The six young men who brought the "Lost Boys" lawsuit against Warren Jeffs and the FLDS Church filed court papers to voluntarily dismiss their case. "We have met our goals," said Walter Fischer, one of the Lost Boy plaintiffs. "The only thing left to do is to go after money and this case has never been about that."
Brent Jeffs, who sued Warren Jeffs for sexual molestation, also filed court papers to dismiss his case saying, "I have no interest in getting money from Warren or the Church. What has been accomplished is far more important than that."
After filing their lawsuits in the summer of 2004, the "Lost Boy" plaintiffs and Brent Jeffs opted not to accept money judgments against Warren Jeffs and the FLDS Church and, instead, decided to jointly pursue five non-monetary goals. With the dismissal of their cases, they are signaling that their objectives have largely been met.
The first goal was to separate the UEP Trust from the FLDS Church and
remove it from Warren Jeffs' control. According to plaintiff, Richard Gilbert, "Doing this was critical to protect the FLDS people, who live in Church-owned homes and are dependent on staying in the Church's good favor for their housing." Control over the UEP Trust was seized in June of 2005 by a Utah court. "Before the Court took charge, FLDS parents who didn't give in to Church control and expel their sons or marry their daughters when commanded risked losing their homes," said Richard
Ream, one of the Lost Boy plaintiffs.
The second goal was to aid Utah and Arizona law enforcement in locating evidence and witnesses to prosecute Warren Jeffs for various types of child abuse. Warren Jeffs was tried and convicted in Utah last September for his role in facilitating the rape of a 14-year-old and is now awaiting trial in Arizona on additional charges. While in jail on those charges, he admitted to "immorality" with a sister and a daughter. Investigations into these and other potential crime
The third goal was to provide Utah and Arizona with evidence leading to hearings on the decertification of the town marshals in "Short Creek." According to Dean Barlow, another Lost Boy plaintiff, "We have always
claimed that they are little more than the Church's private security force." Several of these officers have been removed from duty and decertified. Evidence is still being gathered on others. Tom Steed, who was also a plaintiff, believes that "These cops need to be replaced with police officers that can and will fairly enforce the law."
The fourth goal was to pass legislation making it illegal to abandon minors by intentionally causing parents to kick their children out of their homes. The Child and Family Protection Act was passed this year by the
Utah Legislature making possible the criminal prosec ution of Church leaders who make parents choose between their religion and their children. "We don't want to make these boys stay in Short Creek," said Don Fischer, who was first expelled when he was 15. "I would just as soon see them all leave. Just let them leave on their own when they are ready."
The fifth goal is to help people who have been displaced from their FLDS families with emergency and education funding. The Lost Boy plaintiffs and Brent Jeffs settled their cases against the UEP Trust in 2007 and established the Lost Boys Fund which is being used for those purposes. "We now have a couple of dozen young people in college and more are on their way," according to Tom Steed, who was kicked out after finishing only the 7th grade. "The Lost Boys Fund has already helped a lot of people who have gotten out, and we plan on helping many more."
© 2005 Hoole & King, L.C.