Summarized by Kent Larsen
Green Polygamy Charges Presented
(Five Wives, 17 Children Escort Utah Polygamist to Court)
Fox News (Reuters) 2May00 N5
NEPHI, UTAH -- Polygamist Thomas Green was accompanied by all five of
his wives and 17 of his 29 children as he appeared in court yesterday
to hear the bigamy and rape charges presented against him. While he
didn't have to enter a plea in the 20-minute hearing, outside the
courtroom he vigorously denied the charges.
The charges include four counts of bigamy, one of non-support of a
child and one count of rape of a child. Green will return to court May
18th on a pre-trial motion by his attorney to separate the rape charge
from the others.
Green says he is being targeted simply because of his religious
beliefs. Nor has he been shy about those beliefs, appearing on several
television shows, including NBC's Dateline, to promote polygamy. His
attorney, John Bucher, agrees, saying that Juab County Prosecutor David
O. Leavitt singled out Green, while ignoring hundreds of others living
in plural marriages. "It's unconstitutionally selective prosecution"
Bucher said after the hearing.
Leavitt, brother of Utah Governor Mike Leavitt, has declined to bring
charges against Green's wives, saying that they are victims in the
case. Some of the wives were 14 or 15 years old when Green married
them. However, none of the wives have agreed to testify against him.
Green faces five years to life for the rape charge, if convicted. The
other charges carry prison terms of up to five years each.