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Getting the Message

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By now, people who practice plural marriage in Utah ought to be getting the message: sexual abuse of children perpetrated under the cloak of religion in polygamous communities or elsewhere won’t be tolerated.

A St. George jury delivered that message when it convicted Rodney Holm on unlawful sex and bigamy charges for having three wives, including a 16-year-old girl who was a minor half his age when they married in 1998.

Holm’s is just the latest in a series of child-bride polygamy related cases.

David Ortell Kingston served a prison term after being convicted in 1999 of having sex with his 16-year-old niece. She was identified as his 15th wife.

Avowed polygamist Tom Green is serving time for marrying and impregnating a 13-year-old girl.

And another Kingston clan member has been arrested and charged with incest for allegedly marrying his first-cousin when she was 15 and he was 24.

KSL endorses the message state prosecutors like Kristine Knowlton are sending those who abuse children in the name of religion:

"We will prosecute you. We’re going to hold you accountable."

The prosecution of these cases is not religious persecution, as defense attorneys have charged, but a matter of upholding laws designed to protect children. Those who think they can ignore such laws with impunity need to get the message.

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