LOGAN, Utah (AP) _ With jury selection less than half over, a member of a well-known polygamous clan passed a note to the daughter he was accused of beating and forcing to marry his brother, then pleaded guilty to child abuse.

John Daniel Kingston, 44, had been charged with second-degree child abuse, which brings up to 15 years in prison. He pleaded guilty Wednesday to third-degree child abuse, for which he could be sentenced to five years in prison and $5,000 in fines.

It wasn't known what was in the note Kingston passed to his 17-year-old daughter, who claims her father made her marry his brother and, when she ran away, whipped her with a belt until she fainted.

``After seeing (my daughter) here, I feel like it would be in her best interest not to put her through more than what she has already gone through,'' Kingston told Judge Ben Hadfield, who scheduled sentencing for June 29.

The girl cried as her father spoke.

``She wanted her father to admit to the charges and say he was sorry,'' said sheriff's Detective Scott Cosgrove, who investigated the case.

The cases against Kingston and his brother, David Ortell Kingston, 32 _ who faces trial in June on an incest charge _ have generated enormous interest in a state with an estimated 25,000 polygamists.

Plural marriage was abandoned by the Mormon church in 1890 and outlawed by the state, but numerous sects with Mormon roots continue the practice.

Members of anti-polygamous groups praised Kingston's daughter for pursuing the case.

``This is the first time that we've actually seen a polygamist accused and prosecuted and the outcome was good,'' said Carmen Thompson, spokeswoman for Tapestry of Polygamy, an advocacy group comprised of former polygamous wives.

``I think the message that is sent is that women and children in polygamy can trust the outside world and the justice system does work.''