SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – Children of the man accused of assaulting one of his plural wives spoke out Monday against the allegations, claiming he never hurt her.
“We love her,” said Nick Henderson, speaking of his mother Nicole Henderson. Henderson, his two brothers Lance and Kyler – along with his sister Kylie – defended their father Kyle Henderson against the allegations Nicole Henderson recounted to ABC4 News last Tuesday.
In a police report from 2016 and in an interview last week with ABC4 News, Henderson claimed her husband physically assaulted her multiple times. Kyle Henderson pleaded no contest to the charges in late 2018, entering a plea in abeyance. His abeyance period will expire at the end of the year, when charges of assault could be dismissed, according to attorney Mark Shurtleff.
Nicole Henderson still stands by her story of the alleged abuse, but her children said she is making it up.
“Nothing like that ever happened, ever,” said Kyler Henderson, the eldest of the 13 Henderson children.
Kyle Henderson did not come to the interview with ABC4 News. Asked why he chose not to fight the assault charges in court, his children said he was worried about financial losses after being acquitted of bribery and extortion charges relating to Nicole Henderson earlier that year.
The children of Kyle Henderson, whose name was omitted from ABC4 News’s report last week, said they were worried about their father’s reputation and wanted to defend him and their spiritual bigamist lifestyle.
The family is part of the Apostolic United Brethren, a polygamist faction with ties to Mormonism. According to the Hendersons, AUB believes in all the tenets of Mormonism as revealed to the prophet Joseph Smith during the earlier years of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, founded in the early 19th century.
One of those tenets is polygamy, which was disavowed by the Mormon church in 1896. Polygamy and bigamy are felonies in Utah, and any member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints found practicing it could be excommunicated.
The Henderson family, many of whom reside in Eagle Mountain, said law enforcement botched the case against their father. A probable cause statement reveals deputies spoke with Nicole Henderson about the alleged abuse in 2016. He was charged with three counts of assault with substantial bodily injury (domestic violence) as well as domestic violence in the presence of a child.
Nicole Henderson also alleged to ABC4 News that her husband wanted her to disembowel herself by slitting her own throat when her husband caught her texting a male high school friend about her daughter’s engagement. The Henderson children categorically deny anything like that ever took place, while Nicole alleges that incident took place in front of her children.
Katie Jessop, a sister wife of Nicole Henderson who has been “spiritually married” to Kyle Henderson since 2012, said the allegations against her husband are false. She also said her religion is being maligned by frequent media misrepresentation of her faith.
“It’s hard to trust the media…I’m sorry but it is,” Jessop said. “I have always felt that my religious freedom is threatened. My religion — I’m not able to freely practice it,” she said, referring to the fact that if she were to marry Kyle Henderson on paper, it would constitute bigamy – which is a felony.
The Henderson children said they love their mother and that they want peace within their family unit, even though she has left the polygamous lifestyle.
“For all my younger years up until I was a teenager there was a lot of love a lot of kindness,” said Kyler Henderson of his family.
“If (my mom) wanted to leave polygamy…this lifestyle…come talk to us – that’s fine – do whatever you want,” said Nick Henderson, who accuses his mother of spreading lies about their father.
Currently, Nicole Henderson is working with the state legislature and several non-profits to make sure women who escape abusive polygamous relationships can receive reparations from state government. H.B. 214 passed in the full House on Monday. It now heads to a Senate committee for debate.