Polygamist to Face Trial in Unlawful Sex Case

The Salt Lake Tribune, Dec. 12, 2002

    ST. GEORGE — Admitted polygamist Rodney Holm was bound over for trial Wednesday on two charges of unlawful sexual conduct and a single count of bigamy, but the judge dropped one unlawful sex charge.

    Two similar charges against Holm’s wife, Suzie Holm, also were dropped.

    During a preliminary hearing in 5th District Court in St. George, Judge G. Rand Beacham said there was enough probable cause to bind Holm over for allegedly having sex with Ruth Stubbs, to whom he was wed in a “spiritual sealing” in December 1998. She was 16 at the time; he was 32 and legally married to Suzie Holm.

    Since charges were filed in October, Rodney Holm has been on administrative leave as a law-enforcement official in the adjacent towns of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz. Nearly all residents of both towns are members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (FLDS), which believes in the practice of polygamy.

    From 1998 to 2001, Stubbs lived at Holm’s residence in Hildale and had three children. The state contends the ages of two of the children, a son and daughter, indicates Rodney Holm would had to have had sexual intercourse with Stubbs when she was 16 and 17 years old.

    Under state law, it is a third-degree felony for a person who is 10 years or more older to have sex with a partner who is 16 or 17, unless they are lawfully married. Bigamy is a also third-degree felony and carries a sentence of up to 5 years in prison.

    Stubbs was not at Wednesday’s hearing. Assistant Utah Attorney General Kristine Knowlton entered into the record testimony from Stubbs taken in an earlier deposition.

   Pennie Petersen, Stubbs’ older sister, testified at Wednesday’s hearing that on the day of the wedding she talked to Suzie Holm, also a sister, at least three times from her home in Phoenix.

    “We were both upset,” said Petersen.

    Petersen said she pleaded with Suzie Holm not to let their younger sibling go through with the planned marriage, but Suzie Holm told her that she could do nothing to stop it.

    “She [Suzie Holm] said Ruth wanted to do this, that she had to do this,” said Petersen.

    Beacham said testimony by Petersen and apparent encouragement from church leaders in addition to a wedding picture provided by Petersen indicated that Rodney Holm took Stubbs as a wife while legally married to Suzie Holm.

    Beacham dropped one charge of unlawful sex and one bigamy charge against Suzie Holm.

    Rodney Holm entered innocent pleas to the three charges against him. A trial date will be set later.

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Religion News Blog posted this on Thursday December 12, 2002.
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