Colorado City child cases involved
The former town marshal of Colorado City, Ariz., and Hildale, Utah, never notified Utah child-welfare authorities of sexual abuse cases he was investigating in the polygamist communities and acknowledged cohabiting with a wife and two “companions,” with whom he has had 21 children, according to documents released Friday.
Samuel N. Roundy, 50, Colorado City’s town marshal for 10 years before resigning this year, made those admissions during an interview in October with an investigator for the Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board.
Transcripts of the interview were released in conjunction with decertification hearings Thursday and Friday in Phoenix for Roundy and another polygamist Colorado City police officer, Vance Barlow. Neither officer attended the hearings.
Diana Stabler, an Arizona assistant attorney general, said Roundy and Barlow likely would be stripped of certification as Arizona police officers during the board’s next meeting on Oct. 19.
Utah revoked the police certifications of the two in March, citing violation of state bigamy statutes. Roundy said he was never a sworn police officer in Utah.
The anticipated decertification would be the latest in a series of moves to tighten the noose around the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the largest multiple-marriage sect in the country.
The sect has no connection to the mainstream Mormon Church.
Eight other members of the FLDS have been indicted in Arizona on sexual-misconduct charges with underage brides.
Utah courts stripped Jeffs and other church leaders from the board of trustees of the communal United Effort Plan which owns almost all the land and businesses in the twin towns.
Arizona also has seized documents and computers in an ongoing investigation of alleged financial mismanagement in the Colorado City Unified School District.
Roundy, who did not return phone messages Friday and Saturday, told Dan Altenes, an investigator for AZPOST, that he did not report the child-molestation indictment last year of David Leroy Steed, 22, or any of the other 20 to 25 child sexual abuse cases he said he had investigated over the years to the Utah Division of Child and Family Services, as required by law. Steed is accused of molesting an 8-year-old girl.
“I didn’t know I was supposed to, to be just frankly honest with ya,” Roundy said during his interview. “They said (it) was protocol, but I didn’t even know about it . . . maybe I’ve been in a Hicksville too long and not looking out at what’s coming in.”
Roundy also acknowledged that he has 15 children with his legal wife, Valerie Roundy, and three children each with his companions, Jennifer Nielsen and Loretta Cooke.
Sam described his relationship with Nielsen and Cooke as a “calling” from the late leader of the FLDS, Rulon Jeffs, Warren Jeffs’ father.
“I do introduce them as my wife’s, my legal wife’s sisters, but nothing other than that,” Sam said.
Members of the FLDS believe that three wives are a requirement to reach the highest level of the “Celestial Kingdom,” or heaven.
“It’s a law that the Lord revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith,” Sam said, referring to the founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and noting that one of his ancestors was a bodyguard for Smith.
The Mormon Church disavowed polygamy in the late 1800s before Utah was admitted to the union.
Roundy, who named one of his children Warren Jeffs Roundy, also said that he “volunteered” for private security for FLDS church services between 1990 and 1995. The church meetings were discontinued by Warren Jeffs more than two years ago when the Arizona and Utah state governments increased their monitoring of the two towns.
The two towns have an estimated population of 6,000 but many church members have moved to a ranch near Eldorado, Texas, where a large, four-story temple is nearing completion.
Barlow, 45, acknowledged to Altenes in his interview that he has 18 children with three women, his legal wife, Sandra, and his “church union” wives, Sara Jessop and Geralian Steed
According to the AZPOST documents, Barlow “made admissions that he introduces all three women as his ‘wife’ and further evidence shows that he had a child with each wife in 2004 demonstrating their open and public union.”
Barlow said that any attempt to keep him from having more than one wife “flies in the face of the Constitution.”
“I personally do not believe that the way I live is a conflict with what the state needs to do to maintain a civilized society,” Barlow said.