Bigamist must stay in jail
Rodney Holm

Rodney Holm

ST. GEORGE Convicted bigamist Rodney Holm, a former police officer in the twin polygamist towns of nearby Hildale, Washington County, and Colorado City, Ariz., will not get an early release date from jail, a 5th District judge ruled Friday.

Holm was convicted last year of bigamy and two counts of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor 16 or 17 years old, all third-degree felonies, and sentenced to a year in the county jail with work release privileges. Holm was decertified, lost his job as a peace officer, and now works for the Colorado City streets department.

"He has been a model prisoner and a positive influence to others at the jail," said Holm's attorney, Rod Parker. "He is entitled to be treated the same as anyone else when it comes to being rewarded for good behavior."

Judge G. Rand Beacham, however, was not swayed by a positive note provided by jail officials, outlining Holm's role as secretary of the jail's work release program and his supervisory position over jail cleaning crews. Holm has always been expected to be on his best behavior while in jail, the judge said, denying the request for Holm's early release.

Utah Assistant Attorney General Kristine Knowlton said, as in previous court hearings, that Holm was a police officer when the crimes were committed and should be held to a higher standard. His conviction and incarceration sends a message to others in the plural community and elsewhere that no one, including law enforcement, is immune from prosecution when laws are broken, she said.

Holm is a member of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which teaches polygamy as a central tenet necessary to one's salvation. The mainstream LDS Church abandoned polygamy in the late 1890s as a condition of statehood and excommunicates members who continue the practice.

Holm, who is legally married to one woman and spiritually wed to another, has 22 children. One child was born to Holm's second wife shortly after he reported to the Washington County Jail on Oct. 13.

It is Holm's church-sanctioned marriage to his third wife, Ruth Stubbs, that led to the charges filed against him. Stubbs was 16 at the time she married Holm, who was then 32. The couple had two children together before a pregnant Stubbs left the family and filed for custody.

Utah law makes it a crime for someone 10 years older than a 16- or 17-year-old to have sex with that person unless they are legally married.

Holm will have completed his yearlong jail sentence in about six weeks, said Parker.
Deseret Morning News
Originally published Saturday, May 1, 2004