Summarized by Kent Larsen
Self-proclaimed polygamist charged with child rape, bigamy
Boston Globe (AP) 19Apr00 N5
By C.G. Wallace: Associated Press
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- Juab County Attorney David Leavitt announced
yesterday that he has charged polygamist Thomas Arthur Green, 51, with
child rape, bigamy and failure to pay child support. The charges
represent only the fourth time that polygamy has been prosecuted since
the infamous Short Creek in 1953.
Green has gained prominence since the Kingston incident for his public
defense of polygamy on television. He appeared on NBC's "Dateline" and
on the "Jerry Springer Show" where he faced off against anti-polygamy
activist and former polygamous wife, Rowenna Ericson.
Leavitt, a younger brother of Utah Governor Mike Leavitt, said he has
investigated Green since his television appearances last year, "I only
became aware of Mr. Green myself after he appeared on national
television," he said. Last summer Leavitt promised to file charges
against Green, who has five current and two former wives and 29
The child rape charge against Green comes from an alleged relationship
with a 13-year-old girl, with whom he had a child, according to
Leavitt. Green married some of his wives when they were just 14,
according to the charges. The child rape charge carries a maximum life
sentence, while the bigamy and non-support charges each have maximum
Because of Leavitt's public promise, Green has been expecting the
charges, says his attorney, John Bucher. He suggests that Green was
singled out for prosecution because of his public profile. Bucher has
told Green not to speak to the media, because he says Green may say too
much, "He's very much too open. He's too eager to talk, and he's gotten in
trouble for it," said Bucher.
But Leavitt may not have an easy time of prosecuting Green for bigamy.
It is difficult to establish the charge without the cooperation of
someone living in the home testifying, and Green's wives will not
cooperate, according to their attorney, Bill Morrison. "They would
rather go to prison than see their husband go to prison," he said. "I
think it's a matter of destroying their family through auspices of the
state, and they won't cooperate in the least." Leavitt has declined to
bring charges against the wives, however. "Maybe they don't see
themselves as victims, but I believe they are. They certainly could be
charged, but I have chosen not to."
But anti-polygamy activists hope that this could be a landmark case,
opening the door to widespread prosecution of polygamists, "The Berlin
Wall of polygamy is tumbling down and the Tom Green case is just the
beginning," said Vicky Prunty, director of the anti-polygamy group
Tapestry of Polygamy. The group is currently defending a defamation
lawsuit brought against them by Green.