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Prosecutor trying to force polygamous trust fiduciary to appear in court

Published July 31, 2014 2:21 pm

Polygamy • Bruce Wisan is a witness in a prostitution case.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated.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.

A prosecutor in Taylorsville on Thursday asked a judge to force the fiduciary in charge of a polygamous trust to appear in court and explain why hasn't shown up to testify in a prostitution trial.

The prosecutor filed what's known as an order to show cause against Bruce Wisan. If a judge approves the request, Wisan could be summoned to appear in Taylorsville's justice court to explain his two absences and why he should not be held in contempt of court.

Wisan's attorney declined to comment Thursday. Wisan has not been charged with any crimes.

He is a witness in a misdemeanor prostitution case against a 26-year-old woman. A Unified Police Department report said an officer found the woman and Wisan in a motel room on March 20, 2013. Both said Wisan was helping the woman financially.

The woman initially denied sex occurred, and then said some sexually activity had happened with Wisan, according to the police report. Wisan, 68, denied any sexual contact.

A bench trial for the woman was scheduled for June 11 and then July 18. Acting Taylorsville city attorney Tracy Scott Cowdell said the first trial was canceled because Wisan did not appear. Niether Wisan nor the defendant appeared July 18, but Cowdell said the woman could have been tried in absentia if Wisan had appeared for court.

Wisan's attorney, Catherine Cleveland, has said Wisan was out of town on June 11, and on July 18 he was testifying in a hearing regarding the United Effort Plan.

The UEP is the trust that owns most of the land and property in Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz. A judge appointed Wisan, an accountant, to manage the trust in 2005 after the state seized control of it from the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Also on Thursday, prosecutors in Taylorsville filed an a new charge of bail jumping against the prostitution suspect. A $2,000 bench warrant has been issued for her arrest.

ncarlisle@sltrib.com

Twitter: @natecarlisle