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ST. GEORGE, Utah (AP) -- A former police officer convicted of bigamy and illegal sex with a girl he took as a third wife when she was just 16 was sentenced to a year in jail Friday.
On Aug. 14, jurors ruled that Rodney Holm, an officer in the polygamous border towns of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz., committed bigamy. The jury found Holm also broke Utah law banning sexual relations involving 16- and 17-year-olds when their partner is 10 or more years older, unless the couple is legally married.
Other stipulations of 5th District Judge G. Rand Beacham's sentence were that Holm pay $3,000 in fines, serve 200 hours of community service and get a sex crime evaluation after he is released from jail. He is expected to report to the jail Monday.
Holm will be registered as a sex offender, said Paul Murphy, spokesman for the Attorney General's office.
"We're satisfied with the sentence the judge was fair and we hope it sends a message that if you have sex with young girls that you will go to jail," Murphy said.
Holm, 37, who lives in Hildale, was accused of having sex with Ruth Stubbs when she was 16. He was 32 when he allegedly took Stubbs as a "spiritual" wife, which is not a legally recognized union.
The charges against Holm began after a child custody dispute between Holm and Stubbs. During the custody hearing, Holm invoked his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination when asked about having sexual relations with Stubbs when she was a teenager.
The bigamy and illegal sex charges were filed against Holm last October.
Holm has at least 20 children with his three wives, and lost his officer certification for Hildale and Colorado City after the conviction. Most of the border towns' residents are members of the polygamous Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Holm and his defenders have argued that Utah is selectively prosecuting polygamists for their beliefs.
Polygamy was a part of early belief of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but was abandoned more than a century ago as the territory sought statehood. The Utah Constitution bans it and the Mormon church now excommunicates those who advocate it, but it is believed that thousands in Utah continue the practice.
(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.) .