Kingston kids get little $$

Dad ordered to start paying each $300 a month

Deseret Morning News/August 26, 2004
By Leigh Dethman

John Daniel Kingston's children are living on $2 per day for food and clothing, according to testimony Wednesday in 3rd District Court.

"I don't see how they are surviving," said Kristin Brewer, director of the state Office of Guardian Ad Litem. "They need the state to help them survive."

Judge Andrew Valdez ordered Kingston to temporarily pay $300 per month for each of the nine children living at home with one of his polygamous wives, Heidi Mattingly.

Mattingly said she earned just $150 the entire month of July. But, she added, Kingston does give her "gifts" of money now and then, including about $5 or $10 he handed her Wednesday. Kingston also supplies meat and boxes of potatoes.

"A box of potatoes ain't gonna cut it," Valdez said.

The couple's children have no health insurance, and Mattingly refuses to immunize them.

The couple was in court again Wednesday to argue the fate of their 11 children. At issue was what amount of child support Kingston should pay while attorneys argue about the final placement of the children.

A judge stripped them of permanent custody of their 13-year-old daughter after a February incident when Kingston threatened the girl and her sister, now 16, for piercing their ears. In June, Valdez ruled that Kingston abused his children and that Mattingly failed to protect them from that abuse.

Assistant Attorney General Carolyn Nichols told the court she believes Kingston lied on his financial records and did not report all of his income. The state lists a John Daniel Kingston as president or vice president at numerous companies, all of which Kingston did not report to the court.

Kingston testified his son, who bears the same name, is probably the man listed on state records.

"His credibility is seriously deficient," Nichols said. "He's gotta step up to the plate, and this court needs to order him to start paying."

According to Kingston's tax forms, he earned $21,649.99 in 2002. That income must pay for the approximately 100 children Kingston has fathered with 14 wives. Mattingly said Kingston occasionally helps to pay rent for the home where their 11 children live.

Kingston testified he has incurred nearly $230,000 in debt to support his family.

Valdez also ordered Mattingly to reinstall a seat in her van. DCFS reported that Mattingly packed nine children in the van, some sitting on the floors, during daily trips.

"Make sure you keep your kids safe," Valdez ordered Kingston.

Both Kingston and Mattingly received psychological evaluations from a doctor not assigned by the court. That has delayed the case for months, both Brewer and Valdez said.

Valdez said Kingston and Mattingly's constant stall tactics and refusal to abide court orders could hurt the couple when Valdez must decide if he will try to reunify the family.

"Sooner or later that's going to come back and bite you," Valdez said. "It's the children we're interested in, not fixing adults."

The couple will be back in court Nov. 3 to argue whether Kingston's financial statements are, indeed, truthful.

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