SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld the conviction of a polygamist charged with child rape for having sex with his first wife when she was 13.
Tom Green, 56, had lived with his five wives and 31 children in a cluster of trailer homes in the remote desert, about 125 miles southwest of Salt Lake City. He was convicted in June 2002 of child rape and appealed, arguing the statute of limitations had run out and that the trial court lacked jurisdiction because the alleged rape occurred in Mexico.
The high court ruled Tuesday that the statute had not run out because the 1985 incident was not reported to law enforcement until 1999. The court also said the case was decided in the right jurisdiction.
Green’s attorney, John Bucher, said he was disappointed. “In many points, I believe they did not meet the issues,” Bucher said.
The appeal argued that the state’s Division of Child and Family Services had been made aware of Linda Kunz’s age and the age of the son that was conceived when she was 13. Bucher said that should have started the clock on the statute of limitations.
But the Supreme Court said informing the child services agency did not constitute contact with a law enforcement agency.
A year before the child rape conviction, Green was convicted of four counts of bigamy and one count of criminal nonsupport of his children. He appealed his bigamy conviction to the high court and lost. He’s due for release from prison in 2007.
Though polygamy has been illegal for more than 100 years in Utah, it’s believed thousands continue the practice, which was advocated by founding Mormon pioneers and remains in the scripture of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
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