Policeman faces trial in Arizona bigamy case

Associated Press
Dec. 13, 2002

COLORADO CITY - A polygamous policeman has been ordered to stand trial on charges of unlawful sex and bigamy, but charges against one of his wives were dismissed.

Following a preliminary hearing Wednesday, 5th District Judge G. Rand Beacham ordered Rodney Holm tried on two counts of unlawful sexual conduct with a 16- or 17-year-old and one count of bigamy - all felonies.

Charges against Holm's first wife, Suzie Holm, were dismissed. She was accused of aiding and abetting unlawful sexual conduct with a 16- or 17-year-old and bigamy. Beacham said there was insufficient evidence that she aided in her husband's alleged conduct.

Rodney Holm pleaded innocent to the charges Wednesday, rather than wait for an arraignment hearing, and trial will be scheduled for March or April. He is a certified police officer in Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City.

The charges were based on Holm's alleged sexual conduct with his third wife, Ruth Stubbs - Suzie Holm's sister.

During the preliminary hearing, defense attorney Max Wheeler acknowledged that the prosecution produced sufficient evidence to argue the unlawful sexual conduct, but said there was no proof the activity took place in Utah.

The Holms are members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which teaches polygamy as a central doctrine. Rodney Holm has 21 children with three wives.

A photograph at the wedding of Ruth Stubbs and Rodney Holm submitted as evidence was deemed sufficient for Beacham to uphold the bigamy charge.

Beacham agreed with Assistant Attorney General Kristine Knowlton that the birth certificates of Ruth Stubbs, Rodney Holm and their two minor children, along with the couple's Utah street address, were sufficient to uphold the charges of unlawful sexual conduct.

The certificates show Stubbs was 16 years old when her first child was conceived and Rodney Holm was 32; and that Stubbs was 17 when she conceived her second child.

Utah law makes it a crime for someone 10 years older than a 16- or 17-year-old to have sexual relations unless they are legally married.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints abandoned polygamy a century ago, but tens of thousands of people in Utah and other western states continue the practice. The Mormon Church excommunicates those who practice it.

Polygamists who used the border to escape law enforcement raids have dominated Colorado City and Hildale since 1935.

However, there has been a renewed effort recently to prosecute polygamists when there has been welfare fraud, incest or underage marriage.

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