Police investigation into polygamist Bountiful community now with Crown

Macleans/October 19, 2006

Victoria -- A police investigation into the polygamist commune in Bountiful has been completed and is in the hands of the criminal justice branch.

The branch release a brief statement Thursday from Crown spokesman Stan Lowe, confirming the receipt of a report from the RCMP concerning the community, located near Creston in southeastern B.C.

The report was received by the branch on Sept. 28, 2006, and resulted from a lengthy and complex police investigation into alleged misconduct on the part of some residents of Bountiful, the statement said.

A "comprehensive charge assessment review" of the police report will be conducted by senior Crown counsel to determine if any Criminal Code offences have been committed.

The branch said that the assessment would likely take a long time to complete and no further comments would be made until there is a decision.

People at the commune are members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

There have long been allegations of sexual abuse at the commune and rumours of charges against leaders of the community such as Winston Blackmore have long been whispered.

Last summer, in a meeting with the attorneys general of Arizona and Utah, B.C. Attorney General Wally Oppal discussed common problems with polygamist communities.

The church is based in the state line communities of Colorado City, Arizona and Hildale, Utah, but it also has a sizeable branch in Bountiful.

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