New judge takes over custody case for polygamist’s children

WEST JORDAN, Utah (AP) – An assistant Utah attorney general said Tuesday she will file a motion to terminate the parental rights of Heidi Mattingly and polygamist John Daniel Kingston.

The couple have 11 children, most of whom have been in state custody since October, after further allegations of abuse and neglect surfaced during a case that initially only dealt with their two oldest daughters.

Attorney Carolyn Nichols, who took part in Tuesday’s hearing via telephone, announced her intention to terminate the rights at a scheduling hearing in the protracted child custody case. She plans to file that motion Monday when she returns to town.

”It confirmed everything I thought the state was going to do,” Mattingly said after the hearing.

However, Third District Juvenile Court Judge Elizabeth Lindsley said both the parents and the children deserve a review hearing on any progress being made in reuniting the children with their mother.

She denied Nichols’ request to schedule a pretrial hearing to terminate parental rights instead of that review hearing.

Instead, Lindsley set aside three days – July 18, 21 and 22 – to review the children’s progress and to review the findings of the judge who had presided over most of the case.

Third District Juvenile Court Judge Andrew Valdez ruled in April that Mattingly had made significant progress through therapy and counseling and the children should be gradually reunited with their mother.

He was scheduled to review the progress at a June 28 hearing, but wound up recusing himself at the request of the state.

Nichols asked Valdez to remove himself after the judge’s son got into an altercation with other Kingston children outside the courthouse during the April hearing. The judge selected to replace Valdez last week also recused himself because he had earlier prosecuted members of the Kingston clan.

Since the April hearing, two of the couple’s sons have returned home. The two teenage daughters who were the initial subject of the abuse and neglect allegations have told a judge they don’t wish to return home. Six children ranging in age from 2 to 12 years are in foster homes, and a 1-year-old daughter has always remained in Mattingly’s care.

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(Listed if other than Religion News Blog, or if not shown above)
Associated Press, via the Casper Star-Tribune, USA
July 7, 2005
Debbie Hummel, Associated Press Writer

Religion News Blog posted this on Thursday July 7, 2005.
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