Polygamist had 9 child brides and 101 children, RCMP say


Robert Matas

VANCOUVER From Wednesday's Globe and Mail

Polygamist Winston Blackmore married Lorraine Johnson when she was 15 years old. Ms. Johnson had a baby boy two weeks before her 17th birthday.

She was one of Mr. Blackmore's four 15-year-old brides, police say in an affidavit in B.C. Supreme Court released yesterday. He also married two 16-year-olds and three 17-year-olds. Four of the young girls had their first baby before turning 18.

The child brides were identified for the first time in an affidavit for a pretrial hearing in B.C. Supreme Court. Mr. Blackmore, 52, has been charged with being in a polygamous relationship with 19 women. His legal team is in court this week in a bid to have the charge dismissed on a procedural issue before the preliminary hearing begins next April. The court proceedings continue tomorrow.

The nine girls under 18 were among 25 wives that Mr. Blackmore has had since 1976, police say.

His wives had 101 children. The list of wives and children, drafted Sept. 27, 2005, was part of an affidavit by RCMP Constable Shelley Livingstone.

The police interviewed the women as part of an investigation into sexual exploitation and polygamy in Bountiful, a community of about 1,000 in southeastern B.C. Mr. Blackmore was the bishop of Bountiful until 2002, when he was replaced in an internal battle over leadership.

"The first interview was Janelle Fischer, and each person interviewed freely went to get another of Winston Blackmore's wives to attend the clinic to speak to us when her interview finished," Constable Livingstone states in the affidavit.

Mr. Blackmore came to the clinic and she showed him the list compiled by the police, Constable Livingstone said. "At that point in time, through information from a number of sources, we had compiled a list of individuals thought to be wives and his children. He reviewed our information and provided clarification and information."

In a brief exchange outside the court today, Mr. Blackmore denied that he married four 15-year-old girls. "That's wrong," he said before walking away.

The release of information about the age of the brides raised questions yesterday about why authorities did not pursue a charge of sexual exploitation, which involves sexual touching by a person in a position of authority over the victim.

Wally Oppal, who was attorney-general when Mr. Blackmore was charged with polygamy, said B.C. authorities had difficulty finding evidence. Special prosecutor Terry Robertson is in charge of the polygamy case, Mr. Oppal said. However, Mr. Oppal was aware of the hurdles that authorities confronted.

"We did not have any evidence with respect to sexual exploitation because of the unwillingness of people to come and testify," he said.

Also, the age of consent at the time of the marriages was 14. Girls who were old enough to say yes said they voluntarily agreed to the sexual activity. The federal government raised the age of consent to 16 in 2008. "When they changed it, at our urging, to 16, that would have made it easier to prosecute," he said.

Mr. Robertson said in an interview that the standard for approval of a charge of sexual exploitation had not been met. "There was not a substantial likelihood of conviction," he said.

The Bountiful community is affiliated with the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, with headquarters in the United States. Former members have said women were often sent across the border into Canada for marriage to older men at Bountiful. The list compiled by Constable Livingstone shows that seven of Mr. Blackmore's wives were U.S. citizens and one was a landed immigrant.

Jane Blackmore was Mr. Blackmore's first and only legal wife, police say. They were married in 1976, when she was 18 years old, and they had seven children. They are now divorced.

Christina Gallup Blackmore was Mr. Blackmore first "plural" wife. She was 15 when they were married and 17 when their first child was born. She had 12 children.

Janelle Fischer, one of the first of Mr. Blackmore's wives to speak to police, married Mr. Blackmore at the age of 17. She is a U.S. citizen who came to Canada on a student visa in 2006. She had three children.

The formal criminal charge against Mr. Blackmore focuses on his polygamous relationships between May 1, 2005, and Dec. 8, 2006. Three of the wives on the RCMP list - Jane Blackmore, Shirley Black Jessop and Catherine Broadbent - were no longer part of the polygamous colony in Bountiful and not included on the criminal charge as one of Mr. Blackmore's wives.

Three women, who told police they had a "religious marriage" with Mr. Blackmore, were in their 50s and also excluded from the criminal charge. They said their relationship was "not like a real wife."





7/3/2009 12:38:45 PM
Wally Opall has missed his timing by at least a century. Opall should have and could have invested in a movie about the the Founder of the Mormons whose incredible list of fraud, theft and misrepresentation, not to mention abuses, included opening a bank, believing he had divine right to print money and telling women that GOD sent him to make them pregnant. Now some innovative script writer will probably instead, make a movie on "the prosecution of Winston Blackmore". A movie on this comedy has more chance of success than Wally has of getting past the first day of trial, when there will be a directed verdict, if it gets to trial. A change in government is more likely first.

Wally Opall must have a similar obsession with the same subject, he has set himself up as a final authority, with apparent absolute prosecutional discretion in the form of shopping for a prosecutor who would see it his way, a politician's way, and now, he ends up in court with a judge saying she does not have the jurisdiction to "quash the charges".




7/3/2009 12:39:43 PM
More than 50% of Canadian women choose to trade in their husbands, some for another man with more money and others even trade in a man for another woman, as did at least one of Blackmore's ex wives.

Canada needs children, Canada needs a positive birth rate and one way is to encourage marriages, that produce children.

Rather than the politically correct disincentive towards heterosexual marriages, Canada needs to encourage those "marriages" of commitment that actually produce children and the more the better.

Polygamy is now destined to be enshrined in Canadian law and quite obviously, only the most talented skilled men will be able to keep more than ONE woman happy at any ONE time and those unions deserve substantial financial incentives not to mention, public recognition and generous government incentives.






7/3/2009 12:40:55 PM
Mr. Blackmore has done more for Canada than perhaps any other "father" in Canada, he has over 100 children, in a country with a declining birth rate which promises to be Canada's biggest financial problem ever.

Canada has a financial interest in promoting marriage between men and women in marriages that produce children, not endless childless marriages between those who can't make children together or don't wish to create children but take advantage of a society where every aged person lives of the income generated by a younger generation.

The government needs to focus on the issue, and that is the best interests of children to have a mother and a father, and an equal right to live with both after separation.

The government needs to address the most serious issues first, not the most ridiculous and the greatest abuse of process in Canadian legal history.

The Government, can start, by politicians of all persuasions supporting the proposed legislation for a legal presumption of equal parenting after separation.

Currently, there incredible disincentives towards one man having multiple wives and a large number of children each.

Just one wife and two kids is enough to put one man into poverty and without resources to marry another woman unless of course she already is receiving support for two children who already exist.

While child support guidelines remain as a punitive damages to impoverish men, Canada's birth rate will further decline and it is only a question of time, perhaps many years before the penny finally drops on the stupidity of feminist theories of Male Gender Apartheid which is now enshrined in Canadian Judge made Law that nothing less than a war on men, in which the B.C. Premier somehow sees himself as a night in shining armour.





7/3/2009 12:50:25 PM
The RCMP are engaged in a political campaign, in support of the Premier of B.C. Wally Opal.

Every man and his dog, knows that the law has changed, specifically , the age of consent, also changed is the political view towards sex between people of different ages, without mentioning gender, it refers to older males with younger females.

What was once acceptable is now unacceptable. What was legal decades ago, would not cause an outcry not to mention a lynch mob.

The R.C.M.P are simply trying to put a spin, an outragious spin, on the story that asks, the courts, asks the public of Canada, to convict Mr. Blackmore on the Polygamy charge, because it can't charge him on other events that never were criminal offenses in their time but which , drive aggressive feminists crazy with desire, for "retribution".

The R.C.M.P are effectively calling Mr. Blackmore a child rapist, without actually saying that, they have in one outragious example of abuse of process, just prevented any possibility of Mr. Blackmore getting a fair trial.

What the R.C.M.P and the Premier of B.C. are engaged in is nothing less than private war against Mr. Blackmore apparently because they take exception to his private living arrangements that are to date, none of the business of the R.C.M.P or Wally Opal or whoever's door he knocks on next begging for action to be taken against Mr. Blackmore.