The Associated Press, June 2, 1998

Alleged Polygamist Accused of Child Abuse

SALT LAKE CITY (AP)-- A patriarch in a polygamist clan was charged Tuesday for allegedly beating his 16-year-old daughter because she didn't want to be the 15th wife of his brother.

John Daniel Kingston, 43, of Salt Lake, turned himself in after the girl told detectives she had been beaten with a belt because she kept running away from her arranged marriage.

Kingston is charged with second-degree felony child abuse, punishable by up to 15 years in prison. He was released on $10,000 cash bail.

A telephone message left at his business, American Digital Co. in Salt Lake, was not immediately returned Tuesday.

The girl suffered a broken nose and deep bruises on her arms, buttocks and legs in the May 24 beating, according to a police report. She told deputies her father had whipped her at least 20 times at a barn located on family property in remote Box Elder County, 60 miles north of Salt Lake.

The girl told police she had run away twice after being married in a private church service to David O. Kingston, 32. She said she was his 15th wife.

``All she wanted was to go back and finish high school,'' said sheriff's Detective Scott Cosgrove. ``She knew she'd never be able to do that unless she got away.''

The younger Kingston does not have a listed telephone number.

The Kingstons are a large and well-known polygamist clan in Utah.

Polygamy is against the law in Utah but law enforcement officials rarely investigate or prosecute those who practice it.

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