The Salt Lake Tribune, Aug. 7, 2002
GUNNISON — Vowing to never again commit incest or have sex with an underage girl, polygamist David Ortell Kingston told an officer of the Utah Board of Pardons he wants to be released from prison — now.
Kingston, who has served 3 years of a potential 10-year sentence for “marrying” his 16-year-old niece, pleaded Tuesday for an immediate parole date.
“I’ve done a lot of soul-searching,” said Kingston, who admitted for the first time Tuesday that he had sex with the girl. “It’s not going to happen again.”
Holding back tears, the 36-year-old accountant insisted his incarceration has been harder on his family than himself. “My family has suffered much sorrow and loneliness,” Kingston said, adding that he has a 3-year-old son whom he has never held.
Hearing officer Kent Jones said he would recommend that Kingston be paroled “in the not too distant future,” depending upon completion of a sex-offender therapy program. “You’ve done enough time,” Jones declared.
But ultimately, Kingston’s fate is in the hands of the five-member parole board, which typically releases decisions three to four weeks after a hearing.
Kingston was sentenced to two consecutive prison terms of up to 5 years each in July 1999, after a 3rd District Court jury convicted him of third-degree felony counts of incest and unlawful sexual contact with a minor. He was acquitted of two similar counts.
Kingston — a member of one of Utah’s most secretive and affluent polygamous sects, The Latter Day Church of Christ — took the girl as his 15th wife in 1997.
The illegal union came to the attention of police after the girl’s father whipped her for running away from home to escape the arranged marriage. Kingston’s brother, John Daniel Kingston, was sentenced to serve 28 weeks for beating his daughter.
The victim — who said she wanted to finish high school rather than become her uncle’s spouse — was placed in foster care.
A 1999 investigation by The Salt Lake Tribune revealed several instances of the 1,000-member Kingston clan marrying half-sisters, first cousins, nieces and aunts as part of their religious beliefs.
Relative Theron Kingston side-stepped queries about whether David Kingston’s conviction had sparked any change in the clan’s marriage philosophy.