ALL the News about
Mormons, Mormonism
and the LDS Church
Mormon News: All the News about Mormons, Mormonism and the LDS Church
For week ended June 6, 1999 Posted 4 Jun 1999

Site Index Mormon Groups Local News Other Mormon Churches Internet People Business Sports Arts & Entertainment Politics Media Attention Service History & Scripture Finance & Legal Stake & Local CES/BYU/SVC Missions & Temples General Authorities Churchwide News Upcoming Events Home Site Index Archives



Mormon News By E-Mail!
About Mormon News by E-mail


List Rules

List Archives

About Mormon News

Reporting Bad Links

Finding Bad Links
Polygamist Charged With Incest Going on Trial Today

Summarized by Eric Bunker

Polygamist Charged With Incest Going on Trial Today
Salt Lake Tribune 1Jun99 L7
By C. G. Wallace: Associated Press

Utah Polygamist, David O. Kingston is currently standing trial accused of three felony counts of incest and one count of unlawful sexual contact, as the result of taking his niece as his 15th wife and having sex with her.

The girl's father, John Daniel Kingston, recently pleaded to a reduced charge for belt-whipping the girl after she fled the arranged marriage to his brother. However, David Kingston has rejected a plea bargain and says he is innocent. John Kingston could receive up to five years in prison. David Kingston could get up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine on each of four counts if convicted.

This case has exposed the seamy side of modern polygamy and brought foreign film crews to Utah for the trial. Legal insiders say that the intense media coverage and the sensitive subject of polygamy could make it difficult to select an impartial jury.

The case broke open last summer when the 16-year-old girl showed up at a rural gas station just south of the Idaho border. She had run seven miles from a remote family ranch, where she said her father beat her for disavowing the forced marriage. Criminal charges then followed.

A political bombshell exploded in the news media when Utah Gov. Michael Leavitt, himself a great-grandson of polygamists, offhandedly suggested the practice might enjoy religious protection under the US Constitution. Leavitt quickly disowned the statement. It has been a political 'Hot Potato' in light of the coming Olympics.

David Kingston's defense will be that he never had sex with his niece. His Lawyer has already has assailed her "inconsistent statements" about how many times they had sex. Prosecutors say it happened four times in 1997 and 1998.

Kingston is an accountant for the secretive Kingston clan based in Salt Lake County that has as many as 1,000 members and business assets worth up to $150 million. The clan shares many of the beliefs of other polygamous groups in the state but stands apart in practicing incestual marriages to young related females.

The modern-day polygamists, unlike 70 percent of Utah's population, are not members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. But their practices have roots in the early church, when founder Joseph Smith sanctioned plural marriage. Polygamy arrived in Utah in 1847 with some Mormon pioneers. The church later renounced it to stay solvent and keeps its leaders out of jail, and the Utah Constitution outlawed polygamy as a condition of statehood.

Still, Utah has an estimated 25,000 members of polygamous clans. Though some are quite ultra conservative in dress and manners, many of them continue to observe major segments of Mormon doctrine, but are convinced that the church was wrong to abandon plural marriage. However, they differ with the Church in the doctrine of Celestial Marriage in that it is the central doctrine of their faith and they feel one cannot obtain the highest degree in the Celestial worlds without a plural marriage.

No large-scale bigamy cases have been prosecuted since the 1950s, when state and federal agents turned out the town of Short Creek on the Utah-Arizona order. The incident backfired when the public, enraged by images of families being torn apart, protested and authorities backed off.

Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 Kent Larsen · Privacy Information