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Ariz. court upholds polygamist's conviction

Ariz. court upholds polygamist's conviction

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PHOENIX (AP) -- An Arizona appeals court has upheld the conviction of a Colorado City polygamist who argued that his marriage to an underage girl was protected by religious freedom.

Kelly Fischer was one of the so-called "Colorado City Eight," members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints who were prosecuted starting in 2005 for taking underage plural wives.

Fischer was convicted of sexual conduct with a minor and conspiracy. He argued in his appeal that Arizona's constitutional ban on plural marriage prevented him from legally marrying his new teenage bride.

The court ruling issued Tuesday rejected that defense and referred to similar U.S. Supreme Court rulings. It also said Arizona has a compelling interest in preventing child sexual abuse.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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