Judge bars polygamist Kingston from visiting children

Salt Lake City/November 24, 2004

Salt Lake City -- A juvenile court judge has yanked visitation privileges from polygamist John Daniel Kingston after the weekly meetings allegedly upset some of his children.

Judge Andrew Valdez revoked Kingston's visitation rights Monday for nine of the 11 children he has with Heidi Mattingly.

Ten of the children were taken away from the home after Valdez ruled Kingston abused them and that their mother failed to protect them. Since then, Kingston's interaction with the children has been limited to weekly supervised visits.

The family landed in court after Kingston threatened two of his teenage daughters for piercing their ears without his permission. The girls, ages 13 and 16, told police they were afraid of their father, who allegedly threatened to rip out their earrings for going against his wishes.

Valdez has barred Kingston from contact with Mattingly, who has custody of their 4-month-old daughter, and from the two teenage daughters who were pulled from their mother's home in February.

Kingston is believed to have more than 100 children with about 14 women.

Caseworker Curtis Giles alleges Kingston inappropriately told the children their plight was like biblical persecution, tried to prejudice them against their foster parents, failed to supervise them during visits and tried to sway their testimony.

According to court documents, Kingston's 4-year-old son consistently soils himself prior to and after visits with his father, and his 9-year-old son wets the bed the night before scheduled visits with Kingston. State officials also allege that the meetings served Kingston's needs more than those of his children.

Daniel Irvin, Kingston's attorney, said the allegations were ''ridiculous.''

''Could it be they don't want to go to a foster home, that they see their dad and want to go home with him?'' Irvin said. ''Where do they stop if wetting the bed is enough to not let you have visitation?''

Valdez agreed Monday to an emergency request filed by Assistant Attorney General Carolyn Nichols to curtail Kingston's visits. Guardian Ad Litem Kristen Brewer said Tuesday that linking the children's behavior to a fear of Kingston was reasonable given his history.

Valdez scheduled a hearing for Dec. 8 for Kingston to respond to the allegations.

According to Giles, during an Oct. 25 visit, Kingston told the younger children their oldest brother was in a prisonlike place and compared his situation to the Bible's story of Daniel, who was thrown in a lion's den because of his beliefs. He also gave the children, and the oldest brother, a book about that story, according to court documents.

The 15-year-old boy has been in ARTEC, a secure juvenile facility, since being removed from Foster's home.

During a Nov. 1 visit, Kingston's 4-year-old son showed up with a black eye, which prompted his father to remark, ''So they punched you in the eye, did they?''

Giles warned Kingston it was inappropriate to ''coach'' the children about the incident, which was under investigation. The caseworker said Kingston continued to ask his children questions and ''restate their answers to them in a twisted way,'' prompting another warning.

Irvin said any parent would be concerned if a child in foster care turned up with a black eye.

At another time, Kingston's 4-year-old son allegedly berated his foster mother for having pierced ears and being unable to bear children, calling her ''Satan's whore.'' Giles said the child later apologized.

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