Green's Wife Retracts Her Abuse Story

Salt Lake Tribune/December 15, 2000
By Brett Crandall

Nephi -- A wife of admitted polygamist Tom Green testified Thursday that statements she made to a juvenile court official that she was molested by Green in 1989 when she was 13 were false.

LeeAnn Beagley said she made the false accusations on the advice of her stepmother. Beagley, who later married Green, told prosecutors that her stepmother, Nelda Johnson, took her to see Chuck Sullivan, a juvenile court official in St. George, and tell him a story that Johnson "hatched up'' about her having been sexually molested by Green.

Green is charged with child rape for having sex with his first wife, Linda Kunz Green when she was 13 years old in 1986.

Fourth District Judge Guy Burningham has pledged to toss out felony child-rape charges against Green if he can show that police knew about the alleged illegal relationship between Green and Linda Kunz Green.

The child-rape charges allege that Green conceived a child with Linda Kunz Green in 1986. At the time, Utah law required such charges be filed no longer than four years after the crime or up to a year after an initial police report, but no longer than eight years after the crime.

Lawmakers altered the statute in 1991, requiring only that charges be filed no longer than four years after the crime was first reported.

In August, Burningham ruled that since the law changed in 1991, three years before the eight-year statute of limitations would have expired on a 1986 child rape, the new statute could be applied retroactively. If Green, however, could prove a police investigation was filed, the charge -- which could put him behind bars for up to life -- would be dropped.

On Thursday, Beagley also testified that in 1990 and again in 1995, she was questioned by agents with the Division of Children and Family Services and law-enforcement officers about ages of the children and wives in Green's house. Also on Thursday, Jay Slaugh testified that as a friend of Green's in 1986, he reported that Green was marrying girls younger than 14.

When asked about his own alleged polygamist lifestyle, Slaugh took the Fifth Amendment against self-incrimination on the advise of Burningham.

The defense hopes to prove that authorities knew of the alleged abuse within the time frame of the statute of limitations, but took no action.

Burningham continued the evidentiary hearing to Jan. 25.

Besides the child-rape charge, Green is charged with four counts of felony bigamy and one count of criminal nonsupport for more than $50,000 in state support he received for 25 of his 29 children.

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