Polygamous ex-cop seeks to avoid jail

ST. GEORGE, Utah – A former police officer convicted of bigamy and illegal sex with a girl he took as a third wife when she was 16 wants to stay out of jail while he appeals his one-year sentence.

Rodney Holm was an officer in the polygamous border towns of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz., until losing his certification in August.

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His motion is scheduled to be heard Nov. 6.

A jury in August found Holm guilty of bigamy and two counts of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor 16 or 17 years old, all third-degree felonies.

The charges stemmed from Holm’s union with a third wife, Ruth Stubbs, who was 16 at the time of the plural marriage performed by leaders of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who have recently come under increased fire from prosecutors in both Arizona and Utah.

Holm, who was 32 at the time, also is married to Stubbs’ older sister, Suzie, and a second wife, Wendy.

He began serving a year in the Washington County (Utah) jail with work release privileges three days after his Oct. 10 sentencing. Holm was granted a three-day furlough last weekend to attend the birth of his 23rd child.

The motion to release Holm, pending the outcome of his appeals, is based on several issues, including the state’s failure to prove the conception of Stubbs’ children with Holm occurred in Utah, said his attorney, Rod Parker.

Utah Assistant Attorney General Kristine Knowlton, who prosecuted the case, said she is in the process of responding to the motion. “We object, obviously,” she said.

A three-judge panel will hear Holm’s appeal, but it is not known when it will convene.

Utah authorities are now targeting other polygamist officers.

The decision by the Peace Officer Standards and Training council last week to strip police certification from officers who practice polygamy followed complaints from state officials who said police in Hildale, a town of about 2,000, were hampering investigations into underage marriages.

Prosecutors have been going after members of the polygamist church, and other polygamist sects who take child brides.

Polygamy was part of the early beliefs of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints but was abandoned more than a century ago. The Mormon church excommunicates those who advocate it.


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Associated Press, USA
Oct. 23, 2003
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Religion News Blog posted this on Thursday October 23, 2003.
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