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BRIGHAM CITY, Utah (AP) -- Authorities charged a 38-year-old man with bigamy, alleging he took a teenage girl as a second wife.
"There was some discussion between the two of them about polygamy," said Box Elder County Attorney Stephen Hadfield, who noted that the alleged marriage was a "spiritual thing."
Gerald Roskelley was also charged with rape, forcible sexual abuse and witness tampering.
Defense attorney Gary Gale said Roskelley has one wife.
"He is denying any other involvement with ceremonies or weddings or actions of that type," Gale said.
Roskelley is accused of marrying a girl last year when she was 15 or 16, Hadfield said.
Under Utah law, bigamy occurs when someone who is married presents herself or himself as married to another person or they live together.
The teen has cooperated with investigators, the prosecutor said. In September, a judge issued a restraining order barring Roskelley from contacting her.
Roskelley, who is free on bail, faces a preliminary hearing Feb. 16.
The state of Utah last week filed a brief at the U.S. Supreme Court to defend the anti-bigamy law in a case involving a member of a polygamous sect who was convicted of taking a teen bride while married to her older sister.
Court rulings protecting intimate relationships apply only to consenting adults, not to relationships between adults and minors, Assistant Attorney General Laura Dupaix wrote.
Information from: The Salt Lake Tribune, http://www.sltrib.com
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)