Apr 25, 2017

Winston Blackmore denied to police that he married a 15-year-old, court hears

Vancouver Sun
April 24, 2017 


CRANBROOK — Winston Blackmore was front and centre Monday at a trial where he stands accused of one count of polygamy along with co-defendant James Oler.

Both men are former bishops in the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Blackmore wasn’t testifying. But in his videotaped interview with RCMP in 2009, which was played, Blackmore didn’t deny that he has had 24 wives.

“If I’m guilty of something it’s being Mormon,” he told Sergeant Terry Jacklin. “In our faith, so many people never ever had a chance to get married. Why that is I don’t know. To have family like I have is a huge reason for people to be jealous.”

(Blackmore’s comment is unlikely to be welcomed by mainstream Mormons. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ended the practice of polygamy in 1890. Mormon fundamentalists including Blackmore and, before him, his father refused to accept that and have splintered off. While Blackmore calls himself a Mormon, other fundamentalists describe themselves as “true Mormons.”)

Jacklin had begun the interview by telling Blackmore that the information RCMP had compiled — including a massive, genealogical chart of Blackmore, his 24 wives and their children — came from other people.

During the interview, Jacklin repeated that he was trying to get to the truth and encouraged Blackmore to make any corrections.

Among the information that Blackmore disputed were the ages of a couple of the wives. In particular, he denied that one was 15 when they were married in a religious ceremony.

Blackmore said she was 16.

Jacklin also showed Blackmore a clip taken from Blackmore’s 2006 televised interview on CNN with Larry King when he said that one of his wives had been 15. She had lied about her age, Blackmore said and then joked that for women, lying about their age isn’t uncommon.

But Blackmore insisted the girl was 16.

The brides’ ages aren’t important to this trial. Both Blackmore and Oler are only charged with having multiple wives.

However, the prosecution intends to enter as evidence the birth certificates for all of the wives as well as their first-born children.

Blackmore told Jacklin that he never agreed with underage marriages.

When he officiated at religious marriages, Blackmore always had people prove how old they were.

He also said, “They need to be educated. That’s what I want for my children.”

(Blackmore is not licensed in British Columbia to perform civil marriages because the FLDS and his own breakaway sect are not recognized religions.)

The under-aged marriages began after the FLDS prophet Rulon Jeffs had a stroke and his son, Warren, was wresting power away.

“Warren perceived I was a threat to him. So, he made a great effort to have me removed and dictated to his father to do that,” Blackmore said.

It was Warren Jeffs who was insisting on the marriages of younger women, Blackmore told Jacklin. Warren Jeffs remains the FLDS prophet even though he is serving a life sentence in Texas for sexually abusing two girls including one from Bountiful.

None of Blackmore’s statements have been tested in court.

And it’s likely that some of the statements made to Jacklin will be challenged Tuesday when Jane Blackmore testifies.

Jane Blackmore was the midwife in Bountiful. She was also Blackmore’s first and only legal wife as well as the mother to seven of his 145 children.

The trial continues Monday with evidence about Oler’s marriages expected to be tendered.


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