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Kingston Clan

The Utah Supreme Court has ruled that a juvenile court judge acted properly in 2005 when she allowed the return home of eight children of Heidi Mattingly Foster and polygamist John Daniel Kingston. The children had been removed from their parents’ custody following a finding of child abuse against them. [csr 6.1 2007]

John Daniel Kingston
A juvenile court in Utah has given polygamous clan leader and businessman John Daniel Kingston the right to unsupervised visits with his eight children, now in foster care following findings of child abuse against him. [csr 5.1 2006]

Polygamists Give Up Parental Rights
Heidi Mattingly and her husband John Daniel Kingston, who is the head of a 1,200-member polygamous sect and a $150 million business empire in Utah, have signed orders relinquishing parental rights over two teenage daughters. The girls left home in 2004 accusing the couple of abuse. Critics say the sect teaches and promotes sexual abuse of young girls through illegal [underage] marriages, incest, and polygamy. Kingston is believed to have 14 wives and over 100 children. (AP in New York Times, Internet, 10/15/05) [csr 4.3 2005]

Kingston Clan/The Order/Latter Day Church of Christ
Daughter Wants to Return
Polygamist John Daniel Kingston’s 13-year-old daughter, taken into state custody and sent to live with relatives when he and his wife were adjudged to have abused her, now wants to live with her mother and other siblings, who still remain apart from Kingston under court oversight. The girl and a sister, who ran away from home after a dispute with their parents over ear piercing, have detailed for authorities physical and verbal abuse their father inflicted on them. (Brook Adams, Salt Lake Tribune, Internet, 4/30/05) [csr 4.2 2005]

Kingston Clan/The Order
Father’s Visitation Privileges Revoked
A Salt Lake City juvenile court has revoked the visitation privileges of polygamous Kingston Clan [The Order] leader John Daniel Kingston — who has some 100 children by 14 wives. The judge relied on the testimony of a social worker who said Kingston told the children that their situation was like biblical persecution. She also said that he tried to prejudice them against their foster parents and influence their testimony. The court originally removed a number of his children from Kingston’s custody after finding that he abused them.[csr 4.1 2005]

Court documents allege that Kingston’s 4-year-old son soils himself before and after his father’s visits, and that a 9-year-old son wets his bed the night before his father is scheduled to arrive. State officials say the visits serve Kingston’s needs more than the children’s. (AP in the Casper Star-Tribune, Internet, 11/24/04) [csr 4.1 2005]

Dispute with Miners
The mostly Mexican workforce of a Utah coal mine owned by the polygamous Kingston Clan is fighting to unionize in order to improve what it describes as low wages and bad safety conditions. But, they say, management fired dozens of workers just before the recent election to authorize a union. They say that management has challenged all but seven of 142 votes cast, and that 101 votes cast by relatives of the Kingston clan should not be counted. Management says the votes of the 34-fired workers should be thrown out. (John Hollenhorst, KSL TV News, Internet, 12/20/04) [csr 4.1 2005]

Death Threats Against Judge Alleged
Utah Third District Court Judge Andrew Valdez has been given police protection following allegations by the 16-year-old estranged daughter of John Daniel Kingston, a leader of the polygamous Kingston Clan, that she heard members of her family talk about killing the judge as well as the Assistant Attorney General and the girl’s state-appointed guardian. (Linda Thompson, Deseret Morning News, Internet, 1/13/05) [csr 4.1 2005]

Parental Rights
The Utah Guardian Ad Litem Office has ruled that John Daniel Kingston, a prominent member of the polygamous Kingston Clan, has a “residual parental right” to determine the religious affiliation of his daughter, a 16-year-old placed in state custody last June who says she wants to become a member of the mainline Mormon Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. [csr 4.1 2005]

The Guardian said Kingston is also responsible for supporting the girl, who was removed from his home after authorities determined that he and his wife had abused her. In addition, the Guardian ruled that Kingston has the right to consent to adoption as well as to reasonable visitation, unless restricted by the court.[csr 4.1 2005]

Juvenile Judge Andrew Valdez said he is not opposed to granting the girl’s request to become a member of the mainline Mormon church. “If the girl wants to talk to missionaries, what’s the harm?” (Leon D’Souza, AP in Casper Star-Tribune, Internet, 1/25/05) [csr 4.1 2005]

Kingston Clan/The Order
Polygamist Loses Custody
A Salt Lake City judge has approved a petition on behalf of the 13-year-old daughter of John Daniel Kingston, head of the polygamous Kingston Clan, to be placed in the permanent custody of the child’s maternal uncle and his wife. A court earlier determined that Kingston had abused his daughter and that her mother had neglected her by not stopping the abuse. (AP, Internet, 7/26/04) [csr 3.3 2004]

Defamation Suit Against Victim Dismissed

A suit for defamation brought by members of the polygamous Kingston Clan [The Order] against a woman who says the group fosters sexual abuse of young girls through illegal marriages, incest, and polygamy, has been dismissed by Utah’s Second District Court. Twenty-two-year-old Mary Ann Kingston, whose Third District Court suit names 242 members and 97 clan businesses as defendants, was beaten by her father when she ran from a polygamous marriage to her uncle at the age of 16. The judge ruled that statements made by Kingston and her lawyers at a news conference did not defame the plaintiffs. He said the remarks were so general and regarding a group so large that no individual member of the group of defendants could claim any harm. (AP, Internet, 8/20/04) [csr 3.3 2004]

Polygamist Ruled Abusive to Daughters
Juvenile Court Judge Andrew Valdez ruled in Salt Lake City that John Daniel Kingston, a wealthy businessman, father of an estimated 100 children, and a leader of the polygamous Kingston Clan/The Order, abused two of his daughters. The judge gave temporary custody of the girls to an aunt and uncle who are not members of the group. They’ll be able to visit their mother, Heidi Foster, whom the judge said was negligent in not protecting them. Kingston, who was ordered to keep away from all ten of his children by Foster unless the visits are supervised, pleaded no contest in 1999 to felony abuse after beating a 16-year-old daughter for running away from a prearranged polygamous marriage to one of his brothers. (AP in New York Times, Internet, 6/4/04) [csr 3.3 2004]

Judge Valdez also ordered that the Foster children be given new birth certificates, with his name on them, in order to ensure their inheritance rights and to end alleged efforts to hide his links to them. [csr 3.3 2004]

The head of the state Guardian ad Litem office says she took the lead in pressing the case against Kingston because the Division of Child and Family Services “has a view that you need to be tolerant of different people’s cultures. They viewed this as a polygamy case and I was viewing it as a child abuse and neglect case.” [csr 3.3 2004]

In February, two of Kingston’s children, ages 2 and 4, were found wandering along a busy street and taken home to an “extremely filthy and unsanitary” house. DFCS has provided Foster with 54 months of homemaking lessons and periodic supervision. A DFCS spokeswoman said her agency was “looking at long-term solutions for those girls. We don’t feel that just putting them into foster care is a long-term solution.” (AP in Casper Star Tribune, Wyoming, Internet, 6/18/04) [csr 3.3 2004]

Polygamist Ruled Abusive to Daughters
Juvenile Court Judge Andrew Valdez ruled in Salt Lake City that John Daniel Kingston, a wealthy businessman, father of an estimated 100 children, and a leader of the polygamous Kingston Clan/The Order, abused two of his daughters. The judge gave temporary custody of the girls to an aunt and uncle who are not members of the group. They’ll be able to visit their mother, Heidi Foster, whom the judge said was negligent in not protecting them. Kingston, who was ordered to keep away from all ten of his children by Foster unless the visits are supervised, pleaded no contest in 1999 to felony abuse after beating a 16-year-old daughter for running away from a prearranged polygamous marriage to one of his brothers. (AP in New York Times, Internet, 6/4/04)

Judge Valdez also ordered that the Foster children be given new birth certificates, with his name on them, in order to ensure their inheritance rights and to end alleged efforts to hide his links to them. [csr 3.2 2004]

The head of the state Guardian ad Litem office says she took the lead in pressing the case against Kingston because the Division of Child and Family Services “has a view that you need to be tolerant of different people’s cultures. They viewed this as a polygamy case and I was viewing it as a child abuse and neglect case.” [csr 3.2 2004]

In February, two of Kingston’s children, ages 2 and 4, were found wandering along a busy street and taken home to an “extremely filthy and unsanitary” house. DFCS has provided Foster with 54 months of homemaking lessons and periodic supervision. A DFCS spokeswoman said her agency was “looking at long-term solutions for those girls. We don’t feel that just putting them into foster care is a long-term solution.” (AP in Casper Star Tribune, Wyoming, Internet, 6/18/04) [csr 3.2 2004 2004]

Latter-day Church of God/The Order
Alleged Child Abuse in Polygamous Clan Detailed
John Daniel Kingston, and Heidi Foster, one of his wives, are in court defending themselves against charges of abuse brought by two of his daughters, 13 and 15, who say their parents systematically beat and psychologically abused them. The Kingstons are members of Utah’s Latter Day Church of God, or The Order, some 1,200 adherents who believe in and practice polygamy.[csr 3.2 2004]

The children, now in state custody after running away from home, spoke on tape about the abuse. Kingston — who operates a $150 million business “empire” with operations in six states, and who has 106 children by 14 wives living in a number of separate households — denies the charges and believes the proceeding is “a fishing expedition” for information about the increasingly condemned practice of polygamy. He maintains his daughters’ testimony was “coached,” pointing out that they had been out of the home for 90 days when first questioned.[csr 3.2 2004]

The 13-year-old says her father forced children to eat rotten food he dug out of the garbage and drink spoiled milk. Then, “he let them throw up and (made) them drink it. . . Arrest my dad and have him be in jail forever, or else do to him what he’s done to us,” said the girl. She called police when Kingston allegedly threatened them for piercing their ears. He says: “We believe we should keep our bodies complete. If the Lord wanted us to have holes in our ears, he would have put them there.”[csr 3.2 2004]

Kingston allegedly once dragged a pregnant Heidi Foster down a set of stairs by the hair, according to the 13-year-old, and when confronted later about the incident said, “Oh, are you sure it wasn’t a dream?” A complaint filed by the state guardian office says Foster is culpable for failing to protect the girls.[csr 3.2 2004]

The state could try to remove all of Kingston’s children if it is determined he abused the two now in custody. The 13-year old doesn’t want the other children removed from Kingston’s households. “Just take my dad away. Either you can get 100 kids or get one guy. Which one is easier? I think it’s right to take my dad instead . . . of making the kids and the moms suffer.” (KSL TV News, Internet, 5/25/04; Leigh Dethman, Deseret Morning News, Internet, 5/26/04) [csr 3.2 2004 2004]