Prosecutors say testimony was for sale, drop charges against ex-cop in polygamous communities

Arizona authorities have dropped charges against former Hildale police officer and polygamist Rodney Holm after discovering the victim offered to change her testimony for money.

Mohave County Attorney Matt Smith said the case against Holm, which was to go to trial on Sept. 5, will be dismissed immediately. Holm will be required to complete 40 hours of community work service and eschew similar behavior to avoid having charges refiled.

Holm, a member of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, faced three counts of sexual conduct with a minor stemming from his 1998 spiritual marriage to Ruth Stubbs, then 16.

A Utah court convicted Holm of bigamy in 2003 for that marriage to Stubbs, who was his third wife. He was sentenced to a year in jail and was decertified as a police office.

Stubbs was the key witness in the Utah case and was to testify in the Arizona trial.

A statement issued by Smith’s office said it had “fairly recently discovered” that Stubbs and an unnamed brother had tried to blackmail a leader of the FLDS church.

“It appears that the victim did in fact write a letter indicating that she would not testify against certain defendants if excessive money was given to her brother and another man by one of the members of the FLDS church,” the statement said.

Holm was the last of eight defendants to be tried on sexual conduct with minor charges based on underage marriages.

Arizona authorities have gotten mixed results in the other cases.

Last week, Dale Barlow received three years supervised probation and 45 days in jail for his spiritual marriage to a 16-year-old girl.

Kelly Fischer was found guilty last summer and spent 45 days in jail. David Bateman, also found guilty, is serving a nine-month sentence.

Charges were dropped against Terry D. Barlow after he proved his marriage took place in Canada. Charges also were dropped against Randy Barlow after the victim refused to testify against him.

Donald Barlow was acquitted after the state failed to prove his marriage took place in Arizona. Vergel Jessop received three months supervised probation in a plea deal.

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Religion News Blog posted this on Tuesday August 28, 2007.
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