Appeal Blackmore/Oler's Lenient Polygamy Sentence: Protect Canadian Children

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On Tuesday, June 26, 2018, convicted Fundamental Latter-Day Saint polygamist Winston Blackmore, of Bountiful, B.C. was sentenced to 6 months house arrest and one year’s probation for practicing polygamy. He is allowed to leave home to: go to work, for personal appointments, and to perform duties he considers necessary. His punishment for practicing polygamy with underage girls and young women unable to give informed consent, is to carry on doing what he’s been doing for the last 30 years.

Blackmore, 61, has 24 wives and 149 children. DNA and birth certificate evidence at trial showed that nine of his wives were under 18, and two were 15, when he married and impregnated them. The majority of his wives have only a grade six education, if that, funded by BC taxpayers in Bountiful’s school which is heavily-weighted with religious doctrine and homemaking skills. None of his wives were independent, educated women, capable of making an informed choice, when he married them. They had been indoctrinated since birth to submit to sex with a man old enough to be their grandfather. While the RCMP filed an affidavit in 2009 listing the evidence that Blackmore had impregnated nine, since raised to 10, underage girls he has never been charged with rape or sexual assault.

James Oler, also a convicted polygamist from Bountiful, B.C., who has five wives, two under 18 when he married them, was sentenced to three months under house arrest and one year’s probation. Unlike Blackmore, Oler has been banished from the church and from Bountiful by Warren Jeffs, the pedophile prophet of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Oler lives in Alberta and no longer has any contact with his wives, children or anyone else in the community. The Crown is currently appealing his acquittal last year of transporting a child to the states for sexual purposes.

I am appalled at the leniency of Blackmore and Oler’s sentences, given that five years imprisonment is outlined in the Canadian Criminal Code. The current sentences do nothing to deter further offences by Blackmore and other polygamists, against the children of Bountiful, who are Canadian citizens entitled to full protection under our child protection laws.

I have started this petition to ask Attorney General, David Eby, to arrange for an appeal of the leniency of these sentences with the B.C. Prosecution Service.

I am one of the lucky ones that escaped polygamy. As an 11-year-old, I watched an aging polygamist court my 16-year-old sister when Bountiful polygamists visited our mainstream Mormon congregation in Richmond on the hunt for young brides. The polygamist dashed to open our car door for my sister while one of his young pregnant wives, a diaper bag over her shoulder, with a toddler in her arms and another clinging to her leg, struggled to open their car door on her own. Her eyes were blank, her face devoid of emotion. My stomach heaved. I lived in fear and had nightmares that my father would hand my sister over to this man as a plural wife. When he asked to marry her, my father, fortunately for my sister, said no. Had my father said yes, I would have been next. Many years have passed since I left the Mormon Church, yet this experience and my feelings about it have stayed with me. I have been an activist since 2004, lobbying the B.C. government to protect the children and women of Bountiful from the devastating harms of polygamy, and am the author of In Polygamy’s Shadow.