Police in Utah say they’ve launched a bigamy investigation into a polygamous family starring in a reality television show.
Lehi police Lt. Darren Paul told the Salt Lake Tribune for a Tuesday report that the investigation was triggered by publicity surrounding the show.
“Sister Wives,” premiered Sunday on TLC. It features Kody Brown, a 41-year-old advertising salesman and his four wives.
Bigamy is a third-degree felony in Utah, although it is rarely prosecuted. Under the law, a person can be guilty of bigamy through cohabitation, not just legal marriage contracts.
Polygamy is a legacy of the early Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Mormons abandoned the practice in 1890 as a condition of Utah statehood.
On Tuesday, the Brown family released a statement to Access Hollywood.
“We are disappointed in the announcement of an investigation, but when we decided to do this show, we knew there would be risks. But for the sake of our family, and most importantly, our kids, we felt it was a risk worth taking,” the family said in the statement.
TLC had no comment.
A spokesperson for the Lehi City Police Department also released a statement to Access.
“The Lehi Police Department is currently conducting an investigation into the alleged polygamous marriage of Kody Brown and his alleged wives, Meri, Janelle, Christine, and Robyn Brown of Lehi,” the statement said. “Kody and the others mentioned are being investigated for Bigamy, which is a third degree felony (Utah Code 76-7-101). At the conclusion of the investigation, the evidence will be forwarded to the Utah County Attorney’s Office for review and possible prosecution.”