Eight children removed from polygamist family in Utah

Associated Press/October 19, 2004
By Debbie Hummel

Salt Lake City -- Utah child welfare authorities on Tuesday removed eight children from a family belonging to a polygamist clan.

The children were taken from John Daniel Kingston and Heidi Mattingly, who have 11 children, including two teen girls who have already been removed from the home. The state did not take the couple's youngest child, a 3-month-old girl, who will remain with Mattingly.

At issue Tuesday was a petition filed by the Guardian ad Litem's office -- an independent agency that represents children in court -- alleging abuse, neglect and efforts by the couple to block access to the children by state case workers.

Carol Sisco, spokeswoman for the Division of Child and Family Services, refused to comment on the case. Kingston's attorney, Daniel Irvin, said he was disappointed with Tuesday's state action but refused further comment.

Mattingly has been investigated by the agency at least three times since 1994, and found each time to have neglected her children by not providing enough supervision or a clean home.

Kinston was ordered earlier this year to pay support for the children he has with Mattingly. The support was ordered as part of a case in which both Kingston and Mattingly were accused of child abuse and neglect.

Kingston is believed to have 14 wives and more than 100 children.

The Kingston clan, which is also known to authorities as the Order, has an estimated 1,200 members and runs a $150 million business empire that includes pawn shops, restaurant supply stores, dairies and mines.

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