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Parole hearing delayed for Green

Postponement is due to chance of trial, board says

SHARE Parole hearing delayed for Green

PROVO — Citing the chance that polygamist Tom Green may stand trial on child rape the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole says it has postponed Green's first parole hearing for six months.

After serving almost six months of a five-year sentence for charges of bigamy and criminal nonsupport, Green was scheduled to appear before the parole board Tuesday morning.

Green claims a spiritual marriage to five women, with whom he has fathered more than 30 children.

Green's head wife, Linda Kunz Green, said last week she was concerned that a recent ruling by Judge Guy Burningham in the child-rape case could lead officials to cancel his parole hearing — given a pending first-degree felony charge.

In one of 2001's most high-profile trials, a jury concluded that by cohabitating with five women in the west desert of Juab County, Green was in violation of Utah's bigamy statute. Juab County Attorney David Leavitt said Green owed the state $78,000 in back child support for the estimated $647,263 in welfare assistance provided to his family.

Green is also charged with child rape, a first-degree felony, for fathering a child with Kunz Green when she was 13 years old. For a year, attorneys have argued whether the statute of limitations had run out in the 1986 case. In a ruling last week by 4th District Judge Guy Burningham, the court determined that the statute of limitations had not expired, allowing Leavitt to pursue prosecution.

Green's attorney, John Bucher, said he plans to appeal Burningham's decision to the Utah Supreme Court.

John Green, administrative coordinator for the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole, early Friday said the board intended to treat the bigamy and the rape cases separately and move forward with Tuesday's hearing. Later Friday, he said the board had changed its mind and canceled the hearing — given the serious nature of the child-rape charge.

John Green said a copy of the hearing cancellation announcement was provided to Tom Green in prison. "He said he wasn't surprised," John Green said. A new date has not been set.

Leavitt said he plans to submit a letter to the prison, explaining the state's position but declined to disclose what he will recommend.

Although chances of Green being paroled are slim, his family remains hopeful. Bucher acknowledged that the state has a strong case against Green on the child-rape charge.

If convicted of child rape, Green could face up to life in prison.


E-mail: gfattah@desnews.com