Polygamist John Daniel Kingston received permission from a judge Tuesday to work with his 16-year-old son in one of the family’s businesses, the first time in nearly a year he has been allowed contact with any of the children he has with Heidi Mattingly.
Third District Judge Elizabeth Lindsley approved a motion by Kingston’s attorney to allow the teenage boy to work with his father. She said contact should not take place anywhere outside of the workplace and that he should remain away from the other children in Mattingly’s home.
On Nov. 24, 2004, a no-contact order was imposed on Kingston and the 11 children he has with Mattingly, after weekly visits were reported to be upsetting some of them.
All of the couple’s children were removed from their care in October 2004 during a protracted child welfare case based on allegations of abuse and neglect.
The couple was found in contempt of court for allowing contact between the children and Kingston at a funeral for Mattingly’s father in April. For that, they were ordered to perform community service.
Since then, the children have been returned to Mattingly’s care _ except for their two teenage daughters who started the case with a complaint to authorities that Kingston had threatened them for getting their ears pierced.
Last month, Kingston and Mattingly surrendered parental rights to the girls, ages 17 and 14. They remain in foster care and have expressed a desire to be adopted.
Mattingly’s attorney, Gary Bell, also asked Tuesday that supervised visitation begin between Kingston and the remaining children, saying the children have told their mother that they want to see their father. Bell and Kingston’s lawyer, Daniel Irvin, were also hoping to suspend the no-contact order so an 8-year-old daughter could be baptized by her father in their Latter-day Church of God.
But Lindsley ruled that Kingston needed to begin a program aimed at preventing domestic violence before any of those things could happen.
“There is a lot of work that needs to be done here,” Lindsley said. She said after three weeks of domestic violence therapy the children could have a visit with Kingston under the supervision of their state Division of Child and Family Services case worker.
After the hearing, Kingston said he was happy his son will be able to begin working with him.
He didn’t say what kind of work the teen would be doing.
“He’s a very capable young man and he has a lot of interests,” Kingston said.
Kingston works for A-1 Disposal a family owned waste management company. It is estimated that the secretive cooperative clan owns nearly 100 businesses in Utah ranging from ranches and dairies to restaurant supply companies and other shops.
Critics contend the sect teaches and promotes sexual abuse of young girls through illegal marriages, incest and polygamy. Members of the group contend they live a religious and lawful existence.