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Charges Dropped Against Former Officer

Charges Dropped Against Former Officer

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KINGMAN, Ariz. (AP) -- A former police officer in the polygamist communities of Colorado City and neighboring Hildale, Utah, isn't going on trial next week in Kingman after all.

Rodney Holm faced three counts of sexual conduct with a minor between Dec. 1, 1998, and March 31, 1999, and was the last of eight Colorado City men facing similar charges for taking underage girls as plural wives.

But the Mohave County attorney's office entered into an agreement with Holm to dismiss the charges because the victim allegedly took part in a blackmail scheme.

Authorities said the woman and her brother tried to obtain money from a leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Based in Hildale and Colorado City, the sect of nearly 10,000 members practices polygamy in arranged marriages. "This attempt was fairly recently discovered by all of the parties and upon investigation it appears that the victim did in fact write a letter indicating that she would not testify against certain defendants if excessive money was given to her brother and another man by one of the members of the FLDS Church," Mohave County Attorney Matthew Smith said in a statement.

Smith was not available for additional comment immediately Monday, his secretary said.

Holm must complete 40 hours of community service and not commit any similar offenses over the next year or the charges could be refiled, the statement said.

On Aug. 17, the seventh defendant, Dale Barlow, was sentenced to 45 days in jail for a no-contest plea to conspiracy to commit sexual conduct with a minor. Barlow also was ordered to register as a sex offender for three years while he is on probation. A charge of sexual conduct with a minor was dismissed under the plea agreement.

Three other men received jail sentences ranging from one day to nine months; charges were dropped against two others and one was acquitted. FLDS members consider themselves "fundamentalist Mormons," although the mainstream church disavows any connection.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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