B.C. polygamist wedded nine girls under 18
Published Tuesday, June 30, 2009 4:12PM PDT
B.C. polygamist Winston Blackmore has married nine girls who were under the age of 18, according to an investigation by the RCMP.
Four of the girls were only 15 years old when they married Blackmore, who has 101 children and has been married 25 times since 1976.
Details of Blackmore's personal life are revealed in documents attached to an affidavit filed in connection with a pre-trial hearing in the B.C. Supreme Court of British Columbia, after he was charged with polygamy. The documents were also obtained by The Globe and Mail newspaper.
The charges follow an investigation by RCMP Const. Shelley Livingstone of the RCMP's Creston, B.C. detachment. Through her years living in Creston, Const. Livingstone has become familiar with the community of Bountiful.
Located in the Creston Valley of southeastern B.C. near Cranbrook and Creston, Bountiful is made up of members of the polygamist Mormon fundamentalist group. The residents live in a commune-style compound.
The investigation followed a February 2005 conference in Winnipeg where Bountiful community member Zelpha Chatwin stated that her husband was forced to marry a 15-year-old girl.
Police later talked to witnesses, including individuals who identified themselves as wives of Winston Blackmore. "All of those interviewed were told that we were investigating sexual exploitation,'' Const. Livingstone said in the court document.
The RCMP member said residents in Bountiful were well aware that police were investigating any form of criminal activity that came to their attention, including polygamy and sexual exploitation.
Jane Blackmore is Blackmore's only legal wife. The couple were married in 1976 when she was 18 years old. They have seven children together.
According to the affidavit, the four who married Blackmore at the age of 15, include Christina Gallup, Harmony Quinton, Lorraine Johnson, and Shalina Palmer.