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Polygamists: Authorities Prepare For the Worst in Texas

 
 
Reply Sat 5 Apr, 2008 08:54 pm
ELDORADO, Texas - Sect leaders at a polygamist compound in West Texas refused Saturday to let authorities search a temple for a teenage girl whose report of abuse led to the raid, and authorities said they were preparing "for the worst."

If no agreement is reached with sect leaders, authorities will forcibly remove the sect's followers "as peaceably as possible," Allison Palmer, a prosecutor in Tom Green County, told the San Angelo Standard-Times.

Medical workers are being sent "in case this were to a go in a way that no one wants," Palmer said. Law enforcers are "preparing for the worst," she said.

"Within the religion that we have encountered, their place of worship is very special to them," Palmer said. "It appears to be of great concern to them if a person from outside their congregation even attempts to step inside their place of worship."

A search warrant authorized troopers to enter the retreat, run by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. They are looking for evidence of a marriage between the girl and a 50-year-old man.

Court documents the girl had a baby eight months ago, when she was 15.

State welfare officials on Friday removed 52 girls from the compound. Marleigh Meisner, a spokeswoman for Child Protective Services, said another 131 residents were removed overnight. By Saturday afternoon, 137 children and 46 women were being housed and interviewed at local community centers.

"They seem to be doing fine," Meisner told The Associated Press. Investigators remained inside the compound looking for additional children, she said.

The whereabouts of the 16-year-old mother who sparked the investigation are unknown, Meisner said. State troopers who raided the religious retreat were looking for the girl, her baby girl and 50-year-old Dale Barlow.

Under Texas law, girls younger than 16 cannot marry, even with parental approval.

Officials in Texas declined to comment Saturday on whether they had found Barlow, citing a gag order, but the man's probation officer told The Salt Lake Tribune that he was in Arizona.

"He said the authorities had called him (in Colorado City, Ariz.) and some girl had accused him of assaulting her and he didn't even know who she was," said Bill Loader, a probation officer in Arizona.

Barlow was sentenced to jail time last year after pleading no contest to conspiracy to commit sexual conduct with a minor. He was also ordered to register as a sex offender for three years while he is on probation.

His lawyer in that case, Bruce Griffen, said he had not spoken to Barlow in a year.

The search warrant instructed officers to look for marriage records or other evidence linking her to the man and the baby. The warrant authorized the seizure of computer drives, CDs, DVDs or photos.

Those inside the retreat did not respond to requests for comment.

The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints broke away from the Mormon church after the latter disavowed polygamy more than a century ago.

The compound sits down a narrow paved road and behind a hill that shields it almost entirely from view in town. Only the 80-foot-high, gleaming white temple can be seen on the horizon. Authorities blocked access to the gate, keeping onlookers miles away.

The 1,700-acre property had been an exotic game ranch. It is surrounded by dusty, wind-swept land where sheep are raised and mohair produced.

Eldorado (pronounced el-dor-AY'-do) is a two-stoplight town of fewer than 2,000 people and located nearly 200 miles northwest of San Antonio. It consists of a cluster of government buildings, a couple churches and a few blocks of houses.

State officials said they did not know how many people lived at the retreat, although local officials estimated about 150 two years ago.

The FLDS has been led by Warren Jeffs since his father died in 2002. In November, Jeffs was sentenced to two consecutive sentences of five years to life in prison in Utah for being an accomplice to the rape of a 14-year-old girl who wed her cousin in an arranged marriage in 2001.

In Arizona, Jeffs is charged as an accomplice with four counts each of incest and sexual conduct with a minor stemming from two arranged marriages between teenage girls and their older male relatives. He is jailed in Kingman, Ariz., awaiting trial.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 0 • Views: 22,885 • Replies: 499
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sat 5 Apr, 2008 09:01 pm
I'm slightly following this, but your post is new info.
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Rockhead
 
  1  
Reply Sat 5 Apr, 2008 09:03 pm
He is rather well known in the midwest...

Thanks, Ed.

RH
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littlek
 
  1  
Reply Sat 5 Apr, 2008 09:11 pm
The title of the thread is as a bit off. It's not so much about polygamy as sex-abuse and child-abuse.
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edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Sat 5 Apr, 2008 09:16 pm
littlek wrote:
The title of the thread is as a bit off. It's not so much about polygamy as sex-abuse and child-abuse.


You are correct, but the media calls it a polygamist compound. I figured to use their language to begin the thread, then let a2kers post their own views.
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boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Sat 5 Apr, 2008 09:26 pm
Please not another Waco.
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Rockhead
 
  1  
Reply Sat 5 Apr, 2008 09:29 pm
Could be much worse, Boom, depending on how it's handled.

The details are more sordid.

RH
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sat 5 Apr, 2008 09:43 pm
what does that mean, re what you know or not, RH? you have private info?
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Rockhead
 
  1  
Reply Sat 5 Apr, 2008 09:50 pm
No, Osso, nothing you can't go find. He is not new, nor alone.

The polygamist old guard is not just Big Love material.

RH

Dear, it is sad sick sh*t. I will not go become more sad to show you details...
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Sun 6 Apr, 2008 10:16 am
Law enforcement authorities were able to enter a west Texas polygamist compound to search a temple for a 16-year-old girl, after an initial tense standoff Saturday. Though nearly 200 women and children were taken by bus from the compound this weekend, the teenage girl, whose report of abuse led to the raid, still is unaccounted for in Eldorado, Texas. She is allegedly married to a 50-year-old man with whom she has had a child.

Texas authorities search a polygamist compound to find a teen.Initially, leaders refused to let police enter the compound and authorities feared the worst case scenario and brought in ambulances.
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 7 Apr, 2008 07:26 pm
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edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 11 Apr, 2008 04:15 pm
0 Replies
 
BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Apr, 2008 10:02 am
BBB
I've been puzzling over the removal of the children from the polygamist compound. Wouldn't it make more sense to protect the children from abuse to remove the men from the compound rather than the women and children? It's the men who want sex with young girls. It's the men who force the teenage boys out of the compound so they don't compete for sex with the older men.

If the men were removed, Texas would not be faced with having to find homes for the over 400 children and they would not be separated from their mothers. The men-fathers could be forced to continue financial support for their wives and children.

Whenever sex issues arise, it seems the remedy always seems to be imposed on the women, not the men.

BBB
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Chai
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Apr, 2008 10:22 am
Good point BBB.

But, they've also separated the children from their mothers.

I don't think it's as simple as, the male figure is gone, and everything's fine.

These are damaged brainedwashed women, at least some of them.

Many would want to take their children and go back to their life with no changes.
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BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Apr, 2008 10:28 am
Chai wrote:
Good point BBB.
But, they've also separated the children from their mothers.
I don't think it's as simple as, the male figure is gone, and everything's fine.
These are damaged brainedwashed women, at least some of them.
Many would want to take their children and go back to their life with no changes.


But it would be less traumatic for the children, don't you think?

BBB
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Chai
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Apr, 2008 11:53 am
I honestly don't know.

It depends on what the mothers are filling their childrens heads with.

For instance, the fact that the children are more forthcoming when the mothers aren't around. That indicates to me more than the normal "don't talk to strangers" message all moms give their kids.

With the mothers around, it's more like "don't talk to these outsiders about what we do"

I'm not saying the mothers don't love their children. I'm not convinced the best place for the moment isn't separate, so the kids feel they can communicate of their terms.
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fishin
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Apr, 2008 12:07 pm
After having read this morning's story on the CNN WWW site on some of the stuff going on with this place I'm a bit confused as to whether there is something there or if the State is just ona fishing expedition.

One of the things that the state is investigating is that out of the ~200 minors of the female variety they have collected from the coumpound, 5 are pregnant.

Overall, Texas has the 5th highest pregnancy rate for minors in the country at 62 per 1000.

Extrapolating that out, the compound is running at a rate of 25 per 1000 - less than half of the state rate.

Now, I'm not saying that someone shouldn't be asking if these girls are being abused but if this is the sort of evidence the state is using to justify everything going on then there are going to be some huge issues very quickly here.
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wandeljw
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Apr, 2008 12:13 pm
fishin wrote:
One of the things that the state is investigating is that out of the ~200 minors of the female variety they have collected from the coumpound, 5 are pregnant.

Overall, Texas has the 5th highest pregnancy rate for minors in the country at 62 per 1000.

Extrapolating that out, the compound is running at a rate of 25 per 1000 - less than half of the state rate.

Now, I'm not saying that someone shouldn't be asking if these girls are being abused but if this is the sort of evidence the state is using to justify everything going on then there are going to be some huge issues very quickly here.


The issue for the compound is minor girls impregnated by ADULT males. Doesn't the pregnancy rate for minors in Texas overall involve UNDERAGE males?
0 Replies
 
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Apr, 2008 12:42 pm
BM.

There is a closed-minded rush to judgment here that is a bit shocking. Is anyone willing to think about this from anything other than a mob mentality?

The fact that kids are being ripped away from their parents without regard for their culture is troubling at the least.

The fact that Americans are jumping on negative stereotypes that demonize a religion is also troubling. As is the mob willingness to believe even the unsubstantiated rumors that are coming out of the early stories.

I don't know what I think yet-- but I am pretty sure that police ripping kids away from their parents; and lawyers representing kids automatically being pitted against parents without regard to what the kids really believe is a bad thing.

I am certainly not joining the mob in judgment before I understand a bit more than what law enforcement and mass media are feeding us.
0 Replies
 
wandeljw
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Apr, 2008 01:04 pm
Quote:
Former member praises actions taken by Texas
(By Matt Phinney, San Angelo Standard-Times, April 15, 2008)

Flora Jessop, a former member of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ, says she is proud of Texas.

"These (Texas) people have rallied around these women and children's care and the compassion they have shown," she said, "I can't tell you how much this means to me as one of the children."

Jessop, 38, said state officials are acting in the best interest of the 416 children removed earlier this month from the sect's compound near Eldorado.

It was Jessop who first told Eldorado officials four years ago that the people who said they were building a hunting retreat north of Eldorado were in fact members of the FLDS, a claim that turned out to be true.

She said she was born into the group, but escaped when she was 16 years old.

In an interview Monday from Phoenix, Jessop said she was not only glad the authorities took the children off the ranch, but praised those in Eldorado and San Angelo who have volunteered to help the children and women.

The children were removed on April 4 after allegations of physical and sexual abuse were reported to a family hot line in San Angelo.

Jessop said she has helped 84 women and children get out of the FLDS since she left in 1986.

"I'm proud as of Texas," Jessop said.

Rod Parker, a spokesman for the parents involved in the case, said Monday the state lacked justification in raiding the compound. "What the state of Texas wants to do is portray for the court that this is a bad group, a bad religion," Parker said. He said he is speaking on behalf of the women at the request of the FLDS.

Jessop said she understands why state officials acted. She said she is a cousin of Merrill Jessop, the leader of the ranch, and therefore is related to most of the ranch's residents. She described women's life in the polygamist group as "daily control, work and degradation."

While in the group, she said, she was taught that outsiders and law enforcement personnel were evil and her enemies. She said sect leaders instill fear in young mothers by making them believe their children or families will be hurt if they leave the sect.

She said once she left the group it took her years to adjust to mainstream society.

The children of the sect probably are confused right now but being removed from the ranch is the best thing for them, Jessop said.

"I don't think they will have a whole lot of understanding why this is happening," she said. "But for the very first time for these children, there is also a kernel of hope that they won't have to go back."
0 Replies
 
 

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