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Canadian polygamist leader under investigation in Utah

Published March 20, 2014 8:03 am

Underage marriage • Winston Blackmore says the 15-year-old girl had parents' consent.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The Utah Attorney General's Office will investigate a polygamists leader's admission he married a teenage girl years ago.

But it's not clear whether Winston Blackmore, who leads the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Bountiful, British Columbia, committed any crime. In the deposition he gave last month, Blackmore said the marriage occurred in Utah — or at least he was pretty sure — the bride was 15 and had her parents' consent to marry. The marriage happened in 2001 or 2002, an again uncertain Blackmore said, and was performed by Warren Jeffs. Blackmore and the now-woman are still married, he said.

Utah law says 15-year-olds can marry with the permission of their parents and approval from the juvenile court. Blackmore did not state when he and the bride had sex.

"We are currently investigating the allegations," the Utah Attorney General's Office said in a statement The Salt Lake Tribune received Wednesday. "Attorney General Reyes does not view illegal activities that target children and other vulnerable populations lightly and will prosecute criminal activity when appropriate."

Blackmore gave the deposition Feb. 28 at a law firm in Salt Lake City as part of a lawsuit filed by Elisa Wall against Jeffs and the FLDS. Wall says Jeffs forced her to marry her cousin when she was 14 years old. Blackmore is not a party in the lawsuit. His deposition was first reported by The Vancouver Sun.

ncarlisle@sltrib.com

Twitter: @natecarlisle —

What Winston Blackmore answered in the deposition

Q: Have you ever married someone who is under the age of 16?

A: Yes, I have.

Q: When was that?

A: Oh, heck, I can't recall … They had their parents' consent.

…

Q: And how old was she?

A: She was 15, just about 16.