Bountiful leaders charged
Winston Blackmore. (QMI AGENCY)
Four members — including two leaders — of a fundamentalist Mormon community have been formally charged by the B.C. Criminal Justice Branch for alleged polygamy and removing children under 16 from Canada.
In a statement on Wednesday, the branch announced leader Winston Kaye Blackmore practised polygamy by way marriage union with 24 women. James Marion Oler, his rival leader in the same community — Bountiful has been split into competing factions for some time — is similarly charged for alleged polygamy with four women.
Oler is additionally charged in a June 2004 incident where he’s alleged to have tried to remove a young girl from Canada.
Two others, Brandon James Blackmore and Emily Ruth Gail Crossfield, are also alleged to have tried to bring a young girl out of Canada.
Police had earlier alleged the community was transporting girls to and from Texas for marriage.
Special prosecutor Peter Wilson said evidence materials included information from U.S. investigations in Arizona, Texas and Utah.
“The polygamy charges that have been approved against Winston Kaye Blackmore and James Marion Oler are similar to the charges that these two individuals faced in 2009,” the branch said.
The charges in 2009 were tossed out of court.
Wilson will be the fourth special Crown lawyer to prosecute a Bountiful case.
The first court appearance is expected to be on Oct. 9 in B.C. Provincial Court in Creston.