Polygamist: But an order forbidding unsupervised contact with the couple’s children remains in effect
WEST JORDAN – Polygamist John Daniel Kingston and Heidi Mattingly Foster left a courthouse hand-in-hand Tuesday as a juvenile court judge ended a court-ordered separation that lasted 13 months, 14 days – and about one hour, said Mattingly Foster.
But Judge Elizabeth Lindsley kept in place a no-contact order between Kingston and the couple’s children, continuing only supervised visits with them until he completes additional therapy and domestic violence counseling.
Lindsley also gave Kingston until Dec. 30 to pay $6,200 for two month’s child support he was ordered to pay a year ago.
And the judge set a deadline of Dec. 30 for Kingston and Mattingly Foster to complete community service ordered this fall after finding they had violated the no contact order in April at a funeral for Mattingly Foster’s father. Lindsley will review the case again in March.
But there could be additional court wranglings before then. Both Guardian ad Litem Kristin Brewer and Daniel Irvin, Kingston’s attorney, have filed appeals in the case. Brewer declined to describe her appeal Tuesday, saying only that it involves orders to return the children, made by both Lindsley and Juvenile Court Judge Andrew Valdez. He handled the matter for about 16 months before recusing himself.
Irvin said his appeal raises three issues: Brewer’s authority to bring the case to court, whether a request by the couple’s older children for private counsel should have been granted and whether it was a conflict for the ad Litem’s office to represent all the children, given their differing circumstances.
But Tuesday, Kingston and Mattingly Foster, who have been together for more than 18 years, were focused on their future together. She is said to be one of 14 women joined with Kingston in plural marriages that have produced more than 100 children.
In the courthouse lobby, the couple embraced and kissed. “Better than I remembered it,” Kingston said. “We love each other very much.”
Mattingly Foster said she was pleased with this step in reuniting them as a family.
“It is actually the most I had hoped for,” said Mattingly Foster, 33. “I am leaving here pretty happy today.”
Kingston began having supervised visits with their eight younger children in November. Since October, he has been permitted to work with the couple’s 16-year-old son.
That same month, both Kingston and Mattingly Foster voluntarily agreed to give up parental rights to their two oldest daughters, ages 17 and 14.
A dispute between the parents and those girls over ear piercing in February 2004 landed the family in juvenile court. Subsequently, the teens and, months later, their siblings were placed in foster care as the convoluted case made its way through court.
In June 2004, Valdez found that Kingston had abused and neglected his children and physically abused Mattingly Foster.
Kingston had not had any contact with the couple’s younger children, who range in age from 17 months to 16, since November 2004. His supervised visits were suspended at that time after a Division of Child and Family caseworker alleged he was manipulating the children through such acts as giving them a book about the biblical story of the persecution of Daniel.
By August 2005, nine of the children were in their mother’s care. Kingston said the renewed visits are going well but that the continued limits placed on their contact is difficult for the children. They can hug him during the supervised visits, but not interact with him at church.
“We still see each other at Sunday school but we have no contact at Sunday school,” he said. “I do have other children that come up to me and give me a big hug, but Heidi’s children are unable to have contact, so they sit back and they watch their other brothers and sisters have contact and then [are denied that]. It is very sad for the children.”