A member of the Kingston clan faces termination of his parental rights after accusations of physical abuse and neglect of two of his daughters.

John Daniel Kingston and his wife, Heidi Foster, were in court Thursday. A hearing to determine the fate of their two teenage daughters will continue today at the Matheson Courthouse.

Details of physical abuse were not explained during court proceedings Thursday. But witnesses described signs of abuse by neglect at the Kingston and Foster home, where 10 children fathered by Kingston live.

The two teens, ages 15 and 13, fled their home after allegedly telling police they feared becoming the next victims of physical abuse by their father, according to testimony. Kingston became angry with the pair after they got their ears pierced without his permission.

When they returned home wearing earrings on Feb. 15, an angered Kingston threatened the girls and ordered them to remove the earrings, saying, " 'Pull out the earrings, or I will,' " said their aunt, Shari Kingston. The 13-year-old complied, but her older sister refused.

Kingston then lurched at the 15-year-old, and she ran to a nearby convenience store and called her aunt, Shari Kingston said. The girl was extremely shaken, said store clerk Helen Lavato, and said she feared her father was going to beat the two sisters.

The girl told Shari Kingston, "I know what he's going to do to me, I can't go back," Shari Kingston said. "She was scared for her brothers and sisters and didn't know what to do."

Kingston said he was worried about losing two of his children.

"They have run away (from state custody) numerous times trying to come home," Kingston said. "Each time they've been brought back, they've begged to come home. Our family is going to look forward to the time when they can come home."

The 15-year-old girl has made other attempts to flee her home in the past. She fled in November 2001 after allegedly telling officials she was being prepared for marriage to a 21-year-old man, said DCFS spokeswoman Carol Sisco.

A report from the Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office at that time said the girl told a DCFS worker assigned to the case that she was taking marriage preparation classes through the family's home schooling and that a 21-year-old man had already been selected to be her future husband.

The girl also said she was afraid to return to her home because of the discipline she faced if she refused to marry the man, the sheriff's report stated.

"He's a child abuser," said Andrea Moore-Emmett, president of the National Organization for Women Utah chapter. "All of his children should be taken away."

DCFS workers have been summoned to the Kingston and Foster home at least three times since 1996, and those reports show a pattern of neglect and abuse, said Guardian Ad Litem Kristin Brewer. Heidi Foster said cleanliness was the main concern of DCFS workers at most of those interventions.

A police report from the Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office from Feb. 22 described Kingston's and Foster's home as littered with spoiled food and milk. "I immediately sensed this home was extremely filthy and unsanitary," the report states.

"It's the worst case of neglect and abuse I've ever seen," said Deputy Cynthia Archuleta of the Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office, who wrote the report.

Kingston pleaded no contest to third-degree felony charges for the 1998 beating of his then 16-year-old daughter, who ran away after refusing to become the 15th wife of an uncle, and served 28 weeks in the Box Elder County Jail.

The Kingstons are members of the Latter-day Church of God, which reportedly has some 1,000 members and professes polygamy as part of its religious beliefs. The family also operates a $150 million business empire in six Western states.


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