Summarized by Kent Larsen
Judge Rules Against Polygamist Tom Green's Scheme to Avoid Bigamy
Associated Press 11Jul00 N5
By Hannah Wolfson: Associated Press Writer
NEPHI, UTAH -- A judge in Nephi, Utah ruled Tuesday that admitted polygamist
Tom Green must stand trial for bigamy. 4th District Judge Donald Eyre issued
a written ruling calling Green's practice of divorcing each wife before
taking another a "systematic scheme" and that Green could still be
prosecuted for bigamy, even though he had divorced prior wives. Eyre ruled
that Green still lived with his wives, in spite of the divorces.
Green has been one of the most public of Utah's polygamists, appearing on
television programs like "48 Hours," "Dateline," and "Jerry Springer" along
with his wives and 25 children. Green admitted his marriages on the programs
and explained how he divorced each of his wives before marrying the next, as
a way of getting around the law.
Green is charged with four counts of bigamy and with owing back child
support to the state of Utah. He has also been charged with one count of
child rape for his relationship with his first wife, Linda Kunz, when she
was 13. Green was arraigned Tuesday on the bigamy and child support charges
and plead innocent to the rape charge. A preliminary hearing in the rape
charge is scheduled for August. Green says he will plead innocent to the
bigamy charges also.
"I believe the only thing I'm really guilty of is building a family
according to my religious beliefs," Green told reporters after the hearing
Tuesday. "If I'm going to prison for anything, it should be what I'm guilty
of, and that's practicing my religion."