Utah woman is charged with abetting polygamy

Associated Press—Published Oct 15, 2002

SALT LAKE CITY -- A 36-year-old woman has been charged with abetting bigamy and illegal sex for persuading her 16-year-old sister to marry into her polygamous household in southern Utah.

It is the first known case in more than 100 years in which a woman has been accused in a polygamy case in the state.

Suzie Stubbs Holm, who was charged last week, could get up to 10 years in prison. Her husband, Hildale police officer Rodney H. Holm, 36, was charged with illegally marrying the younger sister. He is accused of having sex with the 16-year-old at least three times. State law forbids sex involving 16-and 17-year-olds when a partner is 10 or more years older, unless the couple is legally married.

The Holms' attorney, Rod Parker, said that Rodney Holm's marriage to the girl was not forced and that the girl's parents consented to the arrangement.

The Holms belong to the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, whose members openly practice plural marriage. Most of them live in Hildale-Colorado City, desert towns straddling the Utah-Arizona state line.

The Fundamentalist church is an offshoot of the Mormon Church, which disavowed polygamy in 1890 and excommunicates those who practice it.

Utah men are rarely prosecuted for polygamy; last year's conviction of polygamist Tom Green for bigamy, child rape and nonpayment of child support was the first in nearly 50 years