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feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

August-28-02

Utah Polygamist Gets Minimum Sentence For Child Rape

Convicted Utah polygamist Tom Green received a lenient sentence of five years to life yesterday for child rape of his 13-year-old “spiritual wife.” Fourth District Court Judge Donald Eyre sentenced Green to the minimum sentence for the first-degree felony conviction – he will serve this sentence concurrently with his 2001 bigamy sentence of up to five years. Green, who has already spent one year in prison for his bigamy conviction, could be out of jail in as few as four years, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.

Green, 54, was found guilty of child rape on June 24 for having sex with 13-year-old Linda Kunz in 1986. Last year, he also was convicted of being married to five women at the same time, all of whom were 16 or under when they married Green – a practice he claims adheres to the original tenets of the Mormon Church. The state of Utah decided to prosecute Green after he took his five wives and 29 children on national television to promote the idea of polygamy. He also was charged with failing to pay back the state for child support that was given for his children. Up until 1890, Utah was a place where polygamy was openly practiced by members of the Mormon Church - it was then banned by the church in exchange for Utah’s statehood. Currently there are an estimated 30,000 polygamists throughout the state.

Following Green’s conviction, authorities announced a new offensive on the practice – they intend to focus on the crimes against children, incest and welfare fraud, according to the Salt Lake Tribune. “Polygamy is much like domestic violence was several decades ago,” Juab County Attorney David Leavitt, who led the prosecution against Green, told the Tribune. “In the 50s and 60s, when a woman reported she had been abused, the police said, ‘Well, what did you do to deserve it?” Rodney Holm, a police officer in Hilldale, Utah who has three wives, one of which he admitted to impregnating when she was 16 and he was 32, could be charged as early as next week, the Tribune reported.

Media Resources: Salt Lake Tribune 8/24/02, 8/28/02; Associated Press 8/27/02; Feminist Daily News 6/25/02


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