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New allegations of abuse in the polygamous Kingston family

By Jennifer Dobner - The Associated Press - | Jun 1, 2006

SALT LAKE CITY — The daughter of Utah polygamist John Daniel Kingston has filed a personal injury lawsuit alleging relatives sexually abused her as a child.

Documents filed in 3rd District Court on Wednesday on behalf of Krista Nelson allege she was sexually abused by Arthur Kingston, Mary Ann Kingston Nichols and LuAnn Cooper while Nelson was a minor. The lawsuit contends the three, who were also minors, but older than Nelson, showed a “reckless indifference toward, and a disregard of, the rights of Nelson.”

The lawsuit seeks a jury trial and damages in excess of $12 million for physical, psychological, mental and emotional injuries. F. Mark Hansen, Nelson’s attorney, said the abuse occurred more than 10 years ago, although he declined to say specifically when it occurred or how long it lasted.

Arthur Kingston is Nelson’s uncle. Cooper is his sister and Nelson’s aunt, Cooper’s attorney John Dustin Morris said. Morris also represents Nichols, 24, who is Nelson’s older sister.

Both women are daughters of John Daniel Kingston, a patriarch of the Latter Day Church of Christ, also known as the Davis County Cooperative Society, which practices polygamy and has more than 1,000 members.

Nelson’s allegations against Cooper and Nichols are false, Morris said. “I believe it’s just retaliation for (Nichols) standing up to the group,” he said.

Nichols left the Kingston clan in 1999 at age 16 after being forced to marry an uncle. Later that year her father pleaded no-contest to second-degree felony child abuse for having beaten Nichols when she tried to flee.

In 2003, Nichols filed a $110 million lawsuit against her family, the church and its businesses. Morris represents her in that case, which is still pending in 3rd District Court. Cooper has also spoken out against the clan, Morris said.

Arthur Kingston, whose last known address was in Phoenix, could not be reached for comment. Court documents filed Wednesday contend Nichols served as a lookout for Arthur Kingston while he sexually abused Nelson “scores of times,” secreting her away during family gatherings.

It also contends that Nichols forcibly abused Nelson on separate occasions.

Cooper is alleged to have known of the abuse and to have participated in some sexual activity. The lawsuit contends Cooper failed to take any action to stop Nichols and Kingston.

According to the lawsuit, the abuse ended after Nelson finally reported it to her parents.

Although Morris had not received a copy of the lawsuit Thursday, he said its claims closely mirror allegations filed by Nelson’s attorneys back in 2003 as a counterclaim to Nichols’ lawsuit. The previous filings include more specific timelines and dates, Morris said.

“When you have those dates, it becomes ludicrous,” Morris said. “What they are asserting is that Mary Ann sexually abused (Nelson) when Mary was eight and her sister was seven.”

The case has been assigned to Judge Leon Anthony Dever, but no hearing dates have been set.

On the Net:http://www.utcourts.gov/

This story appeared in The Daily Herald on page D2.


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