusted by all Mormons. Athletes should pursue their careers elsewhere.

  4. Everybody Else September 2, 2017 at 5:48 am - Reply

    Athletes have a lot of social privilege everywhere. Not just in Mormonism. And athletes get taken advantage of everywhere. Not just in Mormonism. Owners, coaches, and the public all jump in and have a say in athletes lives. A lot of them don’t come from privileged backgrounds, they just have talent and because of that talent they get thrown into an intense public situatuon where everybody is fighting over a piece of them.

    Add Mormonism and ex-Mormonism. Add all the fighting and publicity happening in Utah right now because of the church’s authoritarian and abusive control tactics and what you get is a really nasty set of circumstances.

    Athletes have a right to protect themselves and their careers just like everyone else. Some of them will be the first people in their families who are lucky enough to have a chance to make real money. They shouldn’t risk that on Mormonism.

    And obviously BYU should not protect rapists. Criminal charges and jail time.

    The predicament the Mormon church puts all the people within its reach in has long-lasting consequences.

    Athletes and women should avoid Provo like the plague. And LGBT people too.

    All these straight white Mormon and ex-Mormon males keep needing to prove their dominance and superiority and it gets in everyone else’s way.

  5. Lyn Gerry September 3, 2017 at 4:24 am - Reply

    As a non-Mormon, I find the BYU “honor code” absurd. So will any non-Mormon student, unless they are devotees of some other fundamentalist religion with a 17th century view of sexuality. Ironically, it creates “dishonor” by causing students to lie about what is considered normal adult sexual activity everywhere else. The BYU administration are kidding themselves if they think non-Mormons are going to even try to adhere to it.

  6. CKD September 3, 2017 at 2:51 pm - Reply

    I literally left the Mormon church for systematically taking away my freedom of speech, double standards for a few, and a lifetime of lies to it’s members. To have anyone tell me my support for one candidate over another (Trump) and judge me for my beliefs and shame me into guilt was enough for me on this podcast. Being a conservative is no sin and I have my own brain thank you. Maybe in the future leave politics and racism out of every freaking conversation, otherwise many people will tune out!

  7. Jden September 4, 2017 at 10:27 am - Reply

    White players aren’t fun to watch, kids of color are victims when they perpetrate crimes or anti social behavior. Neo conservatives are responsible for their failure to advance academically. How about taking responsibility for your own actions. “You must be a donald trump supporter?” Really darren that’s your counter?? Can’t listen to this guy and I’m a person of color!

  8. Cindy Delaughter September 5, 2017 at 10:44 pm - Reply

    Right on Jden.

  9. Fellowbird September 30, 2017 at 2:41 am - Reply

    The justifications given for showing the video were well made. However, had it been me, I would have added that there was “an overriding public interest” in the publication of the material. This is a defence which, in the UK at least, almost always succeeds, and was used, for example by the Guardian newspaper (and I feel sure also by the New York Times) in publication of the Edward Snowdon material.

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