Polygamist arrested on incest charge on Pioneer Day

Associated Press, July 26, 2003

SALT LAKE CITY – A member of the polygamous Kingston clan sought on an incest charge was arrested at a Pioneer Day family gathering, investigators said.

Jeremy Kingston was arrested at the gathering in Bountiful and was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail.

“We got a tip that he was at a Kingston family gathering,” said Ron Barton, an investigator with the Utah Attorney General’s Office, who crashed the party with three police officers Thursday afternoon. “It went quietly and smoothly. He was totally cooperative.”

Barton estimated as many as 800 members of secretive Kingston family were at the residence.

The incest charge stems from Kingston’s alleged 1995 marriage to his first-cousin LuAnn Kingston when she was 15 and he was 24. After five years, during which time two daughters were born, LuAnn Kingston left the marriage and asked the state to prosecute.

She said it took over a year for her to get the courage to meet with prosecutors after leaving Jeremy Kingston.

Investigators obtained a blood sample from Kingston Thursday and it was sent to a University of Utah lab for DNA testing. Authorities said blood tests previously had proved the mothers of Jeremy and LuAnn Kingston were sisters.

LuAnn Kingston said Jeremy Kingston had three wives and 17 children when he married her. She told investigators that her father-in-law, Joseph Ortell Kingston, is her half brother, making her ex-husband a nephew as well as a cousin.

The Kingston polygamous clan, called the Latter-Day Church of Christ, includes an estimated 1,200 members.

The group has amassed a $150-million business empire, running companies in South Salt Lake, Bountiful, Sandy and elsewhere along the Wasatch Front.

Pioneer Day is a state holiday that commemorates the arrival of Mormon settlers to Salt Lake Valley on July 24, 1847.

The pioneers brought polygamy with them. As residents sought statehood, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints renounced the practice and the Utah Constitution outlawed it.

The church now excommunicates those who advocate it. It is estimated that there are tens of thousands of polygamists in the state.

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