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Polygamist leader dies in prison

A convicted sex offender and leader of a North Ogden-based polygamous group died at the Utah State Prison.

Arvin Shreeve died at age 79 from natural causes on Monday, prison officials said.

Shreeve was moved to the prison's infirmary from his dorm in the special service unit for sex offenders in mid-July when prison staff determined he was nearing the end of his life.

"They knew he was going to go pretty soon," said Utah Department of Corrections deputy director Mike Haddon.

Shreeve's family was notified that he was moved to the infirmary. His daughter visited him sometime before he died.

Shreeve was the leader of the Zion Community (also called The Sister Program), a sect from a North Ogden subdivision that practiced polygamy, lesbianism and child sexual abuse as tenets of faith.

Shreeve taught a spirituality-through-sexuality doctrine involving children and preyed on divorced women not affiliated with his group.

In the early 1990s, Shreeve was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison after he pleaded guilty to sexual offenses involving young girls in his flock.

An expert horticulturist, Shreeve spent his early years in prison narrating books for the Books on Tape program. The tapes were distributed to Utah libraries that offered the program.

Haddon was not sure what were the plan's for Shreeve's funeral and burial, but said his body was released to the medical examiner.

Shreeve would have been eligible for parole in 2012.