Year in jail, 18 months probation for ex-B.C. polygamist leader in child bride case

A former leader of a fundamentalist Christian sect that practices polygamy in Bountiful, B.C., has been sentenced to 12 months in jail, followed by 18 months probation.

A judge handed the decision down to James Oler in a Cranbook courtroom on Thursday.

Oler was convicted in May of removing an underage girl from Canada to be married in the United States back in 2004.

The court found he knew the 15-year-old would be subject to sexual activity when he arranged her marriage to a 24-year-old member of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Oler had previously been acquitted in 2017 by a judge who found he hadn’t done anything in Canada to arrange the girl’s transfer, but that ruling was overturned by the B.C. Court of Appeal, which found proof of wrongdoing within Canada’s borders wasn’t necessary.

The Court of Appeal ordered a new trial in 2018.

The case is separate from a prior conviction against Oler for polygamy, for which he was sentenced to three months house arrest in 2018.

Winston Blackmore, another former leader in the Bountiful community, was also convicted of polygamy and sentenced to six months to be served in the community last year.

— With files from the Canadian Press

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