ST. GEORGE, Utah (AP) -- Jury selection began Monday in the case of a police officer charged with bigamy and having sex with a minor.
Rodney Holm, 37, is accused of having sex with Ruth Stubbs when she was 16. State law bans sexual relations involving 16- and 17-year-olds when their partner is 10 or more years older, unless the couple is legally married.
Holm was 32 when he allegedly took Stubbs as a "spiritual" wife, which is not a legal marriage. He has three wives and 21 children, according to prosecutors and his own attorney. Stubbs said she was Holm's third wife.
By Monday evening nine potential jurors out of the 19 needed had been chosen.
Holm is a police officer in the border towns of Hildale and Colorado City, Ariz., where most of the residents are members of the polygamous Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
The charges against Holm stemmed from a custody dispute between Holm and Stubbs. Stubbs left the relationship, taking their two children with her. She was eight months pregnant with their third baby at the time.
During the custody hearing, Holm invoked his right 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 him last October. The trial on those charges is expected to last through the week.
State officials have indicated more polygamy prosecutions are possible in the future.
(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)