A Dec. 5 trial has been scheduled in the contested adoption by a polygamous Utah couple of the five children of a deceased Oregon woman, 5th District Court officials said Wednesday.
The mother of the children, Brenda Johanson Thornton, died nearly a year ago of cancer in Hildale, Washington County. Two months earlier, she had married polygamist Vaughan Fischer.The woman's sister, Janet Johanson, Salem, Ore., and two other relatives object to the adoption by Fischer and his first wife, Sharane, who have temporary custody of the children and want to adopt them.
Hildale and the neighboring community of Colorado City, Ariz., are home to about 2,000 people who believe in the religious practice of plural marriage.
"Really the issue is what's in the best interest of the children," said Tim Anderson, Johanson's St. George lawyer, who claims Fischer has at least two wives. "We contend it's not in their best interest to be exposed to that immoral environment."
Anderson said the mother of the children was divorced from her husband, Calvin Johnson, moved to Salt Lake City and married Joseph Phil Thornton.