New Polygamy Offense Added to Crime Books

New Polygamy Offense Added to Crime Books


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(Salt Lake City-AP) -- Governor Mike Leavitt has signed into law a tougher criminal sanction for men who take young girls as their polygamist wives.

House Bill 307 created the new crime of child bigamy -- marrying a second wife who is under the age of 18. The second-degree felony is punishable by one to 15 years in prison.

The penalty for ordinary bigamy is zero to five years.

Without the fanfare he reserves for some bill signings, Leavitt gave his approval March 14th.

The marrying of teen-age girls is common among some of Utah's isolated polygamist communities. And Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff says his office drafted the legislation to stop it.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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