Lawsuit accuses Kingston polygamist leaders of sexual abuse, fraud, child labor

KUTV, CBS-2 [Salt Lake City UT]

September 8, 2022

By Daniel Woodruff, KUTV

A lawsuit has been filed against the Kingston polygamist family by ten former members who allege the group and its leaders engage in sexual and physical abuse, commit fraud, and profit from unpaid child labor.

The plaintiffs, most of them women, filed the 109-page lawsuit in Third District Court Wednesday against group leader Paul Elden Kingston and dozens of other named individuals and organizations. The suit lays out multiple disturbing allegations against the Kingston group which is commonly known as “the Order.”

“It is a common and intentional practice in the Order to require girls and women to submit sexually to their husbands even if the sexual submission is against their will because having children results in workers for the benefit of the Order,” the lawsuit states. “It is also a common and intentional practice in the Order for girls to be impregnated and have children when they are young so they cannot leave, which also benefits the Order.”

The plaintiffs also allege the Kingstons use their kids for “unlawful child labor” by forcing them to work in Order-run businesses without paying them.

The lawsuit also refers to a practice known as “Bleeding the beast” which refers to “exploiting and defrauding governments and taxpayers for the benefit of the order.”

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The Kingstons were embroiled in a scandal several years ago in which two of their members pleaded guilty in a $511 million tax credit scheme involving one of their companies, Washakie Renewable Energy.

Additionally, the lawsuit alleges, the Kingstons and their leaders “abuse children physically and sexually.” One of the plaintiffs, represented by his mother, is identified as a child who was allegedly sexually assaulted by his father while still an infant.

Ultimately, the suit claims, it’s common for Order members “to be taught and learn that the laws of God, not society, govern them, thus creating the seeds of anarchy and contempt for the rule of law which blossom to justify any action deemed necessary to advance the needs of the Order regardless of legality.”

KUTV 2News reached out to the Kingstons through their organization, the Davis County Cooperative Society, who did not initially comment. On Friday, they provided the following statement:

“Lawyer turned TV producer, Roger Hoole’s lawsuit reads more like the script to his next sensationalized production than a lawsuit. Much of the wording addresses non-legal issues or non-defendants. Member and non-member participants have reportedly been offered or paid substantial sums of money to be featured in this lawsuit and/or in Hoole’s next production.

“While, we haven’t done a full review of the documents, much of what we have reviewed appears frivolous and unfounded. Mr. Hoole appears to be counting on a “guilty until proven innocent” tendency in public opinion. However, we don’t expect any of the claims to prevail in a court of law.

“The idea of “bleeding the beast” is abhorrent and was never a tenant of the Davis County Cooperative Society. DCCS members save or contribute more to the community per capita than the average citizen, and to “bleed” the government would be bleeding ourselves; this claim makes no sense. Our values have always stressed that members seek to be self-sufficient and self-sustaining, and we continue to encourage our members to strive to this end.

“We appreciate the sensitive nature of allegations of sexual assault and encourage anyone who is experiencing abuse to seek help from the authorities immediately.”

Attorneys representing the plaintiffs did not respond to messages seeking an on-camera interview.

The plaintiffs who filed the lawsuit are asking for unspecified damages to be determined at trial.