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But as long as fundamentalist polygamist Mormons refrain from spiritually marrying underage girls, it is very unlikely the state will prosecute consenting adults practicing polygamy -- especially since Arizona does not have a criminal statute forbidding polygamous unions.

Bateman says he expects fears about the school receivership to diminish in the near future if the receiver can demonstrate that teachers, students and parents will be better off with the FLDS no longer controlling the school district.

"I think in the long run everybody is going to be pretty happy about the change here," Bateman says. "Maybe they don't believe it now, but in the future I think they will."

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John Dougherty
Contact: John Dougherty