Jury acquits man on trial for plural marriage to underage girl

KVOA News, Tucson/September 19, 2006

Kingman, Ariz. -- A member of a polygamous sect on trial for alleged sex offenses involving a pural marriage to an underage girl was acquitted Thursday.

A Mohave County Superior Court jury deliberated about an hour before finding Donald Barlow not guilty of sexual conduct charges with a minor.

Barlow, 50, had been charged with a single count involving a church assigned bride.

Prosecutors told jurors that the Colorado City resident fathered a child by the 17-year-old girl.

However, defense attorney Bruce Griffen said the key to the acquittal was the state's inability to prove where the sex occurred.

Griffen said Barlow was working in Salt Lake City at the time of the alleged offense.

Barlow is a member of the polygamist Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, a sect based in Colorado City and neighboring Hildale, Utah.

The sect practices polygamy, including some marriages involving minor girls.

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