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JUDGE ORDERS KAREN WORTHINGTON TO REVEAL WHAT SHE SAID TO BISHOP

A 3rd District Court judge has ordered Karen Worthington to reveal what she said to her bishop the night her husband murdered a nurse and held eight others hostage at Alta View Hospital.

Karen Worthington has refused to disclose what she said to her bishop during her telephone call to him the night of the Alta View standoff. She has said a Utah law prohibiting disclosure of a person's confession to his clergy also protects her conversations with her bishop.However, 3rd District Judge Kenneth Rigtrup ruled Monday that Karen Worthington's conversations would only be protected if she was personally confessing a sin or otherwise sharing something with her bishop that would affect her membership and standing in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The state's penitent/clergy law does not protect all conversations with clergy from disclosure, he ruled.

However, Rigtrup made it clear in his ruling that some conversations with LDS clergy beyond strict confession are also protected by the law. In the LDS faith, several types of conversation dealing with a person's worthiness and standing in the church are also protected, Rigtrup said. That includes temple recommend interviews.

David Roth filed a lawsuit against Karen and Richard Worthington after Richard Worthington murdered Roth's wife, Karla, during the Sept. 20 standoff. Roth's attorneys recently deposed Karen Worthington in preparation for a trial on that suit. But she refused to answer questions about conversations with her bishop and her husband during that deposition, said Colin King, attorney for Roth.

"It is our contention that she was talking to her bishop that night about her husband and what he was up to. That is not a confession or a conversation about his church standing," King said.

Rigtrup agreed. He also instructed King to seek Richard Worthington's permission for Karen Worthington to discuss her conversations with Richard in the weeks prior to the Alta shooting as well.

Utah law prohibits spouses from providing evidence against each other if one spouse bans it. "Karen wants to tell us what Richard was telling her. She thinks it will be helpful to her case," King said. "But the judge won't allow her to do that without trying to get Richard's consent first."

Since Richard Worthington has pleaded guilty to the murder of Karla Roth, King hopes he will grant his ex-wife permission to talk.

If Richard Worthington refuses to grant permission, Rigtrup will review the matter again.

King will finish Karen Worthington's deposition in early April. He also hopes to depose Richard Worthington and the Worthington's bishop.