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Please Do Something!
 
Terry Goddard and Mark Shurtleff
There is finally some action being taken by the politicians and government agencies responsible for investigating and hopefully alleviating some of the abuses that are occurring in the Southern Utah, Northern Arizona, Colorado, Texas, Idaho, Bountiful Canada polygamous communities.   Citizens are also standing up for their rights and fighting back.

The Mohave County Sheriff's Office and the Attorneys General of Utah and Arizona started aggressively looking into financial mismanagement of the Colorado City Unified School District; started arresting men for marrying child brides; and issued a warrant and reward for the arrest of Warren Jeffs.   The FBI put Warren on their "Top Ten Most Wanted" list and he was apprehended on August 28, 2006.   Today, Warren Jeffs is locked away in a Texas prison serving a life sentence for raping two little girls.  On June 21, 2012 the U.S. Justice Department filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against government officials in Colorado City and Hildale for discriminating against non-FLDS members living in the twin towns.  In July 2012 the Mohave County Sheriff's Office began patrolling and providing a full-time law enforcement presence in the remote, polygamous community and now Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne is trying to get the corrupt cops in the Colorado City Town Marshal's Office decertified.

Below are some news articles describing what is being done about some of the problems occurring in this polygamous sect.   These articles are listed in chronological order.
 
 
Bill targets polygamy
By Robert Gehrke
The Associated Press
Originally published February 6, 2001

SALT LAKE CITY -- When she was 16, Sarah Cooke ran away from her family and their polygamous community to avoid becoming the third wife of a 45-year-old man.   On Monday, Cooke, now 18, urged Utah lawmakers to make it a felony to arrange or perform a marriage involving a girl who is not of legal age.   "I think we need to help to make it obvious to these young girls, my friends, that they aren't obligated into these marriages," she said.   The bill, sponsored by Sen. Ron Allen, D-Stansbury Park, is a small step toward tackling some of the abuses allegedly common in polygamy.  And it has drawn opposition from one normally secretive polygamous clan.   "What these people are doing is not just performing an illegal marriage," Allen said.  "They are aiding and abetting child abuse."   Allen said anecdotal evidence indicates that a handful of religious leaders may be performing hundreds of polygamous child unions each year involving girls as young as 12 and 13 years old.     Read more
 
 
Polygamy laws scrutinized
By Robert Matas
The Globe and Mail
Originally published March 9, 2002

The British Columbia government has urged Ottawa to toughen the law on polygamy, the province's Attorney-General, Geoff Plant, says.   Members of a fundamentalist Mormon sect who live in the rural community of Bountiful, in southeastern B.C., are believed to be part of the only established colony in Canada that practises polygamy as part of its religion.   Some women who fled Bountiful have repeatedly called for the government to take action against the polygamists they left behind.  Canada's Criminal Code says that any kind of marriage or conjugal union with more than one person at the same time is a criminal offence and subject to imprisonment for up to five years.   However, provincial government lawyers say the law conflicts with the right to freedom of religion.  They have advised the province that charges of polygamy would likely be challenged under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and the Charter arguments would likely win.   In an attempt to clarify the law on polygamy, the province recently began discussions with the federal government on the issue, Mr. Plant said in an interview.  "It's too soon to say where we're going to go," he added.     Read more
 
 
An Eye On Polygamy
By Matt Canham
Canada News 4 U
Originally published July 13, 2002

Educating Canadians about the serious issues surrounding polygamy is the purpose of a public awareness campaign called "Eye on Polygamy."   A public forum called "Polygamy... NOT a Victimless Crime," was held in the lower mainland last night, to discuss the following issues:
- Sexual and physical violations of women and children
- Violations of rape
- Incest and domestic violence
- Trafficking of child brides across federal lines
- Misuse of social service funds, tax evasion, and insurance fraud
- Blood atonement
One of Canada's well-known polygamist colonies is called Bountiful, which is near Creston.   Reports indicate it is associated with The United Effort Plan, a polygamist group in Colorado City, Arizona, where many of these issues are said to be played out daily.  The birthrate of the colony is estimated at approximately 100 children per year.  The purpose of "Eye on Polygamy" is to generate dialogue and offer some solutions on some serious concerns.     Read more
 
 
Polygamy in campaign spotlight
Governor's race puts issue in N. Arizona on center stage
By Michelle Rushlo
The Associated Press
Originally published October 18, 2002

PHOENIX — Polygamists have lived mostly undisturbed for the better part of a century in northern Arizona, but antipolygamy activists are hoping recent publicity given to their cause by an independent gubernatorial candidate will bring about change.   A handful of activists gathered Friday at the state Capitol to accuse authorities of going easy on members of a religious sect that believes in plural marriage.   Polygamists have lived for decades near the Utah state line in Colorado City — suffering only periodic crackdowns.  But activists are pushing authorities to act now, fearing that interest in the issue will subside after the Nov. 5 election.   Independent gubernatorial candidate Richard Mahoney has been accusing Democrat Janet Napolitano, currently the state Attorney General, and Republican Matt Salmon of being soft on the polygamists living in Colorado City.     Read more
 
 
Officials suggest solutions to Colorado City problems
By Ken Hedler
Kingman Daily Miner
Originally published December 20, 2002

Mohave County officials disagree about whether federal officials should investigate alleged criminal activity in the polygamous community of Colorado City.   District 3 County Supervisor Buster Johnson said the state Attorney General's Office or the federal government should investigate Colorado City.   Johnson said investigators could enter a home and request birth certificates and seek DNA samples to determine parentage of children.   "If I was going in, go to a house with numerous children," he said.     Read more
 
 
News Release
Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff
For Immediate Release
February 20, 2003
Contact Paul Murphy:   (801) 538-1892
pmurphy@utah.gov

CHILD BIGAMY BILL ADDS UP
MARRIED MAN + CHILD BRIDE = 15 YEARS PRISON
Lu Ann Kingston was 15-years-old and wanted to wait before she got married.  Despite her objections, she says her mother, her spiritual leaders and her hopeful husband applied intense pressure to tie the knot.  "I told them I was too young," says Kingston.  "They told me that if I wasn't ready to get married it was because I wasn't a good person."  Two months later she reluctantly became her husband's fourth wife.  Rep. Susan M. Lawrence, (R) Salt Lake City, has introduced a bill she hopes will give girls like Lu Ann added protection under the law.  House Bill 307 would make it a second degree felony if a married adult takes an additional spouse under the age of 18.  A person convicted of child bigamy would face one to 15 years in prison.  "These young girls need our help," says Rep. Lawrence.  "We need to buy them enough time to reach adulthood before they are asked to make this choice, when they have few other options open to them."  Attorney General Mark Shurtleff asked Rep. Lawrence to sponsor the legislation.  "Our focus has been and will continue to be on protecting children," says Shurtleff.  "Regardless of where they live or what they believe, this law will make it clear that we will prosecute anyone who commits a crime against a child."  Shurtleff says he has talked to some polygamous leaders who support the bill.  "They tell me that child brides give polygamy a black eye and have encouraged me to do something about it. I intend to do something about it."     Read more
 
 
Proposed bill to protect child brides
By Meagan Hansen
BYU NewsNet
Originally published February 25, 2003

Lu Ann Kingston received her first proposition for marriage at the age of 15.  "I told them I was too young," Kingston said.  "They told me that if I wasn't ready to get married it was because I wasn't a good person."  Despite her objections, Kingston's mother, religious leaders and future husband all pressured her to say yes.  After two months of intense pressure, Lu Ann agreed, and three days later became the fourth wife of her new husband.  Kingston and girls like her are the target of new legislation that would increase the penalty for child bigamy.  Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff, whose office is responsible for prosecuting these cases, was concerned for the safety of young girls and approached Rep. Susan Lawrence, R-Salt Lake, to sponsor legislation.  House Bill 307 would make it a second-degree felony for a married adult to take an additional spouse under the age of 18.  It would also make it illegal for a parent or religious leader to pressure or force an underage girl into marriage.  "Many have turned an eye to it for too long," Lawrence said. "These girls need our help.  We want to buy them time to reach adulthood before they have to make this choice."     Read more
 
 
Utah House Ups Underage Polygamy Penalty
By C.G. Wallace
The Associated Press
Originally published February 28, 2003

SALT LAKE CITY - The Utah Legislature is debating whether to increase the penalties for married men who wed underage girls, an attempt to protect teens from being married into polygamist relationships.   A bill overwhelmingly approved by the House on Tuesday makes marrying a second wife who is under the age of 18 a second-degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison.   The 68-4 vote sent the legislation to the Senate.   "I think it's many, many years too late," said state Rep. Sheryl Allen.  "Late is better than never, let's get this passed."   The marrying of teenage girls is common among some of Utah's isolated polygamist communities, Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff has said.  The mainstream Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has long outlawed the practice.     Read more
 
 
Leavitt adds new polygamy offense to crime books
The Associated Press
Originally published April 1, 2003

Salt Lake City -- Gov. Mike Leavitt quietly signed into law a tougher criminal sanction for men who take young girls as their polygamist wives.   House Bill 307 created the new crime of child bigamy - marrying a second wife who is under the age of 18.  The second-degree felony is punishable by one to 15 years in prison.   The penalty for ordinary bigamy is zero to five years.   Without any fanfare he reserves for other bill signings, Leavitt gave his approval March 14.   The marrying of teenage girls is common among some of Utah's isolated polygamist communities, said Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff.  His office drafted the legislation.     Read more
 
 
Read House Bill 307
 
 
Members Only
Arizona and Utah officials decide to curb underage marriages by erecting a sheriff's substation in polygamy country
By John Dougherty
Phoenix New Times
Originally published May 22, 2003

KINGMAN -- A simple eviction trial in Mohave County has evolved into a battle over the scope of power a religious group can exert to control its members including their behavior, their relationships and even where they live.   The leaders of a fundamentalist Mormon polygamous sect could have kicked Milton Holm out of their church years ago because of a drinking problem and domestic turmoil.   Such behavior is not in "harmony" with church doctrine and is grounds to strip Holm of his "priesthood" status in the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.   The FLDS is a renegade branch of the Mormon Church and is based in the remote Arizona Strip town of Colorado City.   The congregation is the single largest concentration of polygamists in the country.   Losing one's FLDS religious standing can have devastating consequences far beyond the spiritual realm.  Being tossed out of the FLDS also could have jeopardized Holm's right to stay on church-owned land where he had invested 25 years of his life, building and paying for a 5,000-square-foot home for his family.     Read more
 
 
Utah cracks down on multiple marriages to protect underage brides
The Observer (UK)
Originally published August 3, 2003

The Mormon state of Utah has launched a crackdown on polygamists who for generations have used their religious beliefs to justify marriage to underage relatives.   Although multiple marriages are illegal, state attorney Mark Shurtleff insists it is not a witch-hunt against Utah's estimated 20,000 to 50,000 polygamists, who live mostly in large family groups or cults.   "The bottom line is that we have to protect the children, especially the young girls, who are the victims here.  People have looked the other way for too long," he said.     Read more
 
 
Polygamy drawing scrutiny
Ariz., Utah officials to discuss issues
By Mark Shaffer
The Arizona Republic
Originally published August 22, 2003

As law enforcement officials and legislators from Arizona, Utah and Canada gather in St. George, Utah, today for a summit on polygamy, proponents of multiple marriage are facing their worst crisis since the state of Arizona raided the enclave of Short Creek, now Colorado City, 50 years ago.   Consider:    -- A former Colorado City policeman, Rodney Holm, was convicted in Utah district court last week of unlawful sexual contact and bigamy.  He wed his third wife, who was 16 at the time, in 1998.     -- Support groups for underage victims of polygamy say that about two dozen female teenagers have fled Colorado City and neighboring Hildale, Utah, during the past eight months.    -- A group called the Citizens' Coalition to Protect the Children formed in Mohave County earlier this summer and is well on its way toward acquiring 5,000 signatures on petitions.  Its goal is to try to prod the state to enforce its child-abuse laws in the town of about 4,000 located on the isolated Arizona Strip.     Read more
 
 
Polygamist Women Jam First Ever Summit Meeting
KSL-TV Channel 5
Original broadcast August 22, 2003

The first ever polygamy summit involving officials from Utah and Arizona turned into an extraordinary event today. The extraordinary summit meeting was the first such effort in a half century.   Dozens of polygamist wives and fundamentalists jammed the meeting room insisting they have a right to practice their religion.   Although the women are upset about the trend to prosecuting polygamous they did find common ground with state officials today on many issues.   Utah and Arizona are developing a joint strategy to enforce the law and provide social services in the polygamous community that straddles the Utah Arizona line.   So many polygamists jammed the summit meeting that it had to be moved to the Dixie Center.  An hour before the summit began, fundamentalist women began showing up, many with babes in arms and wearing the distinctive dress and hairstyles of polygamist communities.  By the time officials and invited guests arrived, the room was jammed and the meeting had to be moved.   The purpose of the summit was to thrash out a two state strategy for enforcing the law and for dealing with social problems in polygamist communities.  Fundamentalists say it's time for society to simply accept their culture.     Read more
 
 
AG opens polygamy summit
Shurtleff convenes meeting in St. George on abuse, illegal activity in polygamist communities
By Rachel Olsen
The Spectrum
Originally published August 23, 2003

ST. GEORGE -- It's only a beginning, but Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff feels it's a beginning that eventually will help eradicate any child abuses, tax fraud and other possible crimes occurring within religious polygamist communities, such as Colorado City and Hildale.   The Utah Attorney General's office organized Friday's polygamy summit in St. George, the first of its kind where government agencies from Arizona and Utah came together in open and closed meetings to start the process of rooting out illegal activities.   "Fifty years ago may have been a mistake, but it's a bigger mistake to ignore it," Shurtleff said.  "(We are) calling on people outside and within polygamy.  We all need to get involved ... to protect our children."   In the open meeting, with those involved in polygamist communities and those outside polygamist communities, Shurtleff called on those who knew of abuses to come forward and, on sheets provided outside the meeting room, write down information to assist agencies in finding abuses.     Read more
 
 
Women seek polygamy rescues
Officials from Arizona, Utah and Canada hold a summit to find ways to put legal pressure on such communities
By Mark Shaffer
The Arizona Republic
Originally published August 23, 2003

ST. GEORGE, UTAH - Carla Holm said she was one of the lucky ones when she ran away to Seattle from her polygamist household in Colorado City, Ariz., at age 15 in 1996.   Holm said she eventually was able to make it on her own.  She even earned a high school degree two years ago.   But more typical, Holm said, was the plight of her three teenage cousins.   They all fled their surroundings six months ago, couldn't make it elsewhere and were all forcibly married within a week upon their return.   Holm said yesterday during the first polygamy summit of Arizona, Utah and Canadian law enforcement officials and elected leaders that more safe havens are needed to keep the teens who choose to leave off drugs and off the streets.   During a two-hour meeting behind closed doors, the officials discussed a wealth of subjects concerning Colorado City and neighboring Hildale, Utah, including child safety and sex abuse, potential legislation, penalties for bigamy, welfare and school district fraud and certification of police officers in the two communities.     Read more
 
 
Getting the Message
By Duane Cardall
KSL-TV Channel 5
Originally published August 23, 2003

By now, people who practice plural marriage in Utah ought to be getting the message: sexual abuse of children perpetrated under the cloak of religion in polygamous communities or elsewhere won't be tolerated.   A St. George jury delivered that message when it convicted Rodney Holm on unlawful sex and bigamy charges for having three wives, including a 16-year-old girl who was a minor half his age when they married in 1998.   Holm's is just the latest in a series of child-bride polygamy related cases.   David Ortell Kingston served a prison term after being convicted in 1999 of having sex with his 16-year-old niece.  She was identified as his 15th wife.   Avowed polygamist Tom Green is serving time for marrying and impregnating a 13-year-old girl.   And another Kingston clan member has been arrested and charged with incest for allegedly marrying his first-cousin when she was 15 and he was 24.   KSL endorses the message state prosecutors like Kristine Knowlton are sending those who abuse children in the name of religion:   "We will prosecute you.  We're going to hold you accountable."   The prosecution of these cases is not religious persecution, as defense attorneys have charged, but a matter of upholding laws designed to protect children.  Those who think they can ignore such laws with impunity need to get the message.
 
 
Polygamy Summit a "Historic Turning Point"
John Hollenhorst Reporting
KSL-TV Channel 5
Originally broadcast August 26, 2003

Many of those involved in last week's suprisingly overcrowded polygamy summit are calling it a "historic turning point".  In spite of sharp divisions, various factions seem to agree on a general blueprint for government action.   However, a parallel effort long ago in Salt Lake City didn't turn out so well.   The polygamists who jammed last week's summit demanded freedom to live their religion.  Anti-polygamy crusaders demanded a legal crackdown.  But Attorney General Mark Shurtleff says there was a surprising amount of agreement.   Mark Shurtleff, Utah Attorney General: "We have the same goal, at least, in this.  And that is to protect children and women who are being victimized."   The result is a suggested action plan for the polygamist border town of Colorado City, Arizona and Hildale, Utah.  Law enforcement will not target bigamy but it will target welfare abuse and sex abuse, particularly of child brides.   The state no longer recognizes the legal authority of the local police force controlled by polygamists   The Washington County Sheriff will likely establish a sheriff substation right in town.   Mark Shurtleff, Utah Attorney General: "The county sheriff has a duty to be there and be present and protect those people."     Read more
 
 
County plans to increase presence in polygamous community
By Marvin Robertson
Kingman Daily Miner
Originally published Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Mohave County could more easily investigate allegations of sexual abuse in polygamist Colorado City and better serve residents if a county court and office facility were built there, officials said.   Mohave County Supervisor Pete Byers said he is working with Colorado City Mayor Dan Barlow about putting a county facility near the state line, visible from the highway, on land that has utility service.   Colorado City is in Byers' supervisor district.   The plan for a county facility near the community has the support of several top county officials.   "We have four deputies covering all of the thousands of square miles in the (Arizona) strip and they are located at Beaver Dam/Littlefield," Sheriff Tom Sheahan said.   "A location near Colorado City could serve individuals not comfortable with the city law enforcement."     Read more
 
 
Victims' Refuge
Arizona and Utah officials decide to curb underage marriages by erecting a sheriff's substation in polygamy country
By John Dougherty
Phoenix New Times
Originally published August 28, 2003

Arizona and Utah authorities plan to join together for the first time in an effort aimed at curbing the widespread sexual abuse of minors within a Mormon polygamist enclave that straddles the border between the two states.   Law enforcement officials have agreed to open a sheriff's office substation close to Colorado City, Arizona, that is independent of the polygamist-controlled town police department.  Hildale, Utah, is adjacent to Colorado City across the state border and is also patrolled by the same police force.   The Colorado City Police Department has lost credibility with other law enforcement agencies in the area, and with state officials in Arizona and Utah, for failing to protect underage girls from coercion into plural marriages.  Utah authorities have suspended the department from operating in Hildale because most, if not all, of its officers have failed to maintain mandatory continuing education requirements.     Read more
 
 
St. George Summit
By Buster Johnson
Mohave County Supervisor
MohaveCountyNews.com
Originally published September 3, 2003

Wheels are starting to turn on investigating the abuse of women and children along with monies for the schools and welfare in the Colorado City area.  This past spring, a tentative meeting was set up between Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard, Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff and Senator Linda Binder.  As the summer progressed new developments came into play.  AG Shurtleff successfully prosecuted Rodney Holm, ex-police officer of Hilldale/Colorado City.   With this court decision, the summit grew in attendees.  The meeting was a chance for Utah and Arizona to finally sit down and make a plan that could possibly combine the efforts on both sides of the border.  A joint task force was seen as the best solution to the tremendouse amount of investigation that needs to take place and would help with jurisdictional problems.  Government decision makers, as well as law enforcement officials, were in attendance.   The meeting, while not meant to be secret, was scheduled to be a working session to find out what everyone had to offer and combine efforts, if possible.  Word did get out and a sizable number of polygamists as well as anti-polygamists showed up.   It was decided to take public comment.  Nothing new was introduced by this testimony but it did give everyone there a chance to be part of the summit.  The drawback was that the summit was to try and get a co-ordinated effort and a plan in place to move ahead with investigations.   The limited time we had together was used up by this public testimony.     Read more
 
 
Justice Court Planned for Polygamist Towns
The Associated Press
KSL-TV Channel 5
Originally published September 15, 2003

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Arizona and Utah are a planning a justice court with room for sheriff's officers from both states that would serve the polygamist communities straddling the states' common border.   Some polygamy opponents are opposed to the plan to locate the facility in Colorado City, Ariz.   They contend it should be nearby but not where members of that community and adjoining Hildale, Utah, could be seen going for help.   Douglas White, a Bountiful lawyer who represents Tapestry Against Polygamy, which is fighting to stop abuses in the polygamous community, said the plans are positive steps, but the substation should be where residents could go without being spotted.   He also contends the polygamist law enforcement officers in the two towns should be fired.   "People don't think of them as law enforcement," White said.  "They think of them as bodyguards for the prophet" of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Most of the 6,000 residents of Colorado City and Hildale are members of the FLDS church, which embraces polygamy.   "If they're looking for a place where victims could come for safe haven, they need to do more study," Mohave County (Ariz.) Supervisor Buster Johnson said.   He fears there could be a backlash if the county builds a center big enough to accommodate all the offices and residents don't come for help because they fear being seen and forced to return home, where they could be punished for trying to leave.     Read more
 
 
Officials looking at Colorado City land
By Jane Zhang
The Spectrum
Originally published Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Mohave County officials are negotiating with Colorado City, Ariz., on a land lease to build a justice courthouse near the border of Colorado City and Hildale, Utah.   No official land deal has been made with Colorado City Mayor Dan Barlow, said Pete Byers, who represents the Arizona Strip on the Mohave County Board of Supervisors, the county's governing body.   But he said he is looking at a piece of land north of the main road dividing Hildale and Colorado City.   Prompted by a study sponsored by the court system three years ago, Byers said Mohave County has allocated $500,000 in facility's funds, judge's fines and other money Arizona courts collected to build a justice court in Colorado City.  Housed in a double-wide trailer in Moccasin, the current courthouse is about 20 miles from Colorado City and 90 miles from Littlefield, Ariz.  "We'll put it (in an area) with good visibility," he said.  "It's more accessible to the rest of the county if it's there."     Read more
 
 
Arizona border towns would be better off in Utah
IN OUR VIEW
The Spectrum
Originally published Monday, September 22, 2003

A proposal to unite Southern Utah and northern Arizona law enforcement agencies in an attempt to cut down on polygamy abuses in the small border towns in the region is an example of thinking outside the box and looking for a new solution to an age-old problem.   While such new ideas are being exchanged, why not lay a new one on the table -- a restructuring of the border between Arizona and Utah in that region?   Colorado City, Hildale, Littlefield, Beaver Dam, Mocassin, Fredonia and a host of other small dots on the northwestern Arizona map are ill-served by their current position and not only because of polygamy beliefs.   The county seat for most of these communities is in Kingman or Flagstaff, both a good distance away, putting the communities out of sight and out of mind to those who should serve them best.     Read more
 
 
Polygamist sect target of Arizona-Utah inquiry
For decades, allegations of child abuse, forced marriage, incest and misuse of public money fell on deaf ears
The Arizona Republic
Originally published September 28, 2003

Colorado City -- For most of the past seven decades, authorities refused to listen to the cries of women who claimed their children were being raped in this remote religious community astride the Arizona-Utah line.   They ignored allegations of incest, wife-beating, White slavery and forced marriages.   More often than not, they simply shrugged when insiders whispered about tax dodges, welfare fraud, educational neglect and misspent public funds.   But all that is changing.   For the first time in generations, authorities in Arizona and Utah are coming together to investigate members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, or FLDS, a sect that broke from the Mormon Church 70 years ago in bitter disagreement about the practice of plural marriage.   "We have seen compelling evidence that crimes are being committed, children are being hurt and taxpayers are footing the bill for those who are causing pain," said Mark Shurtleff, Utah's attorney general.  "We respect sincere religious belief, but we cannot tolerate crimes committed under the guise of religion."     Read more
 
 
State authorities use joint effort to investigate polygamists
The Associated Press
Originally published September 29, 2003

PHOENIX (AP) -- For decades, allegations of wife-beating, forced marriages, child abuse and welfare fraud in polygamist communties were ignored.   But a joint effort by authorities in Arizona and Utah to investigate polygamist sects signals some change.   Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard confirmed last week that a lawyer and investigator are looking full time into the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, The Arizona Republic reported.     Read more
 
 
County plans courthouse near Colorado City
By Jane Zhang
The Spectrum
Originally published September 30, 2003

ST. GEORGE -- Mohave County officials are looking to purchase three-quarters of an acre in the Colorado City area, on which they plan to build a justice courthouse to replace the current double-wide trailer in Moccasin.   The county is accepting proposals for land through Thursday.  As of Monday, three parties had expressed interest in selling land, including Colorado City, the Kaibab Paiute Indian Reservation and Moccasin Justice Court Judge McKay Heaton, who owns property in the area, according to Mohave County Procurement and Central Services in Kingman.   The courts system has allocated $500,000 for the new courthouse, which is estimated to be 3,500 square feet, said Larry D. Imus, presiding justice of the peace for Mohave County Courts.  A partially completed building design was turned over to an architect six weeks ago, he said.  And construction can start as soon as 90 days after the bid selection.   The new courthouse will be closer to bigger cities on the Arizona Strip, especially Colorado City, the justice court's biggest precinct.  The Moccasin Justice Courthouse is 20 miles from Colorado City and 90 miles from Littlefield, Ariz.   "I think we can put it close to the highway," Judge Imus said.  "I think it will better serve the people out there because it will be easier to find.   It will be easier to get in and out of."   Earlier this month, Pete Byers, who serves on the Mohave County Board of Supervisors, expressed interest in leasing land from Colorado City Mayor Dan Barlow.  But anti-polygamy activists said they would protest any association the court has with the city administration.     Read more
 
 
States turn up heat on polygamists
The Arizona Republic
Originally published October 15, 2003

The use of civil litigation is one of a handful of pressures now being applied on polygamists and their communities in Arizona and Utah.   The attorneys general in both states are coming together to crack down on polygamy-related crimes.   Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard confirmed last month that he has a lawyer and an investigator looking full time into the polygamist community of Colorado City, a town of 6,000 that sits on the Arizona line directly across from Hildale, Utah.   Other recent developments include:     Read more
 
 
Arizona AG wants safe haven established in polygamous town
By Beth DeFalco
The Associated Press
Originally published October 29, 2003

Phoenix -- Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard wants a safe haven established in the polygamous town of Colorado City to serve underage brides and abused children.   "The nearest (Child Protective Services) station is 30 miles away, and that's unconscionable given what we know today," Goddard said in an interview Wednesday with The Associated Press.   Colorado City and neighboring Hildale, Utah, are heavily populated with members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a splinter offshoot of the mainline Mormon church, which disavowed polygamy in 1890 and excommunicates those who practice plural marriage.   Critics of the sect contend underage girls are sometimes forced into marriage.   Goddard said he thinks that after a year or two, townspeople would realize the state center was permanent and might start calling in anonymous tips and seeking shelter from abusers.   "Absolutely.   I think he's right on target," said state Sen. Linda Binder, R-Lake Havasu City, whose district includes Colorado City.  "There needs to be a place that's not intimidating to victims."     Read more
 
 
Colorado City area needs 'safe haven'
In Our View
The Spectrum
Originally published Sunday, November 2, 2003

An idea presented by Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard, mirrored by a proposal spearheaded by the Help the Child Brides organization, might provide another important step toward ending abuses in the Hildale/ Colorado City area.   Goddard, in an interview with The Associated Press, said he favored setting up a "safe haven," perhaps in the form of a Child Protective Services office, in Colorado City.  He believes such a presence is necessary to put an end to sexual abuse of teenage girls, who sometimes are taken as spiritual brides by members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.   That matches the concept promoted by Help the Child Brides, which favors having law-enforcement and women and children services available to girls who want to leave the polygamist lifestyle for one reason or another.   The concept is fairly straight-forward.  If a girl wants to flee, she would have an agency independent of police forces in that area to which she could turn.   Officials working in and for the FLDS church consider such a proposition to be unwarranted.  They have said that girls and women can leave whenever they please.  For the most part, that's true.   But there is an intimidation factor that has to be considered.  How likely is a woman or girl in an abusive situation to call the local police if she knows the police contribute to the problem.  One need only look at the recent case of Rodney Holm -- a man who was a sworn police officer when he fathered children with a spiritual wife who was also a minor -- to see an example of how local authorities can be viewed by distrustful girls as supporting the practices.     Read more
 
 
Mojave will not fund Colorado City center
By Mark Shaffer
The Arizona Republic
Originally published November 5, 2003

In a setback to the state's immediate efforts to monitor polygamy in Colorado City, the Mohave County Board of Supervisors has killed a proposal to build a new law-enforcement center in the area.   The most surprising aspect of the unexpected decision was that Supervisor Buster Johnson of Lake Havasu City, who has been one of the state's leading crusaders against multiple marriages and alleged child abuse, put the kibosh on the measure.   "I thought the whole thing was a go," said Supervisor Tom Sockwell of Bullhead City of Monday's vote.  "Then Supervisor Johnson pops up and says that he doesn't think it's necessary after all the hoopla he's raised about the issue.   We wanted a courthouse building with a sheriff's substation and room for Child Protective Services."   Johnson said his reasons for opposing the building are purely fiscal.  He said it's much too early to talk about funding a building when no commitment has been made by the state to put its offices in it and no site has been selected.     Read more
 
 
Officials decry Colorado City abuse
By Mark Hall
Today's News-Herald
Originally published January 8, 2004

Arizona Sen. Linda Binder and Mohave County Supervisor Buster Johnson briefed the London Bridge Rotary Club Wednesday about their efforts to combat polygamy and resulting abuse in Colorado City and Hilldale, Utah.   The elected officials talked about recent allegations regarding sexual and physical abuse surrounding the polygamist group — a fundamentalist splinter group of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.   "As far as I'm concerned we have the Taliban sitting in our backyard," Binder said of the community.  "It's Arizona's dirty little secret."   Binder said she is not attacking alternative lifestyles, but specifically the Colorado City area — an isolated community in which middle-aged men allegedly are marrying and having sex with girls as young as 15 years old.   "I do object to young girls —14 and 15 year olds — being married off to 30- to 40-year-old men," Binder said.  "This is truly a cult."   Both Binder and Johnson said another key issue is the amount of money being given to the community by county, state and federal governments.   Johnson said Colorado City receives $8 for every tax dollar it injects into the county, while Lake Havasu City receives a little more than $1.     Read more
 
 
Mayor says Hildale cop crackdown is biased
Utah AG acts quickly to keep 17-year-old safe
By Jane Zhang
The Spectrum
Originally published Sunday, January 18, 2004

ST. GEORGE -- In the state's first case concerning runaways from polygamist families after the recent shakeup in the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the Utah Attorney General's Office intervened Saturday morning in St. George to put a Colorado City girl in state protective custody.   The 17-year-old girl, whose name wasn't released for safety reasons, was picked up from home at around 7:35 a.m. by a man driving a Chevy truck, according to police reports.  An undisclosed complainant left her father's cell phone number with the dispatcher, asking officers to "hold the female for return to family."   The girl contacted the DOVE Center, a domestic violence shelter, where calls were made to Bob Curran, founder of Help the Child Brides, a St. George agency that targets abuses in the polygamous culture.   Hours later, said Paul Murphy, spokesman for Attorney General Mark Shurtleff, a state attorney appeared before a judge and put the girl in the custody of Utah State Division of Child and Family Services.     Read more
 
 
Utah official's word backed up with actions
IN OUR VIEW
The Spectrum
Originally published Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff means business. And that's a positive stance for all who have a stake in the recent discord in Southern Utah's polygamist society.   Last year, Shurtleff made it clear that abuses of children and government programs would be investigated and prosecuted.  The prosecution of former Colorado City-area police officer Rodney Holm on sexual misconduct charges provided the first example that the attorney general planned to back up his statement.   The latest example comes in the actions his office has taken to provide safe surroundings for girls who are fleeing the polygamist lifestyle.   In the past week, at least 10 girls have fled the border towns of Hildale and Colorado City.  Some have traveled south, but others sought sanctuary within Utah's borders.   Some of those girls since are feared to have either fled or been taken from their safe houses.  More information on them is likely to surface in the coming days.   Because of the secrecy in that area of the state, few details also are known right now as to why so many girls have chosen to flee in such a short amount of time.  But their actions do coincide with the expulsion of 21 men from the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  The men were ordered to leave the border towns and to give up their wives and children by the church's leader, Warren Jeffs.   Shurtleff's office has worked with law enforcement officers and others in the legal and social work fields to find these girls safe places to stay.  Too often in the past, girls seeking to leave the polygamist lifestyle were sent back into bad situations.   Now that word is getting out that they can find safe places to stay, more may seek to leave.     Read more
 
 
Supervisors meet to discuss tension in polygamist community
By Jim Seckler
Mohave Daily News
Originally published January 27, 2004

KINGMAN -- Due to continuing tension in Colorado City, the Mohave County supervisors will hold a special meeting this afternoon to discuss the situation.   District 3 Supervisor Buster Johnson is asking to set aside $50,000 in county contingency funds to assist the state in transporting and finding temporary housing in case a large group of women and children flee the polygamist community.   Currently, two teen-age girls have left the community to stay with relatives in St. George, Utah and Phoenix, Johnson said.   "If there is a mass exodus of women and children seeking asylum, the state of Arizona is not equipped to handle these people's needs," Johnson said.   Colorado City has been home to a polygamous sect called the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints for more than a half-century.   Last year, former police officer Rodney Holm was convicted of bigamy and sexual misconduct with a minor.   Two weeks ago, church leader Warren Jeffs excommunicated Colorado City Mayor Dan Barlow and about two dozen others from the church leading to their removal from the community of about 6,000.   Mohave County Sheriff Tom Sheahan recently dispatched additional deputies and a canine unit to Colorado City for re-enforcement in case of trouble but none so far has existed.   Also under discussion at today's meeting is the progress of the county law enforcement facility proposed to be built in Colorado City.     Read more
 
 
New law enforcement facility in works for town
By Dave Hawkins
Las Vegas Review-Journal
Originally published Wednesday, January 28, 2004

KINGMAN, Ariz. -- Mohave County and the state of Arizona are working together to establish a joint law enforcement facility in Colorado City, home to a religious sect that preaches polygamy.   The town drew national attention after the January ouster of Mayor Dan Barlow and about 20 members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints by the church's so-called prophet, Warren Jeffs.   The county Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to use as much as $200,000 to place a modular facility on land that will be leased from the community college at the southern edge of town.   The town is in a sparsely populated area of northern Arizona, a good distance from many public services.   County Manager Ron Walker said the building could be ready for occupancy within 90 days.   It would provide working space for sheriff's deputies and county attorney's office personnel investigating allegations of the abuse of women and children, and forced marriages of underage girls to older men in the predominantly polygamous community.     Read more
 
 
Board ok's multi-use building in Colorado City
e-Press
Tri-State News Network
Originally published Wednesday, January 28, 2004

KINGMAN, Ariz. - During a special meeting Tuesday, the Mohave County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a multi-use governmental facility to be located in Colorado City.  The modular building, to be located on land leased from Mohave Community College, will house the Sheriff, County Attorney, State Attorney General and Child Protection Services.  In a prepared statement, Mohave County manager Ron Walker said county staff is beginning the process of procuring a suitable modular facility and preparing a workable floor plan to accommodate all users.   Meanwhile county residents are beginning to respond to the reports of alleged abuse of women and children in Colorado City and adjoining Hildale, Utah.  Mohave County Supervisor Buster Johnson, R-Dist. 3, has been collecting cash and other goods to help the women and kids that have escaped the border communities.   "Some people in Kingman have called that had a lot of clothing.  There is a church putting on a program, they're going to bring clothing plus they are going to show an investigative reports movie and some others movies to their people and get more information out.  One of the schools has brought in quite a bit of clothing and that sort of stuff," Supervisor Johnson said.     Read more
 
 
County to build police facility in Colorado City
By Linda Stelp
Kingman Daily Miner
Originally published Thursday, January 29, 2004

The Mohave County supervisors have voted to spend $200,000 for a new law enforcement building in Colorado City.   During a special meeting Tuesday, the three members of the Mohave County supervisors voted unanimously to release the funds immediately because of recent unrest in the polygamist community.   The county will negotiate a land lease with Mohave Community College and develop an intergovernmental agreement with the state of Arizona for shared use of the facility, which will be a modular building.   This month, 21 men were excommunicated from the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, including Mayor Dan Barlow.   The struggle between two factions has torn the tightly knit polygamist community, which is along the Utah border in the Arizona Strip, north of the Grand Canyon.  Allegations of child abuse, incest and welfare fraud have forced public officials to take a closer look at the secretive society in which teen girls are forced to marry older men.   The building will be shared by the Mohave County Sheriff's Office, the county attorney's office, the State Attorney General's Office and Arizona Child Protection Services.   The closest sheriff's deputies have been stationed is the Littlefield area, which can be reached only by about an 80-mile trip through Utah.     Read more
 
 
We need to identify the real issues in the border towns
IN OUR VIEW
The Spectrum
Originally published Sunday, February 1, 2004

As the religious leadership turmoil churns in Colorado City and Hildale, the battling factions and public are losing sight of the real issue at hand, which is not polygamy, but the specter of child abuse and a prevailing mindset that defines the women of this community as chattel that can be assigned from one man to another.   This is not about what consenting adults do or religious freedom, and solutions are not simple.   With members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints feuding over leadership of the sect, church members are being tossed from their homes and families are being scattered.  The legal aspects, of course, are that the church owns the property the people have built their homes on, giving them rights to what goes on there and who can reside on that property.   It gets further complicated when legitimate human rights issues are brought forward, such as the charges that the little border community is repressive in its attitudes toward women -- who many church leaders believe are the property of their husbands -- and the sexual abuse of children.  It's also very easy for the onlooker to pose the obvious question: Why don't these women and children simply leave the culture?     Read more
 
 
More youths flee polygamy
Arizona and Utah officials decide to curb underage marriages by erecting a sheriff's substation in polygamy country
By Jason Emerson, Lorraine Whetstone and Betty Webb
East Valley Tribune
Originally published Tuesday, February 3, 2004

The Fawns in Phoenix opened the floodgate.  Less than a week after 16-year-old redheads Fawn Holm and Fawn Broadbent escaped the polygamist stronghold of Colorado City, Ariz., eight more "absolutely terrified" teens have fled — and more are expected to, activists and officials said Sunday.   "The word spread like wildfire that we had received the court order here in Arizona giving these children safety," said Flora Jessop, executive director of the Child Protection Project, which is based in California.   "It was a ray of hope," said Mohave County Supervisor Buster Johnson, who helped arrange money for the eight to leave.   Jessop, an activist who on Jan. 11 helped the two girls flee, praised the Arizona Attorney General's Office for a court order late Friday afternoon that put the girls in state custody.   "This is the first time that we've successfully created a legal pathway through this system for the children to go to," she said.   Normally, authorities just bring the children back, Johnson said.     Read more
 
 
Lawmakers want aggressive AG polygamy action
By Le Templar
East Valley Tribune
Originally published February 4, 2004

A group of state lawmakers is demanding more aggressive action from Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard on reports of widespread child abuse and welfare fraud in the polygamous community of Colorado City.   A letter to Goddard signed by 26 Republicans and one Democrat in the House of Representatives says Arizona law enforcement must address renewed reports that women and teenage girls have been compelled by the community's religious leaders into polygamous marriages for years.   "For too long, Arizona has allowed this grave problem to deteriorate," says the letter, which is dated Jan. 27 but was released to the media Tuesday.  "Too many young women have lost their virtue without their consent.  Too many young lives have been shattered.  Too many witnesses have been ignored.  The time has come for Arizona to act."     Read more
 
 
AG says steps being made to stop polygamy
By Le Templar
East Valley Tribune
Originally published February 5, 2004

Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard pledged Wednesday that state and local authorities are taking every possible step to end child rape and forced polygamous marriages in Colorado City.  But Goddard wouldn't discuss details of ongoing criminal and civil inquiries of residents and religious leaders in the community on the Utah border, saying he must protect the privacy of victims and the safety of investigators.   Goddard held a news conference Wednesday at his Phoenix office in response to a letter signed by 26 state lawmakers demanding more aggressive action to deal with reports of underage girls being forced to live as wives with members of the Fundamental Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.   He said Colorado City has been a priority since he took office in January 2003.  But joint investigations with Utah authorities are moving with caution as officials work to build trust with Colorado City residents and encourage them to testify against men who participate in multiple "spiritual" marriages.   Goddard said he and Gov. Janet Napolitano are also building new support among state authorities to openly address the situation in Colorado City after decades of ignoring the isolated community.     Read more
 
 
Caleb's Corner: Colorado City now getting attention it deserves
By Caleb Soptelean
Kingman Daily Miner
Originally published Friday, February 6, 2004

Something is finally being done about Colorado City.   Recent news that the Mohave County supervisors approved funding for a building that will be jointly used by various county and state agencies represents some of the best news in a long time about the northern Mohave County community.   All three supervisors deserve credit for voting for this funding as does state Sen. Linda Binder, who has been on top of this issue for some time.   Although this issue is probably one of the few things I agree with the Lake Havasu legislator about, the soon-to-be-departing state senator deserves credit for keeping this issue on her agenda.   Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff has also been very active lately in pressing this issue legally.  His recent remarks that he intends to bring charges against FLDS prophet Warren Jeffs represent a positive sign that something is being done about the problem.     Read more
 
 
Honeymoon is over for US polygamists
Katherine Biele in Salt Lake City
The Scotsman - Scotland
NEWS.scotsman.com
Originally published Sunday, February 8, 2004

FOR decades they have thought nothing of marrying a 15-year-old cousin who is also an aunt, but the 100,000-strong polygamist community in the United States is facing a new crackdown as those no longer willing to turn a "blind eye" confront what many consider to be no more than criminal behaviour.   A number of recent events in Arizona and Utah have refocused attention on plural marriage which has gone on quietly for many years despite being outlawed by mainstream church leaders and state authorities.   Most controversially a power struggle within the polygamy-orientated sect that dominates the town of Colorado City in Arizona has seen some men ex-communicated and their wives and children simply "reassigned" to other men.   And last week a member of the Kingstons, a large clan in Utah that has long-practised bigamy, was sentenced to a one-year prison term for taking as his wife a 15-year-old cousin who was also his aunt.   Now authorities in Arizona and Utah, with an eye on Colorado City, are stepping up investigations into the sect there - so-called fundamentalist Mormons - including concerns about forced marriages involving underage girls.   "We have all just turned a blind eye to what's going on," said Utah attorney-general Mark Shurtleff.  "It's an embarrassment."     Read more
 
 
AG Shurtleff visits S. Utah to push hotline
By Rachel Olsen
The Spectrum
Originally published Friday, February 13, 2004

ST. GEORGE -- Outside the Washington County Courthouse on Thursday, Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff reminded polygamists of the resource of the Utah Domestic Violence Information Line.   The Utah Domestic Violence Information Line answers calls and provides help and information when individuals find themselves in a violent situation.  As part of the effort to make the hotline more useful to those seeking help in polygamist cultures, the staff answering phone calls received sensitivity training for plural wives from those who live in and those who have left the polygamist lifestyle, said the hotline's coordinator, A.J. Hunt.   While Shurtleff said abuses are not unique to polygamist communities, the hotline would help the government and agencies reach out to everyone in the state -- even those in closed societies.   "This is the beginning of our efforts to provide assistance to those underserved in the community," Shurtleff said.   "The state and county are here to help ... we are not the enemy," he said.     Read more
 
 
Outreach assists plural wives and children
State promoting use of toll-free domestic violence help line
By Nancy Perkins
Deseret Morning News
Originally published February 15, 2004

ST. GEORGE — It's confidential and it's free.   "This is the beginning, not the end, of our efforts to provide assistance to women and children in polygamous communities," Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff said of the state's effort to promote the use of a toll-free Domestic Violence help line.  "We want to help.  We are not the enemy.  We just want to get the information out."   The hotline, 1-800-897-LINK (5465), has been around for a long time, but Shurtleff and others who work with domestic violence victims believe thousands of plural wives are unaware of the resource.   "Without intervention we can't end the abuse," Shurtleff told a small gathering of reporters, attorneys and plural wives Thursday during an afternoon press conference held on the steps of Fifth District Court in St. George.  A similar press conference was held in Salt Lake City earlier in the day.   Current and former polygamous wives provided sensitivity training for help line staff so that callers would be treated with dignity, said A.J. Hunt, Domestic Violence Line coordinator.     Read more
 
 
Time for Utah to enforce laws against polygamy
Opinion
The Spectrum
Originally published Sunday, February 15, 2004

To the editor:

I agree with Bryce Dixon's column, "Polygamy is a blight on S. Utah." Utah state and local law enforcement officers have been looking the other way for too long. It is time for them to vigorously enforce our Utah Constitution and also state laws against the flagrant abuses taking place in Hildale and other parts of Utah.

I believe that polygamy is inherently demeaning to women. Once entrapped into a polygamous society (usually at an age too young to vote or even drive a car), it is almost impossible to escape. Such a woman would have to admit that her "marriage" was not valid, that her children were illegitimate and that she would some day have to answer to the outside world and even to God for living an adulterous life.

How many women can stand up to this much shame? She is trapped. She is not free to change her mind. It is no wonder that most of those defending polygamy at the recent Utah Attorney General's conference on polygamy here in St. George at the Dixie Center were women from Colorado City and Hildale.

Arza Evans
St. George
 
 
Bill targeting polygamy involving minors advances
The Associated Press
Originally published February 23, 2004

The Arizona Senate approved a proposal intended to combat the forced marriages of teenage girls in polygamist enclaves.   The full Senate voted 29-0 Monday to create the crime of child bigamy.   The bill (SB1335) now moves to the House.   Modeled after a Utah law, the legislation would make it a felony for a married adult to marry a child or otherwise cohabit as husband and wife with a child.   It also would make it illegal to arrange marriages or cohabitation under those circumstances.     Read more
 
 
Smith seeks Colorado City probe
By Linda Stelp
Kingman Daily Miner
Originally published Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Mohave County Attorney Matt Smith said he plans to ask the county to hire a special investigator for the Colorado City area.   An investigator will follow up on allegations of child abuse within the polygamous Colorado City community, Smith said.   "No one really knows what is going on up there.   I have to believe they are not making up allegations of sexual abuse," he said of teenage girls who have come forward with allegations of forced marriages and other abuses.   The secretive polygamist community along the Utah border has come under increased scrutiny by officials from both states during the past year.   Officials also are looking into allegations of child abuse, incest and the squandering of taxpayer money in the community, where men often have more than one wife with some women with a dozen or more children receiving welfare payments.   Smith said Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard is looking into reports of welfare abuse, but because Colorado City is within Mohave County, it is the county's responsibility to investigate all claims of child abuse.     Read more
 
 
Supes approve Colorado City investigator position
e-Press
The Tri-State News Network
Murphy Broadcasting, Inc.
Originally published Tuesday, April 6, 2004

KINGMAN, Ariz. - Mohave County Supervisors have approved use of more than $30,000 to hire an investigator to probe allegations of abuse in the remote border community of Colorado City.   The Board approved the expenditure Monday after hearing from county attorney Matt Smith.  "I think there's a general consensus that we have a serious problem in Colorado City right now," Smith said.   He said police in Colorado City are under pressure from the community-controlling church and are disadvantaged from objective handling of abuse allegations.  Smith suggested hiring someone from outside the community would better ensure fair and impartial investigations involving alleged abuse of women and children and forced marriages of teenagers to adults who have other wives in the polygamous community.     Read more
 
 
Investigator being added to check Colorado City
Arizona News Briefs
The Arizona Republic
Originally published April 7, 2004

LAKE HAVASU CITY - Mohave County supervisors agreed to hire a special investigator to look into allegations of domestic violence, child abuse and sexual abuse in the polygamist community of Colorado City.   Creation of the position was recommended by Mohave County's top prosecutor.   "I think there is a general consensus that there is a concern up there in Colorado City," said County Attorney Matt Smith.   Polygamy is practiced openly in Colorado City, a remote enclave on the state line with Utah that is dominated by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.   The sect split from mainstream Mormonism after the broader church renounced polygamy more than a century ago.   The fundamentalist group touts plural marriage as a key to reaching the highest place in heaven.
 
 
Legislators out to ban child bigamy
House gives tentative nod to felony bill
By Robbie Sherwood
The Arizona Republic
Originally published April 16, 2004

The Legislature is poised to strike a blow against the forced marriages of teenage girls in polygamist enclaves such as Colorado City in northern Arizona.   The House tentatively approved a bill Thursday that makes child bigamy, a religious marriage between a minor and an adult who is already married, a felony.  Senate Bill 1335 would also allow authorities to prosecute the religious leader who performs the marriage ceremonies and the parents of the minor.   The bill still faces a formal House vote and a final vote in the Senate before moving to the governor.   "I'm not going to speculate if this will stop the practice, but I think it will have a chilling effect," said Attorney General Terry Goddard, who pushed for the bill.  "This gives us a legal tool to bring prosecutions in cases we can't prosecute now.  In other words, right now we can only go after the bigamist husband for child abuse, which is extremely difficult to prove."     Read more
 
 
House OKs bill targeting polygamy
The Associated Press
Originally published April 20, 2004

The House unanimously approved a bill Tuesday that is intended to help combat forced marriages of teenage girls in polygamist enclaves.   The bill (SB1335), approved 56-0 and modeled after a Utah law, would make it a felony for a married adult to marry a child.   Other provisions are aimed at holding parents responsible for forced marriages of their children.   The proposal has already cleared the Senate but now returns there for consideration of changes made by the House.   The Arizona Constitution already prohibits polygamy.   But Arizona's bigamy law addresses only state-sanctioned marriages, not those recognized only by churches.   Polygamy is practiced openly in Colorado City, a remote enclave on the state line with Utah that is dominated by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.   The sect split from mainstream Mormonism after the broader church renounced polygamy more than a century ago.
 
 
Polygamy fight
Our Opinion
The Tucson Citizen
Originally published April 21, 2004

It's about time Arizona officialdom recognized the forced marriages of teenage girls in polygamist Colorado City are wrong and should be outlawed.   The state House of Representatives unanimously has approved a bill, modeled after a Utah law, that makes it a felony for a married adult to marry a child.   A similar proposal, which already has cleared the Senate, also would hold parents responsible for forced marriages of their children.   The Arizona Constitution prohibits polygamy, but state law does not address marriages recognized only by churches.  Differences between the House and Senate versions will have to be ironed out before the bill could become law.   The polygamy practiced in Colorado City has drawn national attention and condemnation for being one step removed from pedophilia.  Young girls there often are forced against their wills to marry much older men who have dozens of wives and children.  The group split from mainstream Mormonism after the church renounced polygamy more than a century ago.   Arizona should follow Utah's lead and outlaw this despicable practice.
 
 
Governor gets bill targeting forced teenage polygamist marriages
The Associated Press
KVOA News 4 - Tucson
Originally published April 27, 2004

The Arizona Legislature approved a proposal to combat the forced marriages of teenage girls in polygamist enclaves.   The bill creating the crime of child bigamy now goes to Governor Janet Napolitano.   The bill would make it a felony for a married adult to marry a child.   Other provisions are aimed at holding parents responsible for forced marriages of their children.   The Arizona Constitution already prohibits polygamy.  But Arizona's bigamy law addresses only state-sanctioned marriages, not those recognized only by churches.   Proponents of the proposal say the state doesn't have a law specifically outlawing child bigamy.   Opponents say the proposal targets people because of their religious beliefs.
 
 
Child-bigamy law explained
Goddard outlines strategy
The Arizona Republic
Originally published May 21, 2004

A state law banning child bigamy was passed by the Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Janet Napolitano this month.   The law makes religious marriages or cohabitation between a married adult and a minor a felony.   It also gives the state the ability to charge church pastors who perform the ceremonies and the minors' parents with felony crimes.   Modeled after a Utah law, the statute grew out of reports of teenage girls being forced into marriages in Colorado City, a remote community near the Arizona-Utah line dominated by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.   It goes into effect 90 days after the Legislature adjourns.  Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard advocated the law and discussed it recently with Arizona Republic reporter Amanda J. Crawford.     Read more
 
 
County building update for Colorado City
e-Press
The Tri-States News Network
Murphy Broadcasting, Inc.
Originally published Monday June 7, 2004

COLORADO CITY, Ariz. - The building being proposed for a Mohave County resource in Colorado City is currently being worked on. The site plan, utility location, and one line electrical drawing have been reviewed by Colorado City. The City has indicated GE Modular should receive the reviewed drawings by Friday, June 7th. GE Modular will be attaching their detailed building drawings and specifications to the site, utility and electrical drawings, and will overnight them to the State Fire Marshall's office. Once State Fire Marshall approval is obtained, the package will be resubmitted to Colorado City for final approval.     Read more
 
 
Group Seeks Help For Ousted FLDS Boys
ABC 4 News
Originally published August 1, 2004

Fundamentalist prophet Warren Jeffs has pushed hundreds of young men out of the two polygamous communities on the border of Utah and Arizona.   About 50 of the cast-offs took to the Utah Capitol today to support the nonprofit group Diversity, which announced a program to help the young men.   Polygamist sect member Richard Gilbert was thrown out at age 16 for saying he wanted to attend public schools.   Gilbert says the fathers of these young men aren't to blame; they too are being pushed around by Warren Jeffs.   Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff has volunteered to mentor one of the lost boys.   Shurtleff credited Midvale dentists Dr. Dan Fischer for pushing the mentor program.   The effort has the backing of best-selling author Jon Krakauer, who explored fundementalist sects in Utah, Arizona, Mexico and Canada for his book about religious extremism, "Under the Banner of Heaven."   If you'd like to help, tax-deductible donations and pledges of mentoring will be accepted at 877-GET-A-DAD.  For more information on FLDS boys and how to help them, call Barb Rohrer at (801) 867-2489 or Lynette Phillips at (801) 597-6080.
 
 
Investigation launched into polygamous sect dubbed 'Canada's dirty little secret'
By Catherine Elsworth
London Telegraph
Originally published August 5, 2004

The peace of a secretive polygamous sect that has quietly practised its controversial - and illegal - way of life in a remote part of Canada for more than 60 years is about to be shattered.   Murmurings about alleged sexual abuse and forced marriage within the 1,000-strong community of Bountiful have reached fever pitch as women have fled the group with tales of exploitation.   The "escaped wives" claim that girls in their early teens have been compelled to wed middle-aged men and have been routinely trafficked between Canada and the group's fellow Mormon communities in Utah and Arizona.   They also complain of biased and truncated schooling that brainwashes children into following the sect's way of life and leaves them ill-equipped to live outside its confines.   Geoff Plant, the attorney general of the western Canadian province of British Columbia, has now launched an extensive investigation into the allegations.   "It's child abuse of the worst kind, within a religious context," said Audrey Vance, co-founder of a support group for former Bountiful wives in the nearby town of Creston.  "One woman who left said what goes on out there is evil.   "This is Canada's dirty little secret, but no one round here wants to believe what's going on."     Read more
 
 
Hotline helps men ordered out of polygamous communities
Tri-Valley Central
Originally published August 5, 2004

Phoenix -- About 200 people have called a hotline offering money clothing, jobs and housing to boys and men who were thrown out of the nation's largest polygamous community near the Arizona-Utah state line.   The calls came after dozens of young men and boys gathered on the steps of the Utah Capitol in Salt Lake City on Saturday to say how their lives were shattered by the leadership of their polygamous faith, The Arizona Republic reported Tuesday.   "We've had a wonderfully large response," said Lynette Phillips, director of Smiles for Diversity, a nonprofit group that launched a nationwide appeal for the boys.   The youths said they represented a fraction of more than 400 males who either were excommunicated or driven from the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since 1998.   Those expulsions coincide with the rise to power of Warren Jeffs, president and self-proclaimed prophet of the church.   Jeffs, who is said to have as many as 50 wives, was accused in a lawsuit last week of serially sodomizing his nephew as a child and covering up widespread sexual molestations by other church leaders for decades.  He denies the allegations.   The men who came forward last weekend said Jeffs personally ordered them out of the twin communities of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City for perceived violations of church policy ranging from rolling up the long sleeves on their shirts to watching movies or wanting to go to public school.
 
 
Polygamy town gets outside aid
By Amanda J. Crawford
The Arizona Republic
Originally published August 10, 2004

The outside is unassuming: a plain gray, modular building surrounded by red dirt.   It is what the building represents that is important: the first independent outside presence in the community of Colorado City, headquarters of the nation's largest polygamist community.   On Monday, the Mohave County/State of Arizona Multi-Use Facility opened in the community, which is dominated by members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  The building will be used by Child Protective Services, the Arizona Attorney General's Office, the Mohave County Sheriff's Office and the County Attorney's Office.   Andrea Esquer, spokeswoman for the Arizona Attorney General's Office, said the office will be a resource for victims who want to come forward to report abuse.     Read more
 
 
Justice center opens in polygamist town
By Mike Watkiss
KTVK NewsChannel 3 - Phoenix
Originally published Tuesday, August 10, 2004

In a community rocked by persistent and ongoing allegations of sexual abuse, welfare fraud and forced marriages, suddenly there is a new force in town.  This week, the state of Arizona and Mojave County opened a new justice center in the border straddling polygamist town of Colorado City.   The polygamist enclave has long been isolated by geography and hostile to outsiders, but Monday a new justice center opened its doors.  The building will be used by Child Protective Services, the Arizona Attorney Generals Office, the Mojave County Sheriff's Office, and the Mojave County Attorney's Office.   Officials say they hope the new facility will serve victims who, in the past, have had nowhere to turn in Colorado City.     Read more
 
 
Colorado City government center opens
By Jim Seckler
Mohave Daily News
Originally published August 11, 2004

KINGMAN -- A joint county and state government facility opened for business Monday in the troubled community of Colorado City.   The county placed the 2,000-square-foot modular building on about a half acre of land owned by Mohave Community College.   The building will house Mohave County Sheriff's Office deputies, deputy county attorneys and state officials from the Child Protective Services and the Attorney General's Office.   Mohave County Sheriff Tom Sheahan said his deputies will start rotating in and out of the building between Beaver Dam and Colorado City.   In the past, sheriff deputies were based about an hour away in the Beaver Dam area.  The county justice court is currently located in nearby Moccasin.   Sheriff deputies will also share office space with Washington County (Utah) sheriff deputies.     Read more
 
 
Cracking the cult
Paperwork, not police sirens, more likely to foil 'prophet' and his polygamous followers
Opinion
The Arizona Republic
Originally published August 26, 2004

Sirens scream.  Cell doors slam.  Book 'em, Danno.   Arizona wants justice to blast through the nation's largest polygamist cult.  The outrage at what's being committed in the name of religion by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints demands a response that's appropriately big.   Dramatic.   But it won't happen that way.   Justice will not carry a club into the twin cult towns of Colorado City, Ariz., and Hildale, Utah.   It can't - no matter how deeply satisfying it is to imagine some swift, sure rescue of those who are being victimized by the self-proclaimed prophet Warren Jeffs.   Those victims include the young girls married off to old men as second and third wives; the teen boys driven out of the community without an education; the women treated as property; and even the men, whose lives are directed and controlled by a theocracy designed for domination.     Read more
 
 
News Release
Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff
For Immediate Release
August 30, 2004
Contact Paul Murphy:   (801) 538-1892
pmurphy@utah.gov

SAFE PASSAGE
$700,000 DOMESTIC VIOLENCE GRANT TO HELP POLYGAMOUS VICTIMS
Nearly $700,000 is now available to help domestic violence victims from polygamous and rural communities in Utah and Arizona.  Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff announced today that the U.S. Department of Justice approved a unique grant to help victims living in "under served" areas.  The Safe Passage Program will provide additional law enforcement, social services, legal aid, housing, transportation and extended hours for a domestic violence hotline.  The program will help victims overcome barriers caused by geographic isolation, poverty, strong social and cultural pressures and lack of available services.  "No matter where you live or what you believe, domestic violence affects everyone. This grant will make it possible to reach the most vulnerable victims and make sure they have the same access to help," says Shurtleff.  The Justice Department's Office of Violence Against Women allocated $698,636 to be used for the next two years.  The Utah Attorney General's Office is the fiscal agent for the grant but will partner with the Utah Division of Child and Family Services, Utah Domestic Violence Council, DOVE Center, Washington County Sheriff's Office, St. George Police Department, Utah Legal Services and the Mohave County Sheriff's Office in Arizona.     Read more
 
 
Domestic Violence Grant to Help Polygamy Victims
Jed Boal Reporting
KSL-TV Channel 5
Originally broadcast August 30, 2004

There's new assistance for victims of polygamy in Utah, and all victims of domestic violence.  It's called the Safe Passage Program.  It's the first time the state has received federal funding to help.   This is a unique Department of Justice grant, nearly $700,000 to help domestic violence victims from polygamous communities in Utah and Arizona.   Safe Passage will expand services for all victims of domestic violence with a focus on polygamous communities.  Many victims of polygamy struggle to get help; they are isolated, poor, and have to battle cultural pressures.   St. George and Washington County law enforcement will add patrols and victim advocates in the twin polygamous towns of Hildale, Utah and Colorado City, Arizona.  Safe Passage will also provide social services, legal aid, housing, and extended hours for a domestic violence hotline.   The Attorney General's Office says it's a good start in tackling a problem with complex solutions.     Read more
 
 
Polygamy Victims Get Help
The Associated Press
KPHO News 5 - Phoenix
Originally published August 30, 2004

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- The feds are kicking in money to help victims of domestic violence in polygamous communities along the Utah-Arizona border.   Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff says the Justice Department has approved a $700,000 dollar grant for the Safe Passage Program.  The program will provide additional law enforcement to rural areas, including the twin polygamous communities of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Arizona.  It will also help provide social services, legal aid, housing, transportation and additional hours for a domestic violence hotline.   The Utah A.G.'s Office will work with the Utah agencies, as well as the Mohave County sheriff's office in Kingman to distribute the money.
 
 
Grant to help domestic violence victims in polygamous communities
By Mark Thiessen
The Associated Press
Originally published August 30, 2004

SALT LAKE CITY - A federal grant worth nearly $700,000 will be used to help the victims of domestic violence in rural Utah, especially targeting women and children who have fled the nation's largest polygamous enclave in southern Utah.   The money will be used for the state's Safe Passage program, which will coordinate law enforcement, social services, legal aid, housing and transportation, and expand a domestic violence hotline.   "Hallelujah," proclaimed Rowenna Erickson, a co-founder of Tapestry Against Polygamy, a Salt Lake City group that counsels women after leaving polygamous relationships.  "This is just the beginning of what can be done."   The $698,636 grant announced Monday was from a U.S. Justice Department program designed to assist rural communities.   The department noted the unique nature of the state's application when targeting problems in Utah's rural polygamous communities, Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff told The Associated Press on Monday by telephone from the Republican National Convention in New York.   "We thought it might be a long shot," he said, but officials decided to try because "we've been so frustrated that we didn't have finances."     Read more
 
 
Ousted from sect, 'lost boys' start anew
2 former believers offer helping hand
By Angie Wagner
The Chicago Tribune
Originally published September 7, 2004

SALT LAKE CITY -- Cast out by his religion, denied by his family and left with nowhere else to go, the teenager slept in a tool shed just steps from a company owned by relatives.  They went home at night while Tom Sam Steed stole bread and nutrition bars from a gas station to survive.  He tried several times to kill himself, convinced, he said, that he was worth nothing.  His salvation came when he got a job cleaning carpets and finally left the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or FLDS, and its leader, Warren Jeffs.  The FLDS is different from the mainstream Mormon church, which has denounced the FLDS.  Former FLDS members describe a religion that thrives on domination.  Every detail of their life, they say, was scripted -- from plural marriages to what they could wear, whom they could associate with and what job they could have.     Read more
 
 
Police standards board vows to punish bigamists in their ranks
The Associated Press
KVOA Channel 4 - Tucson
Originally broadcast September 22, 2004

SANDY, Utah Officials with the Utah law enforcement standards board say they'll remove officers from duty if they're breaking bigamy laws.   The Peace Officer Standards and Training council met today in Sandy, Utah.   On the agenda was how to deal with the thorny issue of officers in the twin polygamist communities of Hildale, Utah and Colorado City, Arizona.   Attorney General Mark Shurtleff says investigators believe at least two officers in the area are practicing polygamists.   Police officers must vow to uphold the laws of Utah.  The state constitution prohibits the practice of polygamy.   In an unanimous decision, the board says that officers breaking the law would face revocation of their law-enforcement certification.
 
 
Utah Appears Close to Yanking the Badges of Polygamous Police Officers
KUTV Channel 2
Originally broadcast September 22, 2004

Utah appears closer than ever to yanking the badges of polygamous police officers.  A state panel moved to investigate cops in the polygamy enclave of Hildale.   Brian Mullahy has more.   Hildale Police Chief Sam Roundy is one officer Utah's attorney general believes is a practicing polygamist along with at least one other Hildale officer.   If they refuse to leave polygamy Mark Shurtleff says they should lose their badges.   "Then revocation is the only option.   They ought to be revoked.  They ought not to ever be police officers again," said Shurtleff.   The POST council made up largely of police administrators has the power to pull polygamists off the Hildale force.   "If they're polygamists, should they be police officers?" Mullahy asked.     Read more
 
 
Utah Police Standards Board Vows To Punish Bigamists In Their Ranks
By Debbie Hummel
The Associated Press
Originally published September 22, 2004

SANDY, Utah (AP) -- The state board that sets police standards on Wednesday vowed to punish officers who break Utah's bigamy law.   The issue has grown over the past year since the sentencing of a former southern Utah officer who was convicted of bigamy and an unlawful sex with a minor.  Despite the conviction, some officers who are sworn to uphold the state Constitution violate it by practicing polygamy, officials told the Peace Officer Standards and Training Council.   "There are some cases where we could proceed with disciplinary action," Assistant Attorney General Cheryl Luke said.   The council voted unanimously that officers breaking the law would face revocation of their law-enforcement certification.   "I can't believe that any citizen would think that practicing polygamy ... is anything that would make law enforcement look good," said Ogden Police Chief Jon Griener, vice chairman of the board.  He said the men were giving law enforcement a black eye.     Read more
 
 
Slow Start for Mohave County Justice Center
The Associated Press
KSL-TV Channel 5
Originally broadcast October 5, 2004

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Arizona officials concede that they have had a slow start for the Mohave County Justice Center in the polygamous community of Colorado City.   But they tell The Salt Lake Tribune that it will not stop them from trying to help suspected abuse victims.   The recently opened justice center is the first time the Arizona state government has had a presence in town.   The building has just two offices so far, one for a victim advocate and a caseworker to help with issues like food stamps and child care.   There's also space for police officers, government attorneys and child protective services, but office furniture for those haven't arrived yet.   Mohave County Supervisor Pete Byers says it has been slow going because of trouble getting land and then utilities to the site.   Also, a local construction crew first hired to set up the building walked off the project after learning of its purpose.
 
 
County close to hiring investigator of practices in Colorado City
By Caleb Soptelean
Kingman Daily Miner
Originally published October 6, 2004

KINGMAN – Mohave County is close to hiring an investigator to look into problems in polygamous Colorado City.   On Monday, County Attorney Matt Smith said that a decision was made to hire an investigator on Friday but that the man must pass a background check.   Smith said the investigator, who likely will be hired this week, will look mainly into reports of child sexual abuse and sexual conduct with minors.   Another possible facet of the investigation is crimes associated with the state's new child bigamy statute.   In bigamy cases, Smith said it's usually necessary for the victim, such as a second spouse, to come forward.  But in case of child bigamy, the state doesn't necessarily need a witness.   Smith said if a man has fathered a child with a minor and is married to the woman the state can prosecute without testimony from the minor.   Sheriff Tom Sheahan said the Mohave County Sheriff's office is now investigating child sexual abuse in Colorado City.  Previously, the Colorado City town marshal's office handled the investigations.     Read more
 
 
Interviews begin in Colorado City abuse investigation
By Caleb Soptelean
Kingman Daily Miner
Originally published Wednesday, November 10, 2004

KINGMAN – Mohave County Attorney Matt Smith gave an update to the Miner on Monday about an investigation into possible illegal activity in Colorado City.   Smith said newly-hired investigator Gary Engles has begun interviewing people in the polygamous Arizona Strip community in relation to possible child sexual abuse and sexual conduct with minors.  Engles interviewed Flora Jessop during the last week of October, and has since interviewed "many people," Smith said.   Jessop, 34, is involved with "Help the Child Brides," an organization that was founded in 2001 in an effort to help girls who are forced into marriage.  Jessop was born into a polygamous family in Colorado City and has 28 brothers and sisters.   Jessop said her father began sexually abusing her when she was 13 and her life became a living hell, according to a previous Miner report.  She walked away from the community one day when she was 16.   Engles previously worked as a police officer in Bullhead City.  His first day was Oct. 18, and he will be employed for up to six months at a salary of $15,267.
 
 
Investigation Into Missing Polygamist Girl
A new investigation into a Southern Utah polygamous church. Authorities in Arizona say they'll look into claims about a 17-year-old girl, and her possible connection to leader of the fundamentalist LDS church.
KSL 1160 NewsRadio
Originally published November 16, 2004

(KSL News) -- Authorities are now investigating allegations surrounding a 17-year-old girl from the Fundamentalist LDS Church.   Janetta Jessop's sister claims the girl is a bride of FLDS leader Warren Jeffs.   FLDS lawyer Rod Parker tells KSL Newsradio Jeffs is not paying attention to these accusations.   Parker says anti-polygamy activists are pushing this to authorities to further their agenda.   The Washington County Sheriff has interviewed someone believed to be the girl.   The Mohave County Attorney is investigating if she is, in fact, married to Jeffs.
 
 
Sister reports FLDS girl missing
Teen thought to be spiritual wife of Warren Jeffs allegedly calls for help
By Rachel Olsen
The Spectrum
Originally published November 16, 2004

ST. GEORGE -- In the bordering polygamist towns of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz., the report of a missing 17-year-old girl thought to be a spiritual wife of Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints prophet Warren Jeffs has prompted an investigation from the Mohave County Attorney's Office.   The girl's parents live on the Mohave County side of the community and an attorney with the Mohave County Attorney's Office said he had been authorized to look into the report, although the alleged call for help occurred in Washington County.   Suzanne Johnson, the sister of 17-year-old Janetta Jessop, reported Thursday to the Washington County Sheriff's Office that her sister called Nov. 5 asking to be picked up, yet Johnson never heard from her sister again.  Washington County Sheriff Kirk Smith said Friday a deputy contacted the minor girl's parents who said she was fine and at home with them.   That answer wasn't good enough for Johnson and some of those researching the polygamist culture, who contacted multiple agencies.     Read more
 
 
Colorado City girl missing?
e-Press
Tri-State News Network
A Production of Murphy Broadcasting, Inc.
Originally published Wednesday, November 17, 2004

COLORADO CITY, Ariz. – Reports that a 17-year-old Colorado City girl had been missing since Nov. 5 are being called inaccurate by the Washington County Sheriff's office in Utah.   "Well it's wrong according to the child the parents produced," said Washington County Chief Deputy Robert Tersigni.   According to Tersigni, deputies observed the alleged missing girl, Janetta Jessop, at her parent's house yesterday.   Due to the fact the parents live in Arizona, the investigation is now in the hands of the Mohave County Attorney's Office, and according to Assistant County Attorney Jace Zach they will not be releasing any information on the ongoing investigation.
 
 
Girl Reported Missing Found and Interviewed
Afternoon Update
The Spectrum
Originally published November 17, 2004

Gary Engels, of the Mohave County Attorney's Office, said Wednesday he organized an interview with a girl reported missing last week by a concerned sister.  The girl, reported to be married to a polygamist as a minor, told investigators she did not want to say whether she was married or where she had been for the last year.  The investigation is ongoing and welfare checks will continue.
 
 
Investigators find missing FLDS girl
By Rachel Olsen
The Spectrum
Originally published November 18, 2004

ST. GEORGE -- Investigators Tuesday identified and questioned a 17-year-old girl who was reportedly missing and rumored to be married to Warren Jeffs, prophet of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.   Gary Engels, with the Mohave County Attorney's Office, said although the girl was questioned and returned to her parents, the investigation into the allegations of the minor being married and missing for more than a year is still open.  Officers will also continue to conduct welfare checks on the girl until her 18th birthday.   The girl's parents live on the Mohave County side of the twin communities of Colorado City and Hildale, and Engels said Monday he had been authorized to look into the report, although the alleged call for help occurred in Washington County.   Suzanne Johnson, the sister of the 17-year-old girl, reported Nov. 11 to the Washington County Sheriff's Office that her sister called Nov. 5 asking to be picked up, but Johnson hadn't heard from her sister again.  Washington County Sheriff Kirk Smith said Friday that a deputy contacted the minor girl's parents, who said she was fine and at home with them.     Read more
 
 
Colorado City Gets New Law Enforcement
KSL-TV Channel 5
Originally published November 28, 2004

New law enforcement is going to the Arizona polygamous town of Colorado City.   The building will house the Arizona Attorney General's Office, Child Protective Services and Mohave County authorities.   The offices are the first independent governmental presence since National Guard troops raided the area to rout out polygamy half a century ago.
 
 
State enters polygamy area
Unassuming trailer a sign of change in Colorado City
By Joseph A. Reaves
The Arizona Republic
Originally published November 28, 2004

COLORADO CITY - Not far from the mountaintop where the prophet promised his people would be lifted into heaven, the state of Arizona has plopped down a triple-wide trailer.   It isn't much to look at.   But its mere presence is stunning.   Critics long have claimed that the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints uses polygamy to justify a wide range of evils, from child rape and underage marriage to bilking public payrolls.  And the isolation of Colorado City only helps perpetuate those suspicions.   That's why some consider the new state and county "multiuse" facility could be significant if it ever becomes fully operational.   And it's the latest in a series of signs that the nation's largest polygamous community may be unraveling.   "There is a way and a means to create change if there is a desire," said Mohave County Supervisor Pete Byers, whose district includes Colorado City, a five-hour drive from his office in Kingman.   "If you constantly pay lip service and never move forward, nothing is going to change.   At least now we are moving forward."     Read more
 
 
State facility set to open in polygamous community
The Associated Press
Arizona Daily Sun
Originally published November 29, 2004

PHOENIX (AP) -- An unassuming doublewide trailer is bringing a state presence to the polygamous town of Colorado City.   The trailer is set to house a long-delayed, multi-use facility that will provide space for the Arizona Attorney General's Office, Child Protective Services, the Mohave County sheriff, Mohave County Victim Witness Program and the county attorney.   The offices are the first semi-permanent, independent governmental presence in this remote area since National Guard troops and state police staged a highly criticized raid to rout out polygamy 51 years ago.   "The intent of the facility is really to bring the state and the county into Colorado City," said Richard Travis, special assistant attorney general, who visited the new offices this week.   Polygamy is practiced openly in Colorado City.     Read more
 
 
Colorado City facility almost ready
e-Press
Tri-State News Network
Originally published November 30, 2004

COLORADO CITY, Ariz. – The new multi-use facility in Colorado City is ready for it's occupants.  The double-wide trailer will provide space for a number of agencies working to bring change to the polygamous community, according to Mohave County special investigator Gary Engels.   "The AG's Office will have an office in there, and we have people that are in there a few days a week from CPS (Child Protective Services), and another one in there for disabled children and stuff and the sheriff's department from Mohave County" said Engels.   Engels said hopes are high for the new facility.   "You know I'm not sure that it's going to encourage anybody to come forward, but hopefully our presence being there will have some affect on the things that are going on" said Engels.
 
 
Judge Orders Public Notices Targeting Warren Jeffs
KSL-TV Channel 5
Originally broadcast December 4, 2004

A judge has ordered public notices placed in newspapers to try to force a reclusive church leader to respond to a lawsuit.   The ads target Warren Jeffs ... leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.   The judge ordered the notices in St. George ... Colorado, Texas and British Columbia.   In his lawsuit, Jeffs' nephew says he sexually assaulted him years ago when he was a child.
 
 
FLDS leader ordered to respond to lawsuit
Jeffs accused of sexually abusing nephew in '80s
By Nancy Perkins
Deseret Morning News
Originally published December 7, 2004

ST. GEORGE — Warren Jeffs, the reclusive leader of the nation's largest polygamous church, has been ordered by a Utah judge to respond to a civil lawsuit filed against him by one of his nephews.   Third District Court Judge Stephen L. Henriod ruled in early October that attempts to serve Jeffs in person had failed and it appeared the 48-year-old Utah man was avoiding service.   An order allowing service by publication was filed, and legal notices have since been published in four newspapers in Utah, Texas, Colorado and one Canadian province where Jeffs is believed to have residences.   Jeffs assumed leadership of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and its estimated 10,000 followers upon the death of his father, Rulon Jeffs, a couple of years ago.   The FLDS church preaches polygamy as a central tenet, which critics charge includes the marriage of young girls as a plural wives to older men.   Most members of the FLDS church live in Hildale, Washington County, and Colorado City, Ariz., although there are polygamous enclaves in Bountiful, British Columbia, Bonners Ferry, Idaho, and Eldorado, Texas.   In the lawsuit, 21-year-old Brent Jeffs alleges he was sexually abused as a child by three of his uncles at a private school where Warren Jeffs was the principal.     Read more
 
 
Another resource for Colorado City
e-Press
Tri-State News Network
Originally published December 17, 2004

PHOENIX, Ariz. – Victims of abuse in the polygamous communities of Colorado City, Ariz. and neighboring Hildale, Utah now have a confidential source of help.   Childhelp USA has teamed up with the Arizona Attorney General's Office and the Department of Public Safety to offer a 24-hour crisis help line for abuse victims in the area, according to Childhelp spokesperson Casey Hines.   "The people up there don't understand that it is abuse and a lot of these young people don't relate abuse to what they are going through" said Hines.   Hines said staff is available 365 days a year by calling 866-9-SAFE-99 and this is another step toward making things better in the area.   "It's another step in the much larger process that has to take place," said Hines.   "It's not going to be the solution to all of the problems up there and we would never claim that it will be."
 
 
Tillman, migration among '04 top stories
Arizonans also recall O'Brien's conviction, state prison standoff
By Joseph A. Reaves
The Arizona Republic
Originally published December 26, 2004

The death of a hero in a faraway land.   Child brides and plural wives.   A bishop convicted of a fatal hit-and-run accident.   And the longest prison hostage standoff in U.S. history.   This year's top news stories in Arizona were mostly tragic and troubling.   But political developments and social change drew attention as well.   Arizona voters approved Proposition 200, touted as a way to curb illegal immigration, then watched as the courts put the act into limbo and later into law.   Jerry Colangelo, the godfather of professional sports in Phoenix, was ousted from the Diamondbacks front office.   And a fire at a Phoenix-area transformer station forced utility executives to plead with the public to conserve power to avoid rolling blackouts.   Here are the Top 10 news stories in Arizona for 2004, ranked in an unscientific, informal poll by respondents to www.azcentral.com.     Read more
 
 
Polygamists to get Arizona offices
The Associated Press
Deseret Morning News
Originally published Monday, December 27, 2004

PHOENIX — An unassuming doublewide trailer is bringing a state of Arizona presence to the polygamous town of Colorado City.   The trailer is set to house a long-delayed, multi-use facility that will provide space for the Arizona Attorney General's Office, Child Protective Services, the Mohave County sheriff, Mohave County Victim Witness Program and the county attorney.   The offices are the first semi-permanent, independent governmental presence in this remote area since National Guard troops and state police staged a highly criticized raid to rout polygamy 51 years ago.   "The intent of the facility is really to bring the state and the county into Colorado City," said Richard Travis, special assistant attorney general, who visited the new offices this week.   Polygamy is practiced openly in Colorado City and the twin border town of Hildale, Utah.   The remote enclave straddling the state line is dominated by Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints members.
 
 
A "Polygamy Primer"
A new guide out today from the Utah Attorney General's office to help state employees work with polygamists.
KSL NewsRadio 1160
Originally broadcast January 6, 2005

(KSL News) -- The Utah Attorney General's Office is publishing a handbook to help state agencies deal with polygamists.   Utah Attorney General's spokesman Paul Murphy says it explains beliefs, terms and the history of polygamous groups.  "There's a glossary that has been eye opening for everyone who's had a chance to read it.   It explains the difference between a "sister wife" and an "other mother."  It explains why the term "clan" might be offensive or why the term "plyg" is considered offensive."   Murphy says the handbook was created with the help of many polygamous groups in Utah who want to help stop abuse within their communities.
 
 
Manual to help polygamy victims
The Associated Press
Provo Daily Herald
Originally published January 7, 2005

SALT LAKE CITY -- A manual intended to help those helping people from polygamous backgrounds is now available, Utah and Arizona officials said Thursday.   "The Primer -- Helping Victims of Domestic Violence and Child Abuse in Polygamous Communities" was created to instruct case workers, law enforcement officers and others about the unique beliefs, practices and terms used by various polygamous groups.   It includes a brief history of polygamy, guidelines and training exercises, an extensive glossary, descriptions of fundamentalist groups, characteristics, practices and unique factors to consider when dealing with domestic violence and child abuse.   It also has resource guides and law charts for both Utah and Arizona.   "We have learned that some victims are not getting help because they fear the people who are offering it don't understand them," Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff said.  "The Primer is the beginning of what I hope will be many efforts to break down barriers."     Read more
 
 
Primer offers peek into polygamy's world
By Joseph M. Dougherty
Deseret Morning News
Originally published January 8, 2005

Carolyn said she was being watched at all times, so she fled at 4 a.m. in a minivan without insurance, without a license and with only enough gas to drive three miles out of town.   She told her children they were going to get a family portrait.  When her children finally figured out what was going on, one child said, "Mother is taking us to hell."   That is the story of a seventh-generation polygamous wife with eight children who fled the only life she had ever known — a life of abuse, secrecy and the threat that her children could be given away to another family.   Her story is just one of many that prompted the attorneys general of Utah and Arizona to create a manual to help prepare authorities to help people such as Carolyn, who seem not to fit in the system.   Titled "The Primer — Helping Victims of Domestic Violence and Child Abuse in Polygamous Communities," the guide is intended to educate police officers, social workers and others.   "We have learned that some victims are not getting help because they fear that the people who are offering it don't understand them," Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff said.  "The primer is the beginning of what I hope will be many efforts to break down barriers."     Read more
 
 
Polygamy victim's handbook
e-Press
Tri-State News Network
Originally published January 10, 2005

PHOENIX, Ariz. – It's called The Primer and the Arizona and Utah Attorney General's hope it is the next step in protecting victims of polygamous abuse.   The handbook, titled "The Primer – Helping Victims of Domestic Violence and Child Abuse in Polygamous Communities", is designed to help those charged assisting victims understand the particular practices and terms used by members of these communities.   "This training manual will serve as a valuable resource to law enforcement and human services personnel serving these communities and charges with assisting victims of child abuse and domestic violence," said Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard.   A statement from the Arizona Attorney General's office said the Primer would be continuously updated to reflect changes in laws and resources available.   The handbook can be found at http://www.azag.gov/victims_rights/links.html.
 
 
Read The Primer dated January 2005
 
 
Supervisors OK bypass study
By Jim Seckler
Mohave Daily News
Originally published Monday, February 7, 2005

KINGMAN - The Mohave County Board of Supervisors approved Monday the state Route 95 realignment study finalized late last year.   The county, along with the state Department of Transportation and the federal Bureau of Land Management, conducted a study on where to put a new highway that will connect Highway 68 with Interstate 40 at the Highway 95 exit.   After several public hearings, ADOT recommended the best route for the highway in October.   The limited-access highway will be built east of Bullhead City and Mohave Valley but avoiding the Havasu National Wildlife Refuge near Golden Shores.   More than 30,000 cars a day travel on the existing highway.  The development of Laughlin Ranch and other subdivisions are also destined to double or triple Bullhead City's population.   ADOT will now create a design concept and an environmental impact statement, which should take several years.  The highway is expected to take more than a decade to complete.   In other action, the Board approved a request by Thunder Lanes bowling alley for an off-track betting license.     Read more
 
 
Residents of polygamous community thankful for investigator
The Associated Press
KOLD News 13 - Tucson
Originally broadcast February 10, 2005

KINGMAN, Ariz. Four Colorado City residents wrote letters to the Mohave County attorney thanking him for having an investigator work in their polygamous community.   One of the letters predicted "there will be bloodshed" unless there's outside intervention.   But another notes many of the most devout members of a local cult are moving elsewhere.   The Mohave County Supervisors hired an investigator last October.  Much of the work has focused on the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its leader, Warren Jeffs.   Jeffs presides over the border towns of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, where men have multiple wives and dozens of children.   He's also accused of hiding wide-scale sexual abuse of children.
 
 
Progress in troubled community
e-Press
Tri-State News Network
Originally published Monday, February 14, 2005

COLORADO CITY, Ariz. – The hard work, frustration and time are paying off in the troubled community of Colorado City.   According to Mohave County Attorney Matt Smith, his office has received six or seven letters from residents of the town expressing their feeling of trust and confidence in special investigator Gary Engels.   "They (residents) feel that Warren Jeffs is ruling by intimidation and it's nice to have Gary's presence up there," said Smith.   Smith added he thinks the pressure being exerted both investigatively and privately through hot lines and tips is having an effect and cites Jeffs lack of visibility in the area and the movement of some church members to a compound in El Dorado, Texas.
 
 
POLYGAMY AT CENTER OF TOWN HALL MEETING
MARK SHURTLEFF & TERRY GODDARD TO HOST EVENT
News Release
Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff
Originally published February 23, 2005

For Immediate Release
February 23, 2005
Contact
Paul Murphy:
(801) 538-1892

Utah attorney General Mark Shurtleff and Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard are inviting the public to attend a Town Hall Meeting in St. George on March 3 to discuss efforts to help victims of domestic violence and child abuse in polygamous communities.  The meeting will include an open forum to talk about what has happened in the past and to seek input on future endeavors.   "We need to break down more barriers so people living in closed communities have the same access to safety and justice as everyone else," says Shurtleff.  "We have come far---but we still have a long way to go."   The Town Hall Meeting will also feature comments from Utah Division of Child and Family Services Region Director Todd Minchey and Arizona Department of Economic Security Director David Berns.  Both agencies have been taking part in regular meetings to help overcome the unique issues facing victims from polygamous communities.   Here are some of the highlights of what Utah and Arizona has been involved with during the past year:
  • Utah received a $700,000 grant to provide additional law enforcement, social services, legal help, shelter and education for domestic violence victims from polygamous communities.
  • Arizona built a multi-use facility in Colorado City that is being used by social workers, law enforcement officers and victims advocates in both states.
    Read more
 
 
Terry Goddard and Mark Shurtleff to Host Colorado City/Hildale Town Hall
Press Release
Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard
Originally published February 23, 2005

(Phoenix, AZ) Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard and Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff will host a Town Hall meeting to discuss what Arizona and Utah are doing to help victims of domestic violence and child abuse from polygamous communities.  The Town Hall will be held on March 3 at 7:00 p.m. at the Holiday Inn in St. George, Utah.  The meeting will include an open forum for discussion and questions from the audience.   This Town Hall is part of a continuing outreach effort by Arizona and Utah to address the issues facing the residents of Colorado City and Hildale.  These efforts include the creation of the Arizona Safe Passage Program that provided approximately $80,000 for:
  • A victim advocate in the Mohave County Attorney's Office.
  • Funds for the Mohave County Sheriff's Office to provide transportation assistance to domestic violence and child abuse victims from Colorado City to nearby shelters or locations outside Mohave County.
    Read more
 
 
AGs Hosting Polygamy Summit
By Ben Winslow
KSL 1160 NewsRadio
Originally broadcast February 24, 2005

SALT LAKE CITY-(KSL News) -- Utah and Arizona's Attorneys General are hosting a special summit on polygamy.  Next week's meeting in St. George will include polygamists, anti-polygamy groups and state authorities.   Utah Attorney General's Spokesman Paul Murphy says their focus will be on abuse and domestic violence within polygamy.   He says he wants both sides of the polygamy debate to understand each other.
 
 
Utah judicial commission recommends unseating polygamous judge
The Associated Press
San Diego Union-Tribune
Originally published February 25, 2005

ST. GEORGE, Utah – The Utah Judicial Conduct Commission has recommended that a judge be removed from the bench because he is a polygamist.   The order was reached after Judge Walter Steed and his attorney Rod Parker held a confidential meeting with commission members in January.  It now goes directly to the Utah Supreme Court.   Steed, who has served as Justice Court judge in the polygamous border town of Hildale since 1980, is legally married to one woman and spiritually married to two other women, and has 32 children.  He is a member of the reclusive Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which dominates Hildale and Colorado City, Ariz.   The hearing panel concluded that Steed violated his oath of office because he was breaking the law.   "Judge Steed has willfully engaged in bigamy ... which is a third-degree felony in the state of Utah," the panel wrote.  "By engaging in bigamy, Judge Steed has brought the judiciary into disrepute."   Both the Utah attorney general and Washington County attorney declined to file criminal charges against Steed.   Steed has raised complex constitutional issues in his defense, which the Supreme Court will likely address once it has received the commission's recommendation.   Parker said he believes the cohabitation prong of Utah's bigamy law – which allows prosecutors to pursue people who consider themselves plurally married but have only single legal marriage – is unconstitutional.
 
 
Meeting planned on abuse claims in Colo. City
By Mark Hall
Today's News-Herald
Originally published February 26, 2005

Arizona and Utah authorities will meet in St. George, Utah, next week for a town hall meeting to discuss what officials are doing to help victims of abuse in the polygamist enclave of Colorado City and its sister city of Hildale, Utah.   Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard and Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff will host the meeting, scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday at the Holiday Inn.   The meeting will include an open for discussion and questions from the audience, to help officials better address the issues facing people living in the community.  In the past few years, the closed society has become a hotbed of allegations, including sexual abuse, domestic violence and fraudulent uses of government aid.   Mohave County Supervisor Buster Johnson, who will be attending the meeting, said it is good both states are following up to a similar meeting that was held two years ago.  Although he said the last meeting was not as productive as it could have been.   "We had the last meeting and it was split into two groups, law enforcement and public hearings.  It could have been a lot more productive than it was," he said.  "(However) it is good to have follow up.   It's good to see that both agencies are working to see that the abuses are brought to an end, especially the abuses of government money."   Since that last meeting, agencies in both states have instituted programs to help prevent, treat and investigate alleged abuses in the communities.     Read more
 
 
Town hall to hash out social issues with polygamy
By Rachel Olsen
The Spectrum
Originally published February 28, 2005

ST. GEORGE - Domestic violence and unique issues in polygamous communities will be hashed out Thursday at a Town Hall Meeting in St. George.   Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff, Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard and others hope to break down barriers and discuss future endeavors to help victims in the meeting that will be moderated by News Talk 890 KDXU host Cliff Donovan.   Since the summit on polygamy that took place in St. George in August 2003, Utah Attorney General Spokesman Paul Murphy said government agencies, nonprofit groups and polygamist groups have met and worked to accomplish different goals to end domestic violence and child abuse in communities known to be closed to outside sources.   Now, Murphy said, they want to move forward with open communication and, by opening the meeting to the public, the Attorney General's Office hopes that will happen.   "We have people talking about each other and not talking with each other," Murphy said.  "The meeting will probably not be long enough for everyone who wants to speak to speak, but the hope is that it starts a dialogue so this isn't the last time we talk."     Read more
 
 
Polygamy summit key to dialogue
IN OUR VIEW
The Spectrum
Originally published March 1, 2005

There's no election on the line, so both should be applauded for their continued effort to conduct a rational discourse on a subject that does not often lend itself to such debate.   The problem, as pointed out by Utah Attorney General spokesman Paul Murphy, is "We have people talking about each other and not talking with each other."   The reason, of course, is the mountain of distrust that has grown between the two camps.   Polygamists are asking for a fair shot in pursuing their religious beliefs.  They say that the majority of practitioners do not harm children and pay their own way in society.   Those opposed to the practice are backing up their stand with arguments that, for the most part, are based on allegations of child abuse and welfare fraud - the elimination of which is a primary goal, we understand, of this dialogue that Shurtleff began pushing for in 2003.   This, we hope, is a legitimate attempt to bring greater understanding and, hopefully, some solutions.     Read more
 
 
Polygamy meeting in Utah draws divided crowd
The Associated Press
KVOA News 4 - Tucson
Originally broadcast March 3, 2005

ST. GEORGE, Utah Attorneys general of Utah and Arizona addressed a town hall meeting on polygamy this evening.   Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff and Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard told the crowd of about 350 that they would pursue criminal charges against those involved in forced or underage marriages, sexual abuse and welfare and tax fraud.   That drew an angry reaction from polygamy opponents.   They say the practice is against the law and the law should be enforced.   The meeting drew both polygamous families and those who oppose the practice.  Some were in suits and ties, others in the pioneer-like dresses and elaborate braids common in the polygamous communities.
 
 
Officials meet to discuss polygamy
Mohave Daily News
Originally published March 4, 2005

ST. GEORGE, Utah (AP) - Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff and Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard were scheduled to host a town hall meeting Thursday night to discuss efforts to help victims of domestic violence and child abuse in polygamous communities.   Heavy turnout was expected for the meeting, and both polygamists and those concerned with the practice were slated to attend.  On Thursday before it started, the phone number for the group Hope for the Child Brides answered with a message that there was no seating left for those who hadn't already made reservations.   Security for the event was also expected to be high, with both Attorneys General present and a potentially contentious crowd.   The meeting is happening about 50 miles from the twin border towns of Hildale and Colorado City, Ariz., which are dominated by the several-thousand member Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints - perhaps one of the largest polygamous sects remaining.   Shurtleff has put increasing pressure on prosecuting polygamy, but said he doesn't intend to put people in jail simply because they hold multiple marriages.  Instead, he said he's concerned with crimes the polygamous lifestyle is said to encourage, like forced child marriages and tax and welfare fraud.     Read more
 
 
Abuse in Polygamy is Topic of Meeting
KSL-TV Channel 5
Originally broadcast March 4, 2005

(KSL News) Anti-polygamists, polygamists, and attorney generals look to find common ground on ending abuse in polygamy.   All three groups gathered last night in St. George to discuss the issue.   Supporters say there are several happy families that enjoy the polygamous lifestyle.  Some even said it's their relgious right to practice polygamy.   Prosecutors from Utah and Arizona responded, saying "freedom of religion" isn't an excuse for abuse.   Authorites ended the meeting last night by saying they hope to hold similar meetings soon.
 
 
Investigation into FLDS Leader Intensifies
Utah's Attorney General has made no secret that he's named the leader of the Fundamentalist LDS church as the target of a criminal investigation. Now, it appears the noose may be tightening around their necks.
By Ben Winslow
KSL NewsRadio 1160
Originally broadcast March 4, 2005

(KSL News) -- Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff's investigation into Fundamentalist LDS Church Leader Warren Jeffs appears to be intensifying.   Shurtleff says they're interested in talking to Winston Blackmore.  He's the former number three man in the FLDS Church, and made a surprise appearance at last night's polygamy summit.  "Maybe he knows things because he's been high up in the leadership.   We'll go from there."   Shurtleff says it appears Jeffs has left the state.  He says if they bring criminal charges, it won't matter if Jeffs is in Texas or anywhere else.
 
 
Polygamy town meeting
e-Press
Tri-State News Network
Originally published Sunday, March 6, 2005

ST. GEORGE, Utah – Nearly 300 people packed a hotel ballroom Thursday night for a town meeting on polygamy, hosted by Attorneys General from Utah and Arizona.   According to Arizona Attorney General spokesperson Andrea Esquer, the purpose of the meeting was to try and keep communication open with the communities of Hildale, Utah and Colorado City, Ariz.   "Part of our effort is to do these meetings in the open where you feel like you can ask any questions that you would like answered," said Esquer.  "I believe that happened."   Esquer said both Attorney General Goddard and Shurtleff stressed the importance of reporting child abuse and other illegal actions within the communities.
 
 
Sheahan's Visit
e-Press
Tri-State News Network
Originally published March 16, 2005

COLORADO CITY, Ariz. - Amid growing speculation and analysis that church leader Warren Jeffs is planning to abandon Colorado City and relocate in Texas with his most faithful followers, Sheriff Tom Sheahan planned to visit the north Mohave County community today and tomorrow.   Sheahan said he wanted to talk with deputies and others to get a better feel for what may or may not happen there.  "I'm heading up there for a couple of days to review our policies, meet with staff and cover the finer points of issues we're dealing with in Colorado City," the Sheriff said.   Sheahan said any exodus from Colorado City and abandonment of residents there would likely trigger need of more involvement from the social service sector than law enforcement officers.  But he said his Department will cover other contingencies as well.   "Whenever there are issues of religion and the possibility of dissention or disruption, we're always prepared to respond with a contingent of officers if need be," Sheahan said.   "What would probably happen though would be a major social issue as far as dependency on the state for basic needs if they're abandoned from their so-called church and their so-called leader."   Sheahan said there's reason to believe peace would prevail in any scenario involving exodus and abandonment.   The Sheriff noted there was no unrest or uprising when leaders excommunicated dozens of people, some of them very prominent, from the church in January 2004.
 
 
Board of Supervisors to meet
e-Press
Tri-State News Network
Originally published Saturday, March 19, 2005

Bullhead City, Ariz. – It will be a busy Monday for the Mohave County Board of Supervisors.   Along with their normal agenda, the board will be adopting two proclamations, one on fair housing and the other to set aside the last week in March as National Community Development Block Grant Week.   Also on the agenda is a presentation on federal restructuring of the community and economic development grant programs.  Some other items up for consideration and possible vote include extending for one year the contract of Gary Engels, the special investigator working in the Colorado City area, as well as possible approval of the lease agreement with the Arizona Attorney General's Office for space in the Joint Use Facility in Colorado City.   The meeting will be held in the Bullhead City Council chambers and begins at 9:00 am.
 
 
Supervisors to meet in Bullhead City Monday
By Jim Seckler
Mohave Daily News
Originally published Saturday, March 19, 2005

KINGMAN - The Mohave County Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing Monday to discuss a proposed ordinance regulating the use of county parks.   Monday's meeting will be the first of two Board meetings held in Bullhead City this year.   Several dozen employees from Bullhead City area recreational vehicle dealers attended a Board meeting in February expressing concerns about regulating the use of county public parks, especially Davis Camp County Park.   The issue was brought up when Bullhead City refused to issue a temporary use permit to La Mesa RV to hold a recreational vehicle sales event at Davis Camp.  The county issued La Mesa a use permit.   A Superior Court judge ruled in the county's favor, which allowed La Mesa RV to hold the show.   Local recreational vehicle dealers opposed commercial sales event such as put on by La Mesa RV.   Also on the agenda, the supervisors will also be asked to transfer $64,844 from the county general fund to cover the cost of this year's West Nile Virus season.     Read more
 
 
Supervisors OK new park use law
By Jim Seckler
Mohave Daily News
Originally published Monday, March 21, 2005

KINGMAN - The Mohave County Board of Supervisors approved a new county ordinance Monday regulating the use of county parks.   Meeting in Bullhead City for the first of two scheduled meetings this year, the supervisors heard arguments concerning a new ordinance that grew out of dispute when Bullhead City refused to issue a temporary use permit to La Mesa RV to hold a recreational vehicle sales event at Davis Camp.   La Mesa RV also held a similar sales event in November.   A Superior Court judge ruled in the county's favor in January, which allowed La Mesa RV to hold the show later that month.   Charles Stickerod of Paul Everts RV County in Bullhead City said he is opposed to the recent recreational vehicle shows held at Davis Camp.   Stickerod said any out-of-area businesses that holds RV or any sales events generally take millions of dollars from the area for its own personal use and is not a benefit to the local economy.   Stickerod spoke of the amount of money donated to local schools, police and fire departments by his and other local recreational vehicle businesses.     Read more
 
 
One more year
e-Press
Tri-State News Network
Originally published March 23, 2005

MOHAVE COUNTY, Ariz. – Mohave County special investigator Gary Engels will continue his work in Colorado City.   According to county supervisor Buster Johnson, the board voted to extend the contract of Engels for another year at Monday night's Board of Supervisors meeting held in Bullhead City.   Johnson said he has heard nothing but positive things about Engels and the work he has accomplished in Colorado City.   "The people up there seem to trust him quite a bit right now and he's making good in roads so I think it is a position that needs to be looked at as a permanent position," said Johnson.   Johnson added that Utah officials are also pleased with the progress Engels has been able to make.
 
 
Lease
e-Press
Tri-State News Network
Originally published March 23, 2005

COLORADO CITY, Ariz. – The Mohave County Board of Supervisors approved the lease agreement with the Arizona Attorney General's Office for space at the Joint Use Facility in Colorado City, according to Mohave County Manager representative, Yvonne Orr.  County offices run half the building, while the other half is state offices.   "It's related to the polygamist activities, is why there's a presence of both state and county up there," said Orr.   Orr stated, "The Attorney General's office is joining the Department of Economic Security (DES), the Sheriff's office, and Victim's Witness."   Andrea Esquer from the Attorney General's office stated, "Even though we have no full time staff up there, attorneys and investigators are in and out of that office when needed."
 
 
Study group to look at human trafficking, polygamy
The Associated Press
KOLD News 13 - Tucson
Originally published April 1, 2005

BOISE, Idaho Idaho lawmakers will appoint a committee to study human trafficking in their state.   Officials in northern Idaho are concerned by reports of a polygamous religious group moving from Canada to Boundary County.   They're hearing rumors that the group is trading child brides with another polygamous group in Utah.   And some southern Idaho lawmakers have heard rumors about men bringing home wives from other countries and then exploiting them for prostitution or slave labor.   The committee will study the issue over the summer and may hold hearings on the matter.   Next winter, that information may be used to develop new legislation.
 
 
Getting Tough on Polygamy in Texas
Texas lawmakers want to get tough on polygamy. They're proposing a series of new laws that crack down on child bride marriages.
By Ben Winslow
KSL NewsRadio 1160
Originally broadcast April 11, 2005

(KSL News) -- Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff is going to Texas this week to testify before their state legislature.   He's pushing them to pass legislation aimed at polygamy.   Shurtleff says, "Certainly they should be concerned about practices that we found within this group and other groups like them.  And that's my understanding.  From what I've looked at the bill so far and from what I've discussed with them, they're just focusing on what would be considered criminal conduct within these groups."   The proposed bills raise the marriage age in Texas from 14 to 16.  It also outlaws polygamy and child bride marriages.  The Fundamentalist LDS Church is building a temple in the Texas prairie town of Eldorado.
 
 
Lawmaker files bill raising age of marriage consent
The Associated Press
KVIA ABC 7 - El Paso, Texas
Originally broadcast April 13, 2005

AUSTIN, Texas A state lawmaker has proposed raising the age of consent to marriage from 14 to 16.   The proposal from state Representative Harvey Hilderbran responds to a polygamous religious sect's move from Utah and Arizona to West Texas.   The Kerrville Republican's proposal also would outlaw the marriage of stepparents to stepchildren and toughen requirements for running for office.   The bill was assigned today to the House Committee on Juvenile Justice and Family Issues.   It's aimed at the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which has built a new complex just about 40 miles south of San Angelo.  Members are forbidden access to newspapers, radio, television or the Internet and to speak to outsiders.   Utah lawyer Rod Parker has represented reclusive prophet Warren Jeffs and other members of the sect Jeffs leads.  He says the bill results from misinformation and stereotyping by those who aim to destroy the church.   The FLDS is one of several groups that split from the Salt Lake City-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in the decades after it renounced polygamy in 1890.   Hilderbran's bill is HB 3006.
 
 
Panel looks at polygamous sect
By Mark Lisheron - Cox News Service
The Oxford Press - Oxford, Ohio
Originally published Thursday, April 14, 2005

AUSTIN, Texas — Expert witnesses warned a House committee Wednesday that a polygamous sect taking root in West Texas is led by a man who poses a danger to women and children in the sect and has the capacity to incite religiously inspired violence.   The witnesses included Mark Shurtleff, the attorney general of Utah, who told the House Juvenile Justice and Family Issues Committee that he has spent most of his last term in office trying to bring charges of pedophilia, child sexual abuse and welfare fraud against the leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints.  The church, based in two twin communities on the Utah and Arizona border, is currently completing the infrastructure for a town four miles north of Eldorado, south of San Angelo.   The attorney general told the committee that a code of silence, intimidation and the statute of limitations on sex crimes in Utah have thwarted his efforts to prosecute Warren Jeffs, who refers to himself as the prophet of the Fundamentalist Church.  But his ongoing investigation of the sect and a decision by the state of Utah to increase penalties for crimes alleged to have been committed by Jeffs and other sect leaders led to the sect's move to Texas, Shurtleff told the committee.   Shurtleff urged the committee to approve House Bill 3006, introduced by Rep. Harvey Hilderbran, R-Kerrvile, which would change Texas law in areas directed at the practices of the church.  Hilderbran called on the committee to raise the age of parental consent for marriage in Texas to 16 from 14, to ban people from marrying their stepparent or stepchild and increase residency requirements for people running for local and district offices.   "This is an evil culture," author Jon Krakauer told the committee Wednesday.     Read more
 
 
Polygamist church placed on hate-groups list
The Associated Press
KLTV Channel 7 - Tyler, TX
Originally broadcast April 21, 2005

SALT LAKE CITY Recently ported comments made years ago by the leader of a polygamous church held that blacks are the "seed of Cain" and "uncouth or rude and filthy."   Warren Jeffs is president of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  His comments have resulted in the church being placed on a list of hate groups compiled by the Southern Poverty Law Center.   Mark Potok is director of the Montgomery, Alabama-based center's Intelligence Project.  He says listings are done strictly based on ideology and have nothing to do with a record of criminality.   The comments by Jeffs were in tape recordings apparently made in the mid- to late-1990s.  Church attorney Rodney Parker of Salt Lake City says the remarks come from a strict interpretation of the early teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  He says they're not racist.   The polygamous group came to the center's attention through news reports about its purchase of a ranch near Eldorado, Texas, and construction of a small community there.
 
 
Lawmaker takes aim at polygamist sect
House provision would strengthen marriage restrictions
By Karen Brooks
The Dallas Morning News
Originally published Thursday, April 21, 2005

AUSTIN – A lawmaker bent on reining in a polygamist sect in West Texas pushed a provision through the House this week to tighten restrictions on marriages and give the state broader powers in investigating child abuse.   An amendment tacked onto the massive overhaul of the state's protective services this week targets members of the Fundamentalist Church of Latter-day Saints who moved from Utah and Arizona onto a ranch outside Eldorado more than a year ago.   The legislation passed with no floor debate or opposition.  It still must pass the Senate.   The sponsor, Rep. Harvey Hilderbran, R-Kerrville, had filed a separate bill with support from Eldorado and Schleicher County officials and the Utah attorney general.   The church was originally part of the mainstream Mormon church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but broke away in the 1800s after the Mormons denounced plural marriage.   Attorneys for the sect have said the group has done nothing wrong and is being persecuted for its religious convictions.     Read more
 
 
Polygamist sect on hate groups list
e-Press
Tri-State News Network
Originally published April 24, 2005

COLORADO CITY, Ariz. – The polygamist group in Colorado City led by Warren Jeffs has been named to a hate group list by a civil rights organization.   According to Southern Poverty Law Center project director Mark Potok, the group has been named to the hate group's list because of specific remarks made by Jeffs about blacks that were recorded in the mid to late 90's.   "Hate groups for us are groups that either in their platform or in the writings or speeches of their leader or leaders espouses some kind of ideology that says a whole group of people are wicked basically; are somehow less."   Potok said there are a total of 762 groups that are on the latest list, which comes out this week.   The list includes all the areas where the polygamist group controls property, which are Colorado City; Hildale, Utah; Eldorado, Texas; and Mancos, Colo.
 
 
Senate rejects broad authority for state
The Associated Press
KVOA Channel 4 - Tucson
Originally broadcast April 28, 2005

PHOENIX Legislators broke a logjam today on an issue arising from a polygamist community's troubled school district.   That happened as the Senate voted to limit the possible grounds for state takeovers of dysfunctional districts and to allow appointment of receivers only for financial mismanagement.   The Senate rejected a proposal that also would have allowed takeovers for such reasons as failing to hire certified teachers or have students take a state-required test.   The bill now awaits a formal Senate vote.  Passage would send it back to the House for consideration of changes made by the Senate.   The legislation is a reaction to problems experienced by the Colorado City Unified School District.   Its teachers went unpaid for two months last year because the district ran out of money.
 
 
Local lawmen meet with Utah, Arizona authorities
The Eldorado Success
myeldorado.net
Originally published May 5, 2005

Schleicher County Sheriff David Doran and Chief Deputy George Arispe traveled to Arizona and Utah last week where they met with local, state and federal law enforcement officials to discuss issues connected with the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  The group, which practices polygamy, broke away from the mainline Mormon church more than a hundred years ago.  The FLDS has come under intense scrutiny in recent months from Utah and Arizona law enforcement agencies.   Doran and Arispe met in Kingman, AZ on Wednesday, April 27, 2005 with authorities from the Arizona and Utah Attorney General offices, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, as well as officials from Mohave County, AZ, Washington County, UT, where they exchanged information and reviewed several ongoing investigations.   Doran declined to comment on specifics of the meeting but did acknowledge that he received updates from Utah and Arizona officials.   "I know that people here are concerned about all the allegations that have been made against the FLDS." Doran commented.   "I want them to know that we are continuing to monitor things at the YFZ Ranch and that we are staying in touch with other law enforcement agencies."     Read more
 
 
Napolitano signs receiver bill
The Associated Press
KOLD Channel 13 - Tucson
Originally broadcast May 11, 2005

PHOENIX Governor Napolitano says she hopes a bill she has signed into law will allow state officials to clean up financial troubles of a school district serving a northern Arizona polygamist community.   Napolitano on Monday signed a bill passed last week by the Legislature to allow the state to appoint receivers to take over operation of school districts deemed to be financially dysfunctional.   The bill is a response to the financial troubles of the unified school district serving Colorado City.   Napolitano says she thinks the bill gives the Department of Education and the Attorney General the authority to act on the Colorado City district's problems.
 
 
Ariz., Utah put squeeze on sect
States seize polygamists' school financial records
By Dennis Wagner
The Arizona Republic
Originally published May 26, 2005

The seizure of financial records Tuesday at Colorado City Unified School District signals another turn of the legal vice being used to squeeze religious leaders out of a community of polygamists along Arizona's border with Utah.   School district papers and computers were confiscated using a search warrant issued under seal by a court.  Attorney General Terry Goddard confirmed that the maneuver is part of "a strategy to apply pressure in any legitimate way we can" against prophets within the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, or FLDS, a breakaway sect of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  "It's beginning to pay off," Arizona's top prosecutor added.   The sect and its estimated 6,000 members are not affiliated with mainstream Mormonism.  Through elections and a religious trust, they control the school district, municipal government and most property in the isolated towns of Colorado City, Ariz., and Hildale, Utah.   More than a half-century ago, law enforcement efforts to root out polygamy in the area culminated in the Short Creek raid, a political and public relations disaster.  In 1953, Gov. Howard Pyle sent scores of peace officers into the community to protect children and put down an "insurrection" against public law.  News photographs of tearful children being taken from their mothers prompted a national backlash.  Most of the criminal charges were dropped.  Pyle lost the next election.   Goddard said he and Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff agreed two years ago to try again based on numerous complaints of sexual exploitation, welfare fraud and tax evasion.     Read more
 
 
Arizona Cracking Down On Leaders Of Polygamist Community
The Associated Press
KSL NewsRadio 1160
Originally broadcast May 26, 2005

PHOENIX (AP) -- Arizona authorities are putting pressure on leaders of a community of polygamists along the state's border with Utah.   Armed with a search warrant, authorities seized boxes of financial records, other documents and computers Tuesday as part of a two-year-old criminal investigation into alleged financial mismanagement of the Colorado City Unified School District.   Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard said the maneuver was part of "a strategy to apply pressure in any legitimate way we can" to leaders of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.   The sect and its estimated 6,000 members control the school district, municipal government and most property in the isolated towns of Colorado City, Ariz., and Hildale, Utah.   Goddard said he and Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff agreed two years ago to try a coordinated crackdown on the sect's leaders after numerous complaints of sexual exploitation, welfare fraud and tax evasion.   Goddard said a new action is planned this week in Utah seeking to wrest control of the United Effort Plan, a church trust that controls FLDS property.     Read more
 
 
Truckload of records seized
The Associated Press
KOLD News 13 - Tucson
Originally broadcast May 27, 2005

PHOENIX State authorities are investigating questionable spending and possible misuse of vehicles and equipment owned by a polygamist community's financially troubled school district.   That's according to newly released records related to Tuesday's search of Colorado City Unified School District offices.   Assisted by other law enforcement officers, Attorney general's investigators on Tuesday seized a truckload of computers and paper records from district located in the isolated community in extreme northwestern Arizona.
 
 
A Court Decision Could Bring More Trouble to the FLDS
KSL-TV Channel 5
Originally broadcast May 27, 2005

A court decision could bring more trouble for the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.   Today a judge approved the state's request for independent parties to take control of the polygamous church's assets.   The decision brings more trouble for FLDS church leader Warren Jeffs.   The trust is estimated at 100-million dollars.   Tim Bodily Asst. Attorney General "THE STATE IS NOT NECESSARILY ASKING THE ASSETS TO BE FROZEN, IT JUST TO ASK THAT CERTAINLY THE ASSETS NOT CONTINUALLY BE DISBURSED."   The Attorney General's Office will ask a judge next month to remove the FLDS leaders as trustees.
 
 
Judge Approves State Request To Hamstring Polygamous Trust
KUTV 2 News Headlines
Originally published May 27, 2005

A judge on Friday installed an outside auditor to take control of a polygamous church's assets, which state officials argued was necessary to keep its reclusive president from selling assets below market value to insiders.   Attorney General Mark Shurtleff's office had sought the order against trustees for a fund operated by the southern Utah-based Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and its president, Warren Jeffs.   Virtually all property in the twin border communities of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz. - where a majority of the area's 10,000 residents are members of the FLDS church - was at one time transferred to the United Effort Plan trust to be shared by church members.  Jeffs has been accused of leveraging that control to oust members that might threaten his authority.   Shurtleff alleges Jeffs is liquidating church assets under intensified pressure.   Assistant Attorney General Tim Bodily argued Friday the trust has transferred from $3 million to $5 million in land holdings to shadow companies set up by Jeffs' close associates, leaving only the land under which the lower-level church members live in its real estate portfolio.   Some ousted church members have sued the trust, and won the right to either remain living in their homes or be compensated fair market value from the UEP if they decide to leave.   Bodily said if the sell-off continued, there wouldn't be any funds left for church members who sought compensation.     Read more
 
 
Utah: Judge Allows Temporary Shift on Church Assets
Associated Press
The New York Times
Originally published May 28, 2005

A judge approved a state request for independent parties to take temporary control of the assets of a polygamous church.   Attorney General Mark L. Shurtleff had sought the order against a trust operated by the polygamist Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its leader, Warren Jeffs.  Virtually all property in the twin communities of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz., where a majority of the 10,000 residents are members of the church, was at one time transferred to the trust, the United Effort Plan.
 
 
Judge grants an order to suspend FLDS trustees
Fiduciary is appointed to track any improper financial dealings
By Linda Thomson
Deseret Morning News
Originally published Saturday, May 28, 2005

Third District Judge Robert Adkins on Friday granted a temporary restraining order suspending the trustees who oversee a special trust owned by a polygamist church and appointed an independent financial supervisor to track the trust's assets.   Adkins' actions were in response to arguments from the Utah Attorney General's Office regarding assets of the United Effort Plan, a trust owned by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.   The polygamist group is based primarily in Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz., with a new compound being built in Eldorado, Texas.   Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff has voiced concerns that the church's leader, Warren Jeffs, and five trustees handling the funds may be shedding trust assets below market value, which would not benefit all church members.  Shurtleff said this court action is needed to protect church members.   The value of the trust is unknown, although estimates are between $100 million to $200 million.   "Most of the real estate appears to be related to the homes of individuals (who are members of the church).  I don't know what is left in the trust right now," said assistant attorney general Timothy Bodily.   The judge appointed Bruce Wisan as a special fiduciary on a limited basis to trace and recover any proceeds from the trust that may have been improperly liquidated.     Read more
 
 
Ariz. gets standing in church fund case
By Mark Shaffer
The Arizona Republic - Flagstaff Bureau
Originally published June 7, 2005

A Utah judge on Monday extended a temporary restraining order by 10 days on a polygamist faction living in the area of Colorado City in an attempt to keep it from liquidating millions of dollars in assets.   "The only other thing that came out of the hearing was giving a member of the Arizona Attorney General's Office legal standing to participate in this case," said Paul Murphy, a spokesman for Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff.   Another hearing will be held June 16 to attempt to get another restraining order against the United Effort Plan of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, court officials in Salt Lake City said.   A full hearing is scheduled for June 22 on an action filed by the Utah Attorney General's Office appointing a special fiduciary to take control of the church trust, which has been estimated to be worth as much as $200 million, including cash, real estate and other business ventures.   Despite the court order, leaders of the sect have been accused of removing buildings and taking other church assets from Hildale, Utah, and neighboring Colorado City, Ariz.   Warren Jeffs, leader of the FLDS church, is believed to be living at a church compound near Eldorado, Texas.  Jeffs has been named as a defendant in two Utah civil suits.  One was filed by a nephew, accusing him of sodomy, and the other, by former members of the church, alleges a cover-up of child-sex abuse.     Read more
 
 
Grand Jury Indicts Warren Jeffs
The Associated Press
KUTV Channel 2
Originally broadcast June 10, 2005

The leader of a polygamous sect was indicted on charges that he arranged a marriage between a 16-year-old girl and a man who was already married, prosecutors said Friday.   Warren Jeffs, president of the Fundamental Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, was charged with conspiracy to commit sexual conduct with a minor.   Jeffs, 49, didn't have sex with the teenager but arranged her marriage to a 28-year-old man who was already married, said Mohave County Attorney Matthew Smith.   "He can't marry someone else," Smith said.   The 28-year-old man, whose identity won't be released until the indictment is delivered to him, was charged with two counts of sexual assault and one count of sexual conduct with a minor.   If convicted, Jeffs would face a jail sentence ranging from four months to two years.   Jeffs' whereabouts were unknown.  He hasn't been seen publicly in more than a year and is thought by some to be in Texas on a new church ranch.   Prosecutors asked a judge to allow authorities to release Jeffs' name in hopes that it would help apprehend the church leader, Smith said.     Read more
 
 
Prosecutors say more charges could be leveled against polygamist leader
The Associated Press
KOLD News 13 - Tucson
Originally broadcast June 10, 2005

KINGMAN, Ariz. Mohave County Attorney Matt Smith says more criminal cases could build against Warren Jeffs, now that the leader of a polygamist church in Colorado City and neighboring Hilldale, Utah, has been indicted.   Smith says more alleged victims of arranged marriages and underage sex could come forward now that the first case has been filed.   Smith earned a grand jury indictment charging Jeffs with conspiracy and sexual conduct with a minor.   Jeffs allegedly arranged a marriage and encouraged the underage female and her ceremonial adult husband to "multiply and replenish the Earth."   Smith says the prosecution and related publicity could lead to more cases against the 49-year-old church leader as other victims may be encouraged to share their stories.
(thanks to Dave Hawkins, KGMN)
 
 
 
Office of Attorney General Terry Goddard
STATE OF ARIZONA ANDREA M. ESQUER
DEPARTMENT OF LAW PRESS SECRETARY
12 75 W. WASHINGTON STREET PHONE: (602) 542-8019
PHOENIX, ARIZONA 85007-2926 CELL PHONE: (602) 725-2200
WWW.AZAG.GOV  
 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  
Goddard Commends Indictment of Warren Jeffs

(Phoenix, Ariz. - June 10, 2005) Attorney General Terry Goddard today commended Mojave County officials for obtaining an indictment of Warren S. Jeffs, leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints in Colorado City, Ariz.

The indictment included one count of sexual conduct with a minor and conspiracy to commit sexual conduct with a minor. Both charges are Class 6 felonies. The Mohave County Attorney's office has primary jurisdiction in prosecuting this case.

"This was a courageous move by the Mohave County Attorney Matthew Smith to pursue an investigation and get an indictment," Goddard said. "This action makes it clear that Arizona law enforcement is serious about prosecuting child abuse cases and other crimes committed in Colorado City area. It is my hope this case will encourage other victims from the Colorado City/Hildale area will to come forward and report these crimes."

Goddard said his office will continue to work with the Mohave County Attorney and Sheriff's offices and the Utah Attorney General's Office in ongoing investigations in the Colorado City/Hildale area.
 
 
 
Shurtleff: Indictment could force Jeffs out of hiding
The Associated Press
KVIA ABC 7 - El Paso, Texas
Originally broadcast June 11, 2005

SALT LAKE CITY A reclusive church leader believed to be in Texas has been charged with arranging a marriage between a 16-year-old girl and a man who was already married.   Forty-nint-year-old Warren Jeffs is the leader of a polygamous sect.   He was indicted in Arizona with sexual conduct with a minor and conspiracy to commit sexual conduct with a minor.   Utah officials also have been trying to serve Jeffs with court papers severing his control over a wealthy trust.  But a process server was turned away at a Texas ranch where Jeffs is believed to be sequestered.   Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff says Arizona is likely to ask Texas authorities to execute an arrest warrant for Jeffs.  That would force him answer a series of civil complaints.   Jeffs is the subject of several civil complaints filed by residents in the polygamous enclaves of Hildale, Utah and Colorado City, Arizona.   His nephew claims Jeffs sexually assaulted him when he was a child.   Six other men say Jeffs banished them and other young men from the community.
 
 
FLDS leader indicted on 2 felony counts
Did Jeffs arrange marriage of girl to a married man?
By Nancy Perkins and Wendy Leonard
Deseret Morning News
Originally published Saturday, June 11, 2005

A criminal indictment issued by an Arizona grand jury for the arrest of Warren Steed Jeffs alleges the polygamous church leader committed two felony counts of child sex abuse in 2002.   Jeffs is accused of arranging a marriage between a 16-year-old girl and a man who was already married.   The indictment was issued Thursday after a Mohave County, Ariz., grand jury met for an hour and fifteen minutes to hear the allegations against Jeffs, said Mohave County Attorney Matthew Smith.   "The charges are sexual conduct with a minor and conspiracy to commit sexual conduct with a minor," Smith said Friday after receiving permission from an Arizona Superior Court judge to release the indictment information to the public.  "Jeffs is not charged with personally having sexual contact with the girl but with arranging the marriage of a 16-year-old girl with a man who was at least 10 years older than she."   The warrant for Jeffs includes one count of sexual conduct with a minor and one count of conspiracy to commit sexual conduct with a minor, both class 6 felonies under Arizona law.   A warrant for the arrest of the unnamed then-28-year-old man for whom Jeffs allegedly arranged the marriage, was also issued by the grand jury.  He is charged with two counts of sexual assault on a minor and one count of sexual conduct with a minor, all class 6 felonies.   Smith said it wasn't necessary to have a victim available to testify to a grand jury, "But we did."   The alleged victim is now 19 years old, he added.   The Mohave County Attorney's Office also has recently obtained indictments against two other men accused of taking part in arranged marriages with minors.     Read more
 
 
AG's Office is addressing polygamy issues
Opinion
The Spectrum
Originally published June 12, 2005

Let me get this straight, does The Spectrum now want to see every polygamist prosecuted?   In its June 5 editorial, The Spectrum stated, "Illegal activity is illegal activity and Shurtleff is being paid by taxpayers to enforce the laws."   Last year The Spectrum endorsed the opposite approach in a June 13, 2004 editorial, with the comment, "Perhaps it is time for the state to consider decriminalizing polygamy as a practice between consenting adults.  What adults do in the privacy of their own homes is their business."   Despite the newspaper's flip-flopping, our message has been consistent: The Attorney General's Office investigates and prosecutes crimes within polygamist communities, but the primary focus is on crimes involving abuse, domestic violence and fraud.  We have acknowledged that we don't have the resources to investigate and prosecute consensual adults living in bigamous relationships.   Likewise, our office does not prosecute routine robberies or drug crimes - local law enforcement has primary jurisdiction on those kinds of cases.   We save our limited resources for the most serious and complex crimes.   For 50 years, the people living in polygamous communities have been ignored and have not had equal protection under the law.  This is the first time that the Attorney General's Office, or any other law enforcement agency, has made such a commitment to bring the rule of law to these closed communities, including:     Read more
 
 
Warrant out for polygamist leader
e-Press
Tri-State News Network
Originally published June 13, 2005

COLORADO CITY, Ariz. – A warrant for the arrest of Warren Jeffs, the leader of the polygamy-endorsing church in Colorado City, Ariz. and the neighboring border town of Hilldale, Utah, has been issued by a Mohave County Superior Court Judge in Kingman, following the indictment of Jeffs and another man on sex offense charges.   Jeffs, 49, is charged with sexual conduct with a minor and conspiracy to commit sexual conduct with a minor in a five-count indictment handed up Thursday by a grand jury in Kingman.  The other three counts charge an unidentified man with sex offenses involving the same alleged victim, according to Mohave County attorney Matt Smith.   Smith said he cannot detail the other counts or identify the other man because the defendant has not been served the indictment or been arrested, though an arrest warrant has issued in his case as well.  He said Judge Steven F. Conn made in exception in the case of Jeffs.   Judge Conn granted a prosecution motion Friday allowing the state to disclose the indictment and warrant involving Jeffs in an effort to locate and arrest him.  "The only hope to execute the warrant is with public input," the motion said.   "It is very difficult to find him," Smith said of Jeffs during a Friday interview.  "He is not readily available and he has not been seen for quite some time in Colorado City."     Read more
 
 
Resident of polygamous community named in arrest warrant
The Associated Press
KPHO News 5 - Phoenix
Originally broadcast June 14, 2005

KINGMAN, Ariz. A judge has issued an arrest warrant for a Colorado City man who failed to appear for arraignment after being indicted.   Prosecutor Steve Wilson says 38-year-old Kelly Fischer fled when an investigator recently tried to contact him.   It's not known if the charges are polygamy-related.  That's because the indictment against Fischer has been sealed.   A warrant for Fischer's arrest was issued yesterday in Kingman by Mohave County Superior Court Judge Steve Conn.   (Thanks to Dave Hawkins at KGMN)
 
 
Arizona prosecutor promises more sex-crimes prosecutions
Associated Press
The Arizona Republic
Originally published June 15, 2005

KINGMAN - A prosecutor promises more sex-crimes prosecutions involving men in the northern Arizona polygamous community of Colorado City.   Targeted will be men who have sex with underage girls they've taken in plural marriages.   Mohave County Attorney Matt Smith told county supervisors yesterday that his office has indicted two other Colorado City men in addition to polygamous church leader Warren Jeffs and an unnamed co-defendant.   Smith also said his office would seek indictments against as many as 15 additional men over the next six weeks.   Jeffs heads the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, most of whose members live in Colorado City and neighboring Hildale, Utah.   Last Thursday, a Mohave County grand jury indicted Jeffs on charges of sexual conduct with a minor and conspiracy to commit sexual conduct with a minor.   Jeffs isn't accused of having sex with a minor, only of arranging the marriage of a 16-year-old girl to a 28-year-old married man.
 
 
Boulder author aims to find sect leader
By Deborah Frazier
Rocky Mountain News
Originally published June 17, 2005

Boulder author Jon Krakauer, who wrote a best-seller on a polygamous sect, is actively involved in searching for the group's fugitive leader, law enforcement officials said Thursday.   The offices of the Utah and Arizona attorneys general said Krakauer has continued to follow the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints since the book was published in 2003.   "Krakauer is actively investigating a lot of things, including the whereabouts of Warren Jeffs," said Paul Murphy, spokesman for Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff.   Jeffs, 49, heads the sect that has lived on the Arizona-Utah border for nearly a century.   It is sometimes confused with the mainstream Mormon church, which has excommunicated polygamists since 1890.   Krakauer, who wrote Under The Banner of Heaven: A Story Of Violent Faith, a history of Mormon fundamentalism, was unavailable for comment Thursday.   Jeffs, pursued by Arizona and Utah authorities, bought a secluded retreat in southwestern Colorado near Mancos and has established a new community for the sect in West Texas.  Jeffs hasn't been seen in public since January, when Krakauer took his picture at the site of the sect's first temple on the West Texas ranch.   "Jon Krakauer did a lot of investigation when he wrote his book and he's kept actively involved," said Gary Engels, a Mohave County, Ariz., sheriff's investigator.     Read more
 
 
Colorado City Discussion
e-Press
Tri-State News Network
Originally published June 19, 2005

LAKE HAVASU CITY, Ariz. – An overview of Colorado City was the topic of discussion at Tuesday's Lake Havasu City Republican Men's Club meeting.   Margaret Nyberg talked about what goes on in Colorado City and handed out different statistics and articles about the area.  Nyberg said the polygamist sect is spreading to many different areas.   "It is not just here in Arizona the biggest ones are in Bounty Canada and then down in Mexico and they are also building a new place in Colorado and Texas," said Nyberg.   Club member Maury Coburn expressed his opinion on the coverage of Colorado City.   "There are things and people that ought to be prosecuted and they should be but I think that people that write these things are picking up a lot of rumors and innuendos and isolated cases," said Coburn.   Nyberg also retold stories that Flora Jessop shared in a meeting last week in Lake Havasu City.
 
 
A tragic drama unfolds
Justice must play the starring role in saga of polygamist cult
Opinions
The Arizona Republic
Originally published June 22, 2005

The characters are right out of a central casting:   The reclusive leader of a cult with a $100 million trust fund.  Child brides forced into polygamous marriages.   Lost boys run out of town so they can't compete for wives.  Prosecutors whose efforts may seem slow, but whose tenacity is essential.   The setting is Colorado City, Ariz., and Hildale, Utah, twin towns where secrets like domestic violence, incest, child abuse and the sodomizing of little boys are only revealed in the hesitant voices of those who escape, and the cold phrases of civil lawsuits filed against a cult called the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.   The plot includes hideaways in Texas, Canada, Wyoming, Colorado, Nevada and Mexico, where the now-missing FLDS leader Warren Jeffs may be holed up.  It includes soothing promises from a Texas sheriff that he will not storm the cult's Texas compound in response to an Arizona criminal warrant issued against Jeffs earlier this month.  That's because this thriller of sex, violence and greed in the name of God also includes the potential to explode into another Waco.   At least that's the fear.   Fear has long protected a group built on polygamy and cult strategies of mind control.   For five decades, law enforcement officials feared the consequences of moving against a cult leader whose followers allow him to control every aspect of their lives.     Read more
 
 
FLDS Leader Removed From Church Trust
The Associated Press
KSL NewsRadio 1160
Originally broadcast June 22, 2005

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Today, a judge removed polygamist Warren Jeffs and five other church leaders as managers of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints trust.   The trust includes the property and homes of the church members, who mainly live in the twin cities of Hildale and Colorado City, Arizona.  But in the last year, Jeffs had begun selling off the assets.   Last month, the Utah Attorney General's office stepped in, asking the courts to protect church members by freezing the trust assets and appoint new trustees.   So far, eight people, including two women, have been suggested to replace Jeffs and four others.   Next month, a judge will determine which of the suggested people will be appointed to manage the trust.
 
 
Polygamist Leader Warren Jeffs Still Missing
KSL-TV Channel 5
Originally broadcast June 22, 2005

Police still haven't found polygamist Warren Jeffs.   But, they've cut off his money supply.   A judge today removed Jeffs and five other high-ranking leaders of the FLDS Church as managers of a trust held by the church.   The trust controls most of the land, buildings and businesses in Hilldale, Utah and Colorado City, Arizona.   A judge froze the trust last month following reports Jeffs had started selling off the assets.   A few weeks ago, Arizona authorities charged Jeffs for arranging a polygamist marriage between a teenage girl and a 28 year old man.
 
 
Judge removes UEP leaders from trust
Order withdraws leaders' control of more than $100 million in assets
By Patrice St. Germain
The Spectrum
Originally published June 23, 2005

SALT LAKE CITY - A Salt Lake City judge signed an order Wednesday morning removing Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints prophet Warren Jeffs and five other members of the church as trustees of the United Effort Plan.   The Utah Attorney General's Office had asked for and was granted a temporary restraining order against the trustees last month to prevent UEP trustees from transferring assets - including land, equipment or funds - out of the trust.   Although it isn't certain how much the UEP trust is worth, it is estimated that it controls about $100 million in funds and assets.   Third District Court Judge Glenn Iwasaki signed the order permanently removing the six trustees, which includes Jeffs, Leroy Jeffs, Winston Blackmore, James Zitting, Truman Barlow and William E. Jessop, also known as William E. Timpson.  With the exception of Blackmore, none of the other trustees appeared in court.   Two weeks ago, Warren Jeffs, the leader of the FLDS church, was indicted on two separate felony charges in Mohave County, and an arrest warrant was issued for Jeffs' arrest.  The charges against Jeffs include sexual misconduct with a minor and conspiracy to commit sexual misconduct with a minor for reportedly arranging a marriage between a 28-year-old man and a 16-year-old girl.     Read more
 
 
Sect loses grip on towns
Judge severs polygamist leaders' control of trust fund
By Mark Shaffer
The Arizona Republic - Flagstaff Bureau
Originally published June 23, 2005

SALT LAKE CITY - A Utah probate judge stripped the powerful polygamist leaders of Colorado City, Ariz., and Hildale, Utah, from financial control of their sect, a move expected to bring about widespread changes in the nation's largest multiple-marriage community.   A hearing is scheduled for July 21 to appoint new trustees to oversee the neighboring towns' estimated $150 million United Effort Plan trust.  The new board is expected to be considerably different from the patriarchs of the polygamist Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, who have financially controlled the towns since the trust was formed 65 years ago.   Wednesday's action removes six people from the trust including FLDS leader Warren Jeffs, who still enjoys widespread religious backing in the two towns.   "We're pleased with the court's decision to take the trustees out of the picture," said Andrea Esquer, a spokeswoman for the Arizona Attorney General's Office.  "Our biggest concern is if all the FLDS leadership leaves Colorado City, what kind of a safety net will be left behind."   The trust was formed in 1940 based on utopian, frontier Mormon concepts of all possessions being shared within a community by the faithful.  The trust maintains legal control of all property and buildings while church members tithe their work earnings to the sect.     Read more
 
 
Attorney General Terry Goddard
'... We Get To Be On The Right Side Of Litigation'
By Don Harris
Arizona Capitol Times
Originally published June 24, 2005

Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard sees his role as protecting those who are unable to protect themselves.   That explains why his office is playing a role in investigating the polygamist community of Colorado City and methamphetamine labs that pose a danger to youngsters living in those contaminated environments.   Mr. Goddard, a Democrat 2 1/2 years into his term as the state's chief law enforcement officer, also targets consumer fraud and is embroiled in controversy over implementation of Proposition 200, a voter-approved measure aimed at illegal immigrants.   Arizona Capitol Times interviewed Mr. Goddard in his office June 14.

What's the situation in Colorado City, comment on legislative action related to that polygamist community, and where do you go from here?

We've made some significant progress in the last month.   It's the result of two years of very hard preparation.  The last piece to fall into place is Matt Smith's indictment, the Mohave County attorney's indictment of Warren Jeffs [president of the Fundamental Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints — no relationship to the Church of Jesus Christ and Latter Day Saints] for sexual crimes with a minor.  It's something we all hoped would happen.   We thought there was probably grounds for it, but my office does not have the jurisdiction so it's up to the county attorney in Mohave County or in Utah to bring charges if they felt they were valid.  The grand jury in Mohave County made that determination, so that added to our search warrants of the school district in Colorado City.  We're really striking at three different important parts of the power of Warren Jeffs.     Read more
 
 
FBI Seeking Polygamous Community Prophet
KPHO News 5 - Phoenix
Originally broadcast July 8, 2005

Special Agent in Charge Jana D. Monroe of the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced today Friday that the FBI and the Mohave County Attorney's Office are requesting the public's assistance with information concerning the whereabouts of Warren Steed Jeffs.   Jeffs, prophet of the polygamous community known as the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints, is being sought in a joint effort by the FBI and the Mohave County Attorney's Office.  An arrest warrant was issued by the Mohave County Attorney on June 9, 2005 charging Jeffs with sexual conduct with a minor and conspiracy to commit sexual conduct with a minor.   Jeffs was subsequently charged with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution, in a federal arrest warrant, issued by the United States Magistrate Court, District of Arizona, Flagstaff, Arizona, on June 27, 2005.   Jeffs is described as being 6'4" in height, weighing 150 lbs, and having brown colored eyes and hair.  Investigation indicates Jeffs has previously been in Texas, Colorado and British Columbia.   The FBI requests anyone with information concerning Jeffs' whereabouts to contact the FBI, Flagstaff Office, 928-774-0631, or the Mohave County Sheriff's Office 1-800-526-1911.
 
 
Law officers descend on polygamists
The Associated Press
Tucson Citizen
Originally published July 11, 2005

COLORADO CITY - Residents of this polygamous town turned out for a public forum organized by the attorneys general for Utah and Arizona, but the real action came after the meeting.   A half-dozen sheriff's cruisers and a helicopter carrying Arizona Department of Public Safety officers descended on Colorado City on Friday as part of an investigation into the fundamentalist church that also rules the border town of Hildale, Utah.   The Mohave County sheriff's office confirmed their arrival was part of an investigation into church dealings but refused to release details.   About 80 people showed up for Friday's forum on the court-ordered takeover of the United Effort Plan, the trust once controlled by Warren Steed Jeffs, president of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  Reporters weren't allowed inside.   Jeffs was indicted by a Mohave County grand jury last month on charges of arranging a marriage between a teenage girl and a 28-year-old man who already had one wife.   It was revealed Saturday that the FBI joined the search for Jeffs, a fugitive who hasn't been seen in public in nearly two years.  The FBI has added a charge of unlawful flight against the church leader.
 
 
Arrangements made for several men to surrender
The Associated Press
KVOA Channel 4 - Tucson
Originally broadcast July 11, 2005

KINGMAN, Ariz. A half-dozen or more residents of the polygamous community of Colorado City - all sought on alleged sex offenses involving underage girls - are expected to surrender today in Kingman.   Mohave County Sheriff Tom Sheahan says County Attorney Matt Smith and a Flagstaff lawyer representing the men are making arrangements to have the suspects booked and then released on bond.   The charges against the men stem from underage girls they're accused of taking as polygamous wives.
(Thanks to Dave Hawkins at KGMN)
 
 
MEDIA RELEASE
Mohave County Sheriff's Office
co.mohave.az.us
Originally published July 11, 2005

+++ SPECIAL +++ SPECIAL +++
On Thursday, July 7, 2005, the following individuals were indicted by a Mohave County Grand Jury for the listed offenses.
  • David Romaine Bateman, 48 years of age, "Sexual Conduct with a Minor," and "Conspiracy to Commit Sexual Conduct with a Minor", both class 6 felonies;

  • Rodney Hans Holm, 38 years of age, 3 counts of "Sexual Conduct with a Minor", all class 6 felonies;

  • Donald Robert Barlow, 48 years of age, "Sexual Conduct with a Minor" and "Conspiracy to Commit Sexual Conduct with a Minor", both class 6 felonies;

  • Vergel Bryce Jessop, 45 years of age, "Sexual Conduct with a Minor" and "Conspiracy to Commit Sexual Conduct with a Minor", both class 6 felonies;

  • Terry Darger Barlow, 23 years of age, "Sexual Conduct with a Minor", and "Conspiracy to Commit Sexual Conduct with a Minor", both class 6 felonies.
Friday, July 8, 2005, a team of Mohave County Sheriff's deputies and a Mohave County Attorney Investigator responded to Colorado City to attempt to apprehend those charged in the indictments.   Arrested that afternoon was David Bateman, who was located at his residence in Colorado City and taken into custody and transported to the Mohave County Jail in Kingman without incident.  The other four (4) suspects wanted in the indictments surrendered to Sheriff's officials at the Mohave County Jail this morning.  Surrendering along with those who were indicted last Thursday were the following individuals who were indicted several weeks ago by a Mohave County Grand Jury:     Read more
 
 
Eight men indicted in polygamous community
The Associated Press
Tucson Citizen
Originally published July 11, 2005

COLORADO CITY, Ariz. - Eight men in this community dominated by a polygamous church have been indicted on charges of sexual misconduct with a minor and conspiracy, prosecutors said Monday.   One of the men was arrested Friday, while others turned themselves into Mohave County authorities on Monday.  One man had not yet been served with an arrest warrant, Mohave County prosecutors said.   Five men were indicted on Thursday.  Three others were indicted on June 16, said Andrea Esquer of the Attorney General's Office.  The men are accused on various counts of sexual misconduct with a minor and conspiracy related to spiritual unions in Colorado City.   One of the men indicted last week, Rodney Holm, is a former police officer in neighboring Hildale, Utah.  He was previously convicted in Utah of bigamy and illegal sex with a teenage girl that he had taken as a third wife.     Read more
 
 
Eight Men Indicted in Polygamous Community
KPHO News 5 - Phoenix
Originally broadcast July 11, 2005

Eight Colorado City men have been indicted by a Mohave County Grand Jury on charges of sexual misconduct with a minor.   The indictments of seven of the eight were the result of investigative leads provided to the Mohave County Attorney's office by the Attorney General's Office during the last year.   "Seven of the indictments announced today are the direct result of the Attorney General's Office working with local law enforcement to investigate cases of child abuse," Attorney General Terry Goddard said.   "Matt Smith has done an admirable job in taking investigative leads and aggressively pursuing charges of child abuse.  Today's announcement makes the point that no community is outside the law."     Read more
 
 
MEDIA RELEASE
Mohave County Sherrif's Office
co.mohave.az.us
Originally published July 12, 2005

WARRANT ARREST – COLORADO CITY (ARIZONA STRIP)
Mohave County Sheriff's deputies arrested Harvey Joseph Dockstader Jr., 39, of Centenial Park, Monday (7/11) morning on a fugitive from justice felony warrant issued out of Harris County Texas on original charges of fraud – pyramid schemes. Approximately 8:20 a.m., Dockstader came into the Mohave County Colorado City Substation regarding MCSO attempting to contact him. Dockstader was informed of his outstanding warrant and taken into custody without incident. Dockstader was transported and booked into the Mohave County Jail.
 
 
Colorado City men surrender in child-sex cases ARRESTED IN GRAND JURY INDICTMENT
Former policeman Holm among those indicted; Jeffs still at large
By Patrice St. Germain
The Spectrum
Originally published July 12, 2005

ST. GEORGE - Seven Colorado City men, including former Hildale/Colorado City police officer Rodney Holm, voluntarily turned themselves in to Mohave County authorities on Monday after being indicted on charges of sexual conduct with a minor.   Last Friday, a team of Mohave County Sheriff's Office deputies and a Mohave County Attorney investigator arrested David Romaine Bateman, 48, at his residence in Colorado City on charges of sexual conduct with a minor and conspiracy to commit sexual conduct with a minor.   All of the men who surrendered to authorities were booked into Mohave County Jail and released on bond.   Mohave County Attorney Matt Smith has been successful in getting grand jury indictments against nine men in Colorado City on charges stemming from their participation in spiritual marriages to girls younger than 18.   Of the nine, only Warren Jeffs, prophet of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, is still at large.  The FBI is assisting the Mohave County Sheriff's Office in the hunt for Jeffs, whose location is unknown.     Read more
 
 
News update
The Arizona Republic
Originally published July 13, 2005

A news conference has been scheduled for 11 a.m. today by Attorney General Terry Goddard to talk about new tactics in the search for fugitive Colorado City polygamist leader Warren Jeffs.  Jeffs was indicted by a Mohave County grand jury last month on sexual misconduct counts and later was indicted by the U.S. Attorney's Office for felony flight.  Jeffs has been spotted in Texas, Colorado and British Columbia in recent weeks, law enforcement officials said.
 
 
$10,000 reward being offered for head of polygamous church
The Associated Press
KVOA News 4 - Tucson
Originally broadcast July 13, 2005

PHOENIX A ten-thousand-dollar reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest of polygamous leader Warren Jeffs.   The head of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was indicted in June on one count of sexual conduct with a minor and one count of conspiracy to commit sexual conduct with a minor.   The Mohave County grand jury indictment accuses Jeffs of arranging a marriage between an underage girl and a 28-year-old man who already had one wife.   He remains a fugitive.   The FLDS church is based in the neighboring polygamous communities of Colorado City, Arizona, and Hildale, Utah.   The ten-thousand-dollar reward is being offered jointly by the attorneys general of Arizona and Utah.  Arizona A-G Terry Goddard says "bringing Jeffs to justice is a top priority."
 
 
$10,000 Reward Offered For Warren Jeffs' Arrest
The Associated Press
KSL-TV Channel 5
Originally broadcast July 13, 2005

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Utah and Arizona are offering a reward for the arrest of polygamous leader Warren Jeffs.   Today, Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff and Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard announced a ten-thousand dollar reward for information leading to the arrest of Jeffs.   Jeffs was indicted in June on one count of sexual conduct with a minor and conspiracy to commit sexual conduct with a minor.   If convicted, Jeffs could face up to two years in prison.   If anyone has information about Jeffs' whereabouts they're asked to call the Mohave County Sheriff's Office at 1-800-522-4312 or 928-753-2141.
 
 
Wanted: Polygamist leader
By Robert Anglen
The Arizona Republic
Originally published July 13, 2005

For the first time in Arizona history, the attorney general's office is offering a reward to track down a fugitive.   Wanted posters were distributed Wednesday offering $10,000 for information leading to the arrest of Warren Jeffs, the self proclaimed prophet and leader of a polygamous sect of Mormons who was indicted last month on child-sex charges.   "We simply need to zero in on this guy," Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard said in a news conference.  "This is part of a long-time effort-a slow and methodical effort-to put pressure on this individual."   Jeffs, 49, president of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, has been in hiding for two years as authorities work to dismantle his financial control over the school district, municipal government and most of the property in the isolated towns of Colorado City, Ariz., and Hildale, Utah.   "Jeffs' influence over the members of the FLDS church has led to numerous child abuse charges," Goddard said.  "His hold on the community continues to hurt its members, and it is time he answered to these charges in a court of law."   Goddard acknowledged that the wanted poster and the reward are extraordinary, but said they were warranted because of Jeffs' influence over as many as 10,000 followers and his repeated disregard of the legal system.     Read more
 
 
Lighting dark corners
Justice is opening the curtains on polygamy cult
Opinions
The Arizona Republic
Originally published July 13, 2005

In Colorado City, Ariz., three towheaded children peer through a window with solemn expressions.  They stare until a woman in a 1880s-style dress pulls them back and yanks the curtains shut on a sun-lit morning.   In the darkness of isolation, a polygamous cult festers amid allegations of brutality and abuse of people, and fraud and misuse of public money.   Deep suspicions of the outside world made it hard for law enforcement to build cases against the power brokers of a cult called the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.   But now things are happening.   Gary Engels, a special investigator for the Mohave County Attorney's Office, has been operating out of an office in Colorado City and collecting evidence.  As a result, a group of polygamous men appeared Monday in a Mohave County Court on charges of sexual conduct with a minor and conspiracy to commit sexual conduct with a minor.   In other words, they were forcing little girls to become child brides.     Read more
 
 
Busy week in Colorado City
e-Press
Tri-State News Network
Originally published Sunday July 17, 2005

COLORADO CITY, Ariz. – A team of Mohave County Sheriff's Deputies have had their hands full in Colorado City.  On Friday, a team of deputies arrested David Romaine Bateman at his home in Colorado City.  Bateman was wanted for sexual conduct with a minor and conspiracy to commit sexual conduct with a minor, both class 6 felonies.   "Bateman, age 48 was arrested for the offenses after a grand jury indicted him, Thursday," said Carter.  "According to the Mohave County Attorney's office, the charges stem from sexual conduct with a minor, from an unlawful, unrecognized marriage."   Monday eight other Colorado City residents surrendered to Mohave County sheriff's deputies.  All were wanted on outstanding child abuse warrants.   Mohave County Attorney, Matt Smith is expected to release names sometime Monday.  Most of those charged are believed to be part of a polygamist sect that follow leader Warren Jeffs, also wanted, who has yet to be apprehended.
 
 
Enforcement of laws is not persecution
Editorial
The Spectrum
Originally published July 18, 2005

We commend all law enforcement officials who have taken action in the communities of Colorado City and Hildale recently.   Last week saw several men surrender to Arizona authorities after being indicted on charges of sexual conduct with a minor.  Both Utah and Arizona are offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of Warren Jeffs on one count of sexual conduct with a minor and one count of conspiracy to commit sexual conduct with a minor.  The Utah Attorney General's Office has gone to court to have trustees of the United Effort Plan removed and independent trustees will soon be appointed by a court.   Note that nothing in the previous paragraph had anything to do with a person's religious belief that a man may marry more than one woman or a person's membership in the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  There have been no arrests of anyone for being married to more than one consenting adult.     Read more
 
 
Arraignments continued for 7 Colorado City men
The Associated Press
KOLD News 13 - Tucson
Originally broadcast July 26, 2005

KINGMAN, Ariz. Arraignments for seven Arizona polygamists accused of sexual misconduct with underage girls they had taken as wives have been continued.   The seven Colorado City residents had faced arraignments yesterday in Mohave County Superior Court in Kingman.   They didn't show up.  Instead, their attorney attempted to handle their arraignments by mail, waiving his clients right to be present.   However, the three judges handling the cases ruled that the men must appear in person because none had made an initial court appearance.
(Thanks to Dave Hawkins at KGMN)
 
 
MC anti-polygamy movement
e-Press
Tri-State News Network
Originally published Wednesday July 27, 2005

LAKE HAVASU CITY, Ariz. – What started out as an informal lunch for a group of friends, blossomed into a large organizational meeting of concerned citizens in Lake Havasu City on Monday.  All were concerned about the alleged abuse of underage girls being ceremonially married off to much older men in the Fundamentalist Later Day Saints community of Colorado City in Mohave County.   "That was the key to why we did this meeting," said Widell.   "We wanted to mobilize ourselves, and our resources, so that we could respond when something needed to be done."   Colleen Widell, President of the American Institute on Domestic Violence, expressed her surprise that so many people quite unexpectedly arrived to meet Flora Jessup, and demonstrate their concern, and willingness to get involved with the effort.   The meeting touched on many of the aspects of suspected abuse within the community, from alleged sexual assaults, and sexual conduct with minors, which is the Arizona equivalent of statutory rape, to the alleged gross financial abuse of the state and federal welfare system by the community.     Read more
 
 
Symposium Tackles Modern Polygamy Problem
The Associated Press
KUTV Channel 2
Originally published July 29, 2005

The symposium program frames the question this way: How is the state of Utah dealing with contemporary polygamy?   The answer is: differently than ever before, Utah Attorney General Office spokesman Paul Murphy says.   Raids on the families of Short Creek in 1953 -an area known today as the border towns of Hildale, Utah and Colorado City, Ariz., - were a mistake, Murphy said.  But the state's decision to ignore those communities for the 50 years that followed "was an even bigger mistake," he adds.   These days the attorney general's approach is two-pronged.   "There's the law enforcement track and the safety net track," Murphy explains, adding that both require - and have had- the active involvement of many practicing polygamists.   "It is no longer us talking about them and them talking about us," Murphy said, recounting a discussion with a polygamist woman with whom he consults.  "It's about all of us coming together and trying to come up with solutions."   Murphy's remarks were made Friday during a breakout session of the annual Sunstone Symposium in Salt Lake City.     Read more
 
 
How fast will things change in Colorado City?
By Mark Shaffer
The Arizona Republic - Flagstaff Bureau
Originally published August 4, 2005

COLORADO CITY - The change is coming slowly, like the tiny twigs of sand sagebrush breaking through the bright-red, high-desert soil.   Laura Timpson recently opened a beauty salon and tanning parlor in this frontier, polygamist town, where women traditionally have not cut their hair, and both men and women are clothed from wrist to ankle.   Colorado City's insular high school put a basketball team on the court for the first time last season and it played nearby communities Fredonia and Littlefield, and Hurricane, Utah.   The next business planned for Colorado City's frontage along Arizona Highway 389 is a bakery with upscale pastries and fancy coffee.  One local resident is even pondering opening a bed and breakfast with a polygamy theme.   But beyond these signs, there is a more long-lasting move toward changing the culture in Colorado City and neighboring Hildale, Utah, the largest polygamist community in the country: A hearing is scheduled today in Salt Lake City before Utah District Judge Denise Lindberg, to pick a new board of trustees of the communal United Effort Plan, which controls most assets in the two towns.   About 25 people have been nominated for the board.  But more than 200 pages of objections in court records have been filed against virtually all the nominees, and officials in both states will seek to delay appointment of the new board.     Read more
 
 
'Tenacious' investigator finds success in tough job
By Mark Shaffer
The Arizona Republic - Flagstaff Bureau
Originally published August 4, 2005

COLORADO CITY - The blinds are always drawn in Gary Engels' darkened office in a triple-wide trailer that fronts the main drag in this polygamist town.   He quickly swivels in his chair and peers through a crack in the blinds when he hears the noise of an engine in the parking lot.  He wonders aloud about the security in the state-owned building.   Such is life for the man entrusted with one of the most difficult law enforcement assignments in America: bringing down the older men who take underage brides in arranged marriages.   He does this in a bunker-mentality society taught nothing but disdain for the outside world.   Engels, a special investigator for Mohave County Attorney Matt Smith, has had remarkable successes during his 10 months in town.   He built a case that led to the indictment June 10 of Warren Jeffs, leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, on sexual-misconduct charges of arranging the spiritual marriages of underage women to polygamist men.   Engels' investigative skills also led to the indictment July 11 of eight other local men on sexual-misconduct charges.  All surrendered to authorities and were arraigned in Mohave County Superior Court. Several other cases also are in the works, Engels said.     Read more
 
 
Number of abuse victims could be on the rise
e-Press
Tri-State News Network
Originally published August 8, 2005

COLORADO CITY, Ariz. - Gary Engels, the Mohave County special investigator assigned to Colorado City, believes many women would leave the polygamous lifestyle if they knew there was hope for a new life afterwards.   "Do I think there are women here who would leave if they had the opportunity, most definitely," said Engels.  "Getting the word out amongst these people is not easy, especially the ones, you know, that are close inside of the church.  And it's hard too, it's to get them out.  Their movements are pretty closely monitored."   A new organization of concerned citizens, being formed in Mohave County, is focusing on exactly how to get the word out and then help victims escape.
 
 
Arizona AG to file against Colorado City School District
The Spectrum
Originally published August 11, 2005

COLORADO CITY – Citing gross financial mismanagement, Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard will file a petition on Friday requesting the appointment of a receiver for the Colorado City Unified School District No. 14.   In a petition to the Arizona State Board of Education, Goddard outlined the case against the school district, which includes being in arrears on debts in the amount of $1.4 million, paying for numerous cellular telephones for several district employees and directly helping to fund the United Effort Plan, the financial arm of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, through the forfeiture of pre-paid rent on several buildings the district leased.   Goddard is asking the Board of Education to turn over the management of the school to a receiver who would not only develop a plan of action, but also have the ability to hire and fire school personnel and overrule decisions made by the Colorado City School Board.   Andrea Esquer, press secretary for Goddard's office, said the soonest a meeting could be set to determine if the school should be placed into receivership is early October.
 
 
Smith: Colorado City work paying off
By Jennifer Bartlett
Kingman Daily Miner
Originally published August 17, 2005

KINGMAN ­ County Attorney Matt Smith said he is pleased with the progress the county has made with regards to the polygamist community of Colorado City and is cautiously optimistic about further progress.   In recent weeks, eight Colorado City men have been charged for alleged sexual abuse of minors, all related to "spiritual" but unlawful unrecorded marriages to girls younger than 18.   Smith was aware of the Colorado City situation when he took office.   "It's not about their beliefs," Smith said.  "We're not going after polygamy from a legal standpoint.  It is the underage 'pseudo-marriages' we're interested in putting a halt to.  I think it's ridiculous for 15-, 16-, and 17-year-olds to be married off to much older men and having babies."   Smith stresses that Mohave County is not out to strike against religious beliefs centering around Colorado City.   Sexual relations with a minor by someone over the age of 21 is a crime that Smith and his office are trying to stop.   The appointment of investigator Gary Engels was what Smith believes got the ball rolling.     Read more
 
 
FBI puts polygamist Jeffs on most-wanted list
By Mark Shaffer
The Atizona Republic - Flagstaff Bureau
Originally published August 19, 2005

The FBI said Thursday that it has placed fugitive polygamous-sect leader Warren Jeffs on one of its most-wanted lists and that he and 30 of his followers could be in north-central Florida.   Deborah McCarley, a spokeswoman for the FBI in Phoenix, said the agency had received information that Jeffs and his followers in Colorado City, Ariz., and Hildale, Utah, were looking into buying property in the area of Leesburg, Fla.   The city of 16,000, located 45 miles northwest of Orlando, is situated among three scenic lakes and is popular among retirees, according to Leesburg's Web site.   "This is the first time he (Jeffs) has been on any of our most-wanted lists," McCarley said.   "There's no definitive proof that this information is true about Leesburg, but we wanted to put it out to make people aware in that area."     Read more
 
 
Effort underway to unearth domestic violence
e-Press
Tri-State News Network
Originally published August 22, 2005

KINGMAN, Ariz. - Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard spoke up Sunday about Colorado City and the amount of domestic violence there, since virtually none is ever reported.   "Not zero," said Goddard.  "No, not in any community.   Many people, many women in particular, have been reluctant, in fact adamantly opposed, to speaking out because they're afraid of both eternal damnation and physical retribution from their spouse or from somebody else in the church."   Goddard said the Attorney General's office is placing billboards in the community, offering women safe haven if they report abuse, as well as passing out cards with the office's number so victims can reporting any incidents.  He made his comments at the annual Mohave County Democratic picnic.
 
 
Fugitive polygamist leader facing more charges
By Mike Watkiss / 3TV reporter
FOX 11 - Tucson
Originally broadcast Monday, August 22, 2005

3TV has learned Monday that additional charges have been filed against fugitive polygamist prophet Warren Jeffs.   Jeffs already faces two criminal counts of sexual conduct with a minor and conspiracy to commit sexual conduct with a minor stemmming from a case in which he allegedly gave an underage girl to an already married adult male follower.   3TV has learned Jeffs now faces similar charges in at least two other incidents where he allegedly gave underage girls as "plural" brides to adult male followers, confirms Mohave County Attorney Matt Smith.   Jeffs is currently on the FBI's most wanted list and several law enforcement agencies throughout the country are searching for him.   Mike Watkiss will have more on this story tonight on "Good Evening Arizona."
 
 
Holm, Barlow plead not guilty at arraignment
e-Press
Tri-State News Network
Originally published August 24, 2005

KINGMAN, Ariz. - Two more polygamists from the northern Arizona town of Colorado City pled not guilty Monday morning in Mohave County Superior Court in Kingman.  Rodney Holm, 38, and Terry Barlow, 23, and six other Colorado City men have all been arraigned in recent weeks on charges involving alleged sex offenses involving underage females.   Church leader Warren Jeffs, 49, faces prosecution as well, but not for actually offending young women.  Instead, county attorney Matt Smith said Jeffs was indicted under the theory that he arranged and performed marriages in which minors were violated by other married adult men.   Jeffs is the the only one of the nine Colorado City defendants who has not been served legal papers in the months-old indictments.  Likewise, he's the only one of the group that has not appeared for arraignment.   Jeffs, the leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, a church that endorses the practice of polygamy in the northern Arizona city and the neighboring Utah town of Hilldale, remains the subject of an arrest warrant and an FBI manhunt.
 
 
Education programs helping teens displaced from polygamous groups
The Associated Press
KPHO News 5 - Phoenix
Originally broadcast August 29, 2005

SALT LAKE CITY Two separate programs are being offered to help teens displaced from polygamous communities get their high school diplomas.   Mohave Community College and the Washington County, Utah, School District are offering GED classes tailored to the so-called "Lost Boys."  Although, administrators expect girls to sign up as well.   Hundreds of teens, mostly boys, have fled the twin cities of Hildale, Utah and Colorado City, Arizona, which is home to The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.   Brian Cheesman with the Washington County School District says many of them were denied schooling early in their lives and put to work, so they need educational help.
 
 
Byers seeks to avoid media circus
e-Press
Tri-State News Network
Originally published Sunday, September 4, 2005

KINGMAN, Ariz. - Mohave County Supervisor Pete Byers, R-Dist. 1, is taking a page out of the Boy Scout handbook and wants to "be prepared."  He's asking the Board to plan for an onslaught of media if FLDS leader and "prophet" Warren Jeffs is captured.  Although a change in venue is expected initial arraignment will be in Mohave County Superior Court.  Byers is asking the Board to create a committee of county and Kingman officials, law enforcement and court personnel to work on a plan to handle the potential media crush.   Jeffs is on the FBI's 10 most wanted list and he faces criminal charges for allegedly arranging marriages between adult men and underage girls in Colorado City, Ariz. and Hildale, Utah.
 
 
Goddard asks U.S. help with Colo. City police
The Arizona Republic
Originally published October 1, 2005

Arizona's attorney general is asking for a federal civil rights review of the police department in Colorado City, saying officers there are acting as agents of a polygamous church instead of serving the law.   Terry Goddard said many complaints from other law enforcement officials and citizens prompted him to ask U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to have the Justice Department conduct a preliminary inquiry, a step that could lead to a formal investigation and possible legal action.   "I believe that the officers of the Colorado City Police Department have engaged in a pattern of practices of conduct that deprives individuals of their constitutional and civil rights," Goddard wrote in a letter to Gonzales.     Read more
 
 
Documentary looks into polygmany
By Jessica Gurnsey
Daily Universe Staff Reporter
BYU NewsNet
Originally published October 18, 2005

A new documentary film, "Banking on Heaven," takes an in-depth look at Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint communities which practice polygamy in Hildale and Colorado City, Ariz.   Premiering last week at the Vancouver International Film Festival in Canada, the documentary received positive public response and was sold out for all three of its screenings, said Helen Yagi, spokeswoman for the festival.  Producer Laurie Allen hopes to eventually release the film in Utah and Arizona, the homes of the two largest fundamentalists communities.   The film's goal is to raise awareness of the problems associated with the polygamist sect located in Arizona, Utah and British Columbia, said Allen, who not only produced, but wrote and narrated the documentary.   Allen will donate a portion of the money made by the film to supporting victims of polygamy.   "We know a lot of women and children would leave the FLDS church if they knew they had help on the outside," Allen said.   Help on the outside includes long-term programs to house, educate and provide counseling for those leaving the fundamentalist sect.     Read more
 
 
Ex-police chief loses Ariz. backing
Violations of bigamy statute alleged by board
By Patrice St. Germain
The Spectrum
Originally published October 20, 2005

Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training board members voted unanimously to revoke the certifications of former Colorado City Police Chief Sam Roundy and former officer Vance Barlow at its charging board meeting on Wednesday because of violations of the bigamy statute.   In Utah, Hildale Justice Court Judge Walter Steed, who has been charged with bigamy and recommended for removal from office, has decided to fight his case in the Utah Supreme Court.   Arizona Post executive director Tom Hammarstrom said the outcome of the meeting means the two men already decertified in Utah no longer hold peace officer certification in Arizona.   Post's decision followed in the footsteps of the Utah division of Peace Officers Standards and Training, which revoked certification for the two officers in Utah in March.  Barlow was decertified due to bigamy violations while Roundy was decertified for violating the bigamy laws as well as improper handling of a child sex abuse case.     Read more
 
 
Utah pushes B.C. to act on polygamous group
Flow of women to Bountiful sparks concern
By Petti Fong
The Globe and Mail
Originally published Friday, December 2, 2005

VANCOUVER -- Utah's chief law officer is heading to British Columbia next week to discuss how to stop young women facing pressure within their church from entering into polygamous marriages in the religious community of Bountiful, B.C.   Attorney-General Mark Shurtleff of Utah requested the meeting with his B.C. counterpart, Wally Oppal, and other legal and advocacy groups to plan how the two jurisdictions can better monitor exchanges between the communities, both of which practise polygamy.   Utah has between 30,000 and 50,000 polygamists, while B.C. has just a fraction of that number.   The Creston valley in southeastern B.C. is home to the polygamous community of Bountiful, where about 1,000 residents once belonged to the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints .  The residents are descendents from a breakaway sect that came north in the 1940s.   One of the tenets of the FLDS is that a man must marry at least three wives.     Read more
 
 
State, Colorado City district reach pact on receivership
The Associated Press
KGBT Channel 4 - Harlingen, TX
Originally broadcast December 2, 2005

PHOENIX - A small northern Arizona school district dominated by a polygamist sect will be placed under the state's financial control.   That's under an agreement today between the Arizona Attorney General's Office and the Colorado City School District.   The Arizona Board of Education meets Monday to consider the settlement.   Under the agreement, the school district doesn't admit any wrongdoing.   But Colorado City's school superintendent must retire as of December 31st.   The district's business manager also must resign by that date.   Arizona state claims that taxpayers and students have been harmed by mismanagement by the district.   Colorado City, located north of the Grand Canyon, is dominated by the polygamist Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.   The sect also has a presence in Hildale, Utah, and in Schleicher County, Texas, and Bountiful, British Columbia.
 
 
Board takes control of district
By Jeff Pope
Kingman Daily Miner
Originally published December 8, 2005

KINGMAN -- The Arizona Board of Education accepted a consent agreement on Monday that places the Colorado City Unified School District in receivership under the board's control.   The board voted 8-1 to approve the settlement between the school district and state officials and to immediately place the district's $4.7 million budget under the supervision of an appointed receiver.   "This agreement represents a giant leap forward for taxpayers of Arizona and the children of Colorado City," Attorney General Terry Goddard said in a news release.  "It will put an end to the serious mismanagement of the district and the waste of hundreds of thousands of tax dollars.  It will place control of the district in competent hands and put it on the road to financial recovery."     Read more
 
 
Canada, U.S. to probe forced-marriage allegations
By Allan Dowd
Reuters
Originally published December 8, 2005

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Reuters) - U.S. and Canadian prosecutors vowed on Thursday to co-operate in pursuing allegations of sexual exploitation by a polygamist group that has settlements in both countries.   Utah attorney general Mark Shurtleff met with officials in British Columbia, who are under pressure to join the United States in a crackdown on the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS).   Men in the FLDS need three wives to enter highest realm of heaven, according to the group's teachings.   Polygamy is illegal in both countries but still practiced by religious sects that broke away from the Mormon church, such as the FLDS, which is believed to have about 10,000 members in Utah, Arizona, Texas and British Columbia.   Shurtleff said the crackdown is aimed less at the practice of plural marriage, which polygamists say is a religious right, than against allegations about the treatment of women, including forcing young girls to marry older men.   "By co-operating and working together we can resolve some of these problems and protect women and children who have been victimized," Shurtleff said after meeting with Wally Oppal, British Columbia's attorney general.   Canadian prosecutors have refused to file criminal charges against polygamists in British Columbia out of fear the cases would be dismissed on constitutional grounds, but Oppal said he may follow the U.S. lead of using civil litigation.     Read more
 
 
Canada, U.S. meet to discuss polygamists
By Jeremy Hainsworth
The Associated Press
Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Originally published December 8, 2005

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- U.S. and Canadian justice officials exchanged ideas Thursday on how to investigate reports of sexual abuse in polygamous enclaves in both countries.   British Columbia Attorney General Wally Oppal said authorities were concerned about reports of sexual abuse and exploitation of children among members of the Bountiful compound in southwestern British Colombia.   The compound's 1,000 members are followers of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, a sect that broke away from mainstream Mormonism after the broader church renounced polygamy more than a century ago.   Oppal met with visiting Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff to discuss investigations against members of the sect, which has enclaves in Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz.   "It's not so much about polygamy as it is about crimes committed against women and children, primarily, in some of these groups," Shurtleff said.   As the attorneys general spoke to reporters, Bountiful's leader, Winston Blackmore, stood at the back of the room taking notes.     Read more
 
 
Top News Stories of 2005
KSL-TV Channel 5
Originally Broadcast December 20, 2005

10.  Eight Aggie students and an instructor were killed when their Utah State University van blew a tire and rolled over on the way back to campus from a farm field trip.

9.  Brennan Hawkins, 11, who vanished from a Boy Scout camp, was found alive and in good condition after spending four days lost in the rugged Utah wilderness.

8.  Brian David Mitchell and wife Wanda Barzee are found incompetent to stand trial in the 2002 abduction of Elizabeth Smart.

7.  Mark Hacking pleads guilty to first-degree murder for killing his wife, Lori, and is sentenced to six years to life in prison.     Read more
 
 
Polygamist sect remains controversial
By Mark Shaffer
The Arizona Republic
Originally published December 25, 2005

As the year draws to a close, the twin polygamist towns of Colorado City, Ariz., and Hildale, Utah, remain in the eye of a storm of controversy.   Warren Jeffs, the indicted leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, has a $10,000 bounty on his head and hasn't been seen publicly in nearly two years.   The Colorado City Unified School District has been turned on its head by a state investigation of misuse of money.   A new board has been appointed to oversee the communal United Effort Plan, which controls nearly all the land, homes and buildings in the two towns after Jeffs and other sect leaders were stripped of their powers last summer.   Meanwhile, sect members who have moved to rural west Texas are putting the finishing touches on a huge marble three-story temple to the faith and a number of other building projects near the town of Eldorado.
 
 
Utah's Top 10 News Stories Of 2005
The Associated Press
KUTV Channel 2
Originally published December 25, 2005

SALT LAKE CITY  Here are the top 10 state news stories of 2005 as voted on by Utah members of The Associated Press:

1) The misery of flooding in southern Utah – first in January and then again in August – forced dozens of people from their homes, knocked out utilities and washed out roads and bridges.  Beleaguered Gunlock also was evacuated in June because of wildfires.

2) Mark Hacking was sentenced in June to six years to life in prison after pleading guilty to first-degree murder for shooting his wife, Lori, in the head and dumping her body in a trash bin.  The state Board of Pardons and Parole set his first parole hearing for 2034.     Read more
 
 
Immigration voted top story in state
The top 10 stories in Arizona during 2005, according to a vote by members and staff of The Associated Press:
The Associated Press
Casa Grande Valley Newspapers, Inc.
TriValleyCentral.com
Originally published December 31, 2005

1. ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION: From the statehouse to the broiling southern Arizona desert, stopping illegal immigrants takes on a higher profile in 2005.   Gov. Janet Napolitano declares a state of emergency in Arizona's four border counties, civilians from across the region descend on the border to try to help the Border Patrol and state legislators push several measures aimed at illegal immigrants.  Still, illegal immigrants continue to pour across the border and to die in record numbers in the desert.     Read more
 
 
FBI adds to reward for FLDS leader Jeffs
By Nancy Perkins
Deseret Morning News
Originally published Wednesday, January 18, 2006

ST. GEORGE — The Federal Bureau of Investigation said Tuesday it would offer a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of fugitive polygamous leader Warren Jeffs.   Jana Monroe, the Phoenix FBI special agent in charge, announced the reward during a 2 p.m. press conference held jointly with Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard.  The FBI's reward enhances a $10,000 reward offered in July by the Arizona and Utah attorneys general, bringing the total reward to $60,000.   "I hope this larger reward will help bring Warren Jeffs to justice," Goddard said.   "He continues to exert his harmful influence over the Colorado City/Hildale community, and he must answer the serious charges against him in a court of law."   The search for Jeffs, who has not been seen in public for nearly two years, is a multi-jurisdictional effort by various law enforcement agencies crossing state borders and into Canada.     Read more
 
 
Emancipation Bill Could Help 'Lost' Youth
The Associated Press
KUTV Channel 2
Originally published January 19, 2006

Teenagers who want at age 16 to be emancipated from their parents will be able to do so under a bill advanced unanimously Thursday by the House Health and Human Services Committee.   Sponsored by Rep. Roz McGee, D-Salt Lake City, the bill would set up a legal procedure for emancipation, something that currently doesn't exist in Utah law.  It would also and set the criteria under which minors would have to prove they could take care of themselves.   "We do find a fair number of youth in the homeless population that because of their circumstances are either no longer welcome or may have fled from their homes that are in need of services, but they cannot access them," said McGee.  "They may have stayed in school, they may have jobs and be managing fairly well on their own ... but their legal status is fuzzy."     Read more
 
 
Big changes at Colorado City schools
The Associated Press
KPHO News 5 - Phoenix
Originally broadcast January 24, 2006

COLORADO CITY, Ariz. The state is making changes within the Colorado City School District's administrative staff. So far, the state has canceled 52 district credit cards, sold nine of its 18 vehicles and sliced the administrative staff in half.   A state-appointed receiver also cut the district's 35 cellphones down to seven and closed a 60-thousand-square-foot office building.   The staff cuts and disposal of property are part of a state takeover triggered in December.   Investigators say the district "grossly mismanaged" its money.   The 378-student district sits in a remote community on the Arizona-Utah line that is home to several polygamist religious sects.
___

Information from: The Arizona Republic, http://www.azcentral.com
 
 
HB 30 finds Lost Boys
Opinion
The Spectrum
Originally published February 1, 2006

They've been kicked out of their communities; declared to be a danger in the very towns they grew up in; criticized for failing to adhere to the standards of their society; and told their souls are destined for eternal damnation.   Although this group of people might sound like hardened criminals, the above description is actually of a group of innocent boys - "The Lost Boys" of Utah.  They are guilty of nothing more than being an inconvenient fact of life for the powers that be in the polygamous communities of Hildale, Utah and Colorado City, Ariz.   It is sometimes the practice in those towns for middle-aged men to take younger women as their plural wives.   With one older man having several younger wives, the result is that young men who are raised in the polygamous culture are left without dating or marriage prospects.  When these boys are at a vulnerable stage in their lives, their communities treat them like trash and throw them away.     Read more
 
 
Enforce or repeal law
Opinion
The Spectrum
Originally published February 14, 2006

Utah lawmakers recently chided Attorney General Mark Shurtleff for not taking a stronger prosecutorial stance on the issue of polygamy.   The comments came during a hearing on legislation that would allow "The Lost Boys" (a group of more than 400 teen males who have been banished from polygamous communities) to seek emancipation from their parents.  Lawmakers, including Rep. Brad Last of St. George, questioned why Shurtleff did not support a proposal to allow the state to prosecute the parents of The Lost Boys.   Shurtleff responded that most of the boys would not want to see their parents prosecuted, and would instead rather become emancipated to move on with their lives.  The AG acknowledged his office could do more on the issue, but also pointed out, "In the meantime we have a lot of kids who need help."   We agree with Shurtleff's reasoning, but feel it is important to point out all that has been done recently to help other victims of polygamy.   In the past, we have taken Shurtleff to task for comments he made on a daytime talk show where he stated, in effect, that he did not have the resources to effectively prosecute polygamy.     Read more
 
 
Polygamy conditions repeating in Texas
Opinion
The Spectrum
Originally published February 22, 2006

I applaud the editorial, "Enforce or repeal law." I also applaud the efforts of Mark Shurtleff, Smiles for Diversity and other organizations that have banded together to clean the social inadequacies associated with Hildale and Colorado City. It is essential that youth are allowed and encouraged to pursue education. People in general must be free to pursue love, happiness and personal fulfillment. I only hope that Utah, Arizona and British Columbia are opening a dialogue with Texas because we all know a repetition of conditions is in the works.

Peter Growes

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
 
 
Colorado City investigator donates salary to help victims of polygamy
By Jim Seckler
Mohave Daily News
Originally published Thursday, February 23, 2006

KINGMAN - An investigator for the Mohave County Attorney's Office is donating his salary from a made-for-television movie to a county organization that helps victims of polygamy.   Gary Engels was hired almost two years ago to investigate crimes especially against underage girls in the polygamist community of Colorado City, County Attorney Matt Smith said.   The community is home to a polygamist sect of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Colorado City near the Utah border.   The sect is an offshoot of the main Mormon Church that outlawed polygamy to attain statehood.   The Arts and Entertainment Network is in preproduction on a movie that will be filmed in the northern Mohave County city based on the experience of Carolyn Jessop, who escaped the polygamist community, Smith said.   Engels was given $5,000 as a technical consultant in the upcoming movie.   He stands to earn another $5,000 when the movie is completed.   Engels will review the movie's script to scan for accuracies, Smith said.     Read more
 
 
Polygamist Judge Ordered Off Utah Bench
By Debbie Hummel
Forbes
Originally published February 24, 2006

A small-town judge with three wives was ordered removed from the bench by the Utah Supreme Court on Friday.   The court unanimously agreed with the findings of the state's Judicial Conduct Commission, which recommended the removal of Judge Walter Steed for violating the state's bigamy law.   Steed has served for 25 years on the Justice Court in the polygamist community of Hildale in southern Utah, where he ruled on such matters as drunken driving and domestic violence cases.   The commission last year sought his removal from the bench after a 14-month investigation determined Steed was a polygamist and had violated Utah's bigamy law.   Bigamy is a third-degree felony in Utah punishable by up to five years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines.   Steed scheduled a news conference for Friday afternoon to discuss the ruling.     Read more
 
 
TOWN HALL II
A.G. & SAFETY NET COMMITTEE TO DISCUSS POLYGAMY ISSUES
News Release
Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff
Originally published February 24, 2006

For Immediate Release
February 24, 2006
Contact
Paul Murphy:
(801) 538-1892
pmurphy@utah.gov

Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff and the Utah/Arizona Safety Net Committee are inviting the public to join a discussion about efforts to end the isolation and increase safety in polygamous communities.  The Town Hall Meeting in Salt Lake City is following up on a similar gathering held in St. George last year.  Panelists with a wide array of opinions about polygamy will offer input on what has happened in the past and what still needs to be done, especially concerning ways to help victims of domestic violence and child abuse.     Read more
 
 
'Safety net' spread out for polygamists
By Ben Winslow
Deseret Morning News
Originally published Saturday, February 25, 2006

Utah's attorney general will hold a town hall meeting in Salt Lake City next month to discuss how to reach out to people inside and outside of polygamy.   The meeting is the latest in a series of forums that have evolved over the past two years, giving government insight into Utah's polygamous communities and soliciting public comment on how to solve some of the unique issues surrounding plural marriage.   The March 1 town hall meeting at the University of Utah is being organized in part by a special Safety Net Committee made up of polygamists, government officials and social service workers that has quietly worked to bring everyone to the same table to talk.   "I was there at the first summit in St. George, where (Attorney General) Mark Shurtleff met to talk about the polygamy problem," said Marlyne Hammon, who lives in the polygamous community of Centennial Park, Ariz.  "I thought, 'For crying out loud, they've got all these people coming in and they don't have any polygamists invited.' "     Read more
 
 
Utah to Remove Judge for Bigamy
The Associated Press
New York Times
Originally published February 26, 2006

SALT LAKE CITY, Feb. 25 (AP) — The Utah Supreme Court on Friday ordered that a small-town judge with three wives be removed from the bench.   The court unanimously agreed with the findings of the state's Judicial Conduct Commission, which recommended last year that the judge, Walter K. Steed, be removed for violating the state's bigamy law.   Judge Steed said he accepted the decision. "I had hoped that the court would see my case as an opportunity to correct the injustices that are caused by the criminalization of my religious beliefs and lifestyle, and I am disappointed the court did not reach those issues in my case," he said in a statement.     Read more
 
 
County battling financial giant
By Brian DiTullio
Today's News Herald - Havasu City
Originally published Monday, April 3, 2006

Two county officials dedicated to prosecuting polygamy in Colorado City explained some of the obstacles they face Monday night.   County Attorney Matt Smith and Special Investigator Gary Engles spoke at the London Bridge Republican Women dinner on Monday, telling the tale of a young girl who escaped Colorado City who still is being manipulated by forces from within the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.   Smith said it's been difficult getting indictments and moving trials forward as the church's fugitive leader, Warren Jeffs, still controls the church from his various hiding spots around the country.   "We're fighting a financial giant," said Smith.  "He has two to three million dollars a month coming in from his congregation.  He has more resources than we have."     Read more
 
 
Byers new chair of Mohave board
By Jim Seckler
Mohave Daily News
Originally published Monday, April 4, 2006

KINGMAN - Mohave County supervisors elected Dist. 1 Sup. Pete Byers of Kingman as the new chairman of the Board Monday.   Former chair Dist. 2 Supervisor Tom Sockwell of Bullhead City was also appointed vice-chair for 2006.  Byers served as the chair of the Board last year.   Unlike previous years, Dist. 3 Sup. Buster Johnson of Lake Havasu City did not object.   In other action, the Board appointed Larry Sinagoga to replace Noel Labonte on the planning and zoning commission for District 2, which includes Bullhead City, Mohave Valley and Golden Valley.   Sinagoga will fill Labonte's unexpired term on the commission until July 6, 2009.   Alex Cariaga of Fort Mojave, who ran against Sockwell in the last election, asked the Board where Sinagoga stood on applying impact fees on developers for new subdivisions.   Byers had to tell Cariaga several times to lower his voice or he would be removed from the meeting.   The Board also approved an agreement between the county and Bullhead City for $768,417 in flood control improvements.     Read more
 
 
New problems for fugitive polygamist prophet Warren Jeffs
Mike Watkiss
KTVK NewsChannel 3 - Phoenix
Originally broadcast April 6, 2006

This afternoon, the Washington County Attorney's Office in Utah is scheduled to hold a news conference focusing on fugitive polygamist leader Warren Jeffs.

Sources tell 3TV that additional charges will be filed against the 50-year-old leader of the polygamist sect known as the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Details will be updated as they become available.
 
 
JEFFS CHARGED
County joins filings
By Patrice St. Germain
The Spectrum
Originally published April 7, 2006

ST. GEORGE — Charges continue to pile up against Warren Jeffs, the self-proclaimed prophet of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which is based in the polygamist communities of Hildale and Colorado City, Ariz.   The Washington County Attorney's Office filed two counts of rape as an accomplice against Jeffs on Thursday and a 5th District Court slapped a $500,000 cash-only warrant on the fugitive who has been on the run since he was charged with two counts of sexual assault on a minor last June by the Mohave County Attorney's Office.   After he disappeared, the federal government charged Jeffs with one count of unlawful flight.   The charges led to the attorneys general of Utah and Arizona combining for a $10,000 reward for information leading to Jeffs' arrest.   The FBI has also offered a $50,000 reward for information leading to Jeffs' arrest and conviction.   Washington County Attorney Brock Belnap held a press conference Thursday afternoon to announce the latest charges that came on the heels of an investigation by the Washington County Sheriff's Office.     Read more
 
 
Office of Attorney General Terry Goddard
Press Release
AZAG.gov
Originally released April 7, 2006

 
 
Goddard Commends Washington County Attorney in Jeffs Case

(Phoenix, Ariz. - April 7, 2006) Attorney General Terry Goddard today commended Washington County Attorney Brock Belnap for filing new charges against Warren Jeffs, leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints in Colorado City, Ariz. The charges include two counts of first-degree felony rape as an accomplice.

"Mr. Belnap's actions reinforce the point that law enforcement officials in Arizona and Utah are serious about prosecuting abuse cases and other crimes committed in the Colorado City/Hildale area," Goddard said. "These charges are evidence that victims are slowly coming forward, and it is my hope this will encourage other victims from the area to come forward."

Jeffs remains a fugitive on the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Most Wanted List. A reward of $60,000 has been offered by the FBI and the Arizona and Utah Attorneys General for information leading to Jeffs' arrest and conviction.     Read more
 
 
Colorado City officials held as witnesses
By Patrice St. Germain
The Spectrum
Originally published April 12, 2006

COLORADO CITY - The assistant post master of the Hildale-Colorado City Post Office and a police officer with the Colorado City Marshal's office are being held as material witnesses following a court appearance on Friday.   Police officer Mica Barlow, 36, and postal employee James Allred, 58, are being held at a private prison facility in Florence, Ariz., said U.S. Deputy Marshal Ray Kondo of the Phoenix office.   "All I can say is the two came in on their own for court and now they are being held," Kondo said Tuesday afternoon.  Barlow has also been employed by the towns of Virgin and Springdale as a part-time police officer for several years.   Kurt Wright, police chief for both Virgin and Springdale, said Barlow has not been on duty for several weeks and didn't know about Barlow's incarceration.   "I have not spoken with Mica for several weeks now and at this point, can't make any further comment about the situation," Wright said.   Attempts to reach Colorado City Police Chief Fred Barlow and Mayor pro tem Terrill Johnson Tuesday night were unsuccessful.   Barlow did give a monthly report during the council meeting Monday night but did not mention that he was down an officer.     Read more
 
 
FBI Adds Warren Jeffs To Top Ten Most Wanted List
CBS Broadcasting
KUTV Channel 2
Originally published May 6, 2006

(KUTV) SALT LAKE CITY The FBI has placed polygamist church leader Warren Jeffs on its Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list, hoping the additional exposure and reward money leads to an arrest in the long-running investigation.   Jeffs is wanted in Arizona on criminal charges of sexual conduct with a minor.  He also was charged in Utah with rape as an accomplice.   He is accused of arranging marriages between underage girls and older men.   "We are doing everything we can to track him down," said Tim Fuhrman, special agent in charge of the FBI's Salt Lake City field office.   "We just made the determination that this is the next step that we can take as federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, to potentially result in the apprehension of Mr. Jeffs."   The FBI's announcement in a rare Saturday evening news conference coincided with Jeffs' case appearing on the television program "America's Most Wanted."  Although Jeffs, who is 6-foot-4 and 150-155 lbs, isn't considered armed, he believed to travel with armed bodyguards.     Read more
 
 
Police, prosecutors gather in Colorado City
Residents don't put out the red carpet as manhunt intensifies
By Ben Winslow
Deseret Morning News
Originally published Wednesday, May 10, 2006

As the nationwide manhunt for fugitive polygamist leader Warren Jeffs intensifies, police, prosecutors and other major players in the battle over the Fundamentalist LDS Church met Tuesday in the eye of the storm — the polygamist border town of Colorado City, Ariz.   Law enforcement officers described the atmosphere in the town as "tense."   "I sense that people are wound pretty tight right now," Washington County Sheriff Kirk Smith said.   Some people were seen leaving town as law enforcement arrived.   "People weren't exactly waiting for us with open arms in the front yard," Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard told the Deseret Morning News.  "There's an awful lot of fences that have been built."   Goddard said his staff tried to serve Arizona grand jury subpoenas (see related story) at City Hall and the town marshal's office and found no one there.   "In the middle of the week no one is in City Hall," he said.   "They were avoiding us."     Read more
 
 
Utah Court Upholds Anti-Polygamy Law
Oks Conviction Of Former Police Officer For Having Three Wives
By Jennifer Dobner
The Associated Press
CBS News
Originally published May 16, 2006

(CBS/AP) The Utah Supreme Court upheld the 2003 bigamy conviction of a former police officer Tuesday, ruling that the state law banning polygamy is not unconstitutional.   The court said that religious protections of the U.S. and Utah constitutions "do not shield (Rodney) Holm's polygamous practices from state prosecution."   Holm was convicted of felony bigamy and two counts of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, and had argued that the state's bigamy statute violated his right to practice his religion.   County prosecutors began an investigation after one of Holm's "spiritual" wives left the faith and sued him over the custody of their two children.  The woman said she married Holm in a 1988 religious ceremony when he was 32 and she was 16.  At the time, Holm already was legally married to the woman's sister and claimed another "spiritual wife."     Read more
 
 
Cops Confront Polygamists
e-Press
Tri-State News Network
Originally published May 26, 2006

COLORADO CITY, AZ - Mohave County Sheriff's deputies visited Colorado City yesterday morning, assisted by the county attorney's office and Coconino County Sheriff's deputies.  Sheriff spokesperson Trish Carter says officials served four warrants in the community simultaneously.   "It's just basically an ongoing investigation into sexual abuse cases within the community," said Carter.   Mohave County Sheriff Tom Sheehan said, "We are looking for specific evidence.  We are also serving subpoenas for upcoming court cases."   No arrests were made and all warrants were served without incident.
 
 
Can't get away from Utah, even in Hawaii
By Chris Hicks
Deseret Morning News
Originally published Friday, May 26, 2006

KAUAI, HAWAII — Vacations are for getting away from it all.  Am I right?   But a couple of weeks ago, as my wife and I were fortunate enough to spend a week in Kauai, we just couldn't seem to escape Utah.   Well, on TV anyway.   I'm not sure I grasped how wide a net is thrown out by our fair Beehive State until we returned to our condo each night after a long day of beach-hopping, flipped on the TV to wind down, and there was Utah.  Or at least some Utah connection.   The TV was all basic-cable channels, and not many of those.  If there had been a movie channel, say TCM, we would have just stayed there and not been surfing (channel, not beach).  But we went from channel to channel and wound up focusing pretty much on CNN.   And what did we see on CNN that first night?  Anderson Cooper (or is that Cooper Anderson?) talking about Warren Jeffs, polygamy, how the LDS Church stopped the practice more than 100 years ago, how the LDS Church excommunicates polygamists within its midst and how Jeffs' church and others like it are distant offshoots with no connection to the Mormons.   Cooper reported this while standing in front of Temple Square in Salt Lake City.  Live.     Read more
 
 
Investigators Raid Homes in Polygamous Enclave
By David Kelly
The Los Angeles Times
Originally published May 26, 2006

Arizona law-enforcement agents investigating charges of underage marriage and sexual abuse raided four houses simultaneously in Colorado City, Ariz., a polygamous enclave on the Arizona-Utah border.   Investigators, in the unusual show of force, seized box loads of records and personal belongings of members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who have been indicted on a variety of charges, including sexual conduct with a minor and conspiracy.   Eight men are expected to stand trial in July.   The synchronized raids by four separate teams of law officers came Thursday, in the wake of increased public attention to allegations of mistreatment of women and children by members of the religious sect.   A series of Los Angeles Times reports two weeks ago detailed more than 50 years of slow and ineffective response by law enforcement and other public-safety agencies in the face of widespread reports of abuse.   The FLDS, an offshoot of Mormonism, claims 10,000 members and is led by Warren Jeffs, a fugitive on the FBI's "Ten Most Wanted" list.  He is accused of rape, arranging underage marriages and unlawful flight to avoid prosecution.   The Colorado City raids were led by the Mohave County Sheriff's Department, which sent in 16 deputies armed with search warrants naming an undisclosed number of targets.   Law-enforcement officials Friday refused to detail what they sought in the warrants.  They were believed to be seeking evidence, including possible DNA samples, that could prove who fathered children with underage mothers.     Read more
 
 
Colorado City Mayor Arrested
KSL TV Channel 5
Originally broadcast May 26, 2006

(KSL News) -- The mayor of Colorado City, Arizona has bailed out of jail tonight.   Authorities say Terrill Johnson faces felony charges for lying on his application for a vehicle title and registration.   Sheriff's deputies had to cross state lines and arrest Johnson at a town hall meeting in Colorado City.   As Eyewitness News showed you last night, several law enforcement agencies are in the polygamous border towns to serve warrants for other court cases.     See photo
 
 
'HOPE' for those fleeing polygamy
By Ben Winslow
Deseret Morning News
Originally published Sunday, May 28, 2006

WASHINGTON, Washington County — When someone leaves the polygamous towns on the Utah-Arizona border, one of the first "outsiders" they encounter is Elaine Tyler.   She has become known as the woman you go to if you need a place to stay, some clothes, diapers for your kids or money to keep your power from getting shut off at the end of the month.   "I didn't have a vehicle and she was running me around, taking me to the WIC office and the welfare division and taking me around trying to get me everything that I needed," said Ailene Runs Through, who left the polygamous community of Centennial Park, Ariz.  "They helped me so much, I don't know if I can repay them."   Tyler runs The HOPE Organization, a nonprofit, ragtag group of volunteers who help people leaving polygamy.  In the last few years, Tyler estimates the group has provided help for dozens of women, children and the so-called "Lost Boys" who have either fled or been kicked out of the polygamous communities of Hildale and Colorado City.   From a tiny office just outside the St. George city limits, she gathers resources together to help them survive in the outside world.   "We try to just cover their basic needs," Tyler said.  "They're coming out with nothing.  The Lost Boys are living out of cars.  They need housing, and once they get into an apartment, they need the furnishings.  They need the pots and pans, they need beds, they need sheets, they need towels.  Right now they need a clothes dryer."     Read more
 
 
Consistent enforcement key
Opinion
The Spectrum
Originally published June 5, 2006

The recent arrest of acting Colorado City mayor, Terrill Johnson, 57, charged with eight counts of false evidences of title and registration adds to the list of unlawful dissidence in the bi-state polygamous communities of Utah and Arizona.   Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints members answered a call from the pulpit in August 2000 by Warren Jeffs, a counselor in the first presidency of the church at the time, to withdraw from public schools after the Washington County School Board voted to close Phelps Elementary because of lack of enrollment.  Investors leased the school with an option to buy at the end of 10 years at the sale price of $1 million and created the seventh private school within the Colorado City Unified School District boundaries.   Since then, the state of Arizona has taken over the school district after teachers went months without pay, and allegations of financial mismanagement surfaced.  Police raided district offices and seized computers, records and files.  A grand-jury investigation revealed last month that subpoenas on four FLDS-linked companies in Utah - Valley Transportation, Valley Truss, Steeds Inc. and the Corporation of the Presiding Bishop of the FLDS Church - and the church's former lawyer were ordered to supply records pertaining to Jeffrey P. Jessop, the former financial director of the school district.     Read more
 
 
FBI chief rallies local agents
By Ben Winslow
Deseret Morning News
Originally published Thursday, June 8, 2006

FBI Director Robert Mueller, meeting with agents in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, vowed to capture fugitive polygamist leader Warren Jeffs, who is on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list.   "My expectation is we will catch him.  He is a fugitive and an important fugitive.  That's why he's on the Ten Most Wanted list," Mueller said.   Mueller was in Salt Lake City as part of a nationwide tour of FBI field offices.  After delivering a pep talk to FBI agents in Utah, Mueller met with reporters for about 13 minutes on a variety of topics:

Warren Jeffs

Mueller said his visit included a briefing on the nationwide manhunt for the fugitive Fundamentalist LDS Church leader.   The FBI director said they were using a number of resources to find Jeffs.  He defended placing the fugitive polygamist on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list, among criminals like terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden.   "This is a person that preys on children," Mueller said.  "I would expect that most of the American public would view a person such as this as a person that belongs behind bars."   Jeffs, 50, is charged in Utah and Arizona with sex crimes accusing him of forcing teenage girls into polygamous marriages with older men.  Federal prosecutors have charged him with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution.  A $100,000 bounty is being offered for information leading to Jeffs' arrest.     Read more
 
 
'Primer' details intricacies of polygamist life
By Ben Winslow
Deseret Morning News
Originally published Sunday, June 11, 2006

Boyd Madsen was handling a case involving the Kingston polygamous group when a family member handed him a stack of papers titled "The Primer."   The Division of Child and Family Services caseworker said the Kingston family member wanted him to read it.   "They wanted us to know the terminology they use and understand there are different groups," he said.   "They're not all one homogenous group.  Every family is different.  Even in the groups."  It certainly has been educational for Madsen.  "The Primer — Helping Victims of Domestic Violence and Child Abuse in Polygamous Communities" is a 56-page guide to the plural communities within Utah and surrounding states.  On Thursday, the Utah Attorney General's Office released an updated version.   "We want to keep it current, because we want law enforcement officers and social workers to have the most recent information about some of the changes going on in the different groups," said Paul Murphy, a spokesman for Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff.   "The Primer" has been updated to include the latest developments within the Fundamentalist LDS Church, based in the polygamous border towns of Hildale and Colorado City.  It includes the criminal charges filed against fugitive FLDS leader Warren Jeffs, his status as an FBI Ten Most Wanted fugitive and a Utah judge's takeover of the United Effort Plan Trust, which controls homes, businesses and property in the communities.     Read more
 
 
Glossary of polygamy
Deseret Morning News
Originally published Sunday, June 11, 2006

Some of the words and terms featured in the glossary of "The Primer," published by the Utah and Arizona attorneys general.
  • clan: The general public sometimes uses this term for different fundamentalist groups or communities. Some fundamentalists consider this an offensive term and say care providers should avoid using it.

  • committed relationship: Polygamous relationships (not legal marriages) that a man has with the mothers of his children.

  • gentile: Anyone who does not have the priesthood or is not a member of the various fundamentalist groups. Some also refer to them as "outsiders."

  • keep sweet: An admonition to be compliant and pleasant despite the circumstances.
    Read more
 
 
Two Village Voice Media Papers Earn Casey Medals
Association of Alternative Newsweeklies
Originally published June 13, 2006

John Dougherty's "Polygamy in Arizona" investigation for Phoenix New Times won first place in the Nondaily Newspaper category of the 2006 Casey Medals for Meritorious Journalism, it was announced today.  The awards honor distinguished coverage of disadvantaged children and families.  The judges wrote that Dougherty's series "was a tough story to get and the New Times should be applauded for stepping in where authorities failed to go."  An honorable mention was given to Jonathan Kaminsky of East Bay Express for "Wounded Warriors," which the judges called "an insightful, unflinching look at a football team in a bleak neighborhood."
 
 
SIGNS OFFER HELP BEYOND BELIEFS
News Release
Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff
Originally published June 16, 2006

For Immediate Release
February 24, 2006
Contact
Paul Murphy:
Utah Attorney General's Office:
(801) 538-1892
pmurphy@utah.gov

A new billboard campaign aims to help victims of domestic violence from polygamous communities-but the message will reach people from every walk of life. The highway signs let people know that "When It Hurts At Home" they can call 1-800-897-LINK, the Domestic Violence Link Line, for free, confidential, 24-hour help.

Reagan Outdoor Advertising donated 4 billboards in St. George, Cedar City, Parowan and Mount Carmel and offered to put up more signs. The Attorney General's Office planned to put up signs with money from the Safe Passage Grant, part of the federal grant provides funds for a public awareness campaign for domestic violence victims from plural families. However, a single sign in the St. George area would have wiped out most of the public awareness budget.     Read more
 
 
New Billboards Target Polygamy Abuses
The Associated Press
KUTV Channel 2
Originally published June 17, 2006

HILDALE/COLORADO CITY Four billboards were posted in towns near the southern Utah polygamist community of Hildale on Friday, aimed at getting information about domestic violence to residents who may not know how to get help.   The billboards were donated by Reagan Outdoor Advertising and posted in St. George, Cedar City, Parowan and Mount Carmel, said Paul Murphy, spokesman for Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff.  All are within an hour's drive of Hildale and Colorado City, Ariz., where most members of the polygamist Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints make their homes.   "The thought was that the polygamist communities have been underserved when it comes to information about domestic violence," Murphy said.  "We don't know if there is more domestic violence in those communities, but we know that they have less access when it comes to education."     Read more
 
 
Evictions go to FLDS duo
Notices served to councilman and to suspected Jeffs confidant
By Ben Winslow
Deseret Morning News
Originally published Saturday, June 17, 2006

Two high-profile members of the Fundamentalist LDS Church have been handed eviction notices telling them to pay up taxes or move out.   The eviction notices were served on Colorado City, Ariz., Town Councilman William Shapley and former United Effort Plan (UEP) Trustee James Zitting, who is rumored to be part of fugitive FLDS Church leader Warren Jeffs' inner circle.   "I don't know if this is some kind of a test to see how serious I am about the issues," Bruce Wisan, the court-appointed special fiduciary of the UEP Trust said Friday.  "I don't know if they just don't have the money or don't want to pay.  But in order to keep the momentum of the property tax payments going and to maintain credibility, I'm certainly going to evict."   The two men have five days to respond to the eviction notices or face court action kicking them out of their large-scale Colorado City homes.     Read more
 
 
FLDS not sole focus of probes
By Ben Winslow
Deseret Morning News
Originally published Sunday, June 25, 2006

Fugitive polygamist leader Warren Jeffs and the Fundamentalist LDS Church are not the sole focus of Utah's criminal investigations into polygamy.   In an interview with the Deseret Morning News, Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff put other polygamous sects in the state on notice that they remain under a cloud of suspicion of abuse, fraud, child-bride marriages and other crimes.   "In case anybody wondered," he said, "we're clearly following up on investigations and leads of every other group that we've had allegations of (perpetuating) these crimes that we're focusing on."   Shurtleff declined to say whom he is investigating or if charges are pending.  Sources tell the Deseret Morning News that a number of current and ex-members of different polygamous groups in Utah have been meeting with investigators and providing them with information.     Read more
 
 
Carry on courageous fight against polygamous cult
Opinion
The Arizona Republic
Originally published June 29, 2006

It's not surprising that Mohave County prosecutors are having trouble rounding up witnesses to testify against men accused of sex crimes against underage girls.   The decades-old polygamous cult clinging to Arizona's northern border has made secrecy a tenet of faith.   Getting cult members to testify against one another amounts to getting true believers to rat on the prophet, Warren Jeffs.  This fugitive cult leader is on the FBI's most-wanted list for coercing young girls to become the plural trophy wives of his chosen followers, but his followers remain faithful.   To accommodate polygamous relationships, young boys are driven out of the community.  Like the child brides who have escaped, these "lost boys" tell of an abusive society built on fear of the outside world.   Those who attempt to rock that perverse society - Mohave County Attorney Matt Smith, for one, and Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard, for another - deserve thanks from a state that, regrettably, has been a longtime haven for the largest polygamous community in the country.   Actually, Arizona shares that dishonor with Utah.     Read more
 
 
Kudos Galore
Letters From the Issue of Thursday, July 6, 2006
Phoenix New Times

Highest regards: I just wanted to write in and congratulate John Dougherty and New Times for finally getting a smattering of the recognition that he and it deserve for the eye-popping polygamy coverage the paper has published over the past three or four years ("Dougherty Honored" with the Casey Medal, June 22).

Without it, Warren Jeffs, the religion's criminal prophet, would not be on the FBI's Most Wanted List, and none of the rapists of little girls would be indicted and standing trial.

That it took law enforcement so long to do anything about this heinous problem — and still the surface has only been scratched — is almost unbelievable. The practice of turning the other way for so long by Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano and Attorney General Terry Goddard is criminal. I don't know how they can sleep at night.

If not for John, this would still be a terrible little secret that mainstream Mormons could keep hidden.     Read more
 
 
Siege was not all for naught
Opinion
The Spectrum
Originally published July 6, 2006

Though law enforcement didn't find fugitive polygamist leader Warren Jeffs, president of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and one of the FBI's Ten Most Wanted, it did follow through effectively on a tip he was seen entering a home in Cedar City on Friday.   A SWAT team was immediately deployed, a judge issued a search warrant and the FBI was contacted.   The situation didn't result in Jeffs' capture but it did precipitate useful experience for the next time a credible tip is received.  The effort was not completely meaningless for officers from Cedar City, Enoch and the Iron County Sheriff's Office that worked together as they arrived at the Pachea Trail home in the Black Rock subdivision.  They talked with residents, executed a temporary evacuation of neighboring homes and conducted perimeter searches of the area, including the inside of the home and a vehicle.   A man and woman police first encountered upon the scene, two or three more women, and as many as seven children were found inside the home.  While there was no evidence that Jeffs had ever been to the home, there was enough evidence to connect the household to Jeffs.     Read more
 
 
Arizona polygamist convicted of sex crimes
By Ben Winslow
Deseret Morning News
Originally published Saturday, July 8, 2006

A jury in Kingman, Ariz., has convicted a polygamist man on a pair of sex-crimes charges.   Kelly Fischer was found guilty on charges of sex with a minor and conspiracy to commit sex with a minor, the Mohave County Attorney's Office said Friday.  The 38-year-old Colorado City, Ariz., man is accused of marrying an underage girl in a polygamous union arranged by fugitive FLDS Church leader Warren Jeffs.   With no victims or other witnesses coming forward, Mohave County Attorney Matt Smith used birth certificates and ex-FLDS members' testimonies to make his case.  Fischer faces up to two years in prison when he is sentenced next month.  He is one of eight men scheduled to face trial on these charges.  Dale Barlow, 48, is scheduled to face trial on August 8.   In other developments involving the FLDS Church, 10 men from the polygamous border towns of Hildale and Colorado City — who couldn't be found to be served subpoenas — unexpectedly responded in court Friday.   Three lawyers representing the 10 men showed up in St. George's 5th District Court to receive the subpoenas, which demand documents related to an Arizona investigation into the troubled Colorado City Unified School District.     Read more
 
 
Fischer guilty
Colorado City man convicted for sex crimes
By Aibing Guo
Kingman Daily Miner
Originally published July 9, 2006

KINGMAN ­ An eight-member jury unanimously agreed on Friday that Kelly Fischer is guilty on both charges of sexual conduct with a minor and conspiracy to commit sexual conduct with a minor.  Fischer is the first convicted of eight Colorado City men charged with similar crimes.   Following closing arguments by both attorneys Friday morning, Mohave County Superior Court Judge Steven Conn sent the jury to deliberate at 1:05 p.m.   The jury received 13 pages of instructions and copies of evidence.   Shortly before 2:30 p.m., jury members concluded that Fischer was guilty on both charges.   Asked by Conn to reconfirm their decisions in the courtroom one by one, all of them said "yes" to the decision they had just made.   Terry Head, a long-time Kingman resident and a member of the jury, said after the trial that the jury meeting went smoothly, and fierce discussion rarely happened.   "The fact is more than clear in the first charge.  I think we wasted no time to reach a conclusion on that," Head said.  For him, the only concern has been whether the crime happened in the state of Arizona.  After reading court instructions, he realized the crime did not have to happen in Arizona for Fisher to be considered guilty.     Read more
 
 
New film by ex-wife takes aim at FLDS
By Ben Winslow
Deseret Morning News
Originally published Sunday, August 27, 2006

As a former polygamist wife, Laurie Allen said it gave her common ground with the people she was filming for her documentary on the Fundamentalist LDS Church in Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz.  "My family's homestead is three miles away.  I went to school in Colorado City for two months when I was in the second grade," she said.  Allen grew up in the notorious LeBaron polygamous sect.  Her great-uncle Ervil LeBaron ordered a series of murders from prison, where he served a life sentence for killing a rival polygamist leader.  She said she is a cousin of Jacqueline Tarsa LeBaron, who was recently added to the FBI's Most Wanted list in connection with a series of murders in 1988.  In an interview with the Deseret Morning News, Allen said she became a plural wife, and after 18 years finally left.  Attending college, she enrolled in film school.  For a project, she began a documentary on polygamy and the FLDS Church.  "Something needs to be done about these fundamentalist polygamous cults.  It's not about religion, it's not about polygamy, it's about the denigrating of women and mind control," she said.     Read more
 
 
Polygamy 'prophet' in custody
The Age - Melbourne, Australia
Originally published August 30, 2006

Fugitive polygamist sect leader Warren Steed Jeffs, one of the FBI's 10 most wanted men, has been arrested with $50,000 in cash, 15 cell phones and three wigs after a routine traffic stop near Las Vegas, authorities said today.  Jeffs, 50, considered a prophet by his estimated 10,000 followers, was jailed on warrants accusing him of sexual assault and other misconduct on minors in Arizona, and as an accomplice to rape in Utah, the FBI and state law enforcement officials said.  "Now he's going to be held accountable," Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff said of Jeffs' arrest.  "Nobody is above the law."  Jeffs, feared as a tyrant by many former members of his sect, is accused of arranging marriages between older men and underage girls in a community that is closed to outsiders.  Young men and boys are often forced out to ensure a supply of young brides for male elders.  The sect, long based in an enclave on the twin border towns of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Arizona, split from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when the mainstream Mormon Church banned polygamy more than a century ago.  Jeffs' group is believed to be one of the largest polygamist communities in the United States.  A joint Utah-Arizona attorneys general report has estimated that 20,000 to 40,000 Americans still engage in the outlawed practice of plural marriage.     Read more
 
 
Matt Smith has made great strides
By Barbara Gruhl
Kingman Daily Miner
Originally published September 5, 2006

Congratulations to Matt Smith, Mohave County Attorney.  Thanks to his dedication and drive, Mohave County has its first conviction of child-bigamy, and Warren Jeffs, Colorado City polygamist leader, is in jail.  In June, 2004, I sat down with Matt Smith in his office; it was his first full year as Mohave County Attorney.  Things were heating up again in Colorado City, and I wanted to talk to him about his plans for that closed FLDS polygamous community.  Would he take them on when his predecessors would not?  Over a cup of coffee, I questioned and listened as he patiently explained the Colorado City situation.  My questions were mainly about child abuse and welfare fraud, and how can we open up this closed society?  We also talked about our own daughters, and that we cannot allow anyone's daughter to be abused by unlawful patriarchal religious practices.  We just can't!  I asked about the alleged welfare fraud by the FLDS society and learned that it is under the jurisdiction of the Attorney General.  I've been given an estimate by others that welfare fraud likely costs Mohave County six or eight million dollars worth of food stamps and health services each year.  For those who say, "leave the poor people alone," share that bit of information.  This polygamist culture of the FLDS church in Colorado City is a step back in time.  Females have no voice and are taught at an early age to do as they are told.  They do not talk to people outside of the group, which is the reason the group continues to exist.  How can you know that you are a victim when you know no other way of life?  Matt Smith knew then as he knows now that it will be a long, slow slog to change this 200-year-old culture.  I asked, "How do we begin?" Matt Smith told me that we begin by enforcing the law.     Read more
 
 
Sen. Reid asks for polygamy task force
The Associated Press
Houston Chronicle
Originally published September 12, 2006

CARSON CITY, Nev. — The U.S. Senate's top Democrat called Tuesday for a federal investigation into the activities of polygamists in Western states.  Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada said in a letter to U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales that a task force should be formed to look into interstate activities of polygamists.  He also asked the Justice Department to help state prosecutors dealing with polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs.  "For too long, this outrageous activity has been disguised in the mask of religious freedom," Reid said.  "But child abuse and human servitude have nothing to do with religious freedom and must not be tolerated."  Reid, a Mormon, added that Jeffs is part of a sect that broke away from the Mormon Church more than a century ago and has been disavowed by leaders and mainstream members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  A reporter's call to the Justice Department's after-hours command center was transferred to the department's press office, where there was no answer.     Read more
 
 
U.S. Senator Harry Reid's letter to U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales

September 12, 2006

The Honorable Alberto Gonzales
Attorney General
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20530-0001

Dear Judge Gonzales:

I write to urge that the Department of Justice provide all necessary assistance to state prosecutors in the case of polygamist sect leader Warren Steed Jeffs. More generally, the federal government should work with state officials to address the broader pattern of serious criminal conduct by all those who use multiple marriages to abuse women and children.

As you know, Jeffs was recently apprehended by Nevada state troopers and has been extradited to Utah, where he faces rape accomplice charges for arranging the marriage of a teenage girl to an older man in Nevada. Jeffs is also under indictment in Arizona for sexual assault on a minor and conspiracy to commit sexual conduct with a minor. The charges in both states involve an ongoing course of conduct in which Jeffs arranged marriages between teenage girls and older, married men. Jeffs himself is said to have at least 40 wives and dozens of children.     Read more
 
 
Polygamy in West requires inquiry, Nevadan says
Reid urges creation of federal task force
By Tina Reed
Stephens Washington Bureau
Las Vegas Review-Journal
Originally published September 13, 2006

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., on Tuesday urged creation of a federal task force to investigate polygamy in the Western states, a practice he equated to "child abuse and human servitude."  Reid called on Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to be prepared to press charges against polygamist Warren Jeffs if he escapes conviction on charges pending in Utah and Arizona.  "There is a substantial federal interest in preventing the systematic child abuse involved in this modern-day polygamy movement," Reid, a member of the Mormon church, said in a letter sent to Gonzales.  Reid said the fundamentalist sect led by Jeffs had been disavowed by the leadership of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its members.  "For too long, this outrageous activity has been masked in the guise of religious freedom.  But child abuse and human servitude have nothing to do with religious freedom and must not be tolerated," Reid said.  Reid's request followed the arrest of Jeffs just outside of Las Vegas more than two weeks ago.     Read more
 
 
Reid's Polygamy Investigation Request Redundant
By Julie Rose
KCPW
Utah Policy Daily
Originally broadcast September 14, 2006

(KCPW News) Nevada Senator Harry Reid is asking the U.S. Attorney General to investigate polygamy in the Western States.  And while that's a nice idea, Utah Deputy Attorney General Kirk Torgensen says Reid's a bit late to the party:   "I applaud Senator Reid's bringing focus to this and making the inquiry," says Torgensen.  "Obviously the more resources the better.  But in Utah, we have already been working with the federal agencies - the FBI, the U.S. Attorney's office - and that's been working well."  In fact, Torgensen says it was local FBI agents who helped get polygamous sect leader Warren Jeffs on the 10 Most Wanted List, resulting in his recent capture. In a letter to U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, Reid asks for a task force to look into interstate activities of polygamists.   Torgensen says it would be more helpful to enlist support from the Internal Revenue Service dealing with federal income tax issues in polygamist communities.
 
 
Matheson Joins Call for Polygamy Crackdown
KSL NewsRadio 1160
Originally broadcast September 14, 2006

(KSL News) -- A Utah Congressman is joining in the call for the federal government to become more involved in prosecuting polygamy. Representative Jim Matheson has released a statement saying he supports federal intervention because "crimes against children cannot be tolerated."  This comes on the heels of a letter from Nevada Senator Harry Reid to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, asking for a special federal probe into polygamy.  Other Utah Congressmen and Senators have said they have faith in state government to take on the issue.
 
 
Polygamy needs federal probe
Opinion
The Spectrum
Originally published October 4, 2006

I escaped polygamy 20 years ago and now help others who want to escape and have been working with the states of Utah and Arizona for seven years trying to obtain services for victims of polygamy.  Utah and Arizona were brought kicking and screaming into this issue by activists determined to protect children.  State and local officials have for 50 years shown a pattern and practice of indifference, incompetence and outright collusion with polygamist criminal leadership.  It is the victims whose complaints were ignored for decades.  Since 1953 the states consistently returned young girls running from rape - euphemistically called celestial marriage - to their abusers.  Only recently activists succeeded in gathering enough pressure to shine a spotlight on the corruption between polygamist leaders resulting in a lackluster effort by law enforcement.  State officials are trying to reason why 58 unmarked child graves and a death rate of more than 50 percent of children is not obscene inside Jeffs' compound ...  Given the honed criminal practices in this cult, Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., is absolutely correct in his assessment: "For too long, this outrageous activity has been masked in the guise of religious freedom.  But child abuse and human servitude have nothing to do with religious freedom and must not be tolerated."  It is the victim/survivors who have spent "years of painstaking perseverance and unprecedented patience" with the states of Utah and Arizona documenting and reporting crime after crime to no avail.  Still the children remain unprotected.     Read more
 
 
Jessop right about authority's blind eyes
Opinion
The Spectrum
Originally published October 5, 2006

Flora Jessop is correct in her guest editorial printed Wednesday. Over the last few years, Hildale/Colorado Police blocked any attempts to investigate polygamy. Child abuse has gone on with the local authorities blind eyes. That includes local judges, elected officials in the states of Utah and Arizona. But is also trickles down to the long-time residents.

A few years ago well-meaning people would get into their cars to trek to Mesquite to picket a building of a pornography shop. They were successful in stopping that venture. However, where are the same car loads of locals not protesting the breaking of laws and abuse of children in the existing atmosphere in these two states?

Warren Jeffs is just the tip of the ice berg. Until the citizens load up their backbones to protest the ongoing, long-time law breaking white slavery of polygamy, Jeffs will just hire high powered lawyers to get him off.

What a rotten shame.

James C. Anderson
St. George
 
 
Polygamy crimes are prosecuted
Opinion
The Spectrum
Originally published October 8, 2006

Let me begin by acknowledging Flora Jessop for sounding the alarm about the need for help for some people living in polygamous communities.  She was one of the first to speak out and reach out to some of the victims who did not know where to turn for assistance.  But in her zeal she is now demonizing the people she says she wants to help and ridiculing any effort to help besides her own.  In her Wednesday editorial to The Spectrum, Jessop claims that Utah and Arizona are not willing to prosecute cases involving victims from polygamous communities.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.  Prosecutors have and will continue to prosecute crimes within these communities like anywhere else.  However, we can't bend the laws, change rules or alter the justice system because the perpetrators happen to be polygamists.  No matter what they believe or where they live, victims of crime can be assured they will be heard and helped.  Perpetrators can also be guaranteed that they will be investigated and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.     Read more
 
 
FLDS fiduciary asks for Jeffs' help
By Ben Winslow
Deseret Morning News
Originally published Saturday, October 21, 2006

The man appointed by the courts to oversee the Fundamentalist LDS Church's financial arm is reaching out to captured polygamist leader Warren Jeffs.  He's asking for Jeffs' help in getting FLDS followers to pay property taxes.  Court-appointed special fiduciary Bruce Wisan confirmed to the Deseret Morning News he has sent letters to Warren Jeffs at the Purgatory Jail in Hurricane, as well as other top FLDS leaders.  The letters ask not to repeat the painstaking process of going door-to-door to collect property taxes in the border towns of Hildale, Utah and Colorado City, Ariz.  "If Warren says 'pay property taxes,' they'll pay their property taxes," Wisan said Friday.  "That would make my life simpler."  Wisan told the Deseret Morning News he was planning to send another letter to Jeffs, who had issed an edict telling FLDS followers to "answer them nothing."  In 2005, a judge took control of the $110 million United Effort Plan Trust, which controls homes, businesses and property within FLDS enclaves, amid allegations that Jeffs and other top church leaders were fleecing it.  Jeffs, 50, is facing criminal charges accusing him of arranging a child bride marriage between a teenage girl and an older man, now reported to be her first cousin.  Jeffs faces a preliminary hearing Nov. 21 in St. George's 5th District Court on charges of rape as an accomplice, a first-degree felony.     Read more
 
 
'Polygamy czar' quits to take crime lab helm
He's second to hold title since job was created in 2000
By Ben Winslow
Deseret Morning News
Originally published Thursday, November 2, 2006

His official job title is "investigator of crimes within closed societies" for the Utah Attorney General's Office.   In polygamous circles, he is known as "the polygamy czar."  Jim Hill told the Deseret Morning News he has resigned from the czar's job to manage the crime lab and evidence room for the Salt Lake City Police Department.  "The opportunity presented itself," Hill said.  He previously worked for Salt Lake City police for more than 26 years before going to the Utah Attorney General's Office.  Hill is the second person to take the polygamy investigator's position since it was created in 2000.  Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff said the investigator would look at crimes being committed within closed societies, including tax evasion, welfare fraud, child abuse, sex abuse, domestic violence and other crimes.  Ron Barton, the first investigator, left in 2004.  He was instrumental in building criminal cases against polygamists, most notably the convictions of Tom Green and Rodney Holm.  Barton was often criticized and called a "nuisance" by many polygamists and pro-polygamy activists.  Hill has been more quiet, but anti-polygamy activists insisted he has been equally effective.     Read more
 
 
Safety Net Committee is far from secure
By Vicky Prunty and John Llewellyn
Opinion
The Spectrum
Originally published November 7, 2006

Of the 500 victims the Safety Net Committee has allegedly helped — how many incidents of abuse constituted a crime?  And if crimes were committed, how many perpetrators were prosecuted?  Of the 500 victims helped, how many women and children actually left the polygamist environment where they were abused?  And how many victims that were helped returned to the abusive environment, either of their own volition (religious reasons) or because they had no other alternative?  Five hundred victims are a lot, which conveys a strong indication that there are serious problems within the polygamist subculture.  The Safety Net statistics do not identify these problems or whether measures were taken to correct these problems.  One can't help wonder, is the program analogous to giving a battered wife medical attention, and then sending her back to her husband?  Unless the circumstances resulting in abuse are corrected, the Safety Net program can expect a perpetual supply of victims, which means the necessity of yearly renewing the Safe Passage Grant.  Perhaps, a plus for many Utah salaried service providers. We believe the taxpayers who are footing the bill for the Safety Net Committee are entitled to know the nature of the abuse.  With no arrests being made the abuse is probably categorized as "domestic violence," which could involve several types of trauma — physical violence, neglect, non support, emotional and psychological coercion, (pernicious mind control) which are the common types of abuse endemic to the Mormon polygamist subculture (Not to mention child molestation.)     Read more
 
 
New trial dates set for Colorado City men
By Jim Seckler
Mohave Daily News
Originally published Wednesday, November 15, 2006

KINGMAN - New trial dates have been set for four remaining Colorado City polygamists charged with having sex with under age girls.  The eight defendants are members of a polygamist sect in Colorado City and Hiltop, Utah.  The cases against four have been settled with trials now set for the four remaining defendants.  Vergel Bryce Jessop, 46, is charged with one count of sexual conduct with a minor and conspiracy to commit sexual conduct with a minor.  His jury trial is set for Dec. 5.  Dale Evans Barlow's jury trial is set to begin Dec. 19.  Barlow, 48, is charged with one count of sexual conduct with a minor and one count of conspiracy to commit sexual conduct with a minor.  Randolph Barlow's bench trial before Superior Court Judge Steven Conn is set for Jan. 3.  Barlow, 33, is charged with two counts of sexual conduct with a minor.  Rodney Holm, 40, a former Colorado City police officer, is charged with three counts of sexual conduct with a minor.  His jury trial is set for Jan. 17.  Kelly Fischer, 39, was the first codefendant to be tried and convicted of one count of sexual conduct with a minor and one count of conspiracy to commit sexual conduct with a minor.  He was sentenced to probation and 45 days in county jail.     Read more
 
 
Utah's Top 10 News Stories
The Associated Press
KUTV Channel 2
Originally published December 22, 2006

SALT LAKE CITY Utah's top headlines drew attention around the world in 2006, from the return of fugitive polygamist leader Warren Jeffs to face criminal charges involving an arranged monogamous marriage and the surgical separation of the exuberant conjoined 4-year-old Herrin twins to the Salt Lake City visit of then-President Vicente Fox of Mexico.

Each year, The Associated Press and its Utah member news organizations vote on the state's top 10 stories. In 2006, they were rated as follows:

1. Utah polygamy goes very public in a big way: From the arrest of a shorts-clad Warren Jeffs during a traffic stop just north of Las Vegas to the much-discussed debut of the HBO series "Big Love" and the summertime polygamist rally in downtown Salt Lake City, the practice of plural marriage attracted coast-to-coast attention in 2006.

2. (tie) Tens of thousands of immigrants and their supporters marched for immigration rights in downtown Salt Lake City in April. The huge turnout stunned even organizers. Many were seeking federal legislation that would help an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants settle in the U.S. legally.

And, 5-year-old Destiny Norton vanished from a Salt Lake City neighborhood in July. After an intensive eight-day search, her body was found in a plastic storage container in a neighbor's cellar. In December, Craig Gregerson, 20, pleaded guilty to aggravated murder and was immediately sentenced to life in prison without parole.     Read more
 
 
2 deputies in FLDS, Jeffs case honored
Deseret Morning News
Originally published Tuesday, December 26, 2006

HURRICANE — Two deputies assigned to cases involving polygamist leader Warren Jeffs and the Fundamentalist LDS Church are among eight being honored by the Washington County Sheriff's Office for outstanding service.  Sgt. Shauna Jones, who helped bring the case against Jeffs to prosecutors, was honored with the sheriff's 2006 Patrol Supervisor of the Year.  "I try and work hard and it's nice to be recognized," she said in a statement Friday.  "I just try and help a lot of people."  Deputy Matt Fisher was recognized as Patrol Deputy of the Year.  He has been assigned to patrol the polygamous border community of Hildale.  The others recognized with various department awards include deputies Ariel Lopez for saving a co-worker from choking on a piece of food; Royce Boling and Sgt. Kenny Smith in corrections; Trevor Benson with the SWAT team; and Michelle Dillenbeck and Jake Swingler, who are civilian staff members.
 
 
Out of the shadows, the Big Love women who want the right to share a husband
Mormon wives are coming forward for the first time to defend their plural marriages and help to root out the abuse of young girls
By Catherine Philp in Salt Lake City, Utah
The London Times
Originally published December 30, 2006

Dressed in her sharp pinstripe suit, her dark brown hair elegantly coiffed, Vicky looks every inch the archetypal young working woman after a day at the office.  But there are things she does not talk about at work.  Things such as the house she grew up in with her 39 brothers and sisters.  Things such as the 21 children, six of them her own, who run around the house she lives in now. Things such as the two other "sisterwives," one of them her blood sister, with whom she she shares her husband, taking turns to spend the night with him in strict rotation.  "It's not a thing we generally publicise," she says shyly.  Now, however, Vicky is going public, although she declines to use her last name.  As high-profile cases of child sex abuse among secretive cults unsettle and anger the larger polygamist community, women like Vicky are stepping forward to lobby in defence of a woman's right to be a plural wife without fear of prosecution.  "We live good and decent lives," she said.  Going public on polygamy has long been a risky business in Utah, where an estimated 40,000 polygamists live below the legal radar.  For the past 50 years Utah has had a strict "don't ask, don't tell" policy towards the practice, a felony punishable by up to five years in jail.  The policy was prompted by a raid in 1953 on a polygamist community that ended with hundreds of children taken into care and parents jailed, causing a public relations disaster.     Read more
 
 
TOP 10 STORIES 2006:
General election, Augustine death, corruption trial head list
By Lisa Kim Bach
Las Vegas Review-Journal
Originally published December 31, 2006

  1. Take one cocktail waitress. Add a gubernatorial candidate. Splash with a generous jigger of the alcohol of choice. Combine with legal spin from masters of the game and you have the recipe for one of Nevada's headiest elections ever. Jim Gibbons' quest to be governor looked like it could be derailed by Chrissy Mazzeo's allegations that he assaulted her, but Gibbons hung on to beat Dina Titus. The elections also saw Nevadans enact a smoking ban, the end of Lynette Boggs McDonald's career on the Clark County Commission, a slew of Democrats in constitutional offices, and a new sheriff in town.

  2. In the midst of staging a political comeback, Kathy Augustine, the first impeached elected official in Nevada history, became a homicide case. The suspect: her fourth husband, Chaz Higgs.

  3. Politics and corruption go together like meat and potatoes in Nevada. Case in point: Former Clark County Commissioners Dario Herrera and Mary Kincaid-Chauncey, who were forced to pay the price for supplementing their official intake with greenbacks from a former strip club owner.
    Read more
 
 
Top 10 stories for 2006:
Destiny, Jeffs top lists of readers, editors
By Doug Smeath
Deseret Morning News
Originally published Sunday, December 31, 2006

Polygamy, a murdered child and political controversy dominated the headlines in Utah — and made waves nationally — in 2006.  Nine editors at the Deseret Morning News have selected the year's 10 biggest stories, and at the top of the list was the arrest in Las Vegas of Fundamentalist LDS Church leader Warren Jeffs.  Jeffs was arrested in August, after several months on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list.  He faces charges of rape as an accomplice and is accused of arranging child-bride marriages for members of his polygamist church.  The story brought national and international attention to Utah, as polygamy stories here often do.  In fact, the editors' top three picks were covered not only by local media but by reporters across the nation.  The editors' second choice was the July murder of 5-year-old Destiny Norton by Craig Gregerson, a neighbor who has pleaded guilty to killing her and then sexually assaulting her body in his basement.     Read more
 
 
Utah attorney general responds to polygamist's U.S. Supreme Court appeal
By Jennifer Dobner
The Associated Press
North County Times - Escondido, CA
Originally published Friday, January 12, 2007

SALT LAKE CITY -- The U.S. Supreme Court should reject a Utah polygamist's petition to appeal his bigamy conviction because the case involved an underage bride and not a pair of consenting adults, Utah's attorney general said in a brief filed with the high court Friday.  "This isn't about consenting adults, this is about an adult who had sex with a minor," Assistant Attorney General Laura Dupaix said.  The 22-page filing is a response to an October petition from Rodney Holm, a former Hildale, Utah, police officer convicted of bigamy in 2003 for entering a religious marriage with a teenager when Holm was already married to her older sister.  The Utah Supreme Court upheld the conviction last year.  Holm is a member of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, a faith of nearly 10,000 who practice polygamy in arranged marriages, often with minor girls.  Holm married 16-year-old Ruth Stubbs in 1998 when he was 32.  The U.S. Supreme Court last ruled on a polygamy case in 1879, when it banned the practice even in the context of religion.  It is unclear when justices will decide if they'll hear Holm's case.     Read more
 
 
Arizona lawmaker's bill seeks intervention with custody issues and polygamy
Visitation opposed for men with child brides
By Ben Winslow
Deseret Morning News
Originally published Thursday, January 18, 2007

In a traditional divorce, the judge often orders mommy and daddy to share the child, granting custody to one and visitation to the other.  But what if there are "other" mothers?  An Arizona lawmaker has filed a bill in that state seeking to block the courts from granting any visitation to a spouse who practices polygamy.  "In a typical marriage, the courts try to strike a balance," said Rep. David Lujan, D-Phoenix.  "I don't believe that works when you're dealing with one parent who's engaged in child bigamy.  Child bigamy is essentially child abuse."  Lujan, who is an attorney for a children's justice organization, came up with the legislation to help women leaving the polygamous border communities of Colorado City, Ariz., and Hildale, Utah.  He said his office recently helped a woman with seven kids file for divorce.  The courts granted the father visitation rights.  "It's very traumatic for the kids.  They're being forced to live in two dramatically different worlds," Lujan said in an interview with the Deseret Morning News.  "When they go to their fathers on weekends, the girls put on the long polygamous dresses.  The father's preaching the concept of child bigamy.  Essentially, he is telling the kids that they're going to have to get married at an early age."     Read more
 
 
Arizona's AG speaker at meeting
By Jim Seckler
Mohave Daily News
Originally published Monday, January 22, 2007

KINGMAN - Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard stopped in Kingman Monday to address the county supervisors on several issues facing the county and the state.  The main issue was the fight against methamphetamine and trying to pass legislation to restrict the sell of over-the-counter pseudoephedrine and cold medicine often used to make meth.   Bullhead City, Kingman and Lake Havasu City, along with 43 other cities, have now passed laws to restrict the purchase of over-the-counter drugs at local pharmacists within city limits.  Pseudoephedrine and ephedrine are main ingredients used to make methamphetamine, the drug directly or indirectly responsible for the majority of crimes.  With the cities passing such laws, there already has been a significant reduction in the number of meth labs in the state, Goddard said.  The attorney general also spoke of the Arizona Meth Project, a project similar to the Montana Meth Project, which targets teens and young adults in ad campaigns on the dangers of using meth.  Another project is MethSMART, a program through the Boys and Girls Club.  Goddard also spoke of the crackdown on child abuse, sexual molestation and other illegal crimes that have taken place in Colorado City and the polygamous sect that has controlled that city for decades.     Read more
 
 
Goddard Visits Kingman
e-Press
Tri-State News Network
Originally published Tuesday, January 23, 2007

KINGMAN, AZ - Attorney General Terry Goddard spent yesterday visiting several locations in the Kingman area.  Goddard said he met with local officials because, "I wanted to talk about issues we had been working on jointly with officials in Mohave County and that are of interest to the people in Kingman and around the county."  Goddard also met with Mohave County Sheriff Tom Sheehan and Mohave County Attorney Matt Smith, regarding issues in Colorado City.  Goddard told TSN, "It's not an option to simply say that [the law] won't apply in Colorado City.  So whether you are Warren Jeffs or any of his followers, you have to recognize that we have very important legal rules that have to be followed."   Additional stops on his visit included the Shed-a-Thon and senior lunch at the Kathryn Heidenreich Adult Center.  The attorney general spoke about ways to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft.  The last stop was a special visit to White Cliffs Middle School, where Goddard spoke to more than 400 sixth and seventh grade students about Internet safety, and how to stay away from predators.  Why target this age group?  Goddard explained, "It's a great age because they are just learning to use the Internet, they are just beginning to be exposed to chat rooms and some of the social networking places like MySpace.com - and it's a good time to make sure they do it intelligently and safely."
 
 
Polygamy Says More Than One Way - But Abuse Abundant
e-Press
Tri-State News Network
Originally published January 31, 2007

LAKE HAVASU CITY, AZ - How many wives are enough? One at a time seems best for most.  However, that's not the case in Colorado City and among certain people.  At this year's Lake Havasu City Winterfest, free information about the effects of polygamy will be available to the public February 10th and 11th.  The information will be provided courtesy of MCFAP - Mohave County Faces the Abuses of Polygamy.  MCFAP is a committee of the local nonprofit organization Abuse Prevention.  Besides offering informative brochures, members of the MCFAP Board of Directors will be available to discuss various pictures and websites confronting the negative effects of polygamy.  The mission of MCFAP is to continue to raise awareness of the inherent abuses associated with polygamy, including child abuse and neglect, alleged welfare fraud, misuse of public funds and the illegal practice of polygamy.  For further information, visit their website at polygamyabuse.org.
 
 
Law would protect rights of moms fleeing polygamy
By Amanda J. Crawford
The Arizona Republic
Originally published January 31, 2007

When a woman flees a polygamous marriage, should her children be sent back to live with their father and his other wives?  A state lawmaker from Phoenix wants to make sure they're not.  A bill to be heard Thursday in the House Human Services Committee, would block judges from giving sole or joint custody to a person with multiple spouses or those who marry someone underage.  Democratic Rep. David Lujan, an attorney with the non-profit Justice for Children, said courts sometimes treat marriages with polygamists just like other marriages, and that can be bad for the children.  He says his group has worked with women who have fled Colorado City, the stronghold of the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints, only to have their children forced back for visitation.  Lujan said he thinks the state needs to do more to support people who flee the polygamous sect, so he's sponsoring two bills.  One would change the custody rules.  Another, filed Wednesday, would provide a half million dollars in funding to provide transitional services for victims.  "Part of it is building the infrastructure to give people the confidence to leave," Lujan said.  They need to know that "the law is going to support them."  Lujan says there is no doubt that when an underage girl is married, often to a much older man, that what is going on is child abuse.  He says he doesn't think it is safe to send children back to families engaging in that practice, known as child bigamy.     Read more
 
 
State wants to help parents who leave polygamy
By Angela Holdsworth
ABC 15 - KNXV-TV Phoenix
Originally broadcast Thursday, February 1, 2007

They're running from a life where they say young girls are forced into marriages and teenage boys are ostracized.  Now former polygamists want the State of Arizona to help parents keep custody of their kids when they leave the sects.  A new bill that passed the Arizona House Human Services Committee on Thursday blocks judges from giving sole or joint custody to a person with multiple spouses or those who marry someone underage.  Democratic representative David Lujan is sponsoring the bill.  He says, "It's a difficult decision for them to leave and then have to fight for custody of the kids.  This will tell you that once you make that difficult decision the courts will support you."  Two former polygamist wives testified before the committee today explaining the difficulties in protecting their kids once they've escaped.  They hope that the bill will not only help their lives but also offer hope for others who may be thinking of leaving.
 
 
Help for children being abandoned in Colorado City
By Brent Hunsaker
ABC 4
Originally broadcast February 20, 2007

There's a new exodus from the polygamous communities along the Utah Arizona border.  It's smaller than the exodus of a few years ago when Warren Jeffs transplanted some of his people to Texas to build a new community and temple on the YFZ Ranch.  This time just over a dozen of his most faithful including some relatives have been moved out.  One other wrinkle to this exodus: Jeffs apparently ordered a handful of children abandoned.  Parents allegedly left kids (usually young boys in their teens) not only in their communities, but also in Hurricane, St. George and even Las Vegas.  Stefanie Colgrove said these teens are ill equipped to survive in the outside world, "They don't even know how to take care of themselves."  As others left Hildale, Colgrove moved back.  She's took over a large house recently occupied by John Gilbert Jeffs and invited all those left behind to come and stay with her.  Its a place where she said, "somebody can love you, make sure you get your laundry washed, and have a family again. That's the essence of it right there.  If you're raised in a family and then all of a sudden it's removed, you've lost something serious not just a mom and dad, but a whole family."     Read more
 
 
Don't you think it's dumb that the Arizona Strip is in Arizona?
Opinion
The Spectrum
Originally published March 5, 2007

The Arizona Strip has a serious law problem.  You will never see a lawman there unless you break the speed limit.  A rancher there told me that somebody stole 300 feet of well pipe from him but he couldn't find anybody to report the crime to.  Don't you think it's dumb that the Arizona Strip should even be in Arizona?  The boundary between Utah and Arizona ought to be the Colorado River.  The nearest county seat now is Kingman, on the other side of the Grand Canyon, a mere five or six hours drive to go to district court or get a driver's license.  But if you get a ticket on the Interstate 15 strip in Arizona you can mercifully attend court in the city of - er, I forget its name - oh yeah, Mocassin, a little west of Kanab.  There is a least two rooms in the trailer where court is conducted.  But don't be deceived.  The Strip's largest industry is conducted here.  Arizona invests nothing in the Arizona Strip and seems to care nothing about it.  The Strip could have been developed by now but for Arizona's anti-growth policies.  Recently, I offered to buy the Arizona Strip for $24.  I thought Southern Utah developers could immediately build a subdivision with cinder block walls or a mobile home park overlooking the north rim of the Grand Canyon.     Read more
 
 
Anti-Polygamist Group Donates
e-Press
Tri-State News Network
Originally published Monday, April 2, 2007

Mohave County, AZ - A group called Mohave County Faces the Abuses of Polygamy (MCFAP) recently donated $2,500 to Children for Justice, for academic tutoring of children from polygamy families.  MCFAP Co-President Coleen Widell, says Justice for Children was chosen based on their national presence in assisting children in need and their reputation within the legal community.  "We specifically designated our donation to assist minor child victims of polygamy in obtaining professionally-qualified tutoring in an attempt to increase their educational skills, so they can become more competent in their grade-appropriate studies."  MCFAP strictly designated the required training for the contracted tutors, who must be professionally or academically trained with licensure or a teaching certificate and specifically not be a layperson, a family member or associated with any religious or activist organization.  MCFAP says its mission is to continue to raise awareness of the inherent abuses associated with polygamy, including child abuse and neglect, alleged welfare fraud, misuse of public funds and the illegal practice of polygamy.  For further information about the organization on the Internet, go to polygamyabuse.org.
 
 
UTAH & ARIZONA ATTORNEYS GENERAL TO HOST TOWN HALL ON ISOLATED COMMUNITIES
AUTHORITARIAN GROUP EXPERT WILL ALSO OFFER TRAINING
News Release
Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff
Originally published April 16, 2007

For Immediate Release
April 16, 2007
Contact
Paul Murphy:
(801) 538-1892
pmurphy@utah.gov

Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff and Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard are inviting the public to attend the third Town Hall Meeting concerning efforts to help victims from isolated communities. A nationally known expert on authoritarian groups will also offer a special training earlier in the day for social workers, law enforcement officers and others offering help in these communities.

"Nearly everyone has an opinion about polygamy and what is happening in some of the more isolated communities," says Mark Shurtleff. "This is a chance for the public to get informed on the issues and to speak out about efforts to provide equal access to safety and justice."     Read more
 
 
AGs to host public meeting
By Patrice St. Germain
The Spectrum
Originally published April 23, 2007

ST. GEORGE - Communities that are socially isolated may not have the same access to services afforded to other communities - especially when it comes to safety and justice.  Hildale and Colorado City are, in some ways, isolated because of the religious beliefs of the majority of residents.  The Utah and Arizona attorneys general will be discussing efforts to reach out to residents in those communities at a town hall meeting on Tuesday.  Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff said although his office has limited resources, it is committed to doing more to help people from polygamist backgrounds, and the general population should care because people in those communities are their neighbors.  "The burden to bring perpetrators to justice and provide protection for victims doesn't just rest with the Attorney General's Office.  It is the responsibility of everyone in the states of Utah and Arizona," Shurtleff said.  "I am hoping that people will come to the meeting and learn how they can take part in this historic endeavor."  The town hall meeting and training for social workers, law enforcement officers and others offering help in these communities are being paid for by a grant from the National Crime Victim's Week and the Department of Justice.  Shurtleff said many crimes will be covered in the town hall meeting, but the main focus is on victims from isolated communities.     Read more
 
 
Group notes rising exodus of FLDS women
Jeffs appeals to high court for venue change
By Ben Winslow
Deseret Morning News
Originally published Tuesday, April 24, 2007

ST. GEORGE — Perhaps as a result of polygamist leader Warren Jeffs being jailed and facing trial, an increased number of young women are emerging from the closed Fundamentalist LDS Church communities on the Utah-Arizona border, according to a group that helps such women.  "We've had more people coming out," said Elaine Tyler, director of the HOPE Organization, a Washington County-based volunteer group that helps people leaving the polygamist communities.  Some want out of an abusive situation.  Others want a job, support and a place to live.  Some are former child brides, Tyler said.  "A lot of young girls — 18, 19, 20," Tyler told the Deseret Morning News on Monday.  She estimates around 75 people have turned to her organization for help so far this year.  Tyler said it may be a sign the Safety Net Committee is helping.  Bureaucrats, polygamists and activists make up the committee, which reaches out to provide resources for people seeking sanctuary from abusive situations in closed societies.  The Utah and Arizona attorneys general will host a town hall meeting here tonight to discuss polygamy and how to reach out to those suffering from abuse and neglect in the closed societies.  "It's public awareness to get people aware of the help that's available on the outside to those leaving the closed communities," Tyler said.  The town hall meeting starts at 7 p.m. at the Dixie Center.     Read more
 
 
Forum focuses on polygamy woes
By Ben Winslow
Deseret Morning News
Originally published Wednesday, April 25, 2007

ST. GEORGE — A town hall meeting brought politicians, polygamists, activists and community members together here to vent and share their feelings about reaching out to victims of abuse in closed polygamous communities.  Hundreds packed the Dixie Center to offer their opinions Tuesday night.  "Why is there a statute of limitations on rape and molestation?" a person identified as "victim" wrote in comments read to the audience.  "How can the women and children get justice when the statute exists?"  Others pushed for decriminalization of polygamy.  "I am not a lawbreaker, but I am practicing civil disobedience," said LeAnne Timpson, a member of the fundamentalist community of Centennial Park, Ariz.  Some spoke out against the closed nature of polygamous societies.  "Most of us will not be permitted to see our families or friends again," said Fawn Broadbent, who ran away from the Fundamentalist LDS Church.  "Most of us have an eighth-grade education or less.  I attended a private school where we were taught mostly history of the church, how to cook, clean and sew."  The forum zeroed in on the troubles of the FLDS Church.  Yet no members of the polygamous sect stepped forward to counter a drumbeat of criticism. An FLDS member was seen in the audience, listening to the remarks.  He declined comment to a Deseret Morning News reporter.     Read more
 
 
Sheriffs compare notes on FLDS
By Ben Winslow
Deseret Morning News
Originally published Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Construction is booming in the Fundamentalist LDS Church's compounds scattered across several states, prompting lawmen in Utah, Arizona, South Dakota and Texas to keep each other informed about what they're seeing.  The sheriffs of Schleicher County, Texas, and Custer County, S.D., met with the Washington County Sheriff during a trip to southern Utah late last month to learn more about the FLDS Church.  They also briefed each other on what is happening with the FLDS communities in their respective states.  "Construction, behavior, things of that nature," Schleicher County Sheriff David Doran said Tuesday.  "Understand these aren't your typical citizens."  Doran has the FLDS Church's massive YFZ Ranch in his county.  It is the site of the polygamist sect's first-ever temple.  "YFZ" stands for "Yearn for Zion," after a song written by FLDS leader Warren Jeffs.  Doran, Washington County Sheriff Kirk Smith and Mohave County, Ariz., Sheriff Tom Sheehan have kept in regular contact, observing that events in the FLDS strongholds of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz., often have ripple effects in Texas.  During this latest trip, Smith took the sheriffs on a tour of Hildale, where they had lunch at the newly opened Merry Wives Cafe.  The Washington County sheriff said the situation surrounding Jeffs and the FLDS Church is often fueled by rumor, innuendo and people with agendas.  It's important for lawmen to get the facts.     Read more
 
 
Utah Polygamists Plan Mass Exodus to Mexico
Plan fundraiser to help with move
By Stenar Mortensen
PR-inside.com - Vienna, Austria
Originally published May 14, 2007

PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release

Utah Polygamists Plan Mass Exodus to Mexico Plan fundraiser to help with move

Due to increased persecution from Utah law enforcement, a Utah Polygamist group announced today that they are planning a mass exodus to Mexico including all operations and people to the historic Mormon polygamous colonies that were founded in Mexico over 100 years ago.

The True Utahns Living in Polygamy (TULIP) group plans to settle in the fertile valleys of the Mormon colonies as they have long been a safe haven to people living outside the law with little interruption from Mexican officials.
Read more
 
 
Officer fighting polygamy is recognized for his work
By 3TV - Phoenix
Originally broadcast Friday, May 25, 2007

A veteran officer fighting polygamy in the towns of Hilldale, Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz., is being recognized for his work.  Gary Engles is the only outside law officer who works in the towns.  He's responsible for the arrests of eight polygamous men, all who have been indicted and prosecuted on underage-sex charges.  And despite being shot while in the line of duty, Engles said his toughest assignment by far is trying to enforce the law.  Engles was recognized by the state as Arizona's child abuse investigator of the year.
 
 
Canadians investigating polygamist colony
By Ben Winslow
Deseret Morning News
Originally published Thursday, June 7, 2007

Canadian authorities have appointed a special prosecutor to investigate possible crimes involving a polygamous colony in British Columbia.  The Criminal Justice Branch of the Ministry of Attorney General announced Wednesday it would ask a criminal lawyer to review the results of a police investigation into "allegations of potential misconduct by individuals associated with the community of Bountiful, British Columbia."  Bountiful is a colony with ties to the Fundamentalist LDS Church based in Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz.  Shortly after FLDS leader Warren Jeffs took over in 2002, there was a split among the faithful in Canada, with hundreds following ex-FLDS bishop Winston Blackmore.  Jeffs, 51, is scheduled to go on trial in September in St. George's 5th District Court for rape as an accomplice, a first-degree felony.  He is accused of performing a marriage between a 14-year-old girl and her 19-year-old cousin.  Jeffs was on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list until his capture last year.  Blackmore himself has acknowledged being the subject of a Canadian police inquiry.  "Since we are not hiding we are not hard to find," he wrote in an e-mail to the Deseret Morning News last year.  "It is hard to think that Canada, the home of free lovers and legalized same-sex marriages, not to mention legal wife-swapping clubs, could waste their time on people who live like we do."     Read more
 
 
LDS help sought for victims of polygamy
By Ben Winslow
Deseret Morning News
Originally published Tuesday, June 19, 2007

A former child bride hopes her meeting with LDS Church officials will lead to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints doing more to help people leaving abusive situations within closed polygamous societies.  Accompanied by a pair of Christian community pastors, Susan Ray Schmidt met Friday with LDS Family Services commissioner Fred Riley and Dana Templeman, the director of the LDS Church's International Adoption Development.  She described the meeting as "warm and accommodating."  "They listened to my story and showed sincere understanding," Schmidt said in an interview Monday with the Deseret Morning News.  "I feel very much like it was an issue that needed to be brought to their attention."  LDS Church officials confirmed the meeting but declined to say what, if any, type of support would be offered.   "We met together to discuss areas of common interest," church spokesman Scott Trotter said.  Schmidt was uncertain what support the church would offer, but she saw the meeting as a positive first step.  One group that could benefit is the HOPE Organization, a southern Utah-based nonprofit, provides resources and support primarily to people leaving polygamous enclaves on the Utah-Arizona border.  "If any of the churches want to help us, that would be great," said Elaine Tyler, director of the HOPE Organization.     Read more
 
 
Home offers fresh start for youth
By Patrice St. Germain
The Spectrum
Originally published July 30, 2007

ST. GEORGE - It's large, roomy and free.  But the eight-bedroom house given to New Frontiers for Families is also empty.  The "House Just Off Bluff," as it has been dubbed, will be used as transitional housing for those leaving or who have been told to leave the twin cities of Colorado City and Hildale.  Michelle Benward, founder of the New Frontiers program, has until mid-August to have the eight-bedroom house staffed and furnished in time for the youth who will be staying at the home for school.  As the deadline creeps closer, Benward said there are hundreds of youth from the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints that need support.  "This is a small drop in a very large bucket," Benward said of how many the home will serve.  Benward, who claims she has more than 100 kids to help, plans to approach the challenges in furnishing and keeping a home up and running the way she has approached the complex needs of those from the FLDS church in the past few years - with lots of caffeine and prayers.  Living in Escalante, Benward has put more than 30,000 miles on her truck since December traveling back and forth to St. George to conduct weekly focus meetings, which also address life skills.     Read more
 
 
B.C. government pledges aid for Bountiful women
CanWest News Service
Originally published Tuesday, August 21, 2007

VANCOUVER - The B.C. government has reached a negotiated settlement with a number of people who complained to the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal over the polygamous community of Bountiful.  Two days of mediation late last week resulted in the agreement, details of which were released Monday.  Under the agreement, the government will provide funds for basic crisis intervention training for interested members of the Bountiful community, maintain the current level of services to the Bountiful community and work to refine the way those services are delivered to residents of the closed and secretive community.  Judith Doulis, the complainants' lawyer, called it a positive outcome in a "very difficult situation where no one can say you have to do this or you have to do that."  "They (the complainants) did what they could and hopefully it will assist people (in Bountiful) who want to make a lifestyle change," she added.  Bountiful is the 60-year-old community of about 1,400 fundamentalist Mormons.  The group is a breakaway sect of the mainstream Mormon church, which disavowed polygamy in 1890.
 
 
No longer performing child-bride marriages?
Jeffs trial puts spotlight on practices of polygamist sects
By Ben Winslow
Deseret Morning News
Originally published September 9, 2007

Perhaps as a result of the prosecution of Fundamentalist LDS Church leader Warren Jeffs, other polygamist sects in Utah are no longer performing child-bride marriages.  If, as some church members contend, they ever performed them at all.  "We've had polygamous sects say, 'We will not do child-bride marriages,"' Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff told the Deseret Morning News.  The attorney general said he recently had members of one polygamist group sit in his office and say they will not allow anyone under 18 to marry in their church.  "Much of this prosecution involves children," Shurtleff said.  "That's what prosecutors are scrutinizing.  Not the practice of polygamy, but involving children."  Jeffs is going on trial in St. George's 5th District Court for rape as an accomplice, a first-degree felony.  Jury selection continues this week.  Washington County prosecutors have accused him of performing a marriage between a 14-year-old girl and her 19-year-old cousin.  The attorney general said he has heard rumors but has no evidence to suggest that underage marriages are continuing within the FLDS sect since Jeffs has been jailed.  Other polygamist sects no longer practice it, some of their members say.     Read more
 
 
Jeffs' trial could be 'spectacular'
Prophet faces rape charge for marrying girl, 14, to her cousin
By Dennis Wagner
The Arizona Republic
Originally published September 13, 2007

ST. GEORGE, Utah - As polygamous church leader Warren Jeffs goes on trial this week on charges of being an accomplice to rape, more is at stake than a guilty or innocent verdict.  The prophet's day in court could be a seminal event in law-enforcement efforts to deal with the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and in the sect's battle for religious freedom.  The trial comes after years of criminal investigation and civil lawsuits.  Jeffs became one of the nation's most-wanted fugitives and was captured and jailed last year, which set off months of legal maneuvering.  For an estimated 8,000 FLDS members, the courtroom drama represents a culmination of efforts by authorities in Arizona and Utah to combat sexual abuse, fraud and familial interference in the isolated twin towns of Colorado City, Ariz., and Hildale, Utah.  "The trial's spectacular," said Terry Goddard, Arizona attorney general.  "It's going to galvanize media attention.  It's certainly very important to show that no person is above the law. . . . But it's a mistake to say the rise and fall of Warren Jeffs is the single-most-important event."  Authorities' goals are not to destroy the FLDS church or even primarily to crack down on polygamy.  The purpose is to stop any abuse and exploitation of underage girls and to eliminate the sect's control of communities that violates people's rights.     Read more
 
 
Polygamist community changes
By Nicholas Riccardi
Los Angeles Times
Casper Star-Tribune - Casper, Wyoming
Originally published September 14, 2007

COLORADO CITY, Ariz. -- Progress is measured slowly here. To Isaac Wyler, it is a sign of the times that he can sit at a picnic table at a park.  Three years ago, when Wyler was exiled from a polygamist sect that dominates this slice of the Arizona-Utah border, the park and everything in town was property under control of the prophet, Warren Jeffs.  Wyler, 41, was told he had no right to stay in his home or be out in public.  This week, Jeffs was put on trial -- charged with two counts of being an accomplice to the rape of a 14-year-old girl whose wedding to a 19-year-old cousin he presided over.  And Wyler hopes his nightmare here is coming to an end.  "It's like the end of a long tunnel," he said.  "You're finally starting to see the light."  For years, dissidents from the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints complained that Jeffs was a virtual monarch in this isolated stretch of red-rock country.  They alleged he ordered girls to marry, demanded that men add new brides to their families, and expelled people from the 10,000-strong group for seemingly no reason, severing them from their families.  For years, Arizona and Utah officials were reluctant to take on the sect, which the Mormon church has disavowed.  But in 2005 Arizona appointed a receiver for the Colorado City school district, park and other properties.  Authorities pursued Jeffs on sex-crimes allegations, and the prophet fled and became one of the FBI's 10 Most Wanted.  He was arrested last year outside Las Vegas.     Read more
 
 
There is still Hope for those leaving polygamy
By Patrice St. Germain
The Spectrum
Originally published September 17, 2007

ST. GEORGE - Those leaving polygamous communities, by choice or not, find themselves with little resources at their disposal and not knowing where to go for help.  Many have little formal education and no money, family or friends they can turn to for help.  One of the organizations that steps up to the plate to help these people is the Hope Organization.  Incorporated in 2004, the nonprofit group run by volunteers does whatever it can to help by providing mental, physical, emotional and financial help.  Elaine Tyler, who runs the organization, said it's often a slow process helping primarily women and children who leave polygamous communities.  "It's not a quick fix," Tyler said.  "The fear, shame and guilt are so huge, it takes time to build up their self-esteem and make these people feel good about themselves."  Brenda Jensen and Sara Hammon, both volunteers with Tyler, understand how difficult leaving those communities and religious organizations is and how much time it takes to transition out.  Both grew up in polygamous communities.  Most of the people come from the Hildale and Colorado City area, but Tyler said they have helped some from other areas and groups - not just the FLDS group locally.  Jensen said the organization looks to help people become self-sufficient, helping them find jobs and get better educated.     Read more
 
 
Single-minded lawman pursues polygamists
CNN
Originally published September 20, 2007

(CNN) -- Pinning down a prophet is lonely work.  Just ask Mohave County, Arizona, investigator Gary Engels.   The plain-spoken Engels' sole focus since October 2004 has been to pursue Warren Jeffs and his polygamist sect in Colorado City, Arizona, a town on the state line across from Hildale, Utah.  He hasn't gotten a lot of help from the locals, including the police, whose loyalties have been called into question.  A state oversight board in recent years has decertified four members of Colorado City's six-man police force -- all members of Jeffs' FLDS church -- some for bigamy and others for failing to help catch Jeffs when he was a fugitive, according to The Arizona Republic newspaper.  Townsfolk turn their backs on Engels when he tries to talk to them, and most of those who do talk are evasive, says the former police officer.  "There is nobody that works in this city, that works for this city, that is not a loyal FLDS member, and that's from the mayor all the way through the employees right down to the last marshal here, and the last police officer that works here is loyal to Warren Jeffs," Engels told CNN.  "It's my experience ... that these police officers are not real police officers. They're enforcers for the FLDS church. They're enforcers for Warren," he said in another interview.  "I know that if it comes down to it, I can't count on them at all for backup," he said.  "In fact, I believe that if guns started being pointed, that their guns would probably be pointed at me."     Read more
 
 
Film gives look into polygamy
By Patrice St. Germain
The Spectrum
Originally published September 23, 2007

In the last year, the Book Cellar has been hosting community events that, as co-owner Margi LaPorte said, make people think.  This week, Laurie Allen, the producer, narrator, editor and writer of the film "Banking on Heaven," will be at the Book Cellar to bring more awareness about polygamy and the Hildale and Colorado City communities.  "People have been asking for this kind of thing — to have a venue for community discussions on local history, events and controversies," LaPorte said.  For her part, Allen said she made a brief film during her one-year crash course in film school.  That film was honored at the school for best film and director, which prompted Allen to make a full feature.  "I started hearing about all the brutalities (in Colorado City and Hildale) and I have a lot of relatives in that area and decided someone needed to tell the real story," Allen said.     Read more
 
 
AG Goddard Hopes Mohave Cty. Prosecutes Jeffs Case
By Doug Ramsey
KTAR News 92.3 - Phoenix
Originally broadcast Septembet 25, 2007

Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard hopes Mohave County will go forward with its prosecution of Warren Jeffs on child abuse and incest charges.  That's because his Utah conviction is sure to be appealed.  He says the guilty verdict in Utah is no guarantee of a successful prosecution here.  "Essentially the charges in Arizona are child abuse and incest. So they are different crimes and they will have different elements. But I think the most important difference is that there are different victims. To be absolutely sure that we have a conviction that will stand, I think we need to go for the insurance shot and that will be in Mohave County."  He hopes the Mohave County Attorney will decide to go forward with the Arizona case.  "Most of the followers of the FLDS are in Arizona and I think it's important that we have a conviction in Arizona, at least we make every effort to get one."  Goddard says the conviction changes everything regarding the rule of law and the Fundamentalist LDS church.  "For years, it was assumed that they would not prosecute these crimes in Colorado City, that somehow that they were exempt from the rules that govern the rest of us."  Goddard hopes the Utah conviction will encourage more victims to come forward.  "We know they're there, but up until now they have been unwilling to come forward."  Utah's attorney general says the verdict against polygamist-sect leader Warren Jeffs is a 'victory'.
 
 
Jeffs Verdict Just Part of Utah's Polygamy Prosecution Plan
By Julie Rose
KCPW Radio - Salt Lake City, Utah
Originally broadcast September 26, 2007

(KCPW News) The court case of polygamous sect leader Warren Jeffs has captured attention for more than a year.  But yesterday's guilty verdict for Jeffs is only a piece of Utah's larger effort to prosecute polygamy:  "We've basically put the polygamous communites on notice that if you are abusing children, hurting women or defrauding the government, we will go after you just like anybody else." says Utah Attorney General's spokesman Paul Murphy.  Murphy says the state hopes the verdict will encourage other young girls to come forward with their own stories of abuse or forced marriages in polygamous communities.  Testimony from the victim proved essential in the Jeffs case, and Murphy says the same will be true in future prosecution.  However, the state has no current plans to prosecute polygamists in Utah purely because they are breaking state laws that prohibit plural marriage.  "Crimes within polygamous communities are hard to investigate and prosecute," says Murphy. "so rather than devote all of our resources trying to find out if consenting adults are in polygamous marriages, we've decided to go after the most serious crimes involving child abuse, incest, fraud and domestic violence."  A recent census by historian and fundamentalist advocate Anne Wilde estimates 37,000 people in Utah and surrounding areas consider themselves so-called "fundamentalist" Mormons, though many do not practice polygamy.
 
 
Husband in polygamist trial charged with rape
Reuters
Reuters South Africa - Johannesburg, South Africa
Originally published Wednesday, September 26, 2007

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The former husband of the woman at the centre of a Utah polygamist leader's trial has been charged with rape, prosecutors said on Wednesday.  Allen Steed, 26, was charged by Washington County, Utah prosecutors the day after the leader of a breakaway Mormon polygamy sect was found guilty of being an accomplice to rape for arranging a marriage between Steed and his then-14-year-old cousin.  Warren Jeffs, 51, the self-described "prophet" of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, was convicted on Tuesday on two counts of being an accomplice to the rape of the teen bride.  Elissa Wall, the victim in the case who is now 21 and remarried, on Tuesday spoke to the media in St. George, Utah, where Jeffs' trial took place and said she testified against him to bring out the truth.  "This trial has not been about religion or a vendetta. It is simply about child abuse and preventing further abuse," she said.  Steed, who was 19 at the time of the 2001 arranged marriage, was not previously charged with rape.  He testified at the Jeffs trial for the defense, denying he had forced his young wife to have sex with him and said he felt "really bad" about the end of their relationship.  Wall testified in Jeffs' trial that sexual relations with Steed took place without her consent, Utah police said in an affidavit attached to Steed's charging document.     Read more
 
 
Conviction offers chance at fresh start
Editorial
East Valley Tribune - Mesa, Arizona
Originally published September 27, 2007

Tuesday's conviction in a Utah courtroom of zealot Warren Jeffs could be the beginning of the end of religious tyranny in Colorado City.  Decades of isolation and indoctrination has convinced thousands of people on the Arizona-Utah border that Jeffs was God's voice on Earth and their sole path to eternal salvation.  In truth, Jeffs followed in the footsteps of his father to become a criminal dictator who demanded blind faith from his followers only to enrich himself.  He also used his perverted icon status to justify rampant abuse of the community's teenagers — ordering the rape of underage girls by male followers under the rubric of "celestial marriage" and forcing underage boys to leave their homes without any support so they wouldn't grow up to compete with the elders.  Breaking up the Jeffs-led theocracy in Colorado City and neighboring Hilldale, Utah, has been an agonizingly slow process.  For years, local and state officials feared widespread rumors that Jeffs' followers were ready to sacrifice their lives if pushed too far, raising the specter of disasters similar to Jonestown or Waco.     Read more
 
 
Warren Jeffs' victim to file civil lawsuit against polygamist leader
Reported by Angie Larsen
ABC 4 News
Originally broadcast October 1, 2007

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - The criminal trial is over, but the young woman who took on Warren Jeffs isn't done with the Polygamist Leader yet. Monday, in an ABC Good Morning America exclusive, Elissa Wall told the nation she wants to help other young girls using Warren Jeffs' money.  Wall is suing Jeffs and the Fundamentalist LDS Church.  Wall says this action is not for her own gain, rather to create a fund to help other young girls in polygamist communities make different choices.  Wall appeared on Good Morning America with her new husband, this one of her choosing, Lamont Barlow.  The two talked about their plans to create a fund that would assist girls trying to opt out of the polygamist lifestyle with legal aid, safe houses and more.  Wall also choked back the tears as she recalled painful memories of her experiences as a 14-year-old child bride doing what her church leaders told her to do.  Barlow says by filing the civil suit, he and his wife don't want to come across as vindictive.  They want to use any money awarded to help others.
 
 
Fund-raiser to benefit those leaving polygamy
Deseret Morning News
Originally published October 2, 2007

ST. GEORGE — A group that helps women and children leaving the polygamist communities of Hildale, Utah and Colorado City, Ariz., is hosting a country club fund-raiser this weekend.  The HOPE Organization is planning a banquet, dubbed an "Evening of HOPE" on Saturday at the Bloomington Country Club.  The event will feature an auction as well as a presentation by an ex-member of the Fundamentalist LDS Church.  The recent trial of FLDS leader Warren Jeffs may bring more interest in Saturday's event, said HOPE director Elaine Tyler.  "We wanted to raise awareness," she said.  A portion of the $75 ticket proceeds will benefit the non-profit HOPE Organization.  Information is available at thehopeorg.org.
 
 
Laurie Allen's film exposes polygamy
Opinion
The Spectrum
Originally published October 3, 2007

An event sponsored by The Book Cellar gave St. George residents a first-hand glimpse into the polygamous towns of Hildale and Colorado City featuring producer and writer Laurie Allen, who was raised in the LeBaron sect. She previewed her riveting documentary film, "Banking on Heaven," an inside story of what is probably the largest polygamous enclave in the United States - right in St. George's backyard.

It exposes the mind control and fear used to enslave thousands of Americans from the Canadian border to Mexico. The daily situation facing many innocent women and children is abusive, corrupt and heartbreaking. If we knew about the high numbers of families torn apart, children born with birth defects and persons living in poverty, we would want to do something about the situation. However, our taxes help to support this lifestyle.

Part of the answer is to help raise awareness by becoming knowledgeable of the Hope Organization. Visit www.thehopeorg.org online. Also, check out Allen's Web site at www.bankingonheaven.com

"Banking on Heaven" will soon be released, hopefully to more than just the independent movie companies. Meanwhile, we can arrange for showings to a wide spectrum of audiences locally.

Donnie Alexander
St. George
 
 
Author to speak at benefit for The Hope Organization
The Spectrum
Originally published October 4, 2007

ST. GEORGE - "Keep Sweet - Children of Polygamy" author Debbie Palmer will be at The Book Cellar & Andrae Exotic Imports speaking and signing books on Friday at 6 p.m.  Palmer is here from Canada for a benefit with The Hope Organization.  Her book is the intimate story of her first 18 years of survival in Bountiful, Canada, a polygamist community affiliated with the polygamist community in Colorado City.  At 15, Debbie was assigned to be the sixth wife of the group's leader, who was 55.  Following his death in 1974, she was assigned consecutively to two other men in the group.  She escaped the group in 1988, one of the first women to escape with all of her children.  Since escaping polygamy, Palmer has worked to educate and lobby government on interventions and education inside polygamous communities and has met internationally with human rights activists on the topic.  Her main areas of expertise and research are fundamentalist Mormon polygamous communities, relationship violence prevention, community crime prevention, and issues of poverty and education in closed communities.  Her appearance here is free and open to anyone who would like to attend, however seating is limited so please call 652-0227 for reservations.  The Book Cellar is located at 130 N. Main Street.  On Saturday, The Hope Organization is holding a dinner/speaker fundraiser to raise awareness and money to assist victims of polygamy.     Read more
 
 
Emergency Fund To Help Young People
The Associated Press
KOLD News 13 - Tucson
Originally broadcast October 15, 2007

An emergency fund to help young people cast out of a southern Utah polygamous sect has helped nearly a dozen people since it was created two months ago, according to representatives with the fund.  The fund is called the Lost Boys Fund.  It was set up two years ago as part of a lawsuit settlement agreement after seven young men sued an arm of the fundamentalist Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter Day Saints.  Since Warren Jeffs took over the church in 2002, many young men have been told to leave their community.  The money from the fund has helped them get settled elsewhere to start a new life outside the church.  Jeffs, 51, was convicted of two counts of being an accomplice to rape related to a marriage he conducted in 2001 between Elissa Wall, who was 14, and Allen Steed, 19.
 
 
Sect apart
Separating church and state is all the rage, but three communities show that the American tradition of religious cities lives on
By Mark Bergin
WORLD Magazine
October 20, 2007, Vol. 22, No. 38 Issue

Over the past century, a bizarre twist of legal misinterpretation has expanded the Constitution's Establishment Clause from merely separating church and state to scrubbing religion from public life. But in some small to midsize municipalities scattered throughout the United States, religious communities are proving that federal standards need not subvert local values.

These groups have not only thwarted the strict federal standard for church-state separation; they have secured state sponsorship of religious or spiritual activities, government support ranging from simple tax breaks to functional theocracies.

In Clearwater, Fla., Scientologists have bought up large sections of the city's downtown, flooded the boards of various civic groups, and become a major player in local politics—all part of the church's plan to "take control" of the city, according to secret documents seized decades ago during an FBI investigation.

In southeast Iowa, followers of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi founded Maharishi Vedic City six years ago, establishing an independent town governed and inhabited by practitioners of Transcendental Meditation (TM).

And in a region straddling the northern border of the Arizona Strip, the sister towns of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz., are home to thousands of members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS), a polygamy-supporting spinoff from mainstream Mormonism.
Read more
 
 
Jeffs draws 2 terms in prison
Sect leader sentenced for role in young bride's rape
Staff and Wire Services
The Arizona Republic
Originally published November 21, 2007

A Utah judge Tuesday sentenced polygamous-sect leader Warren Jeffs to two consecutive terms of five years to life in prison for his role in the arranged marriage of a 14-year-old follower.  Jeffs, 51, was convicted of two counts of rape as an accomplice for his role in the marriage of the 14-year-old and her 19-year-old cousin in 2001.  It will be up to the Utah parole board to decide how long Jeffs stays behind bars.  Jeffs' attorney, Wally Bugden, had asked the judge for concurrent sentences.  "This was all about religion," Bugden said outside court.  "The foundation of this case was the prosecution of Mr. Jeffs because of placement marriages."  Jeffs' legal troubles now will shift to Arizona.  He will stand trial next in Kingman, where he faces charges of being an accomplice to sexual conduct with a minor, conspiracy and incest.  A federal trial also is pending for felony flight charges stemming from Jeffs' disappearance in 2005.  Melody Rydalch, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Utah, said an agreement was reached to have the defendant tried next in Kingman.  Arizona Mohave County Attorney Matt Smith issued a statement Tuesday, congratulating Utah prosecutors for doing "a fantastic job," and saying Jeffs will be given a trial date once he has entered the Utah prison system and gone through processing via an interstate compact.  Smith's deputy, Jace Zach, said that process may take two to six months after Jeffs formally enters the Utah Department of Corrections.  "Jeffs' tyrannical hold on members of the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints is history," Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard said after the sentencing.     Read more
 
 
Polygamous group leader given prison sentence
By Daphne Bramham, CanWest News Service
The Leader-Post - Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
Originally published Wednesday, November 21, 2007

ST. GEORGE, Utah -- Warren Jeffs, the leader of the largest polygamous group in North America, was sentenced Tuesday to consecutive terms of five years to life for the role he played as an accomplice to two rapes of a 14-year-old girl.   "Warren Jeffs belongs in prison for abusing his authority and being an accomplice to rape," Utah's Attorney General Mark Shurtleff said in a statement following the sentencing.  "A jury found Jeffs guilty and Judge Shumate made the appropriate decision to protect other people from being harmed. Unfortunately Jeffs' attorneys and some of his followers continue to claim that this convicted felon is being punished for his beliefs. Jeffs can believe whatever he wants but he is going to prison for his actions, which led to the rape of a child," Shurtleff said.  The prophet of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was convicted in September.  Before sentencing the gaunt and seemingly disoriented 51-year-old prophet, Judge James Shumate noted that when Jeffs decided to force a 14-year-old girl into a marriage with her 19-year-old first cousin he broke a number of state laws.  He noted that in Utah it is illegal for anyone age 14 to marry without the court's intervention; for first cousins to marry unless they are past the age of procreation; and to marry without a licence, and there was no licence in this case.  The victim, Elissa Wall who is now 21, spoke briefly prior to sentencing.  "I've thought about this day for a very long time and how it would go," she said in a quavering voice.  "I am so grateful to the justice system, the jury and the judge to have seen the truth and to have believed in me. I have faith in your honour and in the justice system to give Warren Jeffs the sentence he deserves."     Read more
 
 
Book Sheds Light on Warren Jeffs' Church
By Sandra Haros
KTAR News 92.3 - Phoenix
Originally published November 27, 2007

Life beyond polygamy is nothing short of a miracle.  That's the message in a new book, "Escape," by Carolyn Jessop, who fled from the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, headquartered along the Arizona-Utah border.  She now tries to help others get out of the church headed by Warren Jeffs.  Jeffs was sentenced in Utah last week to five years to life in prison after being convicted on charges of rape by accomplice.  He faces similar charges in Arizona.  Jessop, in an interview with FM News/Talk 92-3, said breaking away from the FLDS, which practices polygamy, was difficult.  She had been forced to marry a man much older than herself and had eight children while living in Colorado City.  "I was living the only life I'd ever known for 35 years. It was like I was betraying everybody and everything in my life. I was giving up my heritage, I was giving up my religion, I was giving up my family."  She said, "I began to recognize that I'm involved in a dangerous and destructive cult. Even though I was born into it and never viewed it as a cult, before I left, I was seeing it for what it actually was."  Jessop said she's now learned how people view the FLDS.  "We are completely ostracized and people see us as in league with the devil and we are apostates and we've turned against the work of God and we are the most evil of all people."  In her book, Jessop said she tries to share a story of hope.     Read more
 
 
A Season for Giving
By Cami Cox and Bill Brown
Hurricane Valley Journal
Vol. 11, No. 14, November 28, 2007

The air is becoming crisp, and tinsel, twinkle lights and holly are beginning to appear on doors and storefronts.  Along with these hallmarks of the holiday season, a surge of generosity and concern for others seems to well up in the hearts of citizens, flowing forth in acts of kindness and charity.  "What we see during the holiday season is the spirit of people wanting to reach out and help and provide for people in need. For some reason, it seems to be more pronounced in the holiday season," said Linda Sappington, director of the Volunteer Center of Washington County.  There are many local needs throughout the year among nonprofit and charity groups, but at Christmastime, the wish list grows as these groups endeavor to reach out and provide holiday cheer for those they serve.  Local residents can give Santa Claus a helping hand this year by aiding the following organizations and others in the community.     Read more
 
 
Flutist raising money for charity
Local News in Brief
The Spectrum
Originally published November 28, 2007

ST. GEORGE - Renowned flutist from Sedona, Ariz., Jesse Kalu, helps to raise awareness and money for the local charity and Human Rights Organization, The Hope Organization, thehopeorg.org.   This benefit performance will help to raise money and awareness for local non-profit group, The Hope Organization.  The performance is at 6 p.m. Thursday at The Book Cellar 130 N. Main St.

HOPE is a St. George-based 501(c)(3) charity providing assistance to individuals and families to safely transition from a polygamous lifestyle into mainstream society. Polygamy is a human rights issue, not a religious issue and the HOPE Organization needs your help to help victims of human rights violations. HOPE's purpose is to offer support, protection, assistance, choices, opportunities and hope for the women and young adults, both males and females, who have been kicked out or have chosen to leave this culture. Sadly, too many women and children live under immense control and oppression and are caught in the cycle of abuse without a choice or a voice. At HOPE they want to empower them.

The event is open to the public, with a suggested donation of $15, with 50 percent going directly to HOPE.
Read more
 
 
Daily Digest 12/10
Provo Daily Herald
Originally published Monday, December 10, 2007

STATEWIDE

Former Utahn Irene Spencer will be in Salt Lake City on Wednesday to speak and sign her new book, "Shattered Dreams: My Life as a Polygamist's Wife."  Spencer's lecture will be accompanied by the screening of a documentary film, "Damned to Heaven" which interviews displaced former members of the FLDS community in Colorado City.  The event will be from 6-9 p.m. on Wednesday in the main auditorium of the Salt Lake Public Library, 210 E. 400 South in Salt Lake City.  Spencer will sign books prior to the film from 5-6 p.m.  The film screening starts at 6 p.m. Spencer will speak at 7:30 p.m., after the film.
 
 
Mohave sheriff to hire 2 for Utah-Arizona border patrol
By Ben Winslow
Deseret Morning News
Originally published Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Mohave County Sheriff's Office in Arizona is planning to hire two new police officers to patrol the vast area along the Utah-Arizona border, including the polygamous enclave of Colorado City, Ariz.  "We're hoping to have more law enforcement out and visible in that area," said Sandy Edwards, a background specialist with the sheriff's office.  She recently posted the job openings and has taken out a newspaper advertisement to drum up interest in the positions, which have a $40,500-a-year starting pay plus benefits.  The sheriff's office wants to increase its presence in Colorado City but said police resources have been stretched thin in the vast desert area known as the Arizona Strip.  "We only had a total of five officers to patrol that entire area," Edwards said.  "When you're talking four guys in Beaver Dam and then Colorado City, it's a pretty good travel time."  Problems in the polygamous communities of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz., are also of concern to the sheriff's office.  There has been a divide among Fundamentalist LDS Church faithful and "apostates," with ex-members of the polygamous sect claiming the local police refuse to help them.     Read more
 
 
Sheahan to seek 4th term as sheriff
By Jim Seckler
Mohave Daily News
Originally published Monday, January 7, 2008

KINGMAN - Mohave County Sheriff Tom Sheahan will run for a fourth term as sheriff of the fifth largest county in the nation.  At a luncheon Monday in Kingman, Sheahan said several issues face the county including illegal immigration.  The county does not get the publicity that Maricopa County and other counties closer to the Mexican border get.  "Illegal immigration is not just about taking agricultural or landscaping jobs but these people also commit crimes," he said.   The sheriff's office has made a number of arrests in the recent year including an illegal immigrant allegedly stabbing another immigrant in Mohave Valley in 2007.  He is charged with attempted murder.  Illegal immigrants are known to commit burglaries and other crimes after sending money home to their families.  The sheriff's office is also working with two Immigration and Custom Enforcement officers who are permanently based in Bullhead City.  Another headline issue is the cracking down on underage marriages by polygamists in Colorado City.  The county attorney's office and his deputies have done more recently than in the past 50 years.  The jailed leader of the polygamist group, Warren Jeffs, should also soon be arriving in Mohave County, Sheahan said.     Read more
 
 
Shurtleff seeks funding to aid abuse victims
Safety Net effort targets polygamous communities
By Ben Winslow
Deseret Morning News
Originally published Monday, January 14, 2008

After losing a federal grant to provide support for women and children grappling with abuse in polygamous communities, Utah's attorney general plans to ask state lawmakers to help pay for it.  The coordinator of the Safety Net Committee possibly will be part of a larger appropriations package dealing with domestic violence and abuse.  That may be the only way it could get through the Legislature, said Senate President John Valentine, R-Orem.  "If, in fact, it's going to be strictly for the polygamous situation, they're going to have a higher burden of proof," Valentine said Thursday.  "If it is for a ... broader, general population, they will have a very favorable outcome."  Valentine has lent his support to appropriating money for the broader purpose.  The Utah Attorney General's Office is seeking funding to pay for a full-time coordinator, a case manager and funding a 24-hour domestic violence hotline.  Spawned from a 2003 town hall meeting about the "polygamy problem," the Safety Net Committee was created with advocates, representatives from polygamous groups and bureaucrats working together.  Nonprofit organizations and social service agencies also were drafted to help out.  "It's always been a full-time job. I don't feel like I have the time or the resources to give what's actually needed," said Paul Murphy, who has acted as the Utah attorney general's Safety Net coordinator.  A $700,000 federal grant initially paid for a case manager, emergency housing, food and other necessities to help women and children dealing with abuse and neglect in closed societies.  Authorities estimate that federal grant helped as many as 1,300 people in polygamous communities.     Read more
 
 
The Vent
Opinion
The Spectrum
Originally published January 19, 2008

To the gentleman who wrote about, "being alarmed at the menacing, young Mexican males shopping at Wal-Mart."  He is worried about illegals, but he has the wrong people.  We should be alarmed about the packs of polygamists we see every day in Wal-Mart or Costco.  We know these people are lawbreakers who live on the dole.  They regularly marry off young girls and turn ill educated young men out on the streets.  Before we in Washington County complain about illegals, we should first clean up the illegal mess that exists in Hildale and Colorado City.
 
 
Groups rebuilding library of 2 polygamous towns
By Ben Winslow
Deseret Morning News
Originally published Sunday, January 20, 2008

The donation box sits next to a stack of $1 comics.  "Help rebuild a library," a poster next to it pleads.  Inside, Mimi Cruz has placed a couple of Archie and Jughead comics.  She's expecting more by the end of the week, when her regular customers at Night Flight Comics bring in the books they've pledged to donate.  "It's the right thing to do," Cruz said.  Like many things in the polygamous border towns of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz., the library just ... disappeared.  The rumor around the towns is that polygamous sect leader Warren Jeffs had the Hildale/Colorado City public library closed many years ago.  Some say the books were burned.  "I don't know what happened to all the books in there," said Stefanie Colgrove.  "Nobody's saying what happened to all the books."   An effort is under way to rebuild the library.  Nonprofit organizations that help those dealing with abuse and neglect in the Fundamentalist LDS communities are launching a book drive to replenish the missing books.     Read more
 
 
Helping bridge a religious divide
Woman hoping to unite FLDS, ex-FLDS through new library
By Ben Winslow
Deseret Morning News
Originally published Friday, February 1, 2008

COLORADO CITY, Ariz. — The log building on the corner of Central and Johnson streets has sat empty for years.  Now, it's going to become the new Hildale/Colorado City public library.  "We're dang excited," Stefanie Colgrove said Thursday as she carried another heavy box of books into the building.  "Thank you to everyone who donated. It's wonderful. It's just amazing."  Thousands of books have been donated to help rebuild the library, which closed years ago and the books disappeared.  Some claim Fundamentalist LDS Church leader Warren Jeffs had them destroyed.   Colgrove hatched the idea to rebuild the library, and local nonprofit groups started a community book drive.  After a story appeared in the Deseret Morning News, they were flooded with book donations from all over.  Paul Murphy, the Utah Attorney General's Safety Net coordinator, filled the back of a pickup truck with boxes of books and drove them to Colgrove's Hildale home.  "I didn't even bring them all," Murphy told her.  "There's probably another truck full."     Read more
 
 
Funding approved for polygamous 'Safety Net'
By Ben Winslow
Deseret Morning News
Originally published Tuesday, March 4, 2008

State lawmakers have approved more than $300,000 to fund support services for people grappling with abuse and neglect in polygamous communities.  The House on Monday unanimously passed SB239, a funding package to create the Safety Net Initiative within the Utah Attorney General's Office.  "This is a population that is unique only to Utah and nobody has addressed making sure people within those communities are safe and they have access and they have the same rights and abilities as other citizens within the state," said Paul Murphy, the Utah Attorney General's Safety Net coordinator.   The bill's language was broadened to include providing services to people in "underserved" and "culturally isolated" communities in Utah and northern Arizona — not exclusively polygamy.  "I think people look at this and don't see this is crime prevention and community building," Murphy said.  "It fits with the goals of the attorney general's office. We want communities to be healthy and people to be safe and know that help is available."     Read more
 
 
Billboard offers 'escape'
By Ben Winslow
Deseret Morning News
Originally published Sunday, March 30, 2008

BOUNTIFUL — The words stand out amid the signs for new houses and fast food.  "Escape polygamy."  From Ogden to St. George, billboards are popping up in an evangelical Christian ministry's efforts to reach out to those seeking to leave polygamy.  "It's an awareness campaign for people to know that someone is there and to give them this number," said Doris Hanson of A Shield & Refuge Ministries, which is behind the billboards.  Hanson is starting the campaign as part of her ministry's efforts to reach out to people dealing with abuse and neglect in polygamous communities and provide help through provisions, education and prayer.  "We will provide anything we can to help someone leave," she said in an interview with the Deseret Morning News.  A Shield & Refuge Ministries was born, in part, out of Hanson's own experiences in polygamy, which she called "abusive emotionally."  Hanson said when she finally left the Kingston group in 1964, she had few people willing to help her.  "I don't want anyone to think that I'm doing it out of revenge, bitterness or anger. I don't have any of that," she said.  "I don't want to see others go through what I went through."     Read more
 
 
Push for action
Opinion
The Spectrum
Originally published April 8, 2008

Texas authorities have taken busloads of children from the YFZ Ranch, a huge complex built and owned by followers of Warren Jeffs and the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  It's about time law enforcement takes action in an attempt to stop the suspected cycle of abuse.  The children taken range in age from 6 months to 17 years.  They are being housed, temporarily, in a civic center in Eldorado, Texas, while police and Texas Child Protective Services officials investigate at least one claim of abuse.  Officials want to talk to a man named Dale Barlow, 50, who allegedly fathered a child with a 15-year-old girl eight months ago.  The girl, now 16, is believed to have placed a call to police that triggered the investigation.  There have been accusations of sexual abuse against young girls in the twin cities of Colorado City, Ariz., and Hildale, Utah ­- once known as Short Creek - for years.  However, since a raid in the 1950s, only a handful of men have been charged with abusing the young girls they have taken as "spiritual wives."  The FLDS claim a right to practice polygamy, allowing so-called spiritual marriages to take place, most of them reportedly arranged by Jeffs.  Society shouldn't infringe on the rights of adults to put their beliefs into practice.  Frankly, it's not the government's business how many wives a man chooses to have and support.  However, when those beliefs spill over into allegations of sexual abuse against children and women, welfare fraud and other suspected crimes, the line is drawn, and Utah state officials should do more than put the cuffs on only a few offenders.     Read more
 
 
Utah Attorney General considered Texas-style raid on Kingston clan
Reported by: Chris Vanocur
ABC 4 News
Originally broadcast April 8, 2008

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - What is happening in El Dorado, Texas almost happened here in Utah.  ABC 4 News has learned recently that Utah's Attorney General almost launched a raid in Salt Lake against another polygamist group.  Tuesday, ABC 4 asked Attorney General Mark Shurtleff had he ever thought about doing what Texas did, and Shurtleff said, "It occurred to us, we thought about it. I'll tell you with another polygamous sect."  He then confirmed he was talking about the Kingstons.  The Kingstons aren't in the news as much these days, but back in the late 90's the family definitely was.  And Shurtleff now confirms that a year and a half ago, 80 warrants had been issued by the courts and that he was "gearing up" to serve them.  Shurtleff said, "We considered going in a similar, SWAT type - I guess for lack of a better word - operation into a church meeting and bar the doors and start collecting evidence."  Shurtleff says the plan was to take dozens and dozens of DNA swabs from the Kingston family.  According to the attorney general, the goal of this raid was to try and determine if any acts of incest had been committed.     Read more
 
 
Woman who escaped polygamy says Utah should follow Texas
Becky Bruce reporting
KSL 5 TV
Originally broadcast April 10, 2008

A woman who escaped from a polygamous cult says Texas is setting a precedent Utah should follow.  Laurie Allen is the woman behind a documentary about polygamy called, "Banking on Heaven."  She escaped a polygamous cult herself. Her uncle is Ervil LeBaron, the man responsible for 28 murders in the name of blood atonement.  Allen feared officers would find a method of execution inside the Texas FLDS temple.  She said, "That's what I was worried about. Nothing surprises me because these people have been breaking the law for a hundred years now, and nobody's been doing anything about it."  Allen told KSL's Doug Wright that it's difficult for anyone to escape polygamy because they literally fear for their lives.  Allen says, "They've been taught from birth that they're going to burn in hell if they leave the cult. They become an apostate, and I think these men have become more and more brutal with the women and the children, and we're seeing the evidence of that today."  She says they have no where to turn to on the outside for help.  That's why she says it's important to reach out and let women know they can leave and there is help for them.  Allen supports a group called the Hope Organization, which helps provide resources to people trying to leave the polygamous lifestyle.  For more information on the support group or on Allen's documentary, click on the related links.     See links
 
 
Shurtleff connects the FLDS dots
He says Utah crackdown may have led to Texas raid
By Ben Winslow
Deseret News
Originally published Monday, April 14, 2008

Stung by critics who say Utah has done little about the polygamy problem, Attorney General Mark Shurtleff suggested Utah's crackdown on abuses within the closed societies may have ultimately led to the raid on the Fundamentalist LDS Church's Texas compound.  "They wouldn't have gone to Texas if they hadn't been running away from us," he said in a recent interview with the Deseret News.  "They went to Texas to flee when we started cracking down."  Anti-polygamy activists have gone on cable-TV talk shows and given interviews praising Texas for the raid.  "At least Texas has finally done something about this horrid cult, while Arizona and Utah have swept it under the rug for a hundred years," Dot Reidelbach, the director of the FLDS documentary "Banking on Heaven," wrote in an e-mail to supporters.  Still, Shurtleff said he had no plans to conduct a similar mass-scale raid on the polygamous border towns of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz.  "And do what? Arrest thousands of polygamists in Utah? We wouldn't have 400 kids, we'd have thousands in our foster care and thousands of their parents in the prison system. It's not practical to do that," Shurtleff said.  "We were right to focus on abused children."  The Utah Attorney General's Office has made it clear that it will not prosecute polygamy as a criminal offense alone.  Instead, it has chosen to focus on child abuse, domestic violence and fraud.  Shurtleff has said that he would have liked to have seen more cases prosecuted but did not have the necessary evidence or witnesses willing to come forward.     Read more
 
 
Utah's 'Safety Net' for polygamists is tested
By Ben Winslow
Deseret News
Originally published Monday, April 14, 2008

The raid on the Fundamentalist LDS Church's Texas compound is becoming the first true test for Utah's "Safety Net."  The Utah attorney general's much-touted committee of polygamists, government officials and social service workers has spent the past five years building bridges with the closed polygamist societies, while educating people about abuse, fraud and other crimes.  Now, all that work is in danger of being undone by the raid on the YFZ Ranch.  "This is going to be a real test of those relationships and whether they can trust us for what we say we're going to do," said Paul Murphy, the Utah Attorney General Office's Safety Net coordinator.  Already, some members of Utah's polygamous sects are skeptical.  "They assured us over and over and over, 'We're not interested in prosecuting polygamy. We're only going to go after crimes in a community. We're not going to single you out,"' said Heidi Mattingly, a member of the Kingston polygamous group.  "Here they are, singling us out. They've got a whole community under house arrest, ripped out of their homes."  Members of the pro-polygamy Centennial Park Action Committee fear relationships could be crippled but were not willing to give up just yet.  "In a way, I feel like it would be ceding our efforts," said Marlyne Hammon.  "We have a message that we need to get out and let people understand us."     Read more
 
 
Texas keeps FLDS kids
Ruling: More hearings, DNA tests for children
By Amy Joi O'Donoughue and Nancy Perkins
Deseret News
Originally published Saturday, April 19, 2008

SAN ANGELO, Texas — A judge ruled late Friday that all 416 children taken from the polygamist YFZ Ranch will remain in temporary state custody.  The decision, for now, validates the actions of the state's child welfare agency but infuriates FLDS members.  The ruling followed a marathon two-day hearing unprecedented in the nation's history of child-custody cases, featuring hundreds of lawyers, reams of paperwork and the issue of protecting children balanced against religious freedom.  Following the ruling, the sadness in the eyes of the children's mothers spoke volumes about their disappointment.  "It's awful," said one mother leaving the courtroom.  "Why don't people stand up and say something about this?"  Another mother, echoing that sentiment, said, "This is ridiculous."  But Marleigh Meisner, a spokeswoman with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, said the custody issue boiled down to one thing: abuse.  "We've said all along there are no winners in this situation. ... We emphasize in particular with the mothers. But this case is not about religion. This is about keeping children safe. We believe what we found is systemic abuse of children."     Read more
 
 
Officials plan to group FLDS kids in homes
By Ben Winslow
Deseret News
Originally published Sunday, April 20, 2008

ELDORADO, Texas — Children taken from the Fundamentalist LDS Church's YFZ Ranch could he placed in foster homes in a matter of days.  "To make this transition as smooth as possible, we're going to try to keep these children in groups," Shari Pulliam of the Texas Department of Family Services said Saturday.  "We're going to keep the teenage girls and their children together, the siblings together as much as possible."  Child welfare workers said they would also make an effort to be culturally sensitive to the 416 children who come from a fundamentalist background and will end up in foster homes here in the Bible Belt.  "That's why we're going to place in groups, where they'll worship as they're used to," Pulliam said.  "We're working to not put them in places that will expose them to mainstream culture too quickly. We're treading lightly and with caution in our placements."  It still won't be home, said attorneys appointed to represent the children in what is turning into the nation's biggest-ever custody battle.  As some attorneys met with their clients being housed in the San Angelo Coliseum on Saturday, other guardians ad litem toured the sprawling YFZ Ranch as the sun baked down on the west Texas prairie.  "We're just having time with our attorneys," an FLDS man told reporters gathered outside the ranch gates.  "The attorneys are requesting some private time with their clients."     Read more
 
 
Utah probing call alleging abuse in Hildale
By Ben Winslow
Deseret News
Originally published Wednesday, April 23, 2008

SAN ANGELO, Texas — The Utah Attorney General's Office has been asked to investigate a phone call alleging abuse in the polygamist border town of Hildale that appears to be similar to calls that sparked the raid on the YFZ Ranch.  The Division of Child and Family Services declined to give specific details about the phone call or when it was made but confirmed it claimed child abuse and neglect.  Like all calls, DCFS caseworkers investigated it.  "What we got was some information that this may or may not be related to an existing criminal matter," said Liz Sollis, a spokeswoman for the Utah Department of Human Services, which oversees DCFS.  The Utah Attorney General's Office is now in contact with other law enforcement authorities investigating similar calls made to anti-polygamy activists, Arizona child welfare workers and a Texas family crisis shelter.  "We're working with other authorities to see if it deserves further scrutiny," Utah attorney general spokesman Paul Murphy told the Deseret News Tuesday night.     Read more
 
 
Shurtleff defends Utah handling of polygamy
Reported by: Chris Vanocur
ABC4 News
Originally broadcast April 23, 2008

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - Utah's Attorney General is defending himself against those critical of his handling of polygamists here.  In light of the recent FLDS raid in Texas, Mark Shurtleff is coming under fire from the national media and others.  Some are criticizing Shurtleff for not launching a Texas style raid on Utah's FLDS sect.  But other polygamists, he says, are praying for his death because he's been too tough on them.  During an informal debate sponsored by the Salt Lake County Bar Association, Mark Shurtleff said, "I take comfort in Marcus Aurelius who said, 'it is the fate of a leader to do good and be hated for it.' "  And Wednesday, Shurtleff found himself under fire at a polygamy debate from a FLDS attorney.  Rod Parker, FLDS attorney, told Shurtleff, "If the people in Texas aren't safe, if there not entitled to individual due process, then nobody is safe."  While Utah's attorney general doesn't necessarily approve of everything Texas authorities have done, he still finds himself defending it from no shortage of critics.  But Shurtleff, who is rarely described as shy, showed no hesitation in fighting back.  "We've had a lot of success convincing these closed and secretive societies that they can trust us, that we're not the beast, that I am not the anti-Christ as some believe me to be," said Shurtleff.  And almost lost in exchanges like this was an interesting comment from that FLDS attorney, Rod Parker.  He tells ABC 4 News, that he has not ruled out appealing the Texas situation all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
 
 
Woman trying to make a library a reality in Colorado City
Becky Bruce reporting
KSL 5 TV
Originally broadcast April 24, 2008

Years after a polygamous sect founder banned books from the outside world, Colorado City is well on its way to having a library of its own.  Stefanie Colgrove first dreamed up the idea only a few months ago, but the books have been pouring in with the support.  "There's a lot of students here, high school students, who have been very excited because they have to go to St. George or Hurricane to do any kind of research," she explained, and that's an hour's drive.  The challenge now is to raise about $5,000 to bring the building up to city code.  "We have a building, we just have to have it up to code, city code, we have to bring the plumbing and the electrical up to code," Colgrove said.  Bringing it up to code includes new windows as well.  The Hope Organization has offered assistance for some of the needs, and Colgrove is meeting with Mohave County officials today to organize a "Friends of the Library" group.  Meantime, she's extremely grateful for the support from Utah and Arizona communities on this project.  "It has been going so fast. Just from the Salt Lake area of people donating books, I had, I would say, close to 4,000 books."     Read more
 
 
Shurtleff says FLDS prayed for his death
By Dennis Romboy
Deseret News
Originally published Thursday, April 24, 2008

Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff says Fundamentalist LDS Church members prayed for his demise after his motorcycle accident last year.  Speaking at a Salt Lake County Bar Association panel discussion Wednesday, Shurtleff said FLDS leaders view him as the "anti-Christ" and asked their congregation to "fast and pray" for his death.  Shurtleff was severely injured on his Harley-Davidson last year while preparing for a motorcycle rally.  "Mark, try to come up with facts," retorted Rod Parker, a lawyer and spokesman for the FLDS Church.  "You don't know that."  "I do know that," Shurtleff replied, saying the information was relayed to him through a confidential informant.  Shurtleff and Parker joined retired University of Utah law professor Ed Firmage in a lively discussion about polygamy with about 100 local attorneys at the Marriott Hotel.  The program was scheduled before authorities raided the FLDS Church's ranch in Eldorado, Texas, earlier this month.  Much of it centered on constitutional and due process issues.  Firmage, who specializes in constitutional law, called the roundup of women and children "one of the most outrageous things I have ever seen."  Particularly egregious, he said, was taking children from their families based on telephone calls from a 16-year-old girl named "Sarah" claiming she had been beaten, was pregnant and married to a 50-year-old man at the YFZ Ranch.  "It seems to me the defenders of the Alamo have stood in a circle and shot this metaphoric Sarah," Firmage said.  Parker insists the calls were a hoax and authorities are investigating whether a Colorado woman may have made those calls to Texas.  The national media has criticized Shurtleff, saying, in his words, "I ought to cowboy up and be more like Texas authorities."  But, he said, the FLDS Church "wouldn't be in Texas if we hadn't gone after them here. No doubt about it."     Read more
 
 
Shurtleff clarifies his comment
Deseret News
Originally published Friday, April 25, 2008

Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff clarified Thursday that it was not the FLDS Church but another polygamous sect that prayed for his death after his motorcycle accident last year. It was unclear about which group he was speaking at a Salt Lake County Bar Association-sponsored debate titled "From Hildale to Eldorado" on Wednesday.

Shurtleff, however, said Thursday he has received information from a confidential informant that FLDS leaders urged members to pray for his "destruction" prior to the accident.
 
 
Good people on 'the outside'
Opinion
Deseret News
Originally published Sunday, April 27, 2008

It seems critical for all isolated FLDS, the women and children especially, to see and understand there are good people here on "the outside." Opening their eyes to this fact can only help to inoculate them against any fear tactics used by some within their group to maintain control. Haven't we all seen that M. Night Shyamalan movie "The Village"? How good a job are we doing here on the outside to show these people that we're not all clueless, callous or heartless monsters?

Ruth Bell
West Jordan
 
 
Face the scourge of abuse
Opinion
Deseret News
Originally published Sunday, April 27, 2008

We all need to support Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff and other government officials and help stop child abuse and other criminal activity in polygamous communities. We have turned our heads and let this problem grow until it is cancerous. Federal and state government need to take action, similar to Texas, to stop this abuse.

Don Rasmussen
Bountiful
 
 
News Release
Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff
For Immediate Release
May 1, 2008
Contact Paul Murphy:   (801) 538-1892

OPEN LETTER FROM ATTORNEYS GENERAL TO SENATOR REID
Attorneys General Seek Federal Help with Polygamy-Related Crimes
Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff and Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard today sent a joint letter to Sen.Harry Reid, D-NV, asking his assistance in arranging a meeting with the U.S. Department of Justice to discuss how the federal government can help the states with polygamy-related investigations and prosecutions.

Reid, the U.S. Senate Majority Leader, expressed concerns about the lack of law enforcement in the Colorado City/Hildale region to Radio West in Salt Lake City earlier this week. His comments prompted calls with Goddard and Shurtleff in an effort to correct the record and gain more federal cooperation.

The two Attorneys General also requested Reid's assistance with requests made to the U.S. Department of Justice for a civil rights investigation and an investigation into possible IRS violations. They further asked for Reid's support in securing a grant for the Safe Passage program which assists victims of domestic abuse.

Letter.PDF
 
 
Group to build library
By PATRICE ST. GERMAIN
The Spectrum
Originally published May 1, 2008

ST. GEORGE - Over the years, one element that has been missing from the Colorado City area is a public meeting place and a library.  Now, thanks to a Friends of the Library group that recently formed, the city may soon have a library, complete with a meeting room and books that are not burned, banned or censored by community religious leaders.  Last week, lifelong area resident Melvin Williams was elected president of the local Friends of the Library board.  "Each town has a library tax but before, the city just wanted the money and didn't want it set up as a county appointed and operated library," Williams said.  "From what I understand, the library was censored and phrases that are not contraband or offensive in regular society were marked out."  Geographically, the community is separated from the county seat by the Grand Canyon.  Socially, the community is separated from the county seat because of its practice of polygamy as the area's largest number of residents are members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  Williams said what the group is trying to do is have a county library open to everyone and hopes that the library is the first step in building a communication bridge with the rest of the state.  Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff said he is all for education, especially in places where people were denied education.     Read more
 
 
Colorado Woman Makes Plea To Sisters In Polygamist Compound
Story Of Arranged Marriages, Abuse Chronicled In New Book
Lane Lyon, 7NEWS Reporter
KMGH 7 News - Denver
Originally broadcast May 2, 2008

DENVER -- When Texas authorities raided a polygamist compound last month, Laura Chapman took special interest.  "I thought about when I was little and thought about how I wanted to be adopted, and I wanted out of my family," Chapman said Friday.  Now living in Durango, Chapman was born into a polygamist family in Utah.  Chapman said she grew up on 6 acres in Sandy, a suburb of Salt Lake City.  "My father had four wives and I have 31 brothers and sisters," Chapman said.  During an interview with 7NEWS, Chapman spoke to several sisters she believes may be living in the compound in Texas.  "Carol, Andrea, Camille, Charlotte, if you're watching, your sisters out here love you and you can make that leap," Chapman said encouraging them to leave the polygamous sect.  Since escaping the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints religion in 1991, Chapman said she's been trying to blow the whistle in Utah about abuse and forced marriage to underage girls.  Chapman said doing so has put her at risk with devout FLDS members.  "If you become someone they see as a threat to the work of God, then they can spill your blood. They can kill you," Chapman said.  Chapman's story is now part of a book by local author Stephen Singular titled, "When Men Became Gods."     Read more
 
 
Utah, Arizona say polygamist sect fled crackdowns
By Valerie Richardson
The Washington Times
Originally published Sunday, May 4, 2008

If Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff has heard it once, he's heard it 100 times: Utah and Arizona should have conducted their own Texas-style anti-polygamy raid years ago.  After all, the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints resided for nearly a century on the Utah-Arizona border before building a compound in Eldorado, Texas.  And that, says Mr. Shurtleff, is the point.  The FLDS didn't suddenly relocate three years ago on a whim — it was driven out by law-enforcement crackdowns in Utah and Arizona targeting corruption and sex abuse in polygamist communities.  "We can document that they wouldn't be in Texas if we hadn't cracked down on them," said Mr. Shurtleff, a Republican.  "Their move to Texas was a direct response to us telling them we wouldn't tolerate incest, crimes against children or domestic violence.  "As soon as they saw we were serious," he said, "they started buying land in Texas."  His counterpart, Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard, added that the two states did raid the community several times, most recently in 1953.  Known as the Short Creek raid, it resulted in the removal of 200 children, gave the states a public-relations black eye, and drove polygamists underground for 50 years.  "The result was a disaster, both legally and from a human cost," said Mr. Goddard, a Democrat.  "We had 50 years of darkness and no communication. After that, the state ignored all crimes in that community."  In interviews with The Washington Times, the two attorneys general described their years-long campaign to build bridges and combat crime in their states' sizable polygamist communities, efforts that have been largely overlooked in the aftermath of last month's Texas raid.     Read more
 
 
Polygamy summit drawing interest
By Ben Winslow
Deseret News
Originally published Sunday, May 4, 2008

The raid on the Fundamentalist LDS Church's YFZ Ranch in Texas will be a specter hanging over a summit on polygamy in St. George this week.  Polygamists, government bureaucrats and social service workers will converge at the Dixie Center on Thursday for a town hall forum, put on each year by the Utah and Arizona Attorney Generals' Safety Net Committee.  This year, organizers expect heightened interest.  "Obviously, because so many of the people are from Colorado City and Hildale, because they went to Eldorado," said Jane Irvine, the community outreach director for the Arizona Attorney General's Office.  "I think that's all the more reason that people want to have this town hall, to try and answer questions and continue to have the dialogue."  A few Texas child welfare workers plan to attend, said Paul Murphy, the Safety Net coordinator for the Utah Attorney General's Office.  "We want for them to answer questions, and also ask questions and learn from what we've been doing here," he said.  This is the fifth year the summit has been held.  It started when a group of plural wives crashed a 2003 summit on "the polygamy problem," demanding to be heard.  That led to the creation of the Safety Net Committee, composed of people from Utah and Arizona's polygamous communities, representatives from government agencies, nonprofit social service groups and others, to reach out to help victims of abuse and neglect in closed societies.  Last month's raid in Texas, which resulted in 464 children from the FLDS Church's YFZ Ranch being placed state protective custody, has upset many.  "I think that because we're talking about children, families and abuse issues, emotions will be high — my emotions will be high," said Joyce Steed, a member of the Centennial Park, Ariz., community.  "My hope is we're getting the message out there that Utah and Arizona have been working with plural family communities, and they've been having a successful interaction."  Security has also been heightened for the event, which features Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff and Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard.     Read more
 
 
Activities warrant raid on FLDS
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
The Spectrum
Originally published May 6, 2008

To those of you in the Letters to the Editor and the Vent who are so outraged at what's going on in Texas with the FLDS, I have a question.

What do you not understand about the words "illegal" and "child Abuse"? It is illegal in the state of Texas for girls to marry under the age of 18 with or without parental consent. It is considered child abuse to do so. There reportedly are children there who have children and others that are pregnant - all under 18 and some as young as 13. Read the paper and watch the TV news, and you will have a better understanding.

Marjorie Henderson
St. George
 
 
AGs to meet in St. George to discuss polygamy
By ALYSON VAN DEUSEN
The Spectrum
Originally published May 7, 2008

ST. GEORGE — The attorneys general from Utah and Arizona will host a fourth-annual town hall meeting Thursday at the Dixie Center to discuss issues within polygamist communities.  Mark Shurtleff, Utah's attorney general, and Terry Goddard, attorney general of Arizona, will participate in a panel discussion with Centennial Park resident Don Timpson, Utah Safety Net Coordinator Paul Murphy and David Lujan, an Arizona state representative.  "We originally set this up to look at issues in polygamist communities and how we can best assist them," Murphy said.  Shurtleff and Goddard decided to work together years ago to investigate child abuse-related crimes, said Andrea M. Esquer, press secretary for Goddard.  "It's an opportunity for the residents of Hildale and Colorado City to tell us what concerns and worries the community has and if there are any problems," Esquer said.  St. George is the closest city with a facility large enough to accommodate the crowd, she said.  "In past years, it's been standing room only," Esquer said.  The event is sponsored by the Utah-Arizona Safety Net Committee, which hopes to "open up communication, break down barriers and coordinate efforts to give people associated with the practice of polygamy equal access to justice, safety and services," according to a statement from Goddard's office.     Read more
 
 
Town hall meeting tonight on polygamy
Deseret News
Originally published Thursday, May 8, 2008

ST. GEORGE — A town hall meeting will be held at the Dixie Center from 7-9 tonight addressing polygamy.

The Safety Net Committee, a coalition of government agencies, social service groups and representatives of polygamous communities, is sponsoring the forum to address ways to break down barriers and give people associated with polygamy access to justice, safety and services.

Participants will include Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff, Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard, Arizona state lawmaker David Lujan and others.
 
 
Feds will review polygamy problems
The Associated Press
Houston Chronicle
Originally published May 8, 2008

SALT LAKE CITY — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says a federal prosecutor has been assigned to look for ways to help tackle the problems associated with polygamy in Southwestern states.  In a letter sent Monday to Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff and Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard, Reid says the justice department can strengthen efforts to combat crime within polygamous groups.  The Nevada Democrat says he's also asked top state and federal law enforcement officers in his state to get involved.  Weeks ago, Reid blasted Utah and Arizona for failing to investigate crimes in polygamous communities.
 
 
Reid: Federal prosecutor to review how to help combat polygamy
By Suzanne Struglinski and Ben Winslow
Deseret News
Originally published Thursday, May 8, 2008

WASHINGTON — A Justice Department prosecutor has been assigned to review how the federal government can help state and local law enforcement with polygamy cases, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff and Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard in a letter sent Monday.  Reid, a Nevada Democrat, and Shurtleff each have tried in the past to get the federal government involved in fighting polygamy with little success. But now the recent raid on a Fundamentalist LDS Church compound in Eldorado, Texas — and a testy exchange between the two politicians last week — have brought the idea of federal involvement back up.  Earlier last month, Reid wrote U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey that federal involvement is "vital" in combating polygamy.  Reid said he initially had asked former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to look at how the federal government could play a role, but nothing came of it.  Then, on a Utah radio show, Reid pegged the need for more federal involvement on what he said was the fact Utah and Arizona are not doing anything to fight it.  Reid said he was "embarrassed" for the two states and their lack of progress on polygamy cases, while praising the raid on the FLDS compound in Texas.  "The state of Utah is doing nothing," Reid said on University of Utah's KUER radio.  Reid's remarks angered Shurtleff, as he outlined what the state has done to combat polygamy.  Reid, who is also a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, called Shurtleff shortly after to bury the hatchet.  Shurtleff and Goddard also sent Reid a four-page letter outlining their states' action on fighting polygamy.     Read more
 
 
Annual polygamy summit held in St. George tonight
Sam Penrod reporting
KSL 5 TV
Originally broadcast May 8, 2008

Hundreds of polygamists from Utah and Arizona are in St. George tonight for a polygamy summit.  It's a meeting between law enforcement and polygamists.  Tonight's meeting had a real sense of urgency.  After the FLDS raid in Texas, public interest and opinion about what to do or not to do when it comes to polygamy has become a national debate.  Tonight, polygamists heard directly from the attorneys general from Utah and Arizona who pledged to fight abuse but promised there will be no sweeping raids of polygamist communities here.  In a time when polygamists are fearful of being arrested or having their children taken away by the government, they filled a room with police and prosecutors from Utah and Arizona.  One polygamist said, "I am somewhat scared when you say that we will not prosecute polygamy for the fact of polygamy alone, because we don't have the resources for it. I am afraid that one day you will have the resources for it, and then you will come after me and after my friends who are good people."  The message from law enforcement tonight -- allegations of abuse of women and children within polygamy will be handled individually.  Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff, said, "We assure you we do not plan a raid to end polygamy. I know you are worried about that. We are not going to do it. I don't care how many talking heads on cable TV shows tell us we need to cowboy up and be like Texas, we do not believe that is the answer."     Read more
 
 
Talking polygamy
BY ALYSON VAN DEUSEN
The Spectrum
Originally published Friday, May 9, 2008

ST. GEORGE - Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff told a crowd of approximately 300 during a town hall meeting at the Dixie Center on Thursday that the state does not have plans to follow Texas' lead by conducting a raid of polygamist communities.  "We assure you we are not going to plan a raid to end polygamy. We don't believe that is the answer," Shurtleff said at the fourth annual town hall meeting to discuss issues within polygamist communities.  The meeting included a panel discussion including Shurtleff, Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard, Centennial Park resident Don Timpson, Utah Safety Net Coordinator Paul Murphy, and David Lujan, an Arizona state representative.  Members of different polygamist groups, friends and former polygamists, as well as members of the general public, attended the meeting.  Shurtleff said both he and Goddard work to investigate individual problems when it comes to child abuse and underage marriages.  "When we have individual problems, we'll continue to deal with them individually," he said.  "If victims fear government more than they fear their leaders, they will never come forward."  When asked by Shurtleff how many attendees had relatives who lived within the Yearning for Zion compound in El Dorado, Texas, many hands filled the air.  Many also raised their hands when asked if they would like to gain custody of their under-age relatives taken away after Texas officials raided the compound and placed hundreds in foster care.  Shurtleff also said polygamy is not protected under the First Amendment of the Constitution, and is against the law.  However, the state does not have the resources to go after offenders, he said.  People could be charged with polygamy if they are being charged with other offenses and if proof exists, Shurtleff said.     Read more
 
 
Utah, Ariz. Prosecutors Vow Not to Raid Polygamists
By Howard Berkes
Morning Edition
National Public Radio
Originally broadcast Friday, May 9, 2008

The top prosecutors in Utah and Arizona promise not to raid polygamist groups in their states.  That includes the group accused of child abuse in Texas, which has its home base on the Utah-Arizona border.  The pledge was made Thursday night at a Polygamy Town Meeting that attracted a thousand people, many of them polygamists.  So many people crowded into a ballroom at the convention center in St. George, Utah, that organizers pulled back the folding doors to another ballroom, and it was still standing room only.  They looked like a casually dressed crowd you'd find anywhere.  There were no granny dresses or 19th-century hairdos.  But most indicated they were part of polygamist groups when hundreds of hands shot up in response to questions from Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff.  "Can I just ask, and we're not taking notes, but how many of you have relatives in Texas who are in custody? How many of you would be willing to take them into your home? We think it would be wonderful if that were to happen, and we'll continue to try and encourage that," Shurtleff said.     Read more
 
 
Arizona and Utah Officials Reach Out to Polygamists
By KIRK JOHNSON
The New York Times
Originally published May 10, 2008

ST. GEORGE, Utah — Polygamy is probably here to stay. But child abuse in the polygamist world must be eradicated at all costs.  That was the two-part message here on Thursday night from top state officials from Arizona and Utah, who spoke — sometimes in impassioned tones, sometimes in exasperation — to a packed audience of fundamentalist polygamists and curious local residents.  "We do not plan a raid to end polygamy," said the Utah attorney general, Mark L. Shurtleff.  "I know you're worried about that. We're not going to do it."  Mr. Shurtleff added, "We don't believe that's the answer."  The raid last month of a polygamist sect in Eldorado, Tex., the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or F.L.D.S., was not formally on the agenda at what has become an annual town-hall-style meeting between law enforcement officials and local polygamists, who play a quiet underground role in the high desert country culture of the Southwest.  Instead, Eldorado and the fate of the 462 children who were seized by the state in an investigation of possible under-age marriages and child abuse seemed to swallow the agenda whole.  Texas officials were invited but were unable to send representatives, a spokesman for Mr. Shurtleff said, so that left the audience and the speakers free to analyze, second-guess and sometimes bash outright the course Texas child welfare officials took.  Asked, for example, if Texas officials were getting help from Arizona and Utah, which have vastly more experience in dealing with fundamentalist polygamy, Terry Goddard, the Arizona attorney general, said he had offered assistance, "but right now they're claiming they're an independent republic and we need to establish diplomatic relations."     Read more
 
 
Lending a hand to children of polygamy
From Arizona to Alberta, word spreads about plan to replace library shut down by now-jailed church leader
By ROBERT MATAS
The Globe and Mail - Toronto, Ontario
Originally published Monday, May 12, 2008

VANCOUVER — Stefanie Colgrove thought it would be "cool" if she could collect a few books and start a lending library at her home in Colorado City, Ariz., a city dominated by members of the polygamist Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  She never imagined her little project would stir the imagination of people - in Utah, Arizona, California and beyond into Canada - who see the library as an opportunity to open up a community that has shut out the world.  She received thousands of books days after talking about her idea at a meeting on polygamy.  "I'm amazed how far it has gone," Ms. Colgrove, the great-granddaughter of former Lethbridge MP John Blackmore, said late last week in a telephone interview from Colorado City.  The library project, begun early this year, attracted international attention following a raid of the Texas compound of the FLDS in early April.  Child-protection workers apprehended more than 400 children at the compound on evidence of child abuse and a pervasive pattern of grooming young girls for underage sex.  Current plans call for a full-service library with computers for a community that includes many self-educated people who have been told to stay away from television and the Internet, Kathy McGehee, of the Mohave County library district, said in an interview from Kingman, Ariz.  "They have been so isolated," Ms. McGehee said.  "It will open the world to people who have never been exposed to this before, those born and raised there who have never been out, especially those in the Warren Jeffs group," she said.     Read more
 
 
Colorado City gets set for possible new library
By Aaron Royster
Kingman Daily Miner
Originally published Friday, May 16, 2008

KINGMAN - With more than 7,000 books donated, Colorado City looks one step closer to opening a new library.  The Mohave County Library District, along with volunteers, will go before the Mohave County Board of Supervisors at their meeting at 9:30 a.m. on May 19 at the Administration Building, 700 W. Beale St.  The Board can approve or disapprove the establishment of a community library in Colorado City during the 2008-09 fiscal year.  Stefanie Colgrove has a positive outlook for the approval of the library.  Colgrove initiated the efforts of establishing a library in the community influenced by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  "This community has been without a library for a while, and this community needs to open up," Colgrove said.  With grandparents who were teachers, Colgrove said they installed an importance of learning with her.  "That's how you gain knowledge," Colgrove said, "is to read."  At a Safety Net Committee meeting between Arizona and Nevada officials, Colgrove said she casually mentioned using a room in her residence as a lending library.  The response has been incredible since then, Colgrove added.  "It's gone from me just having a lending library to a county library that the whole community can use," Colgrove said.  Individuals from California, Salt Lake City, Flagstaff, Phoenix and Chandler have donated more than 7,000 books - more than can fit in Colgrove's room.     Read more
 
 
Library for FLDS towns is taking shape
By Ben Winslow
Deseret News
Originally published Sunday, May 18, 2008

Stefanie Colgrove's little idea keeps getting bigger.  Boxes filled with books keep arriving at her home, sent from all over the country by book lovers who have heard of her idea for a library in the Fundamentalist LDS communities of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz.  "There's a lady coming up from Chandler, down the Phoenix way," she told the Deseret News.  "She's bringing 2,000. I would say there's close to 5,000 books we have to start going through."  Colgrove wants to open a library in the FLDS communities.  Aside from the local school libraries, there hasn't been a public library there in many years.  Now, she could get government support.  The Mohave County, Ariz., Board of Supervisors is scheduled to vote Monday on funding a library there.  While some politicians question it, Colgrove remains undaunted.  "We are going to have a library either way," she said.  "We just might have to all volunteer to run it."  It started with the idea to lend out books in her home.  Colgrove, an ex-FLDS member who moved back to the border towns to raise her family, wanted a library for everyone.  The rumor was that FLDS leader Warren Jeffs ordered the old library closed and all of the books disappeared, she said.  Local community groups offered to help start a book drive and collect used bookshelves.  After a story first appeared in the Deseret News in January, Colgrove was flooded with books.  The huge numbers of donations led her to sign a deal for a building with the court-controlled United Effort Plan Trust (the FLDS Church's real-estate holdings arm), which controls homes, businesses and property in the FLDS communities.  Now, the future Hildale/Colorado City library is a log building on the corner of Central and Johnson streets.  Colgrove and the "Friends of the Library" have been working with the Mohave County Library District to create a formal, county-run library.     Read more
 
 
Colorado City on Mohave County Board's agenda
By James Chilton
Kingman Daily Miner
Originally published Sunday, May 18, 2008

KINGMAN - Two recent developments in Colorado City will be among the 43 agenda items considered at the Mohave County Board of Supervisors meeting Monday morning.  Supervisors will first consider whether or not to approve a request by the Mohave County Library District to establish a community library for Colorado City during the 2008-09 fiscal year.  It is only the second time in more than 10 years the MCLD has tried to open a library in the isolated community, though more than 7,000 books have already been donated and an unused schoolhouse has been appropriated to house them.  The Board will also conduct a public hearing to discuss Defenders of Children, a nonprofit Arizona corporation that announced April 11 its intention to open a part-time legal services office near Colorado City in the coming months.  Defenders of Children provides free and reduced-fee legal services for low income families with children and also provides free workshops on a variety of associated legal topics - property rights, parental rights in custody disputes, and others.  The public hearing will be held specifically to discuss and possibly take action on the nonprofit's desire to rent office space in the county-operated trailer in Colorado City.  Supervisors will also hold a pair of public hearings to discuss adopting revised fees for Environmental Health and Nursing services.  The meeting begins at 9 a.m. in the County Administration Building, 700 W. Beale St.
 
 
Library plan for Colorado City moves forward
History of censorship of library materials in the community draws warning from Byers
By James Chilton
Kingman Daily Miner
Originally published Tuesday, May 20, 2008

KINGMAN - While questions still abound over a proposed library in Colorado City, the Mohave County Board of Supervisors showed Monday that it was at least willing to consider the possibility, voting 2-1 to move forward with the idea, and requesting the library's organizers draw up a plan for the project.  However, the Board's chairman, Pete Byers, issued a strong warning to the library's proponents, the Colorado City Friends of the Library, regarding any censoring or removal of library materials.  During the county's previous attempt at opening a library in Colorado City, such practices were reported being conducted by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, whose members make up a large proportion of Colorado City and neighboring Hildale, Utah.  The past censorship issues were a fact the library's Friends group freely acknowledged. Nick Dockstader, an 18-year-old member of the Friends group, assured the supervisors that any new library in the community would strictly adhere to county guidelines.  "I would also like to make it clear that we would accept the terms and agreements that Mohave County's system has in place already," Dockstader said.  "It is our goal to work and strive to hold the censoring to the same level that they have instilled, and also we are working to keep prejudices and any political or religious hierarchies that exist there out of this project."  "We are building a library for Colorado City and all of the surrounding communities, whatever faith, ethnicity or race they may be."  The group's president, Melvin Williams, said his group hoped to lift the "veil of ignorance" surrounding the isolated community by providing its members with books and access to the outside world.  He pleaded with supervisors to help realize what the community's youth had been dreaming of.     Read more
 
 
Safety Net's new chief seeks balance in work with polygamists
By Ben Winslow
Deseret News
Originally published Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Pat Merkley would have preferred a quieter way to start her new job.  She has just been hired as the coordinator of the Safety Net, a committee created to reach out to Utah's polygamous communities to help victims of abuse and neglect.  Merkley moves into the job in the aftermath of the raid on the Fundamentalist LDS Church's Texas ranch — and amid strong emotions being felt by Utah's many plural communities.  "It was a bomb that went off there," she said of the raid.  "It heightens the emotions more, intensifies the emotions for everyone."  Merkley said her goal is to stay rational, tolerant, sensitive and grounded as she works with the various polygamous groups, social services agencies, activists, politicians and law enforcement.  "We need someone with her social work background to take this up another notch," said Paul Murphy, who is the current Safety Net coordinator.  "I think Pat's the best qualified, because of her work with the polygamous groups and her experience dealing with different agencies and people."  Merkley has worked for Valley Mental Health and is known for her work creating a domestic-violence support group for women in plural families.  "I have assisted some polygamous women in leaving relationships and leaving their family and their culture," she said Monday.  "I've seen the other side, too, where there are those that are happy and need support and further education of what the norms and mores of our society are in regards to abuse."  Members of Utah's polygamous communities welcome the news of Merkley's involvement.  "She's already proven she's capable of doing the job," said Heidi Foster, a member of the Kingston group, who had Merkley as her therapist during a custody case.     Read more
 
 
Summit targets FLDS
By Ben Winslow
Deseret News
Originally published Thursday, June 12, 2008

LAS VEGAS — The top law enforcement authorities from Utah, Arizona, Nevada and Texas gathered in a closed-door summit here, mapping out a cooperative plan to go after crimes within polygamous sects.  Just blocks from the glitzy Las Vegas Strip, federal, state and local authorities met all day Wednesday at the U.S. Attorney's Office for Nevada.  Those who attended told the Deseret News they exchanged information and pledged to work together.  They mostly discussed the Fundamentalist LDS Church.  "We met a lot of people, exchanged a lot of cards, got a lot of contacts," said Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff.  "I think it'll facilitate communications in the future."  Asked if the FLDS Church should be concerned about the four states joining forces to investigate any crimes within the group, Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard smiled.  "You could draw that conclusion," he said.  This was not the joint federal-state task force that the Utah and Arizona attorneys general have sought.  The meeting did come out of their very public spat with U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., who accused the two states of "doing nothing" about polygamy.  "We're just here to talk with one another about the issues we have in common," said Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto.     Read more
 
 
Utah Attorney General's Office wants more meetings with FLDS
By Ben Winslow
Deseret News
Originally published June 16, 2008

The Utah Attorney General's Office said it plans to hold future meetings with representatives of the Fundamentalist LDS Church, something the polygamous sect has said it welcomes.  No dates have been scheduled, and Attorney General Mark Shurtleff is not expected to immediately participate in the next round of meetings.  "He may participate at some point," spokesman Paul Murphy said Monday.  At last week's meeting, FLDS member and spokesman Willie Jessop said a considerable amount of time was devoted to the issue of underage marriages.  In a statement issued at the FLDS Church's YFZ Ranch, the faith recently announced that it will no longer condone or encourage those type of unions.  "Not only did I say this publicly, but the FLDS have lived it privately for more than a year," Jessop said in a recent interview with the Deseret News.  "I'll be the first to say that this meeting did me some good. It wasn't a meeting where everyone drew battle lines. I think the ball is in Mark Shurtleff's court now. We'll see whether he calls us back or not."  The meetings are the first since 2002, when Shurtleff said that FLDS leaders told him marriages involving a 16-or 17-year-old girl was a "gray area."  The Utah Attorney General's Office disagreed, and was in the process of prosecuting Rodney Holm, an FLDS member and Hildale police officer whose third wife was a 16-year-old.     Read more
 
 
Colorado City residents flock to bookmobile
Rolling library makes first stop in isolated community
By Aaron Royster
Kingman Daily Miner
Originally published Tuesday, June 17, 2008

KINGMAN - While the residents of Colorado City wait on their own library, the Mohave County Library District's bookmobile made a visit.  On Thursday, the MCLD added its newest stop to the bookmobile schedule.  "There was a steady stream of library patrons who made their way to the bookmobile to check out books," said Robert Shupe, MCLD director.  Approximately 150 new library cards were issued at the stop, MCLD Marketing and Development Specialist Kathy McGehee said.  The numbers are expected to grow as residents in the area become aware of MCLD's services, she added.  The district bookmobile wasn't the only party on hand supporting literacy.  The Friends of the Colorado City Library held a fundraiser inside the proposed library building, while the MCLD staff was stationed outside at the bookmobile, Shupe added.  While the proposed library waits for the final approval from the Mohave County Board of Supervisors, the Board already pledged its support of the concept in a 2-1 vote on May 19.  A condition of final approval will require the Friends of the Colorado City Library to prevent censorship and control by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.     Read more
 
 
Polygamists are urged to make public statement
Denounce underage marriages, coalition tells religious groups
By Ben Winslow
Deseret News
Originally published Thursday, June 19, 2008

Following a pair of declarations by two of Utah's largest polygamous churches, other sects are being encouraged to issue public statements saying they will not condone so-called child-bride marriages.  During a recent meeting of the Safety Net Committee, a coalition of government agencies, social service workers and polygamists, the Utah Attorney General's Office asked if other groups would be willing to make public statements like the Fundamentalist LDS Church and the Apostolic United Brethren.  "I think it's important to have people publicly state that they're not going to marry underage girls," Paul Murphy, the committee's coordinator, said Wednesday.  "I think it's also important that people will be held accountable for their words."  The pro-polygamy group Principle Voices said it is working to bring other polygamous communities together to make such a statement.  "It would be nice to have a declaratory statement out there," Mary Batchelor, the group's director, told the Deseret News.  The Bluffdale-based Apostolic United Brethren issued a statement on May 27, saying it does not encourage or permit "child bride" marriages or arranged marriages, avoids using welfare and condemns any form of abuse.  Earlier this month, the FLDS Church issued a statement clarifying its policy on marriage.  "In the future, the church commits that it will not preside over the marriage of any woman under the age of legal consent in the jurisdiction in which the marriage takes place. The church will counsel families that they neither request nor consent to any underage marriages," the statement said.  "This policy will apply church-wide."  The declarations came in the aftermath of the raid on the FLDS Church's YFZ Ranch in Eldorado, Texas, where child welfare authorities had alleged a pattern of sex abuse involving young girls groomed to become child brides and boys growing up to be sexual perpetrators.  The case imploded when two Texas courts ruled that the state acted improperly in removing all 440 children from the ranch.  Child welfare and criminal investigations continue.  Murphy called the public statements an important first step.     Read more
 
 
Grand jury may study polygamist sect case
By BILL HANNA
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Originally published Friday, June 20, 2008

A Schleicher County grand jury is expected to hear evidence next week of possible criminal charges against members of a West Texas polygamist sect.  The Eldorado Success reported Wednesday that grand jurors are expected to meet sometime next week.  The Texas attorney general's office, which is leading the criminal investigation, declined to discuss the case.  "Grand jury proceedings are secret proceedings by law," spokesman Jerry Strickland said.  Texas Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Tela Mange also said she had no information about the case.  The Texas Rangers and various other law enforcement agencies raided the YFZ Ranch near Eldorado on April 3 in response to allegations about child sex abuse.  State Child Protective Services removed about 440 children from the 1,691-acre ranch, which is owned by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  Its initials stand for Yearning for Zion.  But the 3rd Court of Appeals and the Texas Supreme Court last month ordered a San Angelo district judge to return the children to their parents.  The reunions began this month, though more than half of the families with children have not returned to the ranch.  After the return of the children, Schleicher County Sheriff David Doran predicted, the FLDS' legal troubles will be far from over.  "I believe when all of the criminal charges come forward, it is going to be very hard to practice their beliefs within the state of Texas," Doran told the Star-Telegram.  "I believe there are numerous criminal investigations going, and a number of charges will eventually come out of those investigations."

billhanna@star-telegram.com
BILL HANNA, 817-390-7698
 
 
My Turn: Rule of law needs to be strengthened in polygamy crimes
Terry Goddard
The Camp Verde Bugle - Cottonwood and Verde Valley area, Northern Arizona
Originally published Saturday, June 21, 2008

Last week I took part in an unprecedented meeting of more than 50 local, state and federal law enforcement officials in Las Vegas to discuss polygamy-related crimes and new, cooperative steps to address them.  The day-long meeting received little media attention because the sensitive information being shared required closed doors.  But it would be hard to overstate the meeting's importance in advancing our efforts to strengthen the rule of law in the communities of Colorado City, Ariz., and Hildale, Utah.  The meeting built on the excellent cooperation established between Arizona and Utah over the past several years.  Attending were top state and local law enforcement officials from Arizona, Utah, Nevada and Texas, along with the U.S. attorneys from Arizona, Utah and the Northern District of Texas.  Participation by the federal officials is highly significant because some of the wrongdoing suspected by law enforcement, such as civil rights violations and financial crimes, falls under federal and not state jurisdiction.  The meeting was held in Nevada because the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) now runs many of its businesses and conducts underage marriages ceremonies in that state.     Read more
 
 
FLDS, pro-polygamy group meet
By Ben Winslow
Deseret News
Originally published Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Fundamentalist LDS Church is beginning a dialogue with members of Utah's leading pro-polygamy group.  In return, members of the group Principle Voices have traveled to Texas to offer support for the families involved in the massive custody battle over the children of the FLDS Church's YFZ Ranch.  "I know what position they're in right now. They just need to know that they're not alone and we're here to help them," said Heidi Foster, a member of the Davis County Cooperative Society.  She spoke to the Deseret News from outside the Schleicher County Courthouse in Eldorado, where members of the FLDS Church were testifying before a grand jury investigating the polygamous sect.  Foster was involved in a high-profile custody battle with the state of Utah over children she has with polygamist John Daniel Kingston.  "They need to know their support system is bigger than them," she said.  Members of Principle Voices have been invited onto the YFZ Ranch to meet with FLDS members.  After pushing for months, the FLDS Church has finally begun a dialogue with Principle Voices.  They met with FLDS member Willie Jessop and attorney Rod Parker recently in West Jordan.  "I would say it was very productive. It was a good first step, I think," Principle Voices director Mary Batchelor said Wednesday.  "I think we're still in the early stages of getting to know each other. We're still offering help, but we're excited at the possibilities."  The FLDS have not definitively said if they would join a coalition of polygamous groups that Principle Voices has formed.  "But they're opening the door a little bit," said Anne Wilde, one of the group's founders. " They're interested in what we're doing. They're at least talking."     Read more
 
 
Ex-polygamist Dan Fischer is a thorn in the side of FLDS
The Utah dental magnate uses his fortune to fight the sect and to help fellow outcasts.
By Miguel Bustillo
Los Angeles Times
Originally published June 30, 2008

SANDY, UTAH -- The polygamist sect preached that Dan Fischer was a heretic who had turned his back on God's chosen children.  But for Enos Deloy Steed, who was banished at age 17 for kissing a girl, Fischer was like a guardian angel, the kindest man he had ever met.  Steed's father disowned him and left him wandering southern Utah in search of menial work.  Fischer gave him a place to live -- and volunteered to put him through college.  "He gives us a fair shot in the world, a chance to have a life, because he can relate," said Steed, now 22 and set to graduate in November.  "It's really great that someone is willing."  It can take a long time to unlearn the tenets of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which forbids the color red, claims man never landed on the moon, and has allegedly forced pubescent girls to marry old men.  (The FLDS split from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints long ago after the Mormon Church disavowed polygamy.)  Former FLDS members can count on loving support from Fischer, a onetime polygamist who invented a popular tooth-whitening formula in his barn and uses his resulting fortune to fight the sect and help fellow outcasts.  The 10,000-member FLDS "has become the Taliban of America," Fischer said.     Read more
 
 
The Book Cellar to host discussion
Local News In Brief
The Spectrum
Originally published July 8, 2008

ST. GEORGE - The Book Cellar, will be host for a Safety Net Committee meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday. This will be a forum discussion open to the entire community with an opportunity to educate, share and raise awareness of issues involving polygamy.

The committee brings together government agencies, non-profit organizations and interested individuals who are working to open up communication, break down barriers and coordinate efforts to give people associated with the practice of polygamy equal access to justice, safety and services.

The committee includes nearly 300 people from more than 60 government agencies, non-profit groups and polygamous groups. It has been instrumental in providing services to hundreds of victims of abuse and domestic violence. The committee has also been actively involved in providing training and educational materials to polygamous communities. The committee addresses problems but also identifies strengths in polygamous communities.

The Book Cellar is at 37 E. St. George Blvd. For more information, call 652-0227 or e-mail info@sgbookcellar.com. The event is free.
 
 
Senate committee to investigate FLDS
By Ben Winslow
Deseret News
Originally published Monday, July 14, 2008

The Senate Judiciary Committee in Washington is poised to hold a hearing next week on alleged crimes involving the Fundamentalist LDS Church.  Politicians, activists and ex-FLDS members are being contacted by staffers for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and asked if they would be willing to testify before the committee on July 24.  "I have been asked to testify," ex-FLDS member Carolyn Jessop said Monday, the day she was contacted by the senator's office.  Jessop was the fourth wife of Merrill Jessop, who leads the FLDS Church's YFZ Ranch in Eldorado, Texas.  She chronicled her life in the polygamous sect in her bestselling book "Escape."  Jessop said Monday she had not decided if she would attend.  "My hope would be to educate them on how difficult it is if a woman wants to leave to get on their feet and accomplish that," she said.  Others who are being asked to testify include Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff and Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard.  "They want me to talk about how the feds could be involved," Shurtleff told the Deseret News.  "Specifically with regards to organized crime and RICO (racketeering laws)."  Both the offices of Reid and Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch (who sits on the committee) said Monday that nothing has been formally scheduled yet.  Reid has been pushing for a U.S. Justice Department investigation into any law violations involving the FLDS Church, and even got a senior-level federal prosecutor to help out.     Read more
 
 
Shurtleff to testify before Senate committee regarding polygamy
Reported by: Susan Wood
ABC 4 News
Originally broadcast Monday, July 14, 2008

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - Utah's Attorney General will head to Washington D.C. to testify at a senate judiciary committee hearing into the FLDS Church.  The probe is looking into charges of fraud, bribery, extortion and crimes against children.  It's being launched by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.  This comes on the heels of the conviction of the leader of the FLDS Church, Warren Jeffs, and the raid on their Texas compound.  Attorney Rod Parker is a spokesman for the FLDS Church, and says, "If this hearing is just to give a platform to spread hatred... that's Inappropriate."  He says Senator Reid should extend an opportunity for members of the FLDS church to also testify at the hearing.  Parkers says, "They will participate if they're given that opportunity."  Mark Shurtleff has been pursuing an investigation into possible racketeering by members of the FLDS Church and his spokesman says he's glad the federal government is leading the charge.  The hearing is set for July 24th
 
 
Shurtleff to testify before Congress on polygamous sect
BY CHRIS RIZO
Legal News Line - Washington, DC
Originally published Tuesday, July 15 2008

SALT LAKE CITY (Legal Newsline)-Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff will testify before a U.S. Senate panel investigating a polygamous sect in Texas, Utah and Colorado, his spokesman said Tuesday.  The Senate Judiciary Committee is probing allegations of fraud, bribery, extortion and crimes against children in the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  Shurtleff, a Republican, has been pursuing an investigation into the FLDS Church.  His spokesman Paul Murphy told Legal Newsline that Shurtleff is happy that the U.S. government is taking a bigger interest in potential federal crimes by the reclusive sect.  "These people have been ignored for the last 50 years," Murphy said.  "We think the states of Utah and Arizona have done everything possible to pursue allegations of state crimes."  Among other allegations, Murphy said FLDS members have been suspected of flouting federal child labor laws and avoiding paying federal taxes.  "There are allegations that a lot of money is being funneled about without being accounted for," Murphy said.     Read more
 
 
Senate committee to hold hearing on polygamy in wake of FLDS ranch case
By MICHELLE ROBERTS
The Associated Press
The Dallas Morning News
Originally published Wednesday, July 16, 2008

SAN ANTONIO – A hearing before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee next week will focus on coordinating a state and federal response to polygamy in the wake of a raid and bungled custody case in Texas.  The committee, which announced the hearing Wednesday, did not release a witness list for the July 24 hearing in Washington, D.C., but at least a couple of public officials plan to testify, including U.S. Sen. Harry Reid and Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff.  Reid has been among the most outspoken officials in calling for federal intervention since the April raid at the Yearning For Zion Ranch in Eldorado, Texas.  The Nevada Democrat asked federal prosecutors to investigate polygamist groups like the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which runs the ranch, and called for a Senate hearing on enforcement issues.  "This is, first and foremost, about protecting the women and children who are in these abusive situations," said Reid's spokesman Jon Summers.  He said Reid is also concerned about possible financial crimes, like tax evasion or welfare fraud – allegations that have surfaced in cases involving some polygamist families but not the Texas ranch.  FLDS member and spokesman Willie Jessop said he's outraged that only critics of the sect have been asked to appear before the committee.  "They don't even want to hear our side of the issues. All they want to hear is things that are disgusting, a lie or untrue," said Jessop in an interview with The Associated Press.  "If we go in to tell them the truth of the matter, the doors are closed."     Read more
 
 
Senate hearing set to talk about FLDS, polygamy crimes
By Ben Winslow
Deseret News
Originally published Thursday, July 17, 2008

The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee has formally scheduled a hearing next week on crimes within polygamous sects.  The July 24 hearing in Washington has been formally titled: "Crimes associated with polygamy: The need for a coordinated state and federal response."  The committee announced the hearing on Wednesday, but did not include a witness list.  Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, sits on the committee.  The main target of the committee hearing appears to be the Fundamentalist LDS Church, whose ranch in Eldorado, Texas, was raided by child welfare authorities and law enforcement in April on allegations of abuse.  Hundreds of children were removed from the YFZ Ranch, but ultimately returned after two Texas courts ruled the state acted improperly.  Among those invited to testify are Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff, Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard and ex-FLDS members.  Shurtleff told the Deseret News on Thursday he may not be attending.  "I've alerted the judiciary committee it's probably because of my medical condition that it's not going to be possible," he said.  Shurtleff is recovering from a round of surgeries to repair a leg he severely injured in a motorcycle accident.  "I confirmed I'd meet their request," ex-FLDS member Dan Fischer said in an e-mail to the Deseret News on Thursday.     Read more
 
 
Witness list released for Senate polygamy hearing
By Ben Winslow
Deseret News
Originally published Monday, July 21, 2008

The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee has released its witness list for Thursday's hearing in Washington, D.C., on crimes associated with polygamy.

Prosecutors and ex-Fundamentalist LDS Church members will be among those who will testify. They include:
  • U.S. Attorney for Utah Brett Tolman.

  • U.S. Attorney for Nevada Gregory Brower.

  • Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard.

  • Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott.

  • Stephen Singular, author of the book "When Men Become Gods."

  • Dr. Dan Fischer, an ex-FLDS member.

  • Carolyn Jessop, an ex-wife of YFZ Ranch leader Merril Jessop and the author of the book "Escape."
Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff was among those invited to testify, but he was unable to do so because of his medical condition after injuring a leg in a motorcycle crash. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., will lead the panel. He has been pushing for federal intervention in investigating crimes within polygamous sects.
Read more
 
 
Senate investigation to look into polygamy and federal crime
Trish Choate and Daniel Collins/Times Record News Washington Bureau
Times Record News - Wichita Falls, Texas
Originally published Monday, July 21, 2008

WASHINGTON - A Senate investigation into polygamy and federal crime will take place in three acts Thursday and will star a powerful senator angling for a federal task force, high-level federal and state prosecutors, two former sect members turned outspoken critics of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and a true-crime author who wrote a book about imprisoned FLDS prophet Warren Jeffs.  No FLDS members in good standing are on the witness list for the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing at 10 a.m. on Capitol Hill, but members of the breakaway Mormon sect, including FLDS spokesman Willie Jessop, will attend.  "They're not going to give us an opportunity to say anything, but we're going to at least be there," Willie Jessop said Monday.  The hearing titled "Crimes Associated with Polygamy: The Need for a Coordinated State and Federal Response" will look into creating a federal task force to work with states to investigate suspected offenses such as organized crime, racketeering, white collar crime, and abuse of women and children.  U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., has long sought creation of a federal task force to partner with states.  Reid, Senate majority leader, is the sole witness listed for the first of three panels.  The second panel features top federal attorneys for Nevada and Utah, as well as attorneys general from Arizona and Texas.  Dirk Fillpot, spokesman for Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, declined to comment on Abbott's testimony.  Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff is reluctantly sitting out the hearing because of health concerns, although he was invited to testify.     Read more
 
 
Channel 3 reporter honored
By Alison Stanton
Special for The Republic
The Arizona Republic
Originally published July 21, 2008

For years, the Arizona Women's Partnership Inc. has worked hard to help grass-roots services and organizations that help at-risk women and children.  The all-volunteer philanthropic non-profit organization recently honored an investigative reporter for his feature stories on polygamy.  Mike Watkiss, who works at Channel 3 (KTVK), was presented with the 2008 Humanitarian Award.  "The issue of polygamy gave us cause for concern, since we address the needs of women and children," said the organization's president and founder, Paula G. Cullison of Phoenix.  "We saw in Mike a voice for women in our community and society who were not being heard, and we thought, 'Why not honor someone who is doing a phenomenal job at bringing the world's attention to a particular problem?' "  Cullison said she enjoyed presenting Watkiss with the award.  "He was very humble and said 'Well, gee, I was only doing my job,' " Cullison said.  "But the reality is that his job is crucial to the status of women, and that's what we're all about."

Information: www.azwp.org.
 
 
Reid to introduce bill to aid victims of polygamy-related crime
Las Vegas Review-Journal
Originally published July 22, 2008

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Harry Reid is preparing to introduce a bill to combat polygamy-related crimes while offering federal grants to social service programs that help former members of polygamous sects, a spokesman said this morning.  The "Victims of Polygamy Assistance Act of 2008" will be introduced on Wednesday, the day before the Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing on polygamy, spokesman Jon Summers said.  Reid and Gregory Brower, U.S. attorney for Nevada, are among the scheduled witnesses for Thursday's hearing, along with attorneys general from Arizona and Texas, and Brett Tolman, the U.S. attorney from Utah.  Reid has compared polygamous groups such as the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to organized crime syndicates, and has called on the federal government to address them as such.  The new legislation would codify Reid's call for a federal task force to focus on abuse, extortion, embezzlement and other activities that have been associated with polygamous group.  It would offer grants to state and local law enforcement agencies, and also to groups that provide witness protection, housing, child care, mental health services and other care to former sect members.  Reid's office did not indicate the cost of the bill.
 
 
U.S. Attorney for Utah predicts polygamy-related prosecutions
By Ben Winslow
Deseret News
Originally published Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The U.S. Attorney for Utah predicts prosecutions against members of polygamous sects as part of a multi-state cooperative investigation into crimes associated with polygamy.  "I absolutely think that there will be charges," Brett Tolman said Tuesday.  "They may range in nature and scope, but there will be charges."  It comes as a coalition of law enforcement from several states are beginning to share information about crimes within polygamy.  Federal, state and local authorities from Utah, Arizona, Nevada and Texas met in Las Vegas last month to discuss crimes within polygamy — particularly the Fundamentalist LDS Church.  Authorities confirmed a database has been created to share information between the law enforcement entities.  "It can accessed by those that are investigating those particular crimes so that information can be shared," Tolman said.  Washington County Sheriff Kirk Smith, whose office helped build the criminal case against FLDS leader Warren Jeffs, said the information sharing could help in future investigations among the states.  "Whether it results in charges, I don't know," he said Tuesday.  "Texas still has a lot of information they're going through."  Smith was also unsure how much the other states would ultimately see after lawyers for the church finished with constitutional challenges about the hundreds of boxes of evidence seized in the YFZ Ranch raid.  FLDS lawyers have already challenged some of it, citing priest-penitent privilege.     Read more
 
 
Attorneys general to testify before Congress on polygamous sect
BY CHRIS RIZO
Legal News Line - Washington, DC
Originally published Tuesday, July 22, 2008

WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline)-A group of state attorneys general will testify before a U.S. Senate panel investigating a polygamous sect in Texas, Utah and Colorado, officials said.  The Senate Judiciary Committee is probing allegations of fraud, bribery, extortion and crimes against children in the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  Testifying at Thursday's hearing, "Crimes Associated with Polygamy: The Need for a Coordinated State and Federal Response," will be Attorneys General Mark Shurtleff of Utah, Greg Abbott of Texas and Terry Goddard of Arizona.  Shurtleff, a Republican, has been pursuing an investigation into the FLDS Church, his spokesman, Paul Murphy told Legal Newsline.  In an earlier interview, Murphy said Shurtleff is pleased the U.S. government is taking a bigger interest in potential federal crimes by the reclusive sect.  "These people have been ignored for the last 50 years," Murphy said.  "We think the states of Utah and Arizona have done everything possible to pursue allegations of state crimes."  Among other allegations, Murphy said FLDS members have been suspected of flouting federal child labor laws and avoiding paying federal taxes.     Read more
 
 
TASK FORCE: Polygamy crime bill proposed
Reid pushes plan to help sect's victims
By STEVE TETREAULT
STEPHENS WASHINGTON BUREAU
Las Vegas Review Journal
Originally published July 23, 2008

WASHINGTON -- A bill to be introduced in the Senate today would establish a federal task force to combat polygamy-related crimes while offering grants to social service agencies that help former members of polygamous sects.  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada was preparing to submit the bill and to promote it at a polygamy hearing the Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled for Thursday at his request.  The "Victims of Polygamy Assistance Act of 2008" would establish a task force to focus on abuse, extortion, witness tampering, embezzlement and other illegal activities suspected to be associated with polygamous groups, according to Reid's office.  "The federal government has a duty to help fight the serious state and federal crimes committed by these groups," said Reid, who is one of 16 Mormons in Congress.  "My bill will improve federal enforcement, create a stronger federal-state partnership, and help the victims of abuse get out of these situations so they can start a new life," Reid said.  The legislation would offer $2 million in grants to state and local police agencies to pursue suspected crime links to plural marriage communities.  Another $2 million would be authorized to provide witness protection, housing, child care, mental health services and other services to people trying to escape polygamous relationships.     Read more
 
 
Polygamists plan to take the Hill
By Ben Winslow
Deseret News
Originally published Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Even without an invitation, members of Utah's polygamous communities plan to appear at Thursday's U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on crimes associated with polygamy.  Mary Batchelor, the director of the pro-polygamy group Principle Voices, and two other members of independent fundamentalist communities will be there, alongside representatives of the Fundamentalist LDS Church.  They are upset that the FLDS have been excluded from the hearing, and fear Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's push for a federal task force will lead to a crackdown on polygamy itself.  "It's causing fear in the community," Batchelor told the Deseret News as she prepared to leave for Washington, D.C.  "We've heard things from people that they're concerned it will create a fear environment like they had in the 30s, 40s, and 50s. We're afraid we're facing another underground period," she said.  "All the work we've done is to avoid that, to bring people into the mainstream."  Reid, D-Nev., introduced legislation on Wednesday to create a task force and funnel $4 million to social service agencies and government to help victims within polygamous communities.  "The way Sen. Reid is approaching this is harmful and destructive to many, many families that are innocent," Batchelor said.  Principle Voices has tried to liaison between government in Utah and Arizona and the polygamous communities.  "We foresee we will need to broaden our lobbying efforts and go national," Batchelor said.  "We don't want our work ruined by those on the national level who don't know anything."     Read more
 
 
Concerns about FLDS kids relayed by Mohave Valley Chamber speaker
By NEIL YOUNG
Mohave Daily News
Originally published Thursday, July 24, 2008

FORT MOJAVE - Expressing concerns about the health and welfare of the children in the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) in the far-flung Mohave County community of Colorado City, K.Dee Ignatin spoke at the Mohave Valley Chamber of Commerce luncheon Wednesday.  The FLDS is a breakaway sect of the mainstream Mormon church - the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - which renounced polygamy more than a century ago.  The FLDS, based in northern Arizona and southern Utah, believes polygamy brings glory in heaven.  Male church members have been known to take several wives, many of them minors.  Its former leader, Warren Jeffs, 52, occupies a cell in Mohave County Jail in Kingman, awaiting trial on charges he was an accomplice in committing four counts of incest and four counts of sexual contact with a minor in Arizona.  Jeffs was arrested in August 2006 in Nevada and was convicted last year in Utah of rape as an accomplice in the arranged marriage of a 14-year-old girl and her 19-year-old cousin.  At the time of his arrest, he was on the FBI's Most Wanted list.     Read more
 
 
The United States Senate Judiciary Committee Holds Hearings on Polygamy Crimes: What Needs to Be Done at the Federal Level to Protect Children from Abuse and Neglect
By MARCI HAMILTON
FindLaw - Mountain View, CA
Originally published Thursday, Jul. 24, 2008

The tide is turning in favor of protecting children in polygamous communities – as several new developments evidence. First, the Senate Judiciary Committee is holding hearings on the crimes that occur in polygamous communities today. I have submitted written testimony to the Committee regarding this matter, which is reproduced below. As regular readers of this column know, I have been very concerned about the plight of children in these communities and, most recently, in the issues arising out of the Texas authorities' rescue of children from the FLDS compound in Eldorado, Texas. In prior columns, I covered both the initial Texas decision in that case, and the decision of the Texas Supreme Court.

Second, Texas authorities now have indicted six of the men from the FLDS compoundon a variety of counts, including child sex abuse, bigamy, and failing to report child sex abuse to the authorities. These indictments alone confirm the high level of risk faced by the children in the self-isolated FLDS, and should give fresh ammunition to Texas CPS authorities to protect the children from future abuse.To put the numbers in perspective, there were approximately 420 children rescued from the compound, a group the size of an entire small elementary school. Imagine if there were six teachers in your child's elementary school who sexually abused their students or failed to report abuse. That is the situation in which these FLDS children live daily, except that the children live at home with their abusers, and do not just see them at school.
Read more
 
 
Reid presents bill aimed at polygamy
Senate hearing on measure is today
By STEVE TETREAULT
STEPHENS WASHINGTON BUREAU
Las Vegas Review Journal
Originally published Thursday, July 24, 2008

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Harry Reid on Wednesday introduced a bill in Congress to crack down on polygamous groups, charging that crime is organized and "rampant" within the communities.  Reid's first stop today to promote the bill will be at a hearing that he largely organized with the Senate Judiciary Committee.  The measure calls for formation of a federal task force to combat "the unique set of crimes committed by polygamist organizations."  It also would make available $2 million in federal grants for local authorities to investigate and prosecute crimes linked to polygamy.  Another $12 million over five years would be offered to organizations that provide protection and services to family members seeking to escape plural marriages.  Former members of polygamous groups have charged domestic and sexual abuse is common through forced marriages and unions involving underage girls, along with other crimes such as welfare fraud, tax evasion, extortion and kidnapping.  Reid, the Senate majority leader from Nevada, has equated activities of polygamist groups with organized crime and has been pressing for federal racketeering investigations of their activities.  The Senate hearing is expected to focus on the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, a breakaway Mormon sect whose adherents believe plural marriage is ordained by God.  The mainstream Mormon church renounced polygamy in 1904.     Read more
 
 
Sect education
Singular's book makes him an instant expert
By JILL THOMAS
Colorado Springs Independent - Colorado Springs, Colorado
Originally published Thursday, July 24, 2008

Ever since authorities in Eldorado, Texas, raided the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (FLDS) compound there, Denver-based author Stephen Singular's schedule has been filled with TV appearances and interviews.  The release of his new book, When Men Become Gods: Mormon Polygamist Warren Jeffs, His Cult of Fear, and the Women Who Fought Back, has made him something of an expert on the group.  But none of the media attention prepared him for a recent phone call.  At his wife's suggestion, Singular had mailed his book to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat who is also the country's highest-ranking Mormon.  "Two weeks later, he called on a Monday and said he spent the weekend reading the book," says Singular, "and he was very fired up."  That conversation led to an e-mail from Reid's office inviting Singular to testify on Thursday before a Senate Judiciary Committee investigating the sect.  "I'm very eager to do that," says Singular.  "When I wrote the book, I never imagined that I'd be testifying in front of a Senate Judiciary Committee, or that someone at [Reid's] level would read it and take action."     Read more
 
 
Utah polygamists in D.C. for hearing
By Ben Winslow and Lee Davidson
Deseret News
Originally published Thursday, July 24, 2008

WASHINGTON — Even without an invitation, members of Utah's polygamous communities plan to appear at today's U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on crimes associated with polygamy.  Mary Batchelor, director of the pro-polygamy group Principle Voices, and two other members of independent fundamentalist communities will be there, alongside representatives of the Fundamentalist LDS Church.  They are upset that the FLDS have been excluded from the hearing and fear Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's push for a federal task force will lead to a crackdown on polygamy itself.  "It's causing fear in the community," Batchelor told the Deseret News.  "We've heard things from people that they're concerned it will create a fear environment like they had in the '30s, '40s, and '50s. We're afraid we're facing another underground period," she said.  "All the work we've done is to avoid that, to bring people into the mainstream."  Reid, D-Nev., introduced a bill Wednesday to create a federal task force to track interstate illegal activity involving polygamous groups and also provide $2 million in grants to help states investigate and prosecute crimes.  Reid claims such groups are involved in welfare fraud, tax evasion, extortion, kidnapping and transporting victims across state lines.  The bill would provide another $2 million in federal grants next year — and $2.5 million a year for four years thereafter — to help "victims of polygamy" come forward by providing witness protection, housing, education, mental health services, child care and medical treatment.     Read more
 
 
LIVE FROM THE SENATE: FLDS hearing coverage
By Trish Choate
San Angelo Standard-Times
Originally published July 24, 2008

LIVE FROM WASHINGTON, D.C.: Coverage of Senate Judiciary Committee hearings into Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

(All times are Central Standard Time.)

Shortly after the hearing

A woman dressed in FLDS garb spoke up to dispute testimony at the hearing that sect women are kept on a tight leash and not even allowed to have driver's licenses.

"I can leave anytime I want," Miryam Holm said. "We have computers. We have gas cards."

She said she was married at 19 and noted that Tom Holm, standing beside her, is her husband.

Another woman who identifies herself as Marcia Broadbent said she was the third wife of one of the witnesses, ex-FLDS member Daniel Fischer.

"He abandoned me," she said.

She now claims Heber Broadbent, one of the FLDS men at the hearing, as her husband.
Read more
 
 
Reid calls polygamous communities a form of 'organized crime'
By Lee Davidson
Deseret News
Originally published Thursday, July 24, 2008

WASHINGTON — Congress seemed to step back into the 1880s Thursday as polygamist women in pioneer dresses listened in a packed hearing room as the Senate's top leader urged stepped-up law enforcement against criminal syndicates he says lead polygamous groups.  Unlike the anti-polygamy crusades of the 1800s, the leader this time is a Mormon: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. And he applauded the fact that the hearing on crimes by polygamists came before the Judiciary Committee on Pioneer Day.  "We do honor our pioneer ancestors by condemning those who have wrongfully cloaked themselves in the trappings of religion to obscure their true criminal purposes," Reid said, as the national media watched and national cable TV carried comments live.  "I am here to tell you that polygamist communities in the United States are a form of organized crime," he said.  "The most obvious crime being committed in these communities is bigamy, child abuse — teen and pre-teen girls are forced to marry older men and bear their children."  Reid said other crimes they commit include "welfare fraud, tax evasion, massive corruption and strong-arm tactics to maintain what they think are the status quo. These crimes are systematic, sophisticated and are frequently carried out across state lines."  Reid said such groups have spread across North America.  "States need help. They are on the front line of this fight, and it is a fight," he said.  He filed a bill on Wednesday to create a federal task force to coordinate investigation of crimes committed by polygamous groups — an idea Reid said he began suggesting in 2006.     Read more
 
 
Pro-polygamy group strives to educate
Principle Voices reaches outside, inside its community
By Ben Winslow
Deseret News
Originally published Thursday, July 24, 2008

In the face of the controversial topic of polygamy, an advocacy group is trying to build bridges between two worlds that inherently distrust each other.  In the process, the pro-polygamy group Principle Voices has evolved into a political and educational force that is reaching out to people both inside and outside polygamous communities.  "When we first started speaking publicly, it was because nobody was speaking from our perspective," said Mary Batchelor, the group's director.  "There's a lot of diversity. There are people who are happy and functional and doing well, blended in society. There are some who are struggling. There are some having difficulty because they are on the receiving end of bias. There are some in abusive situations who don't feel like they can turn to anti-polygamists. We came to the conclusion there was a need for Principle Voices."  The group most recently engaged in a public feud with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints over the term "fundamentalist Mormon."  The LDS Church has repeatedly objected to the use of the term.  Principle Voices insists that they are, as they say, "fundamentalist Mormons," with an unofficial census counting 37,000 people in Utah and surrounding states who consider themselves as such.     Read more
 
 
Lawmakers discuss polygamists
By MICHELLE ROBERTS
The Associated Press
Mohave Daily News
Originally published Thursday, July 24, 2008

SAN ANTONIO (AP) - Lawmakers and former polygamist church members at a hearing before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday accused a sect under investigation in Texas and elsewhere of denying women and children their basic rights.  The panel, requested by Sen. Harry Reid, met to consider ways to better coordinate federal and state law enforcement's response to groups like the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which prosecutors say has successfully avoided law enforcement by moving across state and international boundaries.  The sect has been accused of forcing underage girls into marriage and sex and controlling members financially, charges FLDS members have denied.  "What's happening here is as bad as anything I've seen in the world," said Sen. Benjamin Cardin, D-Md.  "This group could easily be classified as a hate crimes group because of what they're teaching young children. It really does cry out for us to be very comprehensive."  Federal prosecutors and attorneys general from Utah, Arizona, Texas and Nevada were invited to testify, as were two former FLDS members who have been critical of the sect.  Several current members were at the hearing in Washington but were not invited to speak.  Calls to spokesmen for the sect were not immediately returned Thursday, but member Willie Jessop said earlier in the week that Congress had purposely solicited only testimony from those who opposed the sect.  "The one message we hope people are getting loud and clear is this has become a situation where people don't want to know the truth,"said Jessop.  The witnesses at the hearing said authorities have and should continue investigating crimes ranging from domestic violence and child abuse to tax evasion and child labor law violations - acts they accused FLDS members of cloaking in religion.     Read more
 
 
Texas Attorney General wants federal help to fight polygamy
BY SUZANNE STRUGLINSKI
Special Contributor to The Dallas Morning News
Originally published Thursday, July 24, 2008

WASHINGTON — State authorities need federal help in fighting polygamy, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott told a Senate panel Thursday, as members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints fought to get their opinions heard.  At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing examining state and federal coordination in pursuing crimes associated with polygamy, Mr. Abbott said that the church members' mobility and size makes it difficult to investigate and press charges.  "This group moves seamlessly from state to state, location to location and has the infrastructure necessary to thwart law enforcement," Mr. Abbott said.  "Even Warren Jeffs, who has achieved international notoriety, managed to hide from authorities for over a year — and he was on the FBI's most wanted list."  On Tuesday, Mr. Abbott announced charges against Mr. Jeffs, the sect's incarcerated leader, and five other church members, including felony sexual assault of a child.  None of the others have been arrested or public identified yet.  Mr. Abbott said the church is "difficult to penetrate," and help from federal authorities would provide more tools to investigate polygamists and stop them from moving.  He said that hypothetically, that if the federal government had been examining the FLDS church's financial records, the group might not have had the resources to come into Texas after it was thrown out of Utah and Arizona.  He noted that the group moves to sparsely populated areas where they can often infiltrate local law enforcement.  "Assistance and cooperation from federal officials can help ensure these suspects stand trial for the crimes with which they are charged," Mr. Abbott said.  "It is critical that federal authorities focus on the FLDS, and devote the resources necessary to prosecute criminal wrongdoing that is uncovered – whether the evidence leads to Texas, Nevada, Arizona, Utah or somewhere else."     Read more
 
 
Reid pushes for polygamist crackdown
By STEVE TETREAULT
STEPHENS WASHINGTON BUREAU
Las Vegas Review Journal
Originally published July 25, 2008

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Harry Reid rarely talks publicly about religion, but on Thursday religion provided an unavoidable subtext for him at a Senate hearing.  The Nevada Democrat took a lead in demanding that federal authorities step up the pursuit of criminal activity taking place within polygamous groups.  Reid said communities where families practice plural marriage as a matter of faith provide a protective cloak to men who commit crimes against women and children, and more sophisticated frauds, embezzlements and extortions.  Polygamy movements once were limited to isolated compounds in Utah and Arizona as breakaway sects from the Mormon church, which renounced the practice a century ago. But they have migrated to other states in the West, and into Canada and Mexico.  Criminals have proved adept at avoiding the law by moving freely among sanctuaries, authorities said.  Reid drew a distinction between polygamist sect leaders and the mob bosses he once battled as chairman of the Nevada Gaming Commission in the late 1970s, but he said polygamist communities "are a form of organized crime."  "The lawless conduct of polygamous communities in the United States deserves national attention and federal action," Reid said at a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.  "I have long believed that the federal government should play a larger role in this fight."     Read more
 
 
AG testifies before U.S. Senate
By Aaron Royster
Kingman Daily Miner
Originally published Friday, July 25, 2008

Attorney General Terry Goddard gave testimony at a U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on polygamy related crimes.  In Washington, D.C., on Thursday, Goddard discussed his office's work to combat abuse and fraud in the communities of Colorado City and Hildale, Utah, during the past five years.  From the outset, Goddard said he wanted to make sure the committee understood he wasn't talking about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  "Second, the work being done by my office in Colorado City is not about religion, culture or lifestyle," Goddard said. "Rather, it is about protecting women and children from domestic abuse and sexual violence; combating fraud and public corruption; enforcing civil rights laws; upholding peace officer standards; and ensuring that the rule of law is applied equally and comprehensively throughout our land."  At the hearing "Crimes Associated with Polygamy: The Need for a Coordinated State and Federal Response," Goddard explained the need for increased federal involvement in the investigation and prosecution of polygamy-related crimes.  He said the communities controlled by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints come with a unique set of challenges for law enforcement.  With Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff, Goddard began in 2003 to focus on investigations and prosecutions of specific instances of child abuse, domestic violence and fraud.  Goddard said the child abuses have ranged from sexual abuse in plural marriages to expelled teenage boys from the community to reduce competition for plural wives.  Under Arizona laws, the complaints cannot be prosecuted unless a victim is willing to testify.  "Most women and children in Colorado City were, and in large part still are, afraid to testify against their abusers," Goddard said.     Read more
 
 
FLDS practices at issue
Senate committee holds hearing
By TRISH CHOATE, Standard-Times Washington Bureau
San Angelo Standard-Times
Originally published Friday, July 25, 2008

WASHINGTON - Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said he believes the YFZ Ranch would never have sprung up outside Eldorado if the federal government had formed a task force 10 years ago to help states handle crimes suspected of polygamist sect members who set up in his state.  In testimony Thursday before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, Abbott painted a picture of a mobile Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints whose members and resources slip easily across state and international borders to escape crackdowns.  The task force proposal explored during the hearing would give prosecutors more tools to deal with challenging investigations, he said.  "What we have found is that the FLDS group is very difficult to penetrate," Abbott, whose office is acting as special prosecutor in Texas FLDS cases, said after leaving the hearing.  "They have a veil of secrecy they operate under."  Federal involvement could have led to the draining of the sect's financial means to buy hundreds of acres in remote Schleicher County and to build a secretive compound, Abbott said after leaving the hearing.  Sect spokesman Willie Jessop, sect lawyer Jim Bradshaw of Salt Lake City and two sect couples had their say after the hearing.  "This is genocide," Willie Jessop said.     Read more
 
 
Feds urged to monitor tactics of polygamists
By Jerry Kammer
Republic Washington Bureau
The Arizona Republic
Originally published July 25, 2008

Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard said Thursday that the federal government should establish a task force to deal with polygamist organizations that use state lines to frustrate law enforcement.  "They have used jurisdictional barriers to their great advantage," Goddard told the Senate Judiciary Committee.  Suspected criminal activity in some polygamist communities ranges from child abuse and domestic violence to fraud and public corruption, Goddard said.  He spoke in support of legislation sponsored by Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., that would establish a federally supervised task force to coordinate investigations among local, state and federal agencies.  Goddard took particular aim at the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which has been active in Colorado City, Ariz., and the adjacent town of Hildale, Utah.  Reid said the polygamist groups have flourished as they "isolated themselves in remote locations and required their members to cut off contact with the outside world."  Without naming any particular group, Reid said polygamist sects have developed a "wealthy and vast criminal organization that has gone largely unchecked by government agencies."  "They engage in an ongoing pattern of serious crimes that we must not ignore," he added.     Read more
 
 
Arizona may seek court order to get evidence from YFZ Ranch
By Ben Winslow
Deseret News
Originally published Friday, July 25, 2008

Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard may go to court to get evidence seized from the Fundamentalist LDS Church's YFZ Ranch shared with states conducting investigations into alleged crimes within the polygamous sect.  "We haven't gotten the information that we've asked for. We have been pushing Texas, and federal authorities there, to try to release and help us evaluate some of the evidence," Goddard said in an interview with the Deseret News shortly after testifying in Washington, D.C., before a senate panel on polygamy-related crimes.  "We may have to get a court order to do it."  Nearly 1,000 boxes of evidence were seized in the April raid on the Yearning For Zion Ranch in Texas.  Some of the evidence that has been made public includes documents that reference underage marriages.  "We can't wait to get a good look at that information because we're pretty sure that at least some of it correlates to crimes in our jurisdiction," Goddard said.  Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff has said in past interviews with the Deseret News his investigations into the FLDS Church have stalled because of a lack of access to evidence.  Goddard wouldn't discuss the status of any investigations his office is conducting.  A court order to get access to the evidence will likely be his next step, Goddard said.  "There will be a request for one," he said.  "If we're successful with that, then it opens up a great many possibilities."     Read more
 
 
Senate hears appeal for task force on polygamist sects
Reid likens groups to organized crime
McClatchy-Tribune
Baltimore Sun
Originally published July 26, 2008

WASHINGTON - A Senate committee heard appeals yesterday for the creation of a federal task force to combat polygamist sects that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid described as sophisticated organized crime rings.  Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, whose office has investigated a sect in Texas, was among those backing legislation sponsored by Reid, a Nevada Democrat.  The bill would establish a task force in the U.S. Department of Justice and assist victims of polygamist groups.  The hearing, which included testimony from two former sect members, spotlighted the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) led by Warren Jeffs, who was once on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted List.  Jeffs and four of his followers were indicted Tuesday by a grand jury in Texas for felony assault of a child.  Abbott told reporters after the hearing that further action is likely as investigators sift through "boxes and boxes" of documents and examine other evidence.  "I would say we're in the early stages of our investigation," Abbott said.  Carolyn Jessop of West Jordan, Utah, who escaped an FLDS community in Arizona in 2003, said that Jeffs exerted a "tyrannical hold" on sect members and performed secret marriages between underage girls and older men.  Boys and girls as young as 12 were forced out of public schools to work for FLDS construction companies and other businesses, in shifts that lasted from 6 a.m. until after dark, she said.  Principle Voices, a polygamy advocacy organization, denounced Reid's bill.  "If Reid truly cares about women and children in polygamy, then he should help them, not hurt them," the group said in a statement.  "Principle Voices strenuously objects to any effort to characterize our families as anything but what they are: families."     Read more
 
 


Watch some of the live coverage from the US Senate hearing
 
 
Polygamy an affront to human decency
LETTER TO THE EDITOR:
Las Vegas Sun
Originally published Saturday, July 26, 2008

Ever gotten a good look at the women and kids in these polygamy places? They look beaten down and they look like they've been brainwashed, as if it's a good idea for these women to be made subservient to a man who is married to any number of other women.

It's not about religion — no, it's about human decency. These people aren't being treated fairly as humans, no matter what they've been made to believe.

So if Sen. Harry Reid is saying he's going to try to break up these groups and the bad things they do, I sure hope he's serious about it. The women certainly look as if they've gone through quite a lot already, so if someone's going to step in and do something about it, let's get it right and give them a second chance at a good life.

Christian Harrison, Henderson
 
 
Don't print propaganda
Opinion
Deseret News
Originally published Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I was surprised to see the article published in Saturday's newspaper (July 26) about the pro-polygamy group Principal Voices. Maybe next the Deseret News will report on the National Man Boy Love Association and their "strive to educate" as well.

I can't imagine that the majority of readers of the Deseret News want to read propaganda from defiant lawbreakers or those with deviant sexual appetites. If I wanted to read up on those subjects, I'd pick up a City Weekly.

Lisa Rasband
Eagle Mountain
 
 
Patterns of Polygamy Davis County's Kingston clan - County's polygamy roots run deep
By Becky Ginos
Davis County Clipper - Bountiful, Utah
Originally published July 31, 2008

First of four parts

It started in February 2007 with a letter by a former member of Davis County's secretive Kingston clan to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and other prominent national leaders.  The letter, signed by anti-polygamy crusader Victoria Prunty, then executive director of Tapestry Against Polygamy, supported Reid's call for a federal investigation of crime within polygamy groups and charged Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff with not doing enough to stop the abuses.  "A few months after Tapestry was organized," the letter said of the Kingston clan, "a 16-year-old girl who was the 15th wife of her uncle made national headlines when her father maliciously beat her for running away from the forced marriage. This incident shone an ominous light onto the hidden abuses that are endemic in the Mormon polygamist subculture, inspiring newspapers around the country to conduct a series of investigative reporting. However, state and local law enforcement turned a blind eye to the results."  Last week, the letter's hope for federal action became a reality when Reid, D-Nev., and other government officials met in Washington, D.C., before the Senate Judiciary Committee, where he denounced polygamist groups as a form of "organized crime" suspected of offenses against young women and children.  That hearing, and the federal investigations that are likely to follow, could reverberate all the way to Davis County.  Utahns have battled the stigma of polygamy for years. Most people know it still exists in places like Hilldale, Utah; Colorado City, Ariz.; and now in Texas.     Read more
 
 
FLDS accuse philanthropist of abuse
By Ben Winslow and Lee Davidson
Deseret News
Originally published Friday, Aug. 1, 2008

Affidavits submitted to Congress in the aftermath of a hearing on crimes within polygamy are accusing a prominent ex-member of the Fundamentalist LDS Church of abuse.  But Dan Fischer accused the FLDS of using him as a distraction from the scrutiny being leveled against the polygamous sect.  "It is evident that my work with the Lost Boys and my congressional testimony last week has made the FLDS sect pretty angry, enough so that they would attack me," he said Friday.  One of Fischer's ex-wives, some of his children, and family friends wrote affidavits that were sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee claiming Fischer was abusive.  The affidavits were submitted Thursday by Rod Parker, a Salt Lake attorney acting as a spokesman for the FLDS Church.  They were included in a packet outlining the church's clarified policy on marriage and a letter from Parker chastising the committee for not soliciting FLDS testimony.  However, they may be too late to be included in the printed hearing record.  That deadline was Wednesday, according to Erica Chabot, a spokeswoman for the Senate Judiciary Committee.     Read more
 
 
County attorney runs unopposed
By JIM SECKLER
Mohave Daily News
Originally published Sunday, August 3, 2008

KINGMAN - Mohave County Attorney Matt Smith is running unopposed for his second full term as the county's chief prosecutor.  Smith grew up in Erie, Pa., before graduating from Gannon University majoring in political science and pre-law classes before attending law school at the University of Arizona.  After a year in private practice in Tucson, he followed a friend to the Mohave County Attorney's Office in 1987.  At first, Smith handled mostly juvenile and misdemeanor cases.  He tried his first felony case nine months later.  Three years after that, Smith handled his first murder trial, winning a conviction against Christopher Keohene, who murdered another man in Lake Havasu City.  Smith, 48, said he would continue to support the victim's advocacy centers in Bullhead City, Kingman and Lake Havasu City including Sarah's House and Victim Witness.  Sarah's House is a safe house in Kingman for victims of sexual abuse.  He also supports setting up a victim's advocacy center in Bullhead City.  Another priority for Smith is to continue his office's presence in Colorado City and the prosecution of Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints leader Warren Jeffs.  He has sent an investigator to that city to investigate sex abuse crimes.  That community has been a focal point for the controversial polygamist group and charges against that church of child abuse and marriage of underage girls.     Read more
 
 
Tom Sheahan running unopposed for sheriff
By JIM SECKLER
Mohave Daily News
Originally published Tuesday, August 5, 2008

KINGMAN - Mohave County Sheriff Tom Sheahan will run unopposed for a fourth term as sheriff of the fifth largest county, geographically, in the country.  Sheahan said several issues face the county, including illegal immigration. The county does not get the publicity that Maricopa County and other counties closer to the Mexican border get.  The sheriff's office has cracked down on illegal immigrants who are known to commit burglaries and other crimes after sending money home to their families.  The sheriff's office is also working with two Immigration and Custom Enforcement officers who are permanently based in Bullhead City.  Methamphetamine is another big issue, especially when it is smuggled in by illegal immigrants from labs in Mexico.  Sheahan is asking federal officials to secure the Mexican border.  Another top issue is the cracking down on underage marriages by polygamists in Colorado City.  The county attorney's office and his deputies have done more recently than in the past 50 years, he said.  The jailed leader of the polygamist group, Warren Jeffs, currently faces charges in Mohave County.     Read more
 
 
State had dozens of FLDS probes
By Lisa Sandberg
San Antonio Express-News
Originally published August 13, 2008

AUSTIN — The Texas Department of Public Safety on Tuesday confirmed that at one time state authorities opened 20 sexual abuse and 50 bigamy investigations against members of a West Texas polygamist group.  But now, more than three months later, it remains unclear how many of those cases are still being pursued.  DPS spokeswoman Tela Mange declined to say how close authorities were to wrapping up their investigation against members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, saying only that her agency "is still working it."  Willie Jessop, FLDS spokesman, called the latest DPS announcement "pathetic" and said it was nothing more than a ploy to focus attention away from the state's failed effort to seize more than 400 of the group's children.  "Instead of acknowledging that taking the children was wrong, they have to come up with more silliness," Jessop said Tuesday.     Read more
 
 
Utah lawmaker wants to let shelters house runaways
By BROCK VERGAKIS
The Associated Press
Standard-Examiner - Ogden, Utah
Originally published Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2008

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A state representative is seeking to change a law that forces homeless shelters to turn away runaways and homeless children seeking refuge for the night.  "The point is to allow the shelters to take care of these kids so they're not out on the street," said Rep. Lorie Fowlke, a Republican.  "This will just allow them to have a safe bed, a safe meal, take a shower, access some information and help them get on their feet."  Employees at private shelters can currently be prosecuted for harboring a minor if they allow them to stay overnight.  Runaway children over 10 can stay at a state-run shelter, but some refuse to for various reasons.  Lawmakers were scheduled to take up Fowlke's bill Wednesday.  Under the measure, a runaway's parent or the Department of Child Protective Services would still need to be told where the child is within eight hours of a shelter learning the child's situation.  But if a guardian, parent or a law enforcement officer fails to pick up the child, the shelter wouldn't be forced to kick out the runaway.  A child could also stay at the shelter if a parent intentionally fails to provide food, shelter or clothing or make reasonable arrangements to get the child home safely.  Employees also wouldn't be prosecuted for providing shelter if there wasn't a reasonable way for the youngster to immediately notify parents and authorities.  Fowlke said many runaway children belong to parents who, because of drugs or other problems, don't care where their children are, leaving them no place to go.  "The shelters do describe these kids as throwaways and not runaways," Fowlke said.  "In the past they've always had to throw them out at night, even if it's a blizzard or whatever. That sounds horrible to me."     Read more
 
 
LeBaron brothers team with lawmaker in effort to change incest laws
By John Hollenhorst
KSL-TV Channel 5
Originally broadcast November 5, 2008

Three sons of a southern Utah fundamentalist are launching a crusade to change incest laws in three states.  They say their dad fathered at least four children with his own daughter and is getting away with it because of a legal loophole.  The LeBaron brothers, none of whom are polygamists, are reluctantly stepping into the legislative arena and exposing painful family secrets.  They believe incest is widespread beyond their eccentric family and is rarely prosecuted.  Elend LeBaron is not eager to talk about incest in his own family.  "It's embarrassing. It's humiliating. But it's really our only way to stop this from continuing," he said.  Elend and two of his brothers are now pushing for attention because they want to change incest laws.  They say their father preaches the "Pure Seed Doctrine" that he believes will bring back Jesus Christ.  "I've heard it stated by my dad and my brother that through polygamy and incest will come the future leaders of the world kingdom," Elend said.  The brothers are convinced their dad fathered at least four kids with his own daughter.  "I mean, we have DNA evidence to prove that my dad is having children with my sister," Elend said.  But law enforcement hasn't been able to touch him.  "He already has argued that these children are the result of artificial insemination," Elend explained.     Read more
 
 
Interim committee approves incest law changes
By Arthur Raymond
Deseret News
Originally published Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2008

A graphic and disturbing story of incest within an Iron County Utah family—and the frustration of a district attorney forced to abandon criminal charges related to allegations in the matter—led to unanimous passage of a proposed amendment to state law Wednesday at a Capitol legislative committee hearing.  The proposed changes to the Utah statute on incest, sponsored by Sen. Dennis Stowell, R-Parowan, will get a place near the top of the list of matters for the Legislature to consider when it begins its 2009 session in January.  Cedar City resident Elend LeBaron told the Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Interim Committee that about a year ago he and two of his brothers took DNA samples from two children of his sister's based on suspicions that "something was not right."  LeBaron said genetic tests conducted on the samples revealed that the children were fathered by the mother's father, Ross LeBaron.  "When we found out, after we received the test results, my brothers ... and I compiled information surrounding this situation," Elend LeBaron said.  Elend LeBaron said his father, Ross, is involved with a polygamist community in southern Utah and believes that his father artificially inseminated his sister, that the act had religious implications and may have been an attempt to "replicate a virgin birth ... believing that this is how Jesus came into the world."  He also stated that his father and sister have parented four children.     Read more
 
 
Committee endorses amendment to incest law
By John Hollenhorst
KSL 5 TV
Originally broadcast November 19, 2008

Today brought shocking testimony and quick action by a legislative committee to tighten up Utah's law against incest.  The call for reform was sparked by allegations that a Utah fundamentalist fathered at least four children with his own daughter.  The LeBaron family may be an extreme example. But Ross LeBaron's sons say girls in many other families are at risk because of fundamentalist teachings about incest.  They say their father is beyond the reach of the law, so the law has to change.  Ross LeBaron preaches his own brand of religious fundamentalism.  His so-called "Pure Seed Doctrine" led three of his sons to collect DNA samples from five of their young nieces and nephews.  Elend LeBaron, son of Ross LeBaron, said, "That transformed our suspicions into a very painful reality."  Elend LeBaron told lawmakers the DNA revealed a family secret.  He said, "Through this, we learned that my father is, in fact, having children with one of my sisters. Another sister has a child from either my father or my older brother."     Read more
 
 
Incest law focus of draft bill
By Jennifer Dobner
The Associated Press
Provo Daily Herald
Originally published Thursday, 20 November 2008

SALT LAKE CITY -- A state lawmaker said Wednesday he wants to rewrite a Utah statute to close a loophole in the law that allows incest through artificial insemination.  Sen. Dennis Stowell, R-Parowan, said his goal is to block inappropriate family relations that produce children with serious birth defects.  His draft bill presented Wednesday would make it illegal for adult relatives to provide each other with seminal fluids or human eggs for use in artificial insemination.  Stowell also wants to eliminate as a possible criminal defense the claim that no sexual intercourse occurred.  Current incest laws require proof of sexual intercourse and address offenses between adults and children under 18.  The law enforcement and criminal justice interim committee voted unanimously to forward the bill for consideration during the legislative session that starts in January.  "We had a case of incest in Iron County. In the course of prosecuting, [what] the defense offered was that this incest was done by artificial insemination which is not covered in the law," Stowell said.  "This is an attempt to correct that problem."  Stowell said research of incest laws nationwide shows Utah would be the first state to address incest through artificial insemination.  Allegations of incest were brought to Iron County authorities last year by Elend LeBaron and two of his brothers, who feared their father, Ross W. Lebaron, Jr., was engaged in an incestuous relationship that had produced at least four children.  DNA testing on one of the children -- the samples were collected in secret and the tests paid for by the three brothers -- indicated a high probability that incest had occurred.  The tests "transformed our suspicion into a very painful reality," an emotional Elend LeBaron, of Delta, told the committee.  "My father is in fact having children with one of my sisters."     Read more
 
 
At Least 100,000 American Children Are Sold Into Sex Trade
Reported by: Kristina De Leon
WOAI TV News 4 - San Antonio, Texas
Originally broadcast December 4, 2008

The goal is to keep kids from being sold into the sex trade.  The human trafficking trade was the topic Thursday at a child abuse conference put on by a local group called "Child Safe."  Members of a group called "Shared Hope International" were at the conference to discuss the problem.  "Ordinary American children. It could be anybody's 12 to 14-year-old are being sold. At least 100,000 off them," said Linda Smith of Shared Hope International.  Children are beaten, drugged, or just coerced into the trade by older men.  That's what Tina Frundt says happened to her when she was 14.  "I left home thinking we were going to have this great family. He loves me so much. I was so excited," explained Tina.  "When I got to Cleveland, Ohio, I was forced in, so meaning that, I was raped repeatedly and forced into prostitution."  Tina is now speaking out to help the victims know it's not their fault.  "There was no adequate place where I could go. Where would I go?," Tina told News 4.  "Ya know, they still arrest you, as a victim. So there wasn't anybody I could go to for help."  Shared Hope helps teach local police agencies and case workers reach out to possible victims.  "If we can train them and how to identify the children, then we have a good start there," Linda Smith of Shared Hope International said.  The conference continues Friday, when the focus will be on child abuse in polygamist groups.
 
 
Read the Child Safe 2008 Conference Brochure
 
 
Polygamous Child Abuse Victim Shares Story
WOAI TV News 4 - San Antonio, Texas
Originally broadcast December 5, 2008

A survivor of child abuse shares her story at a conference on abuse in San Antonio.  For the past few days, leaders in child protection educated themselves on how to make sure children are getting the help they need.  Brenda Jensen was abused as part of a polygamous group, like the FLDS group in West Texas.  Jensen says the abuse she suffered was emotional and sometimes physical.  She says that in her polygamous group, "The Priesthood" of the church owned the young girls.  "Then you are open to the assignment to the man of God who's going to take you to exultation for time in eternity."  Jensen says she's been giving childcare workers insight to helping victims of child abuse.  She says the worst part of it all was the hopelessness.  "Never being able to be anything more than what you were right at that moment, that second."  The conference was to help law enforcement agents and social workers get the proper training they need to protect and help children that could be in the same situation.
 
 
Stowell prepares to present incest bill
BY NUR KAUSAR
The Spectrum
Originally published January 2, 2009

CEDAR CITY - A Utah state senator is preparing to present his controversial incest bill during the 2009 Utah legislative session, which begins Jan. 26.  Sen. Dennis Stowell, R.-Dist. 28, put together a bill that outlaws incest through artificial insemination and allows DNA tests as evidence, which could not be used solely by prosecutors before.  "The way it's written now, we have to prove the act of sexual intercourse," Iron County Attorney Scott Garrett said.  "But what we're focused on here is the product of intercourse, not intercourse itself."  Garrett said this is the first bill he has seen of this kind, and said that it has the momentum to pass.  Stowell is not too worried about passage, as the Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Interim Committee unanimously recommended its passage after reviewing it Nov. 19, he said.  Two Utah geneticists provided testimony to back Stowell's case.  Nobel Prize winner Dr. Mario Capecchi, University of Utah distinguished professor of human genetics and biology and investigator at Howard Hughes Medical Center, provided statistics, saying there is a 25-50 percent chance of deformity with first relationships and 6-8 percent with second relationships.  First relationships include father-daughter and brother-sister incest, and second include cousin and uncle-niece relationships, Stowell explained.  John Opitz, University of Utah professor of pediatrics, human genetics, pathology, obstetrics and gynecology, wrote in his testimony that "the deleterious effects of incest in resulting offspring by way of mortality, defect and mental retardation range from 61 to 89 percent."     Read more
 
 
Two leaders of polygamist community in western Canada arrested
Two men in western Canada with 22 wives between them have been arrested on charges of practicing polygamy.
BY JEREMY HAINSWORTH
The Associated Press
Miami Herald
Originally published Thursday, January 8, 2009

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Two top leaders of a polygamous community in western Canada have been arrested and charged with practicing polygamy, British Columbia's attorney general said Wednesday.  Attorney General Wally Oppal said Winston Blackmore is charged with marrying 20 women, while James Oler is accused of marrying two women.  "This has been a very complex issue," Oppal said.  "It's been with us for well over 20 years."  Blackmore, long known as "the Bishop of Bountiful," runs an independent sect of about 400 members in the town of Bountiful.  He once ran the Canadian arm of the Utah-based Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints but was ejected in 2003 by that group's leader, Warren Jeffs.  Oler is the bishop of Bountiful's FLDS community loyal to Jeffs.  Even though many of the town's residents are related or have same last name, followers of the two leaders are splintered and are not allowed to talk with each other.  FLDS members practice polygamy in arranged marriages, a tradition tied to the early theology of the Mormon church.  Mormons renounced polygamy in 1890 as a condition of Utah's statehood.  Last June, Oppal appointed a special prosecutor to look into allegations of criminal abuse at Bountiful.     Read more
 
 
Polygamist leaders with Utah ties arrested in Canada
Reported by: Brent Hunsaker
ABC 4 News
Originally broadcast January 8, 2009

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (ABC 4 News) - The Royal Canadian Mounted Police Tuesday arrested two polygamist leaders in British Columbia.  The government attorney charged Winston Blackmore and FLDS bishop Jim Oler with one count each of polygamy.  If convicted in what is widely believed to be a test case, more charges could follow.  The attorney said the investigation is ongoing.  But a conviction on just the one count could be enough to put Blackmore and Oler in jail for up to five years.  The arrest of Blackmore comes as a shock to many who have left the polygamist FLDS group.  They seem to consider Winston Blackmore to be one of the good guys.  Perhaps that's because he shares with them the title of "outcast".  Once one of the 3 most powerful men within the community, Blackmore was kicked out in 2002 as Warren Jeffs sought to consolidate power and remove challengers prior to the death of his father, Rulon Jeffs.  Winston Blackmore now presides over a splinter group in the Creston Valley of British Columbia, Canada - called "Bountiful" by polygamists.  When he was expelled, about half of the estimated 1,000 polygamists in the valley followed Winston, the rest stayed loyal to Warren.     Read more
 
 
Lawmakers push to tighten incest law
By ALYSON ZEPEDA
Cronkite News Service
Tucson Citizen
Originally published February 3, 2009

PHOENIX - Among other charges, Arizona officials wanted to prosecute polygamist leader Warren Jeffs for allegedly arranging the marriages of two underage girls to their adult half-cousins.  But a Mohave County judge dismissed four charges dealing with incest because Arizona law states that incest applies only to those 18 and older.  Rep. David Lujan, D-Phoenix, is teaming with Sen. Jonathan Paton, R-Tucson, to make that law apply to minors.  "If you commit incest against a child, our incest laws don't apply, which is kind of a crazy thing, if you ask me," Lujan said.  "You would think that would be the one group that we should be protecting from incest."  HB 2066 was assigned to the House Judiciary Committee and has yet to be scheduled for a hearing.  It's the third straight year that Lujan, a lawyer for a national child advocacy organization, is pressing for laws that ultimately address polygamy.  Lujan, the House minority leader, also has brought back legislation that would bar judges from awarding custody to a parent who engages in child bigamy unless the judge states in writing why that action poses no threat to the child.  Two previous versions of that bill died in committee.     Read more
 
 
Gay rights bill fails; incest bill moves past committee
By Sam Penrod
KSL 5 TV
Originally broadcast February 17, 2009

Another bill involving gay rights on Utah's Capitol Hill has been killed, while one meant to prevent incest within polygamist communities is moving on.  House Bill 267 would have added gender expression or identity and sexual orientation to the state's anti-discrimination act to protect gay employees in the workplace, but it died Tuesday afternoon in committee, by a vote of 8-5.  Rep. Christine Johnson, D-Salt Lake City, who is openly gay, sponsored the bill.  "Voting against this bill, and killing this bill here this committee, is an endorsement of discrimination," she said.  Johnson continued, "I think that people who discriminate in the workplace aren't necessarily malicious in a conscious way. There are so many fears about people that are different from us, people that are homosexual."  The bill was expected to face an uphill battle and encountered strong opposition.  "What we are talking about is somebody's choice, somebody's sexual choice, the sex they practice. Why would we put into law, people's sexual choice, never been put into law before, and I don't know why we would do it now," said Gayle Ruzicka, with Utah's Eagle Forum.     Read more
 
 
Polygamy nonprofit debuts at celebration
By Ben Winslow
Deseret News
Originally published Sunday, Feb. 22, 2009

WEST JORDAN — It was detente over a chicken dinner.  Polygamists, ex-polygamists, activists, lawyers and government officials were all in the same room Saturday night, supporting the newest organization to reach out to offer help to people in Utah's cloistered polygamous communities.  A fundraiser gala at Gardner Village drew nearly 200 people for the debut of Holding Out HELP (Helping, Encouraging and Loving Polygamists).  "People from all walks of life are here," said executive director Tonia Tewell, as she stood in a crowded room where a debate for or against polygamy would be conspicuously absent from the evening's festivities.  Tewell launched the group after sheltering a couple of women and four children who were leaving a bad situation in polygamy.  Speaking to the crowd, one of those women (who asked her name not be used) said everyone's situation is different.  "In the midst of my own crisis, my own heart went out to those from other polygamous communities who are struggling," she said.  "Maybe they just need a listening ear or a nonjudgmental heart. Maybe they wish to leave but can't for a variety of reasons. As I see the faces of the people I left behind in my polygamous community, I have no desire to hurt them. I just wish that I am able to help them in any way I am able to. I don't resent them."  Holding Out HELP is unique in its mission to offer help and support services for people who want to leave as well as those who want to stay.     Read more
 
 
Polygamy 'Safety Net' helps hundreds
By Ben Winslow
Deseret News
Originally published Thursday, March 5, 2009

In only three months, 557 people were helped by a coalition seeking to combat abuse and neglect within often isolated polygamous communities. The numbers paint a stark portrait of the need to continue reaching out, say advocates for the Safety Net Committee, a coalition of government agencies, social service workers, activists and polygamists working to provide services to victims in remote communities.  "I think it's obviously dramatically needed, because in just this brief amount of time, these people have come forward and needed some kind of help," Pat Merkley, the committee's coordinator, told the Deseret News.  "They're an underserved population."  During a meeting of the committee Thursday, Merkley said that out of the 557 helped between October and December 2008, a dozen needed victim services for issues such as domestic violence or abuse.  The committee provided other services ranging from counseling and group therapy to case management, assistance and prevention.  "I'm in awe of what you've accomplished," Anne Wilde of the pro-polygamy group Principle Voices told Merkley.  Merkley said she wished they could reach people earlier.  "They're almost at a crisis point by the time they reach us," she told committee members.  "I wish people would come sooner. Maybe through your grapevine, you can encourage them to come to us sooner."     Read more
 
 
House panel endorses changing incest law to include minors
By Alyson Zepeda
Cronkite News Service
The Arizona Republic
Originally published March 5, 2009

A legislative panel endorsed a bill Thursday that supporters say would close a gap in Arizona's law against incest that led a Mohave County judge to dismiss some charges against polygamist leader Warren Jeffs.  The current law defines incest as strictly between adults. HB 2066 would make the law apply to those under 18, a change that Deputy Attorney General Greg Stanton said would be useful in prosecuting those who engage in polygamy.  "The reality is that having an incest law that only dealt with adults and didn't involve children put us at an prosecutorial disadvantage with dealing with the difficult issues in Colorado City," Stanton told the House Judiciary Committee.  Last June, Superior Court Judge Steven Conn dismissed four counts against Jeffs because of the wording of Arizona's law on incest.  Those counts involved marriages allegedly arranged between two underage girls and their adult half-cousins.  Jeffs, who was convicted in Utah and is serving a prison term there, is awaiting trial in Mohave County on four other counts alleging that he acted as an accomplice in sexual misconduct with a minor.  Rep. David Lujan, D-Phoenix, the sponsor of HB 2066, said the current incest law is hindering prosecutors as they work to address abuses in polygamist communities.  "It's an important correction we need to make to our laws," he said in an interview.     Read more
 
 
Arizona loses offices in polygamous town
By Felicia Fonseca
The Associated Press
The Arizona Republic
Originally published March 7, 2009

FLAGSTAFF - State and county officials are losing their base in a polygamous community near the Arizona-Utah line that they say is needed to thwart crime and provide a refuge for people seeking to flee abusive situations.  Two trailers set up on the Mohave Community College campus in Colorado City have served as office space for law enforcement officials, victims advocates, a county investigator and some state agencies for the past five years.  But the college decided against renewing the lease.  "It would have been nice to stay there longer, but they have their issues, and it's their lease," Sheriff Tom Sheahan said.  "We'll find a place."  Sheahan said he is hopeful the county will find another property to lease by the end of the year.  Most residents of Colorado City and neighboring Hildale, Utah, are members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which practices polygamy.  Critics claim the church uses polygamy to justify a wide range of evils, including child rape and underage marriage.  The isolation of the community helps perpetuate those suspicions.  Colorado City has its own police force, but Sheahan said its primary allegiance is to the church, not the law.  "The people that want honest law enforcement certainly are glad to have us there," he said.     Read more
 
 
Colorado City options eyed
Supervisors will commence search for new office space
By Suzanne Adams
Kingman Daily Miner
Originally published Monday, March 16, 2009

KINGMAN - District III Supervisor Buster Johnson wants county staff to start an immediate search for another location for county offices in the Colorado City area.  The item has been placed on the Board of Supervisor's agenda for the meeting that starts at 9:30 a.m. today.  On March 2, the Board of Supervisors approved the removal of county offices from property owned by Mohave Community College in the Arizona Strip.  The removal of the offices came after the Board was notified on Feb. 5 that the college had decided not to renew the county's lease on the property.  The Mohave County Attorney, Mohave County Sheriff's, Arizona Attorney General and the Arizona Department of Economic Security, along with Defenders of the Children, all had offices on the property.  The CAO, Sheriff, and Arizona Attorney General all protested the closure of the offices, saying it would make it more difficult for residents in the area to receive county services and to provide adequate law enforcement or emergency services in the area.  During the March 2 meeting, Johnson expressed concern about the county not having some sort of law enforcement or services in the remote area.  He requested that an item be added to the agenda directing staff to look into the possibility of finding a new location for the offices.     Read more
 
 
Board seeks new site for county building in Colorado City
By JIM SECKLER
Mohave Daily News
Originally published Monday, March 16, 2009

KINGMAN - The Mohave County supervisors will discuss looking for another site for a county facility in the Colorado City area today.  At the previous meeting, the board voted to end a five-year lease with Mohave Community College to use a modular building in Colorado City.  The lease expires March 31.  Colorado City is home to a polygamist group, the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  The county sub-leases part of the building to the Arizona Department of Economic Security and to the Defender's of Children, a group that advocates for woman and children who are victims of the polygamist sect in Colorado City.  The Mohave County sheriff's deputies and county attorney's office investigator Gary Engels, who is investigating sexual crimes, also uses part of the building.  Sheriff Tom Sheahan previously promised the board that his sheriff's deputies will remain in the area.  Six Colorado City sworn police officers have been decertified as law enforcement officers in recent years and the sheriff's office has jurisdiction in the area.  At the previous meeting, Mohave County Attorney Matt Smith said the county's presence is needed in Colorado City to look into allegations of sexual conduct of underage girls in the community by members of the polygamist church.  In a letter to the board, Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard also said his office had concerns with the expired lease and the loss of the building would be a setback for the victims of polygamy in Colorado City.     Read more
 
 
Sheahan ripped by Colorado City boss
By Suzanne Adams
Kingman Daily Miner
Originally published Tuesday, March 17, 2009

KINGMAN - A simple request to find a new home for Mohave County, state and federal offices in the Colorado City area during Monday's Board of Supervisors meeting quickly turned into a he said/he said battle between two residents from Colorado City and the Mohave County Sheriff.  During the meeting, District III Supervisor Buster Johnson asked that the Board direct county staff to start looking for a new home for county, state and federal offices that were housed inside a mobile trailer on property leased from Mohave Community College.  The college decided not to renew the lease with the county earlier this month and the offices must be moved off the property.  The topic provided an opening for Colorado City Town Manager David Darger and he took advantage of it, starting with questions about why the Mohave County Sheriff's Office was targeting Colorado City citizens and the town's police department.  Darger objected to comments made by Sheriff Tom Sheahan during the March 2 Board of Supervisors' meeting which, Darger said, alleged that the officers of the Colorado City Police Department were unfit for duty and the sheriff was attempting to decertify all the officers in the department.  "This wholesale attack on the city police department is far outside the bounds of propriety," Darger said.  He also asked about the "strong message" Sheahan said he wanted to send to the community on March 2.  Did that include MCSO deputies arresting two farmers for plowing land last week that was involved in an ownership dispute, Darger asked, or other deputies who were "targeting" drivers entering or leaving the MCC campus.     Read more
 
 
Board agrees to look for new site for county building in Colorado City
By JIM SECKLER
Mohave Daily News
Originally published Tuesday, March 17, 2009

KINGMAN - Despite a dire warning from the spokesman of the Colorado City polygamist church, the Mohave County supervisors agreed Monday to look for another site for a county facility in that city.  At the previous meeting, the board voted to end a five-year lease with Mohave Community College to use a modular building in Colorado City.  The lease expires March 31. Colorado City is home to a polygamist group, the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  The county sub-leases part of the building to the Arizona Department of Economic Security and to the Defender's of Children, a group that advocates on behalf of woman and children who are victims of the polygamist sect in Colorado City.  The Mohave County sheriff's deputies and county attorney's office investigator Gary Engels, who is investigating sexual crimes, also uses part of the building.  District 1 Sup. Gary Watson supported the search for a new building as long as it would be for county, state and federal functions.  Colorado City Manager David Darger said he had concerns of lumping all Colorado City police officers as unfit to be officers and that the sheriff's office has sent a message of retaliation on residents of the polygamist community.  He claimed sheriff's deputies have been rude and the county has placed a financial burden on the city with "coordinated attacks."     Read more
 
 
Reid to revive polygamy crime bill
By STEVE TETREAULT
STEPHENS WASHINGTON BUREAU
Las Vegas Review-Journal
Originally published March 27, 2009

WASHINGTON — Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., said this morning he plans to revive his drive to crack down on crimes committed within polygamous communities, and to help people seeking to leave plural marriage groups.  Reid said he planned to discuss the issue with Attorney General Eric Holder.  While it has not been at the top of his agenda this year, Reid said there is an "obligation" to pursue it.  "I personally believe these people who are doing this, many of them are doing things that are immoral and in many instances illegal," Reid said.  There have been allegations of welfare fraud and abuse within such groups, Reid said.  "We have an obligation to help these woman and children who are being victimized," he said.  Reid, the Senate majority leader, said he was "ignored by the Bush folks" when he pushed a polygamy crime bill last year.  "I think that is really too bad."  "Nobody seems to be concerned about (bigamy) but it is against the law in every state," he said.  Reid last year sponsored a bill to establish a federal task force on polygamist-related crimes.  It also would have made available grants to local law enforcement agencies, and to social service organizations that help members who flee polygamous groups, sometimes with little more than the clothes on their backs.     Read more
 
 
A year after FLDS raid, criminal probes slow down
By Ben Winslow
Deseret News
Originally published Friday, April 3, 2009

For years, Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff's office has been conducting criminal investigations into the Fundamentalist LDS Church and its leader, Warren Jeffs — including an organized crime probe.  But those investigations appear to have taken a backseat to other criminal cases coming out of last year's raid on the polygamous sect's YFZ Ranch.  "We don't have stuff ready to even talk about bringing charges," Shurtleff told the Deseret News.  "Besides, with everything going on in Texas and Arizona, our office is waiting."  Law enforcement from Utah, Arizona, Texas and Nevada met in Las Vegas just weeks after the raid to begin sharing information on the FLDS Church.  It led to the creation of a database, where information and evidence would be shared among the states.  "The sharing of information is kind of an organic process and until it results in a prosecution, it's hard to say whether it's working or not," Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard said Friday.  "I still believe it was a good step forward. I've heard of cases — including some we're working — that have benefitted from the cooperation of agencies."  He declined to elaborate.  "I haven't received a lot of stuff that has Utah implications," Shurtleff said.     Read more
 
 
New site eyed for building in Colorado City
By JIM SECKLER
Mohave Daily News
Originally published Monday, April 20, 2009

KINGMAN - Two Colorado City lots and a Fredonia lot will be looked at by the supervisors Monday as possible new sites for a county facility in Northern Mohave County.  The two lots in Colorado City are more than an acre each and are owned by United Effort Plan Trust, the financial arm of the polygamist group the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  One lot costs about $26,200 and the slightly larger lot costs $32,200.  Another more than one-acre lot about 30 miles away in Fredonia that costs about $30,000 also is being considered.  At a board meeting in March, the supervisors voted to end a five-year lease with Mohave Community College to use a modular building in Colorado City.  The lease expired March 31.  The county sub-leased part of the building to the Arizona Department of Economic Security and to the Defenders of Children, a group that advocates on behalf of woman and children victimized in Colorado City.  The Mohave County sheriff's deputies and county attorney's office investigator Gary Engels, who investigates sexual crimes, also used part of the building.  At a March meeting, MCC Chancellor Mike Kearns said there was a decline in enrollment at the MCC campus in the area, partly because of the county's occupation of the building.  Community members threatened not to attend several class programs because of the county's presence.  Colorado City Manager David Darger previously spoke of concerns of the sheriff's office and the county attorney's office investigation into the polygamist church in recent years.  FLDS spokesman Willie Jessop also spoke of the county's alleged vendetta against the community.     Read more
 
 
Prosecutor of Warren Jeffs case honored
Deseret News
Originally published Monday, April 27, 2009

PHOENIX — A prosecutor who is trying a case against Fundamentalist LDS Church leader Warren Jeffs is being honored for his efforts to help abuse victims.  The Arizona Attorney General's Office said Monday that Mohave County Attorney Matt Smith is being recognized as part of National Crime Victims' Rights Week for "the support he has given to victims of abuse in Colorado City, Ariz."  He is being given an award of special recognition, Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard's office said.  Smith is prosecuting Jeffs on sexual misconduct charges, accusing him of performing underage marriages.  Jeffs was convicted of similar charges in Utah.

— Ben Winslow
 
 
Read the April 29, 2009 Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard's Press Release announcing the 2009 Victims' Rights Awards
 
 
County attorney awarded for work with FLDS victims
Kingman Daily Miner
Originally published Thursday, April 30, 2009

KINGMAN - Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard awarded Mohave County Attorney Matt Smith Wednesday with the Distinguished Service Award for Leadership.  Smith earned the award for his work with victims of abuse from the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  "County Attorney Smith's efforts to create trust and understanding between Colorado City victims and prosecutors have helped reluctant victims come forward to seek justice," Goddard stated in a news release.  "His (Smith's) approach has influenced prosecutors across Arizona, Utah and other states."  Smith showed initiative and understanding and improved services to victims of abuse in Colorado City, Goddard stated.  The award was part of a handful of awards Goddard handed out to state and local officials during National Crime Victim's Rights Week.     See photo
 
 
Board looks at more sites for building
By JIM SECKLER
Mohave Daily News
Originally published Friday, May 1, 2009

KINGMAN - The Mohave County supervisors will again look Monday at several Colorado City properties to house county government offices, despite objections from that community's residents.  The supervisors will again discuss the purchase of one of three northern Mohave County lots to house a county facility.  Before the last meeting, the county public works department narrowed the search to two lots in Colorado City and one lot in Fredonia, about 30 miles away.  The Colorado City lots are about an acre and a half in size with one lot costing $26,200 and the slightly larger lot costing $32,200.  The Fredonia lot costs about $30,000.  United Effort Plan Trust, the financial arm of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, owns the two Colorado City lots.  Colorado City Manager David Darger recently gave the county a list of about a half dozen more lots, which county officials also are considering this week, Public Works Director Mike Hendrix said.     Read more
 
 
County hunting for facility site in Arizona Strip
By Suzanne Adams
Kingman Daily Miner
Originally published Wednesday, May 6, 2009

KINGMAN - The county still hasn't found a new place for its facility in the Arizona Strip/ Colorado City area.  The Board continued its discussion of possible building sites from April during its meeting Monday morning.  The Board has been seeking to purchase or lease a new property in the Colorado City area since February, when Mohave Community College announced it would not renew the county's lease for the current location.  The lease expired April 1 and the county has up to six months to remove an office trailer on the property.  The trailer houses offices for the Mohave County Sheriff, County Attorney, Arizona Attorney General, Arizona Department of Economic Security and a non-profit organization, Defenders of Children.  The Board is considering the possibility of housing the Moccasin Justice Court, MCSO and CAO in the same building.  But where that building would be located is still up in the air.  Last month, Mike Hendrix, deputy county manger for developmental and public works services, told the Board his office had narrowed the search to three possible sites; two in Colorado City and a third in Fredonia.  At that meeting, two residents of Colorado City spoke out in opposition of the county purchasing the two lots in Colorado City.  The two residents had donated the properties to the United Effort Plan Trust and would rather see the properties stay within the church.     Read more
 
 
Woman Offers 'HOPE' After Polygamy Life
Reporting: Rick Sallinger
CBS 4 - Denver
Written for the Web by CBS4 Special Projects Producer Libby Smith
Originally broadcast May 13, 2009

DENVER (CBS4) -- In the remote lands along the Arizona/Utah border, there are small close-knit communities practicing a 100-year tradition that is forbidden - polygamy.  The area is home to the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints or the FLDS. Removed from mainstream America, residents here live simple lives made complicated by a practice they feel is deeply religious but also illegal.  "My father had 19 wives and 75 children. There were 11 mothers growing up in my house when I was growing up and about 30 kids," said former FLDS member Sara Hammon.  Hammon's father was one of the driving forces behind the FLDS in an area called Short Creek, near the twin cities of Hildale, Utah and Colorado City, Arizona.  Hammon's father eventually formed a splinter group, but she says all was not well at home.  "In my situation, there was a lot of sexual abuse ... physical, emotional, psychological, just about the whole gamut of abuses going on," Hammon told CBS4.  When Hammon was engaged to be married at age 14, she fled the church.  Now she's on the board of an organization called HOPE that helps other women leave.  "I do have an issue making little girls marry older men against their will. I have an issue kicking the boys out so the numbers work out so men can have five wives," said Elaine Tyler, founder of HOPE.     Read more
 
 
Supervisors to discuss potential Colorado City location
By JIM SECKLER
Mohave Daily News
Originally published Sunday, May 17, 2009

KINGMAN - With time running out, the Mohave County supervisors will again discuss Monday whether to buy one of several Colorado City properties to house a county government facility in that town.  The supervisors twice postponed a decision to purchase one of three northern Mohave County lots to house a county facility.  The county public works department initially narrowed the search to two lots in Colorado City and one lot in Fredonia, about 30 miles away.  After the first board meeting, the department also looked at more than a dozen other properties.  The board has to decide by September.  The Colorado City lots are about an acre and a half in size with one lot costing $26,200 and the slightly larger lot costing $32,200.  The Fredonia lot costs about $30,000.  United Effort Plan Trust, the financial arm of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, owns the two Colorado City lots.  One option is to have one facility to include a sheriff's office substation, the county attorney's office and possibly the state Attorney General's Office as well as a justice court.  Another option is a separate courthouse and county facility.  One suggestion was to put a court facility or a satellite office in Beaver Dam because of the growth in that area.  At prior board meetings, Moccasin Justice Court Judge Mitchell Kalauli and Colorado City Manager David Darger asked the board not to put the justice court in Colorado City because of the perception the court would not be fair to Colorado City defendants.  The justice court currently is in Fredonia.  The justice court should be a non-political entity and putting a court in Colorado City would make it a political entity because of the media attention in the polygamist community, they contend.     Read more
 
 
Board approves Colorado City location for county building
By JIM SECKLER
Mohave Daily News
Originally published Monday, May 18, 2009

KINGMAN - The Mohave County supervisors voted Monday to pursue an Arizona Strip property to house a county government facility.  The supervisors voted to proceed with obtaining a 540-acre parcel that may be donated to the county.  The property is located about one mile south of Colorado City near the turn off to the airport.  A government facility would take about five acres of the parcel.  A septic system would have to be built on the lot, Deputy County Manager Mike Hendrix said.  Again, County Manager Ron Walker said the board had to decide between a separate facility for the county and the justice court or to build one facility.  District 1 Sup. Gary Watson suggested the county go ahead and negotiate the possible donation of the property to house the sheriff's office substation, the county attorney's office and possibly the Moccasin Justice Court.  Court Administrator Kip Anderson said that Presiding Superior Court Judge Randy Bartlett must approve the move of the justice court to the new site.  He also said the justice court has about $500,000 plus another $100,000 from the county to build a new courthouse.  Sheriff Tom Sheahan said Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard contacted him about the possibility of also housing the state Department of Economic Security in the county building.  The sheriff said he would support the parcel near the airport allowing for the convenience to fly his deputies to the area.     Read more
 
 
Former Colo. Officer Helped Prosecute Polygamists
Reporting: Rick Sallinger
CBS 4 - Denver
Originally broadcast Monday, May 18, 2009

COLORADO CITY, Ariz. (CBS4) -- A year since the Texas raid that drew nationwide attention, the polygamist church, the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints or FLDS, remains under fire.  Ten men in Texas are awaiting trial on charges of bigamy and sexual assault.  FLDS leader Warren Jeffs is awaiting trial in Arizona following his sentencing in Utah.  And now a former law enforcement officer from Colorado is playing a key role in prosecuting members of the church.  Gary Engles was a sheriff's deputy in Adams County, an officer in Golden and also Silverthorne.  Now his territory includes the polygamist towns of the FLDS.  His base is Colorado City, Ariz., home to the polygamous sect -- the FLDS.  The church's prophet, Jeffs, is now behind bars after being convicted in Utah of rape as an accomplice for arranging an underage marriage.  Engles played a key role in the investigation of Jeffs and numerous other FLDS members who have been successfully prosecuted.  CBS4's Rick Sallinger paid a visit to Engles and asked him how popular he thinks he is in Colorado City.  "I think I could probably rank up there with one of the most hated people here," Engles said.     Read more
 
 
Board moves closer on new Colorado City facility
By Suzanne Adams
Kingman Daily Miner
Originally published Wednesday, May 20, 2009

KINGMAN - The county could be closer to a new location for a new court and county office building in the Arizona Strip area.  The Board of Supervisors unanimously approved county staff to discuss the possibility of donating or purchasing a parcel of land near Colorado City.  Mike Hendrix, deputy county manager for Development and Public Works Services, brought several new sites for a new location for county offices and/or a new justice court in the Arizona Strip area to the Board of Supervisors Monday.  Hendrix also notified the Board that the fiduciary for the United Effort Plan Trust warned him that land owned by the trust might not be available to the county because of pending litigation the trust was going through.  The UEP Trust controls most of the land owned by Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  The group is currently protesting the sale of 700 acres of property they consider sacred along the Arizona/Utah border in court.  Supervisor Gary Watson expressed interest in a particular parcel located about one mile south of Colorado City and east of the airport on Cane Beds Road.  He particularly liked the idea that it was located in close proximity to the airport, which would make it easier for travel.  According to County Assessor's Office records, the property is more than 539 acres in size.  The county would only need about five to 10 acres.     Read more
 
 
Library district to meet in Dolan Springs
By JIM SECKLER
Mohave Daily News
Originally published Sunday, June 21, 2009

KINGMAN - The Bullhead City library expansion project will be discussed Monday at the Mohave County Library District meeting.  Meeting on a quarterly basis, the library district citizen advisory committee will meet at 10 a.m. at the library in Dolan Springs at 16140 Pierce Ferry Road.  The next meeting will be held Aug. 24 at the Kingman branch library.  Also to be discussed Monday is the Colorado City library project and the 2009-10 fiscal year budget for the county library system.  The Bullhead City library expansion project, which would turn the existing 8,669-square-foot library branch into a 32,000-square-foot facility, is expected to take about two years to complete.  In February, the county supervisors awarded a $757,269 contract to Will Bruder & Partners LLC of Phoenix.  The firm recently unveiled plans for the project, which would expand toward Hancock Road and would triple the size of the library.  Once the design plans are completed, the county would then go out for bids to construct the project.  The Bullhead City library design plans are expected to take a year to complete.  The expansion project would take another year to construct, Library Director Bob Shupe said.  The project could expand the library to include a computer room, separate children and teen sections, and a community meeting room.     Read more
 
 
Author takes aim at polygamy
By Tim Sampson
The Daily Times - Kerrville, Texas
Originally published June 27, 2009

When Flora Jessop came to Kerrville on Thursday night to talk about her experiences growing up in a polygamist cult in Arizona, she had a warning: Texas could be next.  Jessop, who spent her childhood in the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints and was forced to marry her own cousin at 16, escaped from the extremist sect and has become a champion of the fight against the fundamentalist church.  She authored the book, "Church of Lies," detailing her experiences and was at Hastings on Thursday night for a book signing.  Between describing horrific episodes of abuse from her own childhood in Colorado City, Ariz., the fundamentalist compound where she was raised, Jessop railed against governments in Utah and Arizona that have not done enough to shut down these cults, in her opinion.  "It's been allowed to go on, because it enjoys the shield of mainstream Mormonism," she said.  She said the political influence Mormons wield in those states and the fact that Mormon scripture still allows polygamy, gives credence to cults where women and children are held prisoner, raped, abused and neglected.     Read more
 
 
Seminar to train agencies in plural family culture
The Associated Press
KSWT-TV 13 News - Yuma, Arizona
Originally published July 3, 2009

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - A committee that blends Utah and Arizona state agencies, nonprofits and representatives from polygamous groups wants to help service providers learn how to work with plural families.  The First Annual Safety Net Clinical Training Conference will be held in Salt Lake City on Aug. 17.  It will provide cultural education for social and domestic violence workers, medical providers and others.  An estimated 37,000 polygamists live across the intermountain West, most in Utah and Arizona.  Traditionally, plural families avoid accessing social services for fear of prosecution.  Bigamy is illegal in both states.  Utah and Arizona agencies joined with a handful of polygamy advocates to form the Safety Net Committee several years ago to help families get needed services.
 
 
Colorado City lot in works to house county facility
By JIM SECKLER
Mohave Daily News
Originally published Tuesday, July 7, 2009

KINGMAN - A new home for the Mohave County Sheriff's Office and the county attorney's office may finally be found in Colorado City.  The supervisors on Monday identified one of two properties in the city to house a county facility and possibly a court for the Moccasin Justice Court.  District 3 Sup. Buster Johnson asked to go ahead with either of the two chosen Colorado City lots to house the county building, and directed county staff to find a new home for the justice court later.  The court may be combined with the county facility or placed at a separate location.  The county was forced to move a modular building, which housed several county departments, off Mohave Community College property after the community college ended a five-year lease earlier this year.  The sheriff's office, a county attorney's office investigator and the state Department of Economic Security used part of the building along with a victim's advocate group.  The two Colorado City lots are both about five acres and would cost between $64,000 and $95,000 each for the county facility for water, phone, communication and power hookup and access.  The southern-most lot located not far from the Colorado City airport is preferred.  A third, 1-acre lot in the Scenic area and a fourth 2-acre property in Fredonia also were considered.  Moccasin Justice Court Judge Mitchell Kalauli spoke, but said since the board's decision only focused on the county facility and not the justice court, he would discuss a new location for the court at a later time.     Read more
 
 
Program increasing services to polygamous groups
By JENNIFER DOBNER
The Associated Press
Dallas Morning News
Originally published July 9, 2009

On any given day, Pat Merkley helps clients with everything from registering for Social Security and accessing housing to providing marriage counseling to women trying to bring harmony to their polygamous family's home.  Merkley is coordinator of Safety Net, an outreach program that works to help polygamous communities in Utah and Arizona obtain public services and offers cultural awareness training to service providers so they better understand how to work with plural families.  Once a part-time committee, Safety Net launched as a full-time program in July 2008 and statistics show a growing need for what Safety Net provides.  Between July 2008 and March 2009, 1,500 people sought services or support.  Of those, 129 from polygamous communities sought victim services for domestic violence, child abuse or sexual abuse.  Another 141 sought counseling, while 348 service providers — including social workers, lawyers and medical personnel — received training.  Members of each of the major polygamous groups, including the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the Apostolic United Brethren and the Davis County Cooperative Society, have sought help, Merkley said.  "They are starting to see that we'll do anything for them. Point to therapy, case management or work with those who are leaving," said Merkley, a licensed social worker with more than 20 years of working in the polygamous culture.  "The trust is coming slowly, but we still have a long way to go in educating both sides."     Read more
 
 
A look at the Safety Net program
The Associated Press
Dallas Morning News
Originally published July 9, 2009

Safety Net is an outreach organization that helps polygamous communities connect with public services to improve the lives of families.  It also provides cultural awareness training so service providers can better understand how to work with plural families.  Funded by the Utah Legislature, the program is administered through a nonprofit agency.  Here's a look at the number of individuals provided services between July 2008 and March 2009, the last month for which statistics were available.

- Domestic violence, child or sex abuse: 129

- Outreach: 366

- Group therapy/support group: 44

- Family counseling: 9

- Individual counseling: 88

- Case management: 247
Read more
 
 
BOS narrows decision on facilities in Colorado City
By Suzanne Adams
Kingman Daily Miner
Originally published Thursday, July 09, 2009

KINGMAN - Arizona Strip residents may have a new Sheriff's Office and County Attorney's Office before they get a new courthouse.  The Mohave County Board of Supervisors directed staff Monday to look for a new location in the Arizona Strip area for the Sheriff and County Attorney facilities first.  Late last year, Mohave Community College notified the county that it would not renew the lease the county had on a parcel of property in the Colorado City area.  The county and state had several offices, including the Sheriff and County Attorney's offices, housed in an office on the property.  The offices have to be moved off the property by September.  The county started looking for a new location in March.  At that time, Mohave County Courts reminded the county that it had outgrown the courthouse in Moccasin and needed a new building.  Since then the Board has debated about building one large building to house the Sheriff, County Attorney, state offices and a courthouse.  Several residents in the Arizona Strip area and some members of the court objected to a combined office being built in the Colorado City area.  Most claimed that establishing the new courthouse near Colorado City would damage the credibility of the court.  On Monday, the Board decided that time was running out and a new location for the Sheriff and County Attorney's offices needed to be found first.  "We've been pussy-footing around with this for too long," said Board Chairman Tom Sockwell.     Read more
 
 
$87M county budget OK'd
Hiring freeze continues in new spending plan
By Suzanne Adams
Kingman Daily Miner
Originally published Tuesday, August 04, 2009

KINGMAN - The state may not have all its ducks in a row, but the county does.  The Board of Supervisors approved, 2-to-1, a balanced county budget of $87 million and a primary property tax rate of $1.26 per $100 of limited assessment value during its meeting Monday.  Supervisor Buster Johnson voted against the budget for the third straight year and the seventh time during his 13 years in office.  The budget slates $87 million in spending, said John Timko, deputy county manager of Management Services.  Approximately $12 million of that spending will be held in the county's contingency fund.  The remaining $75,113,000 in spending will be matched by the $75,116,000 the county will take in from tax revenues.  That represents a $900,000 increase in spending from last year's budget of $74,213,000, according to Timko.  The 2010 budget is more of a maintenance and continuation of county services as best the county can, than a building new programs type of budget, he said.  The county has been able to avoid some of the more drastic cuts other counties and the state have had to make, because of "the careful, conservative, fiscal restraint of this Board and staff in early recognition of the downturn and taking the necessary precautions to avoid disaster," he said.  In order to get to a balanced budget, the county had to cut funding to 65 unfilled positions in the county, he said.  It will also be necessary to continue the current hiring freeze at the county, at least until the county has a better idea of exactly how much revenue it will take in, in 2010.  "We've worked hard and everyone has participated. Many departments have made concessions that have allowed us to survive for another year and hope for better times," said County Manager Ron Walker.     Read more
 
 
Seminar Held to Train Agencies in Plural Family Culture
The Associated Press
Fox 13 Now - Salt Lake City
Originally published August 17, 2009

SALT LAKE CITY - A committee that blends Utah and Arizona state agencies, nonprofits and representatives from polygamous groups wants to help service providers learn how to work with plural families.  The First Annual Safety Net Clinical Training Conference was held in Salt Lake City on Aug. 17.  The seminar provides cultural education for social and domestic violence workers, medical providers and others.  An estimated 37,000 polygamists live across the intermountain West, most in Utah and Arizona.  Traditionally, plural families avoid accessing social services for fear of prosecution.  Bigamy is illegal in both states.  Utah and Arizona agencies joined with a handful of polygamy advocates to form the Safety Net Committee several years ago to help families get needed services.
 
 
Brent Hunsaker - Do you speak Polygamist?
Reported by: Brent Hunsaker
ABC 4 News
Originally published August 23, 2009

"The Primer" is a document originally published by the Utah Attorney General's office to help social workers, police and others in government understand the culture of polygamy and help those who find themselves in it.  It was published back in 2005.  It was in need of an update and perhaps some balance from other voices.  Enter "The Safety Net Committee".  This organization brings together people from various agencies -- both public and private -- as well as representatives of the polygamist community.  The committee has come up with a kinder, gentler version of the primer.  This new version seeks "neutral" language in describing the community rather than painting everyone in polygamy as victims.  It also includes a history of polygamy as well as a glossary of terms and concepts -- polygamy speak.  There's even a description of the organization and leadership structures of different groups.  "I think we're speaking in their language and in their terms," Safety Net Committee Coordinator Pat Merkley told Jennifery Dobner of the AP.  "This is the best work we could possibly do."  And yet it will probably be criticized by people on both sides.  I will not be among the critics.  I applaud any attempt, whatever the flaws, to bridge the divide that exists between the polygamist culture and the rest of us.  There is too much that we do not understand.
 
 
Church Organization Offering Sizable Donation to Help Those Leaving Polygamy Societies
By Ben Winslow
FOX 13 Utah
Originally broadcast August 23, 2009

SALT LAKE CITY - The nation's largest Presbyterian denomination is making a sizable donation to help people after they leave Utah's polygamous communities. The Presbyterian Church U.S.A. is giving $40,000 to a southern Utah based group called the Hope Organization. "We can probably, by the end of this, help a couple hundred children," says The Hope Organization's Elaine Tyler. The grant from the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. will help the non-profit provide life skills classes to people who choose to leave the communities.
 
 
Primer seeks to break down stereotypes of polygamy
By Jennifer Dobner
The Associated Press
The Rocky Mountain Collegian - Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO
Originally published August 24, 2009

Utah's polygamous families have helped create a revamped guidebook called The Primer that they hope will help combat what they consider to be myths and stereotypes about their culture.  The 65-page booklet is designed to give social workers, police and other service providers a better understanding of the tenets of polygamist's beliefs, unique family structures and even their language.  "We're going to continue to have those situations, but that doesn't mean that we can sit by when we are perceived incorrectly and not speak up," said Anne Wilde of Salt Lake City, a plural wife for 33 years and now a widow.  "By having a primer that has our input and expresses things the way we want to have them expressed I think is very helpful. It gives us a voice."  Bigamy is illegal in Utah and Arizona, where most of the Intermountain West's polygamists live.  But Utah authorities have rarely prosecuted adults, focusing instead on crimes involving women and children.  Historically, fear of prosecution has kept most plural families from seeking public services.  When they did, service providers often tried to "rescue" them from their religion, Wilde and other polygamists say.  Released last week at a training conference, the Primer was produced by the Safety Net Committee, an outreach program working with polygamous communities and public and private service agencies in Utah and Arizona.  The guide is an updated version of one produced in 2005 by the Utah Attorney General's office.  Polygamists believed the first Primer unfairly portrayed them as victims trapped in religious groups where abuse permeated the culture.     Read more
 
 
Read The Primer updated August 2009
 
 
Grant funds program for kids from polygamous sects
By Jennifer Dobner
The Associated Press
Deseret News
Originally published Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2009

A tiny southern Utah nonprofit that helps women and children who leave the polygamous lifestyle has received a $40,000 grant from a women's organization affiliated with the national Presbyterian Church.  The funding about doubles the HOPE organization's annual budget.  The money will fund Jump Start, a life-skills program aimed at helping children ages 6 to 17 build self-esteem, develop interpersonal skills and understand mainstream society, HOPE President Elaine Tyler said.  "We are so honored," Tyler said.  "It's going to make a huge impact in the lives of some of these kids."  Three segments of Jump Start classes — in groups aged 6 to 9, 10 to 13 and 14 to 17 — begin Sept. 11 and last eight weeks.  Tyler hopes to have about 25 kids enrolled.  The grant is also paying for a facilitator to run the program and the rent for the facility where classes will be held.  The grant is from the Creative Ministries Offering Committee of Presbyterian Women, which awards several Thank Offering grants annually.  Based in Washington, in Washington County, HOPE works mostly with families who have left the insular Fundamentalist LDS Church.  Last year the organization helped 85 individuals who need assistance with basic needs such as transportation and clothing, housing, legal assistance, education, employment and referrals to other programs and service agencies, Tyler said.  Founded in 2004 with just $7,000, HOPE runs on a shoestring budget of grant funding and private donations that total about $30,000 annually and relies heavily on in-kind contributions, Tyler said.     Read more
 
 
Grant funds assistance program
BY PATRICE ST. GERMAIN
The Spectrum
Originally published August 29, 2009

ST. GEORGE - Grant money will provide a Life Skills education program designed to help children living in the polygamous communities of Hildale and Colorado City.  Elaine Tyler, president of the Hope Organization, a United Way Dixie partner agency assisting people who have left the polygamous lifestyle safely transition into mainstream social life, applied for the grant through Creative Ministries of Presbyterian Women Thank Offering.  The grant, through the National Presbyterian Church in Louisville, Ken., will pay for the Jump Start program, a secular program suitable for children of all religions and ethnicities.  Subjects to be covered during the eight-week sessions include Self-Awareness, Interpersonal Skills, Ways to Succeed and My Place in the World Tyler said.  "It's a wonderful program," Tyler said.  "So far, we have 20 kids enrolled for the first session and have room for a couple more."  Tyler said the first session starts in September.  Future sessions will run in January and March.  The grant of $40,000 will pay for teaching the class this year and next Tyler said.  Paul Murphy, spokesman for Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff and coordinator for the Safety Net Program, a coalition of government agencies, non-profit organizations, and interested individuals who work with people associated with the practice of polygamy receive equal access to justice, safety, and services, is encouraged, with the grant, that churches are getting involved in the this issue.  "Churches provide better help than the government with fewer strings attached," Murphy said.     Read more
 
 
County mulls offer of free land for court
Proposals from northern Mohave up for review Tuesday
Kingman Daily Miner
Originally published Sunday, September 06, 2009

KINGMAN - Two landowners have offered to donate property in the Arizona Strip area as possible sites for a new justice court and sheriff's office facility.  The current justice courthouse is located in Moccasin.  The Mohave County Sheriff's and County Attorney's offices had a facility in the Colorado City area until late last year when Mohave Community College notified the county that it would not renew the county's lease for the property.  The county must move the Sheriff's Office from the property this month.  Mike Black has offered to donate 7.5 acres of land in the Scenic area, along with a well and possibly a monetary donation to help construction of the facility.  At the same time, Dallas and Joy Adair have offered to donate approximately 5 acres in the Cane Beds area along State Route 389 for the facility.  The Board of Supervisors will consider if it will accept one or both of the parcels during its meeting at 9:30 a.m., Tuesday at the County Administration Building, 700 W. Beale St.  "The current building is just not appropriate for a justice facility," said Dana Hlavac, deputy county manger of Justice Services.  "It's basically no larger than a mobile home," said Supervisor Gary Watson.  "In this economy, it's absolutely phenomenal that they (the Blacks and Adairs) have decided to donate this property to the community."  Watson is hoping the Board will accept both properties.  He would like to place small county facilities at both sites.     Read more
 
 
Board accepts donations for new AZ Strip courthouse
By Suzanne Adams
Kingman Daily Miner
Originally published Wednesday, September 09, 2009

KINGMAN - The Board of Supervisors accepted two donations of land for a new justice court facility in the Arizona Strip area Tuesday but didn't make a decision on where the new facility will be built.  The Board accepted the first donation of about 5 acres from the Adair family.  The property is located in Cane Beds, south of Colorado City.  It also accepted a second donation of about 7.5 acres in the Scenic area from the Black family.  As part of the donation, the Black family also offered to drill a well and give $50,000 to help with the construction of the new court facility.  The current facility, a double-wide mobile office, is located in Moccasin, which is not adequate for the court's needs, said Dana Hlavac, deputy county manger of Justice Services.  John Gall from Arizona Land Quest, representing the Black family, told the board that there were several large subdevelopments planned for the Scenic area and studies showed that the population in the Scenic/ Beaver Dam area would grow to about 50,000 in the next 20 to 25 years.  Many of the subdevelopments had already started construction on model homes.  Supervisor Buster Johnson commented that with the number of tickets coming out of the Scenic area and the donation of land from the Blacks, the new facility should be built in that area.  "We want to do everything we can to provide service to all our citizens," said Judge Mitch Kalauli from the Moccasin Justice Court.  And while the majority of the traffic tickets came from the Interstate 15 area near Scenic and Beaver Dam, the majority of the current population was in the Colorado City area, he said.  It was important to residents looking for restraining orders and other services to have easy access to a court facility.  Placing the court in the Scenic area would require residents from Colorado City to travel a great distance, he said.     Read more
 
 
United Way Dixie shows caring
BY KEVIN JENKINS
The Spectrum
Originally published September 11, 2009

ST. GEORGE - Blue T-shirts with the United Way logo were evidence that groups working throughout St. George and Washington City on Thursday were doing more than the usual home cleanup project.  Nearly 80 volunteers spread across the cities to help nine non-profit organizations as a show of appreciation for their efforts in the community.  United Way Dixie's "Day of Caring" included a painting project at a home for disabled men, makeovers for women who have escaped from abusive relationships in polygamous communities, a landscaping project for a disabled family and a picnic event for children looking for a match in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program.  "We like to make people feel good about themselves," said Karen Lyman, one of the workers at Hairitage Hair Academy who worked with the HOPE Organization to make over 12 women who've left polygamous communities.  HOPE President Elaine Tyler said the idea of the makeover is to help the women overcome low self-esteem.  "That's the first hurdle we work on," she said. "We have ladies who participated in this last year and they still talk about it."  Volunteer project director Greg Croshaw said the United Way event takes a year to put together and the intensity of preparations dramatically increases in the final weeks before it happens.  "It's a tremendous community effort," he said. "It's a great thrill for me to be part of it."  Deseri Cooke said it was her second time participating in the makeover event and her third time visiting a salon.  "The first time I had issues because I went in and asked them to trim my hair and I went out with a foot and a half missing," Cooke said.  Cooke said she enjoys the support she gets from HOPE and the attention from Hairitage's stylists.  "I do feel like people feel better about themselves on the inside if they look better on the outside, so I really appreciate them taking the time to cut our hair and make us look pretty," she said.  "It's something they don't have to do."     Read more
 
 
Polygamy tours planned on Utah-Arizona border
The Associated Press
Deseret News
Originally published Friday, Sept. 18, 2009

HILDALE, Washington County (AP) — Former members of a polygamous church are offering outsiders a guided tour with promises to answer questions about the history and traditions of the community.  Richard Holm and his brother Heber Holm are among those who are launching "The Polygamy Experience: A Guided Tour of Colorado City." The first tour is Saturday.  Colorado City, Ariz., and Hildale, Utah, are twin towns controlled by the Fundamentalist LDS Church.  The four-hour tour will include accounts from those who have lived in the towns.  Richard Holm was exiled from the FLDS faith in 2003 by church leader Warren Jeffs.  Heber Holm left the community 35 years ago.  FLDS spokesman Willie Jessop says he hopes people won't get suckered into what he calls a scam.
 
 
Wife swap
By Catherine Deshayes
The Move Channel - London, England
Originally published Thursday, September 24, 2009

You will be glad to hear that I am not referring to the car crash reality TV programme, but a new tourist 'attraction' sweeping the states of Utah and Arizona in the USA - a church group is offering 'The Polygamy Experience,' - giving tourists the chance to tour around polygamist communities, which hasn't gone down well with those living within them...  Treating a community like it is some sort of tourist attraction is never going to be universally popular with those at the heart of the community, so it is easy to see why some residents are up in arms over this latest idea.  The church group is offering guided tours around the US's largest and most secluded polygamist community - in which men have more than one wife - offering travelers an insight into what life is like there.  The four-hour tour, entitled 'The Polygamy experience: A guided tour of Colorado City,' covers the twin towns of Colorado City, Arizona and Hildale, Utah, both of which are controlled by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS).  Tours cost from £42.  And, far from poking fun at the residents, tour operator and creator Richard Holm is certain that the idea will help visitors to better understand the polygamist lifestyle and dispel myths about the communities.     Read more
 
 
Board chooses Colorado City over Scenic for court
By JIM SECKLER
Mohave Daily News
Originally published Monday, October 5, 2009

KINGMAN - The future and the present of Northern Mohave County was debated Monday by the county supervisors on where to put Moccasin Justice Court.  Going back and forth like a tennis match, the supervisors finally chose to put a new justice court in the Colorado City area based on the area having the larger population base now rather that the Scenic Littlefield area, which has projections for future growth.  District 3 Sup. Buster Johnson argued to put the court at the Scenic site citing the enormous growth potential in the Scenic, Beaver Dam area.  Projections call for about 50,000 people within 20 years.  District 1 Sup. Gary Watson, who represents Northern Mohave County, motioned to put the court at the Colorado City area with county staff looking at the cheapest ways to finance the building.  Watson said it is not appropriate to wait for a future population in the Scenic area at the expense of the current population.  Watson wanted to include a satellite court in Scenic but was told that money is not available for future building projects with a quarter cent sales tax ending in several years.  District 2 Sup. Tom Sockwell seconded the motion but did it under duress.  The Bullhead City supervisor said he thought the county is doing it backwards at first wanting the court in Scenic but in the end went along with the judges and Watson's opinions.  Sockwell spoke of a $100 million sports complex in Mesquite and said the county should put in the money in the Scenic area for the long run.  He changed his mind, however, after an appeal by Moccasin Justice Court Judge Mitchell Kalauli who warned that current court staff may quit instead of driving to Scenic.     Read more
 
 
Supervisors favor Colorado City over Scenic for new justice court
By Suzanne Adams
Kingman Daily Miner
Originally published Wednesday, October 07, 2009

KINGMAN - The battle about where a new justice court would be located in the Arizona Strip area was finally decided by the Board of Supervisors Monday, but the war over the location may not yet be finished, according to Board Chairman Tom Sockwell.  It took the Board more than an hour to vote 2-1 to build the new courthouse in the Colorado City area, with Sockwell casting the deciding vote.  Supervisor Buster Johnson voted against the location.  The county accepted two donations of land in the Arizona Strip area for a new justice court in September.  The first parcel of 5 acres was donated by the Adair family and is located south of Colorado City in the Cane Beds area.  The second parcel of 7.5 acres was donated by the Black family and is located in the Scenic area.  The Blacks also donated the digging of a well and $50,000 to help with the construction of a new courthouse.  As soon as the item was brought up for discussion Monday, Johnson made a motion to move the court from its current location in Moccasin to Scenic.  Scenic has the greatest chance for future growth, he said.  "I wanted them (the courts) to take advantage of both property offers," Sockwell said Tuesday morning.  "But they didn't seem to be interested in doing anything in the Scenic area."  Supervisor Gary Watson argued that a main courthouse should be built in the Colorado City area and a satellite court with a video link could be built in Scenic until the population increased enough to justify two full courts.  "It's unfortunate that this (new court) is being used as a political football," said Colorado City Town Manager David Darger, referring to the back and forth discussion between the supervisors as to where the new court would be built.  "It's unfortunate that a bidding war (between two communities) has started over this." The Colorado City area currently has the largest population in the area.  The new court should be built there, he said.  Sockwell thought it interesting that Colorado City was now fighting for the court, when Darger had previously told the Board that the town didn't want the new court or a new Sheriff's Office anywhere near it.     Read more
 
 
Hildale becomes tourist destination
BY NUR KAUSAR
The Spectrum
Originally published October 11, 2009

CEDAR CITY — Heber and Richard Holm say their families in the Colorado City-Hildale community are not happy with the daily tour business they began last month of the area, but the brothers want to show a side of their upbringing that doesn't just reflect the negative public attention brought on by Warren Jeffs.  "I'm not doing this to point fingers," Identity Tours owner Heber Holm said as the 40-passenger tour bus with 10 people on board headed out of St. George toward Hildale.  "I hope to have discussion and comments that are honest and informative about a place I still love."  Heber Holm left Hildale in the 1970s of his own accord when he was 17 years old, moving to St. George with one younger brother, to work and live without the influence of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints faith to which his family subscribed.  "My dad died when I was 14 and from that point to 17 I felt other men were telling me how to live my life, so I chose to leave," he said.  "I did not ever live there as an adult but I have a good relationship with my mom and my family — but they are not happy about these tours."  Elder brother Richard Holm said one reason he wanted to start the tour company was so his FLDS children who still live in Hildale can see that the outside world is not all bad like they're taught, and that they have choices and chances to speak to others.     Read more
 
 
Why Oprah Should Be Obama's Children's Czar – and the Priorities She Should Set
By MARCI A. HAMILTON
FindLaw - Eagan, MN
Originally published Thursday, October 15, 2009

There have been some rumors that Oprah Winfrey may be looking at horizons beyond her hugely successful television show. Before too many offers arrive at her door, I would like to suggest to President Obama that he offer to make her the nation's first Children's Czar.

No one in the federal government actually has the title "czar" (I am relieved to report) but that is how single-issue executive branch officials have been identified since Franklin Delano Roosevelt's Administration. Today, the Obama Administration has appointed a slightly larger contingent of czars than the Bush Administration did, with an AIDS czar, bank bailout czar, border czar, climate czar, cybersecurity czar, compensation czar, drug czar, energy czar, green-jobs czar, and health czar -- among dozens of others.

While I am no fan of increasing the size of the federal government, I do think that children's needs often fail to get the attention they deserve at the federal level. In particular, there are a number of pressing issues for which it would be helpful to have one person in Washington acting as the federal guardian ad litem for the children of America.     Read more
 
 
Library expansion to be discussed today
By JIM SECKLER
Mohave Daily News
Originally published Sunday, October 25, 2009

LAKE HAVASU CITY - The Bullhead City and Colorado City library projects will be discussed today at the Mohave County Library District meeting.  Meeting on a quarterly basis, the library district citizen's advisory committee will meet at 10 a.m. at the Lake Havasu City library at 1770 N. McCulloch Blvd.  The next meeting will be held Dec. 14 also at the Lake Havasu City branch library.  The Bullhead City library expansion project would turn the existing 8,669-square-foot library branch into a 32,000-square-foot facility.  Design plans are expected to be completed by January with construction going out for bids soon after that.  Groundbreaking is then expected by May 2010 and the project is expected to be completed within 14 months, Library Director Bob Shupe said.  Earlier this year, the county supervisors awarded a $757,269 design contract to Will Bruder & Partners LLC of Phoenix.  The project would expand the library, which was built in 1990, toward Hancock Road and triple the size of the library.  The project would include a computer room, a separate teen, children and adult section and a community meeting room.  A 2008 study showed an overcrowded library with adults, teenagers and children competing for space at the under-size library.  The study also showed that every seat and every computer terminal was always in use.  Access through the book aisles for disabled residents is also an issue.  Also to be discussed Monday is a county library branch in Colorado City.  The city operated a library but it was closed soon after Warren Jeffs became leader of the polygamist community in 2002.  The county library's book mobile currently services the area twice a month.  Negotiations are under way to lease an existing building in Colorado City to house a library branch, Shupe said.
 
 
Polygamy tours? Why not?
Brothers offer peek into polygamist-run towns
By Beth Kampschror
WRITERS ON THE RANGE
Denver Post
Originally published November 1, 2009

Just spitting distance across the Utah border in Arizona, the very rural and remote Colorado City is home to rigid fundamentalists who think the Mormon Church sold out when it abandoned polygamy 119 years ago.  The high walls surrounding houses with multiple front doors and "no trespassing" signs clearly signal "outsiders not welcome."  The dress code is prairie Victorian: women wear long dresses, men sport long sleeves and trousers.  This is a place where a woman is urged to "keep sweet," and a man is told he needs three wives to attain heavenly glory.  All are exhorted to submit to the town's patriarchs, who've been known to hand down bizarre edicts — such as banning the color red.  There's also the lurid and appalling criminal reality, including charges of statutory rape and child abuse that have drawn police and television crews to this and other polygamist towns around the West.  Warren Jeffs, Colorado City's erstwhile leader, now awaits trial in Kingman, Ariz., on four counts of sexual conduct with a minor.  He's already been convicted of felony rape as an accomplice in Utah.  It's hard to choose which bone to pick with polygamists.  But they're as much a part of the fabric in my dusty part of Utah and Arizona as the trucks without mufflers and the weekly shopper that advertises "neuderded" cats.  I've gotten to know Colorado City a little because there's a stunning hike nearby that I enjoy.  It's like a strange sort of local pride.  It's in my backyard, and it's weird.  When I heard about two brothers — former "polygs" themselves — were giving guided tours for $69 of some of the region's polygamist-dominated towns, I wanted to go.  Sure, when I checked it out online, a few commentators said they felt "uncomfortable" about turning a town into a human zoo.  But my experience wasn't like that.  No tour guide said in hushed tones a la Wild Kingdom, "The braided female carries provisions from the mini-van to her dozen young."  We didn't show up in Colorado City with a bullhorn, or trespass or harass people on the street.     Read more
 
 
Senator Bennett opens child abuse conference
ABC 4 News
Originally published November 2, 2009

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC 4 News) - Prevent Child Abuse Utah (PCAU) presents JOINING FORCES: The 22nd Annual Child Abuse & Family Violence Conference, November 2-4, at the Davis Conference Center at 1651 North 700 West.  Senator Bennett opens the conference at 9:00 a.m. on Monday.  Co-Sponsored by the Office of Victims of Crime, United States Department of Justice, attendees include prevention workers, investigators, medical and law enforcement personnel, educators and parents from throughout Utah and around the country.  This year's conference offers state-of-the-art computer labs, giving professionals hands-on training taught by some of the nation's leading experts on child abuse.  The labs include: Child Pornography Website Investigation; Peer and Social Networking Sites 101; Online Resources for Investigators.  "Technology continues to change, and perpetrators are always looking for new ways to hurt children," said PCAU executive director, Anne Freimuth.  "Fortunately, law enforcement personnel are on top of new developments and this conference offers up-to-date technology information and training."  The JOINING FORCES conference has grown from a small regional conference to a highly regarded national conference.  Each year, the FBI and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children lend their support by sending nationally recognized speakers.     Read more
 
 
Abuse workshop leader in Layton says children in polygamist sects trapped in 'no-win' situation
By Loretta Park
Standard-Examiner Davis Bureau
Standard-Examiner - Ogden, Utah
Originally published November 4, 2009

LAYTON — The polygamy culture is never going be eradicated from the U.S., one presenter at a child abuse conference said Tuesday.  "There will always be polygamy in the United States," said Shannon Price, director of Diversity Foundation, a nonprofit organization that helps those who have left the polygamy culture become successful in mainstream society.  Price, along with Brent Jeffs, author of "Lost Boys" and nephew of Warren Jeffs, president of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, agreed to be interviewed between workshops Tuesday at the 22nd Annual Joining Forces Child Abuse Conference.  The three-day conference at the Davis Conference Center, 1651 N. 700 West, ends today.  Workshops today include domestic violence and how it relates to homicide; kids and cyber manipulation; child abuse; and homelessness.  Workshops begin at 8 a.m. and end at noon.  They are open to the public and cost $20.  Carolyn Jessop, a former polygamist wife and author of the book, "Escape," was another presenter for the polygamy workshops Tuesday, but because she is on a witness list for the current trial against Raymond Merrill Jessop in Texas, media was not allowed in the workshops.  Not all polygamist groups are the same, Jeffs and Price said.  Social workers, law enforcement, educators and health professionals attended their workshops.  "The groups are as different as Protestants are to Catholics," Price said.  "The only commonality is polygamy."  There are a number of polygamist groups in Utah, including in Davis, Weber and Box Elder counties, Price said.  A polygamist group does not necessarily have a negative impact on a community.  "They don't want to stick out," Jeffs said.  "They want to exist within their wall of their church."     Read more
 
 
Polygamy tours are offensive
Letters to the Editor
The Spectrum
Originally published November 6, 2009

I see on page 27 of your Oct. 23 issue of "Where It's @" the most offensive advertisement — "The Polygamy Experience" — where Identity Tours, for some non-specified fee, will provide you a detailed and respectful visit to Colorado City, interacting with former FLDS members.

The tour apparently allows you to view or interact with the "natives." How wonderful.

For those of you who are interested, I know of a company that, for a fee, will provide you with an open-vehicle tour to experience a day in the life of certain species of African wildlife. Of course there are two problems: (1) You are not allowed out of the vehicle and (2) domesticated animals are not allowed to travel with you.

Ralph Neal
Washington City
 
 
Polygamy Tourism
For $69.95, a pair of former Mormon fundamentalists will give you "The Polygamy Experience": a tour of some of America's most isolated and mysterious communities.
By Terry Greene Sterling
The Daily Beast - New York, NY
Originally published November 8, 2009

For decades, residents of Colorado City, Arizona, practiced polygamy in relative isolation. The town sits about 354 miles northwest of Phoenix, on a red-tinted desert flatland sandwiched between the north rim of the Grand Canyon and Zion National Park in Utah. It was settled in the 1930s by a sect that broke off from the mainstream Mormon church in the late 19th century because church progressives, in hopes of attaining statehood for Utah, had renounced founding prophet Joseph Smith's revelation that to get to heaven you needed at least three wives.

The breakaway polygamous sect called itself the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, or FLDS, and thrived in the isolated region. Few outsiders knew or cared about the enclave, but allegations of corruption, welfare fraud, and sexual abuse spurred recent crackdowns and a shower of criminal convictions that have brought unwelcome worldwide attention to the secretive cult.

On Friday, 38-year-old Raymond Jessup, a sect member, was convicted in Texas of sexual assault of one of his wives, an underage girl, who had moved with Jessup from Colorado City to Yearning for Zion Ranch, a new FLDS colony in west Texas. In 2007, the current FLDS prophet, Warren Jeffs, 54, was convicted in Utah of being an accessory to the rape of a 14-year-old "sister wife."

All of this unwanted but very real public attention prompted two brothers who are former members of the FLDS to launch a polygamy tourism business last month.     Read more
 
 
Court site may get second look
Scenic/Beaver Dam a better choice, Virgin River Communities say
By Suzanne Adams
Kingman Daily Miner
Originally published Monday, November 09, 2009

KINGMAN - The Board of Supervisors may revisit their decision on the new location of the Moccasin Consolidated Court in the Arizona Strip in the near future.  The Virgin River Communities organization held a public meeting Oct. 29 to discuss the Board's decision and an effort to recall Moccasin Judge Mitchell Kalauli.  The organization is pushing to put the new location of the court back on the Board's agenda for November or December.  It is also circulating a petition to recall Kalauli because he supported placing the new courthouse in the Cane Beds/Colorado City area instead of the Beaver Dam/Scenic area.  The organization needs the signatures of 120 registered voters in the Arizona Strip area in order to put the recall on the ballot.  They have until February to gather the signatures.  Clerk of the Board Barbara Bracken said she had not yet seen a request to put the item on the agenda, but the agenda will not be finalized until this week.  The Moccasin Court has been in need of a new home for several years.  Late last year, Mohave Community College notified the Board that it would no longer lease land to the county for the Mohave County Sheriff, County Attorney and the state to have offices in the area.  At that time, the Board decided to look for a parcel of land big enough to build a new courthouse and new offices for the Sheriff and the County Attorney.     Read more
 
 
Don't publish polygamy tour ads
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
The Spectrum
Originally published November 11, 2009

I'm surprised to see continuing ads for guided tours of The Polygamy Experience in The Spectrum. The last time I checked polygamy was illegal in both Utah and Arizona. If The Spectrum is so strapped for income that it needs to accept advertising dollars for tours of illegal activities, why didn't you also publish the recent gay marriage announcement?

Oh wait, I forgot, one of the rationales suggested for not running the marriage announcement was that gay marriage isn't legal in Utah. I'm left to wonder if one of the reasons attributed to The Spectrum for not publishing the gay marriage announcement, "backlash from the area's predominately conservative population," doesn't apply to polygamy.

Is it just me, or does this appear somewhat hypocritical? I suggest The Spectrum's editors engage in further deliberations regarding printed advertising policies.

Stephen Stolley
Washington City
 
 
Well driller needed for county facility
By JIM SECKLER
Mohave Daily News
Originally published Tuesday, December 1, 2009

KINGMAN - Mohave County is looking for a well driller to supply water for the county facility in Colorado City.  The county is looking for someone to drill a well for the new sheriff's office and Moccasin Justice Court in Colorado City.  The well will be drilled on a five-acre parcel off East Cane Beds Road and Highway 389.  Interested bidders have until Jan. 5 to submit bids to the county procurement department.  The well would be drilled up to 1,000 feet and would deliver about 35 gallons a minute.  The county supervisors finally approved in October putting the justice court near Colorado City instead of in the Scenic, Beaver Dam area as requested by District 3 Sup. Buster Johnson.  The Superior Court judges, the Colorado City manager and District 1 Sup. Gary Watson supported the Colorado City location.  The justice court is currently in Fredonia in the eastern part of the Arizona Strip.  District 2 Sup. Tom Sockwell was the deciding vote for the Colorado City site.  The lease for the justice court now located in Fredonia expires in March.  The county has about $600,000 set aside for a new justice court.  The board previously decided to relocate a modular building for the sheriff's office and the county attorney's office at the Colorado City property.     Read more
 
 
County seeks bids on projects
By Suzanne Adams
Kingman Daily Miner
Originally published Thursday, December 03, 2009

KINGMAN - The county is looking for a few good contractors.  The County Procurement Department put out an invitation for bids Monday on a test well for the new Colorado City Court Facility in the Arizona Strip.  In October, The Board of Supervisors approved the purchase of a 5-acre parcel in the Arizona Strip area, south of Colorado City on Highway 389, for the new facility.  According to the notice, the county is hoping to hit water before 1,000 feet below ground and install a well that produces 35 gallons per minute at 40 psi.  The contractor hired to dig the test well must complete the job within 30 days of receiving the bid.  If the test well produces acceptable results, the county will ask the contractor to expand it into a permanent well and pump for the facility.  Contractors have until 2 p.m. Jan. 5 to send a sealed bid to the County Procurement Department at the County Administration Building, 700 W. Beale St.  The new court facility will have space for employees from the Mohave County Sheriff's Office, the County Attorney's Office, the Municipal and Justice courts, as well as some state offices.  At the same time, the Moccasin Justice Court was in need of a new building.  The Board made the decision to house all three departments together in a new facility in October.     Read more
 
 
Anti-Polygamy Group "Retired," Organizer Says Her Cause Goes On
Reported by: Brian Mullahy
KUTV 2News
Originally broadcast Wednesday, Dec 16, 2009

It's name became synonymous with fighting abuses inside polygamy, but after a decade of high profile advocacy, Tapestry Against Polygamy has been "retired."  The group's non profit status has lapsed, according to organizer Rowenna Erickson, and its bank account closed.  "We no longer are doing this, because we feel that we've done all that we could under the circumstances," said Erickson Wednesday.  "And now we need assistance and help from the government, and the government refuses to help us any longer."  Erickson, a grandmother, said she was "spiritually married" to a polygamist and raised eight children, before recognizing the "lie" of polygamy.  Her change of heart helped launch "Tapestry" along with others who had grown disenchanted with polygamous communities.  She shared her views in a transformative time, through the Tom Green bigamy and welfare fraud convictions, the teenage escape of forced child bride Mary Ann Kingston, the prosecution of Warren Jeffs, and the Texas raid of the FLDS compound.  According to Erickson, Texas has the right approach.  Utah does not.  She's accused Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff of backing away from polygamy investigations and prosecutions, an assertion that drew a sharp rebuttal from Shurtleff spokesman, Paul Murphy.  He told 2News, no one has done more than Shurtleff to fight abuses in polygamous communities, helping "thousands" of people, and eliciting a pledge from the major polygamy groups to no longer marry girls younger than 18.  Even a spokesperson for a pro-polygamy organization said Tapestry's work helped to right the wrongs of the underage marriages.  Tapestry Against Polygamy will keep its website, and Erickson said she'll continue answering a "hotline number" for people seeking to leave polygamy, and to speak out about her concerns.
 
 
Committee hears update on BHC library expansion
By JIM SECKLER
Mohave Daily News
Originally published Thursday, December 17, 2009

KINGMAN - The Mohave County Library District committee was given an update Monday of the Bullhead City and Colorado City library projects.  Meeting on a quarterly basis, the library district citizen's advisory committee met at the Lake Havasu City library.  The next meeting will be held Feb. 22, also at the Lake Havasu City branch library.  The committee heard an update on the Bullhead City library expansion project.  The project would turn the existing 8,669-square-foot library branch into a 32,000-square-foot facility.  Architects recently met with Bullhead City inspectors and county library staff to come up with design plans.  The final design is expected to be completed by March with groundbreaking then expected to begin by June 2010.  The project is expected to be completed in 12 to 14 months, Library Director Bob Shupe said.  Earlier this year, the county supervisors awarded a $757,000 design contract to Will Bruder & Partners LLC of Phoenix.  The project would expand the library, which was built in 1990, toward Hancock Road and triple the size of the library.  Shupe said the expansion would include a teen center for teens to do homework or socialize.  Other teen centers would then be planned for library branches in Kingman and Lake Havasu City.  The project would also include a public meeting room.     Read more
 
 
Group helps teens who leave polygamous communities
Associated Press
Deseret News
Originally published Sunday, Jan. 3, 2010

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A group that acts as a liaison between polygamous communities and social service agencies is preparing to adopt guidelines that will determine how it helps youth who leave their families.  The Utah Safety Net will vote on its proposed "youth protocol" at a Thursday meeting in Salt Lake City.  The guidelines are aimed at helping children who leave polygamous communities while also recognizing their parents' right to be informed about what's happening.  "We want different fundamentalist groups we work with to know this is how we will do this," said Safety Net Director Pat Merkley.  Merkley said a perception that parents' rights and concerns are often ignored when a child leaves a community has been a "big source of contention."  Some teens leave because of family discord, not wanting to comply with religious standards or because they expect to be pressured to marry, said Safety Net case manager Chelsea Gambles, who is based in southern Utah.  In the past year, Gambles has helped about 15 teens, mostly boys, between the ages of 15 and 18 who have left polygamous communities near the Utah-Arizona state line.  Guidelines are needed, Gambles said, because there is "a lot of gray area in how you help these youth" with things like housing, food, jobs and schooling.  The proposed protocol would require Safety Net members to determine whether a minor who wants help has experienced any abuse or neglect and then, if safety is not an issue, contact either the parents directly or through law enforcement or youth agencies.  The child may be encouraged to return home or stay with a relative or they may be referred to legal services if they ask about emancipation procedures, though that is not an option Safety Net will push.  Staff also will help youth establish a plan for self-sufficiency, involving the child's parents if possible.  "We want to do it the right way, respecting the rights of parents and getting to the bottom of why they left," Merkley said.  Utah Safety Net was created in 2003 by the Utah and Arizona attorneys general offices.  The staff of the Utah attorney general's office and the Division of Child and Family Services have vetted the youth protocol.
 
 
The Vent
The Spectrum
Originally published January 9, 2010

What's the matter with St. George Magazine putting an ad their magazine for The Polygamy Experience tour? They are breaking the law. It's against the law to have more than one wife, and it's against the law to put people underage into sexual kind of slavery. What is the matter with you?
 
 
And on your left, polygamy
A tour of the nearby fundamentalist stronghold was perhaps inevitable. So we took it.
Stacy J. Willis
Las Vegas Weekly
Originally published Tue, Jan 12, 2010

Behind that gate is the birthing center and bishop's storehouse. Over there is the infant cemetery. ... Here, behind this wall, is polygamist leader Warren Jeffs' home ...

We slow down to allow for a group of playing children to run away from us. They're beautiful, rosy-cheeked, towheaded kids, the girls all in prairie dresses and the boys in long-sleeved plaid shirts and jeans. The oldest among them, a teenaged girl, ushers them across the street and up the driveway to a walled-in home. It's vaguely safari-ish: I stare from the truck window and say, "Oh they're so precious!" to my driver, who charged me $70 for this tour, "The Polygamy Experience."

"We were taught not to talk to strangers," Heber Holm explains. Holm is child No. 24 of 64 siblings. His mother was his dad's fourth wife of 11, and she still lives out here in Colorado City/Hildale, the polygamist-settled towns straddling the Arizona-Utah border. Heber left the town, religion and lifestyle at 16, and now, at 52, sells tours of his former home.

"I've had thousands of people ask me about [the polygamist towns] since I moved to St. George," he says. "I always shied away from talking about it. But then it seemed the time was right, there was a business aspect here, an opportunity." So he and another apostate brother bought a 29-seat bus last year, took out some ads in nearby newspapers (including the Review-Journal), created a website offering "stories of growing up in this unique religion, a picnic set in the beautiful Vermillion Cliffs of southern Utah ... and intimate views of markets, parks and cemeteries" and began trucking people through the land of assigned multi-wife marriages and prairie dresses.     Read more
 
 
Sisters who escaped polygamist cult help other victims
Elaine Walker
Anacortes American - Anacortes, Washington
Originally published January 26, 2010

Rena and Kathleen Mackert of Anacortes grew up in a household with one father, four mothers and 31 children.  Seventh-generation members of a polygamous family, they belonged to the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Both escaped the cult, which, they said, relies on iron-fisted oppression and physical, mental and sexual abuse of women and children.  "Our father was abusive on every level," Rena said.  They want to establish a shelter in Anacortes for victims of polygamy and domestic violence, who face similar issues.  However, polygamy refugees present unique challenges.  "They have been isolated. The outside world is labeled as evil," Kathleen said.  "It's like being placed on an alien planet. They have no social skills."  By providing jobs and a safe place to live, the sisters hope to help escapees adapt and thrive.  The FLDS, a sect long-split from the Mormon Church, made news in 2008 when Texas Child Protective Services took more than 400 Yearning for Zion Ranch children into custody.  Footage of wholesome-looking women in demure dresses and children being torn from a seemingly pious refuge made viewers uneasy, as church members invoked religious freedom.  Rena and Kathleen said the FLDS has a history of such media manipulation: In 1953 their father Clyde Mackert and his wives were featured in Life magazine after an Arizona raid.  "Our family was used as poster children for polygamy. He had three beautiful, educated wives and they were all age appropriate," Kathleen said.  Quaint images of the big family working and singing hymns swayed public opinion — and ended prosecution.  "It's the same tactics they use today to justify it," Kathleen said.  The serene-looking women shown on TV don't recognize their subjugation as abuse.  "It took us a long time to realize it ourselves," Rena said.     Read more
 
 
Utah guide offers tour of polygamous community
Aaron Vaughn, Web Content Producer
FOX 13 News
KSTU-TV
Originally broadcast February 22, 2010

HILLDALE - About 6,000 members of the FLDS Church call the border towns of Hilldale, Utah and Colorado City, Arizona their home.  And it may seem like an unusual vacation destination, but tour guide, Heber Holm, says it is worth the trip for $70 tour session.  As a tour guide, Holm's clients come from all over the world wanting to get a glimpse of the polygamy community with Holm's insider information about their lifestyle.  But not everyone supports his method of making money.  However, Holm says he wants to dispell the sesationalism around the polygamous religious sect.  Holm tells his clients if their car breaks down, they will get a helping hand, not an extra wife.  "They're not evil-lurking and sinister people, but they do have a lifestyle and they want to choose what they do," Holm says.  A unanimous woman who is a polygamous practicing FLDS member tells FOX 13 that she is aware of the tour group.  "We want to be kind, but lots of times it's not their business either," she says.  FLDS spokesman, Willie Jessop, takes the sentiment even further and believes that the tourists get a tainted point of view.  After hearing that the Holm says he owns an underground garage filled with luxury cars, Jessop replies: "Well, I'm dying for him to fill in those luxury cars. I didn't know I had an underground garage, but it goes right to the heart of the issue."  Jessop says Heber lacks credibility and compares the tour to hearing one side of a divorce and attributes Heber's leaving the FLDS church when he was just 16-years-old.
 
 
County looks for builder for new Moccasin Justice Court
By JIM SECKLER
Mohave Daily News
Originally published Tuesday, February 23, 2010

KINGMAN — Mohave County is going out for bids to build a new Moccasin Justice Court in Colorado City.  The county is looking for a design-build firm to build a 3,500-square foot, one-story metal building to use as a county courthouse on land just southeast of Colorado City just off Highway 389.  The design and construction project would cost about $600,000.  The courtroom would consist of a jury box, judge's bench, clerk's station, tables for attorneys and public seating.  The building would also include the judge's chambers, space for at least six staff members, a jury deliberation room, a holding cell, a lobby big enough for a walk-thru metal detector, restrooms, a conference for attorneys and their clients and paved parking.  Interested construction firms have until March 18 to submit bids to the county's procurement department.  The firm would have six months to complete the building after the county's approval.  The county supervisors chose to put the new justice court in the Colorado City area based on the area having a larger population now rather than the Scenic/Littlefield area, which has projections for future growth.  A $100 million sports complex is planned for Mesquite in Nevada.  However, Moccasin Justice Court Judge Mitchell Kalauli warned that current court staff may quit instead of having to drive to the Scenic area.  The board previously decided to relocate a modular building for the sheriff's office and the county attorney's office in Colorado City.  The lease for the justice court
 
 
Goddard investigating Colorado City
By Yellow Sheet Report
Arizona Capitol Times
Originally published February 26, 2010

Attorney General Terry Goddard has filed a sweeping records request with Colorado City, and the manager of the town best known for its polygamous residents is accusing the AG of going on a politically inspired witch hunt.  The request was filed in January and asks for communications of Colorado City and Hildale, Utah, officials and law enforcement regarding United Effort Plan trust lands, and a smorgasbord of records on incidents of vandalism, trespassing, and other affronts involving prominent families in the town.  Goddard's office is keeping mum on the purpose of the request, other than its relation to an ongoing court dispute in Utah over management of UEP land in Hildale and Colorado City.  But, his partner in fighting polygamy, Utah AG Mark Shurtleff, has made no secret of his threat to disincorporate Hildale if the lingering fight isn't settled.  Terrill Johnson, mayor of Colorado City, wrote the League of Arizona Cities and Towns this month claiming Goddard has "threatened to disincorporate the town or remove the local government from the control of the people." The AG's Office would not comment on the allegation.

To read more on this item plus all the stories in the Feb. 25 Yellow Sheet Report, go to www.yellowsheetreport.com (Yellow Sheet Subscription Required).
 
 
County seeks firm to move sheriff's building
By JIM SECKLER
Mohave Daily News
Originally published Friday, March 19, 2010

KINGMAN — Mohave County is looking for a firm to move and set up a modular building for the sheriff's office at its new location just south of Colorado City.  The supervisors previously chose a 5-acre lot in the Arizona Strip to house the sheriff's office, the county attorney's office and other county offices at the corner of Cane Beds Road and Highway 389 near Colorado City.  Interested firms have until April 15 to submit bids to the county procurement department.  The firm also would provide a 6,000-gallon water storage tack, septic system, utilities, fiber optics, parking and sidewalks for the 36-by-60-foot modular building.  The cost to relocate and set up the building would not exceed $165,000.  The county was forced to move the modular building, which housed several county departments, off Mohave Community College property in Colorado City after the community college ended a five-year lease earlier in 2009.  The sheriff's office, a county attorney's office investigator and the state Department of Economic Security used part of the building along with a victim's advocate group that help victims of polygamy.  In October, the supervisors also approved putting a new Moccasin Justice Court in the Colorado City area.  Another option was to locate the court in Scenic.  The justice court had been in a dilapidated modular in Fredonia.  In recent years, the county attorney's office has investigated charges of child abuse and sexual misconduct by several church members including the church's leader, Warren Jeffs, who is in custody in Kingman awaiting trial on four counts of sexual conduct with a minor.  Jeffs, who was convicted in Utah for rape, also faces charges in Texas.
 
 
Seven bid to build justice facility
By JIM SECKLER
Mohave Daily News
Originally published Sunday, March 21, 2010

KINGMAN — Mohave County is evaluating seven firms to build a new Moccasin Justice Court in Colorado City.  The county is looking at seven design-build firms, including two from Fort Mohave, to build a 3,500-square-foot, one-story metal building to use as a county courthouse on land southeast of Colorado City just off Highway 389.  The design and construction project would cost about $600,000.  CNA Construction and Larry D Builders of Fort Mohave along with a Kingman firm have submitted bids for the project.  The courthouse would consist of a jury box, judge's bench, clerk's station, tables for attorneys and public seating.  The building would also include the judge's chambers, space for at least six staff members, a jury deliberation room, a holding cell, a lobby big enough for a walk-thru metal detector, restrooms, a conference for attorneys and their clients and paved parking.  The firm would have six months to complete the building after the county's approval.  The county supervisors recently chose to put the new justice court in the Colorado City area based on the area having a larger population now rather than the Scenic/Littlefield area.     Read more
 
 
DSC expands justice program
BY KEVIN JENKINS
The Spectrum
Originally published March 27, 2010

ST. GEORGE - Dixie State College's Criminal Justice program got a big boost in January when Republican U.S. Sen. Bob Bennett secured $1 million in federal funding to create a computer crime institute, and those involved with the program hope it could eventually boost Southern Utah's profile as a national hub for crime investigation.  "(This program) gives Dixie a niche that no one else in the state has.  This is a growth industry - you don't want to think of law enforcement as a growth industry, but it really is," Bennett said in a statement.  "Hopefully we can recruit some of the smartest young minds in the United States and the best teachers, and be able to afford them," said Assistant Professor Scott Julian, who has been working on the grant and a place to locate the institute.  "(Dixie State College) is just bursting at the seams," he said.  Potential plans he's drawn up show a building with three wings, one for training students, one for law enforcement, judges and prosecutors, and one for business leaders and members of the public.  "I've been working on the curriculum. They're going to have to hire some very technical computer forensic personnel," he said.  "You would have law enforcement working on real cases. ... We hope to train (students) in national security certification, so they can obtain those certifications and gain federal employment."  Julian said the institute would be one of six in the nation where students work with law enforcement on real-time cases, tackling cutting-edge issues.     Read more
 
 
Local organization helps women trying to escape polygamy
Reported by: Kimberly Houk
ABC 4 News
Originally broadcast April 6, 2010

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC 4 News) - For many women it's difficult to leave a life of polygamy.  Venturing out into a world they've been sheltered from can be a scary experience, but there is a group of people who are trying to make that transition a little easier.  Several different foundations are coming together to renovate homes in the Salt Lake area that can be used as safe havens for mothers who want to escape polygamy.  The woman we interviewed wished to remain anonymous, so we'll call her Susan.  Susan was one of two women married to one man in the Kingston polygamous clan.  She recently fled with her ten children.  She didn't want to see her fifteen year old daughter forced into an arranged marriage at such a young age.  Susan says a home like this is necessary for women who want to flee polygamy, but have nowhere to go.  Tonia Tewell is making it her life mission to help these women stay safe while transitioning out of a life of polygamy.  "They don't understand how the outside world even works, so they need someone to hold their hand until they get acclimated to the outside world." Tewell says.     Read more
 
 
Warrants served on polygamous towns in Utah, Ariz.
KSL 5 TV
Originally broadcast April 6, 2010

SALT LAKE CITY -- Government agencies in twin polygamous communities along the Utah-Arizona border were served Tuesday with search warrants seeking evidence on suspected misuse of public funds, authorities said.  More than 25 deputies with the Mohave County Sheriff's Office moved in to Colorado City and Hildale just before dawn.  They were looking for evidence of government corruption.  The communities are home to members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, an embattled religious sect that follows Warren Jeffs, a church leader serving prison time after being convicted of rape as an accomplice for his role in the marriage of a 14-year-old follower to her 19-year-old cousin.  Management of the twin towns and the FLDS have been under increasing scrutiny since 2005, following allegations of an increase in underage marriages and misuse of a church property trust.  The Mohave County Sheriff's Office said warrants were served Tuesday at fire stations and private residences in both towns.  "There's an investigation being conducted by the county attorney's office at this time for a possible misuse of public funds and fraudulent schemes at the fire department and possibly the city government," Sheriff Tom Sheahan told The Associated Press.  Sheahan said the allegations were specific to City Manager David Darger and Fire Chief Jake Barlow, both in Colorado City.  Telephones messages left for the two officials were not immediately returned.  The warrants allowed officers to search through documents and computer records.  Similar records were obtained months ago in a situation that may be related.  Court-appointed fiduciary Bruce Wisan subpoenaed records for the two cities' water system.  He was surprised to find millions of dollars in expenditures, even though the water company was doing no construction.     Read more
 
 

Video Courtesy of KSL.com

 
 
Warrants served in polygamous towns
STAFF AND WIRE REPORTS
Today's News-Herald - Havasu City
Originally published Tuesday, April 6, 2010

COLORADO CITY — Search warrants were served at six locations in the Arizona Strip of Mohave County Tuesday morning seeking evidence on suspected misuse of public funds, authorities said.  The warrants allege City Manager David Darger and Fire Chief Jake Barlow in Colorado City, Ariz., personally benefited or took money for their own use from the fire department "by false pretenses and/or without authority of law," sometime between Aug. 1, 2004 and Feb. 1, 2010.  "No arrests were made today … (the search warrant operation) was primarily to obtain evidence," said Mohave County Sheriff Tom Sheahan in an interview Tuesday with Today's News-Herald.  Darger, who also serves as secretary-treasurer of the Fire Department, was out of town Tuesday and could not be reached for comment.  Barlow declined to comment but expressed concern over the records being taken.  "The Fire Department wants to do the very best they can for the citizens and wants to help them," Barlow said.  "Now all of their records are being exposed ... we have protected medical histories on thousands of patients — all in the name of the county attorney's office investigation."  The twin communities of Colorado City and Hildale, Utah, are home to members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, an embattled religious sect that follows Warren Jeffs, a church leader serving prison time after being convicted of rape as an accomplice in the marriage of a 14-year-old follower to her 19-year-old cousin.  Management of the twin towns and the FLDS have been under increasing scrutiny since 2005, following allegations of an increase in underage marriages and misuse of a church property trust.     Read more
 
 
Searches target FLDS communities in Utah, Arizona
Warrants zero in on fund misuse
Dave Hawkins Special to the Standard-Times
San Angelo Standard-Times
Originally published April 6, 2010

KINGMAN, Ariz. — Search warrants were executed early Tuesday in the Arizona-Utah border communities that are home to the polygamous church sect that also owns and occupies the Yearning for Zion Ranch near Eldorado.  The latest law enforcement exercise, however, is not focused on the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS).  Several previous law enforcement investigations, searches and prosecutions in Texas, Utah and Arizona have targeted allegations of sex offenses involving underage females arising from FLDS beliefs and polygamous practice.  But search warrants served simultaneously at 6:30 a.m. at six locations in Colorado City, Ariz., and Hildale, Utah, instead target alleged misappropriation.  "We're looking for evidence of misuse of public funds as well as fraudulent schemes in the city government and the fire department," said Mohave County Sheriff Tom Sheahan.  "We're looking for financial records, paper records and also computer records."  Mohave County Attorney Matt Smyth said officers were also looking for receipts and other evidence that might indicate misuse of municipal credit cards.  Smith said computer forensics experts from the Arizona Attorney General's Office and the Arizona Department of Public Safety were busy downloading files and information from sophisticated computers.  Sheahan said the warrants were served at four fire stations and the personal residences of Colorado City Manager David Darger and Colorado City Fire Chief Jake Barlow.  He said there was no resistance during the morning raids but that officers forced their way into one of the homes as its occupants refused to open the door.     Read more
 
 
2 polygamy towns raided
AP
New York Post
Originally published April 7, 2010

SALT LAKE CITY -- Utah and Arizona authorities served search warrants yesterday on government offices in two towns dominated by a polygamous sect.  Warrants for records were served at fire stations in Colorado City, Ariz., and Hildale, Utah, said Salt Lake City attorney Rod Parker, who represents the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  Management of the twin towns, which abut each other along the Utah-Arizona line, has been under increasing scrutiny since 2005.
 
 
Local charity helps families leaving polgamy
Reported by: Jonelle Merrill
ABC 4 News
Originally broadcast April 11, 2010

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - Holding Out Help brought in volunteers from all over the Salt Lake Valley working on homes for former polygamist homes making a new start.  The homes should be finished in the next few weeks.  ABC 4 cannot give the location of the houses.  However volunteers said their passion for the project helps them work so quickly.  It has not been an easy road, though.  The director of Holding Out Hope said finding homes to renovate was their biggest hurdle, but a few months ago, they had homes donated to the cause.  "We've gutted the house. We've repainted," said Tonia Tewell, Director.  She said all these new improvements will make "it safer for the families transitioning out of polygamy."  The program also has a big name trying to help out.  Kyle Korver, a guard for the Utah Jazz, is helping out through his foundation.  "It's not very often you meet the people how are doing the work," said Korver's brother, Klayton, who was busy working on the back yard.  "You can give money, but it's not often you get to see them and work with them."     Read more
 
 
New Film Exposes Sex Offenses in Polygamy Cult
Joan Sweeny
Producer of Follow the Prophet
The Huffington Post
Originally published April 16, 2010

When my partner at Red Road Productions, Robert Chimento, first gave me his script of Follow the Prophet I couldn't imagine that the story was based on truth - until I started reading the research.

Follow the Prophet is the story about a young girl escaping from a Polygamy cult -- an edge of your seat thriller that explores how brainwashing is used to promote ritualistic underage marriage and sex offenses within polygamy cults where women and children are still living under the archaic rule that the man is the lord and master of all and must be obeyed without any further thought.

Our young leading character, Avery (played by ingιnue Annie Burgstede) is coming of age and revolts the forced marriage to the self-proclaimed Prophet (Tom Noonan) .

At first she escapes the clutches of her father (David Conrad) and the Prophet, but then she finds out a younger girl will take her place and decides to expose the crimes of polygamy with the help of an Army col. Jude Marks (Robert Chimento) and an ex-cult member and renegade Sheriff named Red (Diane Venora). Her decision costs a lot.

This is not Big Love, which homogenizes the experience of the victims of polygamy. It's a disturbing look at the emotional roller coaster ride of people who make a valiant fight against sex offenders who feel entitled by religious law to do whatever they want to in the name of God.

We made this movie because we were outraged.     Read more
 
 
Government, social workers get course on polygamous culture
Ben Winslow
Fox 13 News
KSTU-TV
Originally broadcast April 22, 2010

NEPHI, Utah - Child welfare protection workers, family crisis shelter workers, police officers and other government employees got a lesson in polygamous culture on Thursday.  A group that works with people in fundamentalist Mormon communities is teaching them how to better respond to a situation involving someone from a polygamous community.  "We need to start treating fundamentalist Mormons with the same cultural sensitivity that we do with other diverse groups in this state," said Patricia Merkley, the coordinator of the Safety Net Committee, a coalition of government agencies, social workers and fundamentalists who work to combat abuse and neglect in isolated communities.  They're also trying to educate government workers who, on occasion, may have to deal with someone from a fundamentalist background.  There are an estimated 37,000 people in Utah and surrounding states who consider themselves "fundamentalist Mormons."  They broke away from the mainstream Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints over the practice of polygamy.  In Thursday's training, the social workers learned about basic beliefs of fundamentalist Mormons.  They also learned what terms are offensive.  Those who put on the training said abuse cases in polygamous societies are no higher than in monogamous ones.  Members of the local polygamous community of Rocky Ridge also spoke to the crowd about their beliefs and their opposition to underage marriages and abuse of any form.  "It just takes time and building up of trust," one fundamentalist man, who asked Fox 13 not to use his name, said of the relationship with government workers.     Read more
 
 
Bullhead City parking lots repaving projects sought
By JIM SECKLER
Mohave Daily News
Originally published Sunday, April 25, 2010

KINGMAN — Mohave County is looking for a firm to repave two parking lots in Bullhead City.  The procurement department is seeking bids to pave the parking lot at the county annex building at 1130 Hancock Road.  The area covered is about 32,000 square feet. Also to be paved is a parking lot at the complex building located at 1222 Hancock Road.  That lot covers about 44,000 square feet.  The firm would be required to complete the project within 30 days.  Interested firms have until May 20 to submit bids to the county's procurement department.  A pre-bid meeting will also be held at District 2 Sup. Tom Sockwell's office at 9 a.m. on May 5.  The county is also still looking at seven design-build firms, including two from Fort Mohave, to build a new Moccasin Justice Court in Colorado City.  The 3,500-square-foot, one-story metal building would be built southeast of Colorado City just off Highway 389.  The design and construction project would cost about $600,000.  CNA Construction and Larry D Builders of Fort Mohave along with a Kingman firm have submitted bids for the project.  The courtroom would consist of a jury box, judge's bench, clerk's station, tables for attorneys and public seating.  The building would also include the judge's chambers, space for at least six staff members, a jury deliberation room, a holding cell, a lobby big enough for a walk-thru metal detector, restrooms, a conference for attorneys and their clients and paved parking.     Read more
 
 
County jury expenses may be augmented
By Suzanne Adams
Kingman Daily Miner
Originally published June 20, 2010

KINGMAN - The County Board of Supervisors will consider a $29,000 request from the Mohave Superior Courts to cover ongoing jury expenses Monday.  The Board will consider transferring the money out of the county's contingency fund and into the court's jury expense fund.  The Board will also consider awarding the pre-construction services bid for the new Moccasin Justice Court building near Colorado City to CORE Construction Services for $30,000.  The Board will also consider approving intergovernmental agreements with Kingman, Lake Havasu City, Bullhead City, Colorado City and the Wikieup area for flood control improvements.  The Board meets at 9:30 a.m. Monday at the County Administrative Building, 700 W. Beale St.
 
 
Arizona Attorney General Files Fair Housing Lawsuit against Colorado City and Hildale for Civil Rights Violations
By Jamie Ross, Contributor
KCSG TV - St. George, Utah
Originally published July 6, 2010

(Phoenix, AZ) - Attorney General Terry Goddard has backed up a disabled man's claim that a utilities company run by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints denied him water and electricity because he did not have a building permit, though the utility does not require such permits from sect members.  Goddard's Superior Court complaint against Hilldale-Colorado City Utilities supports Ronald Cooke's claim that the sect "instructed members that apostates were tools of the devil."  Cooke sued the utility company and the Town of Colorado City in Prescott, Ariz., Federal Court.  Goddard's complaint in Maricopa County Court tracks Cooke's claims.  Goddard agrees that in July 2000, leaders of the fundamentalist sect "instructed members that apostates were tools of the devil, and that there were dangers in associating with apostates."  Goddard agrees with Cooke's claim that he needs running water to clean his catheters, bathe and to avoid infections after a traumatic brain and spinal cord injury he suffered in 2005.  Cooke was raised in the FLDS religion and grew up in the Colorado City, Ariz. area, but left the religion at age 18 or 19.  Cooke returned to the town in 2007 and was denied water service in 2009 after Utility Board President Jonathan Fischer claimed that "no new families would be placed in homes not previously connected to the water systems," Goddard says.     Read more
 
 
AZ seeks emergency hearing on twin polygamy towns
By Jennifer Dobner
Associated Press Writer
The Spectrum
Originally published July 14, 2010

SALT LAKE CITY — The Arizona attorney general's office has asked a Utah judge for an emergency hearing on the rising tensions between residents of twin polygamous communities on the Utah-Arizona border.  The request on July 8 comes in the wake of property-use disputes and allegations that police have failed to enforce the court-ordered authority of an accountant charged with managing the United Effort Plan Trust.  In court papers, Assistant Arizona Attorney General Bill Richards asks 3rd District Judge Denise Lindberg to set a hearing "as quickly as possible on or after July 27" to hear "reports on issues and incidents affecting the peaceful and effective administration of the trust."  No hearing date has been set.  The trust holds nearly all the properties in Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz., the base of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  The Utah courts took control of the communal land trust in 2005 amid allegations of mismanagement by church leaders.  That has sparked an ongoing string of disputes between current and former FLDS members.  A yearslong battle for control of the trust between the FLDS, the attorneys general of Utah and Arizona and court-appointed accountant Bruce Wisan is mired in lawsuits. A 2009 attempt at a settlement ended without resolution.     Read more
 
 
More people seeking help from polygamist support group
Ben Winslow
Fox 13 News
KSTU-TV
Originally broadcast August 6, 2010

ST. GEORGE, Utah - Efforts to reach out to people in Utah and Arizona's polygamous communities are showing more success.  A coalition of people from all sides of the issue say they're breaking down barriers and getting help to those who really need it.  Members of the Safety Net Committee met here on Thursday.  The recent troubles in the border towns of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz., and the Utah Supreme Court's decision to overturn Fundamentalist LDS Church leader Warren Jeffs' criminal convictions were top of mind, but meeting attendees said they did not wish to bring it up.  They wanted to keep the peace.  "Probably the reason why I didn't bring it up is because there were FLDS people present here that we don't want to alienate here and cause problems here," said Ross Chatwin, an ex-FLDS member.  The Safety Net is a committee of social workers, government agencies and polygamists trying to build bridges between worlds that historically haven't trusted each other.  It was created years ago when the attorneys general of Utah and Arizona met to discuss "the polygamy problem." Plural wives stormed the meeting, demanding that their voices be heard.  "It has evolved," said Marlyne Hammon, a member of the Centennial Park community, near Colorado City.  "We can sit here and say things today that we could not in the first Safety Net meeting."  Polygamy is illegal, but because of religious freedom issues and prosecution resources, Utah's Attorney General has said he will only prosecute crimes within polygamy (like abuse and fraud) and not polygamy itself.  The state-funded committee was created to help abuse victims, who were often reluctant to seek help.  Pro-polygamy activists believe the state would have more help in combating crimes, if they would decriminalize polygamy.     Read more
 
 
Library committee to receive update on BHC expansion
By JIM SECKLER
Mohave Daily News
Originally published Sunday, August 22, 2010

KINGMAN — The Mohave County Library District committee will hear updates today on the progress of the Bullhead City and Mohave Valley library expansion projects.  Meeting in Bullhead City, the committee will hear another update on the county's plan to triple the size of the existing 8,669-square-foot library branch in Bullhead City and turn it into a 30,819-square-foot facility.  The project on the 20-year-old library will be done in three phases and take 12 to 14 months to complete.  The county is evaluating 15 construction firms to build the project, which could begin by October, Mohave County Library Director Bob Shupe said.  Two Fort Mohave and one Mohave Valley firm are competing with a Kingman company and four Las Vegas construction companies for the project.  Also vying for the contract are six Phoenix area firms and a Yuma company.  The project bids range from $3.4 million from one Fort Mohave firm to a $6 million bid from the Kingman firm.  Most of the rest of the bids range from $3.8 to $4.4 million.  The bids also include 16 alternatives to the design.  The county will evaluate the lowest bidder, Larry Builders of Fort Mohave, and if satisfied with that company's bid, a contract with the firm will go before the county supervisors for approval.     Read more
 
 
School and fire board elections to be canceled
By JIM SECKLER
Mohave Daily News
Originally published Sunday, September 5, 2010

KINGMAN — Elections for board members for school and fire districts in the 2010 general election are expected to be canceled Tuesday.  Meeting Tuesday because of the Labor Day holiday, the board of supervisors will discuss canceling the Nov. 2 election for the Bullhead City and Mohave Valley Elementary School Districts.  The supervisors will also discuss appointing Patrick Allen Beck to the Bullhead City Elementary School District 15 board for two years and Jason Evans, Rose Vera and Lyn R. Opalka to the Mohave Valley Elementary School District board for four years.  The supervisors are also asked to cancel the election for the Bullhead City Fire Department board and appointing David Cummings and James Zaborsky to the board.  Also to be canceled is the election for Mohave Community College District 4 and District 5.  C.G. Ambrose would be appointed to the MCC board for District 4 and Travis Lingenfelter would be appointed representing District 5.

In other action:

The supervisors will discuss paying $19,962 in commercial project permit fees for remodeling of the Bullhead City library.  The county is evaluating 15 construction firms to renovate the 20-year-old county library in Bullhead City, expanding the building toward Hancock Road.  The board will look at accepting a 1.79-acre parcel from United Effort Plan trust for $10 in Colorado City to use as a county library.  The supervisors will be asked to create a 15 cent per page copy fee to provide court information packets and forms to the public for Superior Court and justice courts.  The board will hold its meeting at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday in the board of supervisor's auditorium at the county administration building, 700 W. Beale St., Kingman.
 
 
Victims of polygamy hold conference in Salt Lake City
Staff Writer
FOX 13
KSTU-TV
Originally broadcast September 6, 2010

SALT LAKE CITY - Victim advocates from all over the world got a lesson on crimes within polygamist community at a recent conference in Salt Lake City.  The conference came at a time when the state is trying to decide whether to retry polygamist leader Warren Jeffs.  At the crime victim's conference, Carolyn Jessop shared her story of leaving the Fundamentalist LDS church with her children.  Jessop chronicled her story in a pair of books that prompted the state to try to do more to reach out to crime victims in polygamy.  "One of the bigger hurdles I had when I left was going to the Attorney General's office and asking for help, going to law enforcement because I was terrified of them," Jessop explained.  "My belief was they'd put me in jail, rather than help me."  Polygamy is illegal but the state has chosen to use its resources on crimes inside polygamy like underage marriages, not plural marriage itself.  The Utah Attorney General's Chief Deputy told FOX 13 he believes crimes do continue and they need to do more to reach victims.  "I don't think we've done enough to help these people," said Kirk Torgensen.  "I don't think we've come close to doing enough."  A state-sponsored committee to reach abuse victims said it has made good progress.  They are reporting an increase in people seeking services from job assistance to marital counseling for plural families.
 
 
Volunteers to wrap up event
KEVIN JENKINS
The Spectrum
Originally published September 11, 2010

ST. GEORGE - Volunteers will spread across St. George next week to conclude a group of diverse projects seeking to make the community a better place.  The annual Day of Caring is a United Way-sponsored annual event in which community volunteers gather to support nonprofit groups and occasionally other agencies that provide benefits to residents.  Half the eight projects took place Wednesday, with two additional activities on Thursday.  A carnival Monday will benefit The Learning Center for Families as part of the event and a final act of volunteerism will take place at the DOVE Center for people fleeing domestic violence on Wednesday.  "We ended up with over a hundred volunteers," said Heidi Allen, the administrator of United Way Dixie.  "Zions Bank had 25 people do a painting project over at TURN (community services for the disabled)."  Southwest Community Credit Union fielded 28 employees to clean at the Children's Justice Center, which provides a location for law enforcement officers to interview children who are crime victims in an environment that allows them to feel safe talking to people who are unfamiliar to them.  The group also organized a benefit yard sale and raised more than $1,000.  "I think we don't even know all the things that go on in our community," Allen said.  "At the Children's Justice Center, I've been told Patricia (Sheffield, the director,) sat down with them and explained what they do."     Read more
 
 
Home for ex 'sister wives' opens
Reported by: Kimberly Houk
ABC 4 News
Originally broadcast September 29, 2010

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - The TLC series "Sister Wives" is giving people an inside look into what it is like for some to live in polygamy, but not everyone who living that lifestyle is happy in it.  Nicole Mafi walked away from her Kingston family and chose to opt out of a life in polygamy as an adult.  "I left because I felt like my whole life had been mapped out for me, and I didn't really get a say in it," said Mafi.  As a woman who grew up in the alternative lifestyle, she has no problem with the new hit reality series known as Sister Wives.  "It's nice to show both sides of it, because it can work, and there are happy people who live it," said Mafi.  But 21-year-old Joseph Broadbent's story is different.  He fled the Warren Jeff's clan four years ago, and it troubles him to see children living in polygamy.  "I'd be upset, because they don't have a choice, a say, they can't think on their own," said Broadbent.  Joseph, along with his mother Georgina sought refuge inside Holding Out Help, an non-profit organization that helps people who need a place to stay when they leave a life of polygamy.  Tonia Tewell runs the organizations and spends her days helping these families.  She says, "it's very hard emotionally, but when they are freed from the control and they find themselves, it's very rewarding, very rewarding."  As for ex-sister wife Georgina, after living in polygamy nearly her whole life, she doesn't believe women when they say they are happy living it.  "A lot of it is a front, because that's what you are supposed to do, if that's what you're religion is, that's what you do," said Georgina.     Read more
 
 
GED courses lead to opportunities
For The Spectrum
Originally published October 15, 2010

COLORADO CITY - Many people looking for better employment, technical training or college admission have taken GED courses at Mohave Community College in Colorado City and now enjoy new career and education opportunities.  Students interested in getting the GED high school equivalency diploma can take a GED prep course, free, at MCC.  The process starts with mandatory orientation classes in which students' academic achievement levels are evaluated.  Orientation sessions are available by appointment until Oct. 18 and can be scheduled by calling MCC at (800) 678-3992.  If it is determined that the student has sufficient knowledge, the student can schedule a time to take the GED test.  If additional preparation is needed in one or more areas, the student can sign up for test preparation classes.  GED test preparation classes will begin the week of Oct. 18 at MCC's North Campus on Tuesdays and Thursdays for eight weeks from 4 to 7 p.m.  Students follow a set course of study, but may work at their own pace, and take the exam when ready.  GED testing for students from Utah, Arizona and Nevada takes place at Dixie State College on Mondays throughout the year.  MCC's courses follow state and national guidelines for adult basic education.  Call instructor Marilyn Cox at 800-678-3992 to enroll in the new classes or for information.
 
 
Bullhead City library expansion update to go before committee
By JIM SECKLER
Mohave Daily News
Originally published Sunday, October 17, 2010

KINGMAN — The Mohave County Library District committee will hear updates at its next meeting on the progress of the Bullhead City library expansion project.  Meeting at the South Mohave Valley branch Oct. 25, the committee will hear another update on the county's plan to triple the size of the existing 8,669-square-foot library branch in Bullhead City and turn it into a 30,819-square-foot facility.  The project on the 20-year-old library will be done in three phases and take 12 to 14 months to complete.  The county supervisors agreed in September to offer a $3.8 million contract to Summit Builders, who was the lowest bidder among 15 construction firms.  The project also includes a $381,915 contingency fund and a public works contract administration fee of $60,000 for a total project cost of $4,261,065, Mohave County Library Director Bob Shupe said.  The committee also will hear an update on the county library branch in Colorado City.  The county supervisors took no action with a donation of land in Colorado City for the library.  The library was closed in 2002 after Warren Jeffs became leader of the polygamist community.  The county library's book mobile currently services the area.     Read more
 
 
Should Arizona prosecute polygamy?
ABC 15 Phoenix
Originally published November 14, 2010

PHOENIX - The nation faces tough questions in tough times, and there are people on both sides of every issue.  Arizona is no different.  But who's saying what about the issues important to Arizonans?  Each Sunday, ABC15.com debuts an Arizona issue - along with two opposing sides on the topic.  Don't worry, you always have the opportunity to make comments at the bottom of the page.  Yeah, your opinion matters too.  This week we're tackling the debate on whether the State of Arizona should prosecute polygamy.  Flora Jessop, executive director at The Child Protection Project, and K. Dee Ignatin, executive director at Americans Against Abuses of Polygamy say the results of dozens of studies by medical and mental health professionals all reflect the negative impact polygamy has worldwide.  Jessop and Ignatin say polygamy statistically leads to higher incidences of poverty, molestation, child and spouse abandonment, incest, child brides, depression, welfare fraud and divorce.  Richard Holm, a tour guide for Polygamy Experience and former polygamist says the State of Arizona should not have "legislated morality" laws on the books, nor should the State attempt to enforce laws which infringe only on lifestyle choices.  Holm says many people with polygamous backgrounds and associations are productive, positive members of Society, and have committed no crimes at all.  So, should polygamy be prosecuted in Arizona?     Read more
 
 
Polygamist leader held for sex charges in Texas
By Jim Forsyth
SAN ANTONIO, Texas
Reuters
Originally published Wed Dec 1, 2010

(Reuters) - Polygamist leader Warren Jeffs, whose rape conviction in Utah was overturned on appeal in July, has been extradited to Texas, where he was ordered held without bond on Wednesday on sexual assault and bigamy charges.  Jeffs, 54, whose word was considered God's will by thousands of followers, is the self-proclaimed prophet of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, a breakaway Mormon sect known to practice illegal plural marriages.  Jeffs was indicted by a Texas grand jury in July 2008 following a raid on an FLDS ranch near the tiny west Texas town of Eldorado.  He is charged with bigamy and with sexual assault involving two girls, aged 12 and 13, whom he allegedly took as wives.  All three counts are felonies that carry penalties ranging from five to 99 years in prison if convicted.  State authorities removed more than 400 children from the FLDS compound at the time of the raid, sparking a child custody battle that gripped the nation with lurid allegations of adolescent brides and teenage pregnancies.  But the children were all later returned to relatives.  The mainstream Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the official name of the Mormon faith, renounced polygamy more than a century ago as Utah was seeking statehood and tries to distance itself from splinter groups that still espouse it.  FLDS men typically marry one legal wife while taking others as their "spiritual wives" -- a practice that attempts to skirt the law and entitles the women and their children to various welfare benefits.     Read more
 
 
Polygamous youth talent show raises charity funds
Associated Press
The Spectrum
Originally published December 29, 2010

SALT LAKE CITY — A talent show featuring youth from Utah's polygamous community has generated an $1,800 donation to a statewide domestic violence hotline.  Sponsored by an equal rights committee of the polygamy advocacy group Principle Voices, the October talent night featured more than 20 vocalists and musicians.  Nearly all were kids.  Principle Voices co-founder Anne Wilde says the event was designed as a service project for youth.  Nearly all of Utah's polygamous sects were represented.  About 250 attended the performance which was held in a private home.  The funds generated were donated to Linkline, a 24-hour domestic violence hotline run by the state.  Wilde says Linkline has suffered under state budget cuts.  The hotline connects callers with counseling, shelters and other services.
 
 
Polygamous groups raise money for hotline
By Andrew Adams
KSL Newsradio
Originally broadcast December 29, 2010

SALT LAKE CITY -- A state-run domestic violence hotline that has been struggling under state budget cuts is the beneficiary of a polygamous talent show.  The October event, the brainchild of a committee of the advocacy group Principle Voices, raised $1,800 for the 24-hour "Linkline."  "We have been wanting to in some way to give back to the community, to try and dispel some of the stereotypes that we're always living off welfare and taking from the community, which is not necessarily true at all," Principle Voices co-founder Anne Wilde told KSL Newsradio Wednesday.  About 250 people from several polygamist groups gathered at a private residence.  There were 25 acts, including a five violin group from the same family, a trio of violinists, and a barbershop quartet.  Attendees were charged $10 at the door.  Wilde says it traditionally has been rare for people from the various polygamous groups to gather together.  "They were very hesitant to mingle very much with members from the other groups, but I think they can see we have a lot in common," Wilde said.  "They can see the need in working together in political things as well as social things."  Wilde says the groups are considering making it a yearly event, because of the success of October's talent show.

E-mail: aadams@ksl.com
 
 
Library sought for Colorado City
By JIM SECKLER
Mohave Daily News
Originally published Monday, January 10, 2011

KINGMAN — Renewed efforts are being made to put a county library branch in Colorado City.  Elaine Tyler of the Hope Organization in Washington, Utah, is asking District 1 Sup. Gary Watson along with District 2 Sup. Tom Sockwell to support a public library in Colorado City.  The issue was brought up at a Sept. 7, 2010, board meeting with District 3 Sup. Buster Johnson opposing the item.  At the September meeting, the board took no action in accepting the 1.79-acre parcel from United Effort Plan trust for $10 in Colorado City to use as a county library.  Jake Barlow, of Colorado City, and Warren Johnson, of Hildale, Utah, both opposed the county accepting the land that had been used as a religious school in the community.  At that meeting, Barlow and Johnson said the county could be sued because Bruce Wisan, the fiduciary for the United Effort Plan, should not give church's land to the county.  Wisan has offered to donate the land and a former school building on the land for $10.  The Hope Organization would even pay the $10 needed for a quick claim deed, Tyler said.  Tyler also said thousands of dollars worth of books have already been donated to the library and many citizens in the Colorado City area have supported a library using an assessment fee on their property taxes.  The books are stored at the school building but vandals recently broke windows that could have damaged some of the books.  There had been a library in Colorado City but Warren Jeffs, the convicted former ecclesiastical head of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, closed the library down about the time he took power from his father in 2002, Tyler said.  Sockwell said he would support a library if there were funds available to operate it.  He said he would have county library director Bob Shupe look into the issue to decide if there were enough funds to run the library.  Tyler said there are funds available to operate a library including utilities, book cases and hiring a librarian.  She is trying to get the issue put back on the supervisor agenda possibly by today's board meeting.  Mohave County currently has 10 library branches throughout the county, including branches in Bullhead City, Mohave Valley and Golden Shores.
 
 
Renewed push to decriminalize polygamy in Utah
Ben Winslow
Fox 13 News
KSTU-TV
Originally broadcast January 17, 2011

BIG WATER, Utah — Members of Utah's polygamous communities are making a renewed push to decriminalize polygamy.  They argue that if state officials really want to combat abuse in the closed society, they should decriminalize their marriages.  Boudicca Joseph was one of the nine wives of Alex Joseph, who founded the southern Utah town of Big Water.  She is one of those pushing for polygamy to be decriminalized, arguing that it is the only way to really fight crimes within the closed and often isolated polygamous communities.  "Who's going to go to a policeman and tell him there's a problem when they're committing a felony and there's a fear they're going to be arrested?" she told Fox 13.  "It's not going to happen."  Joseph and other members of Utah's polygamous communities took the issue of decriminalization to the Safety Net Committee, a coalition of government bureaucrats, social workers, polygamists and anti-polygamy activists working together to reach victims in the communities.  The Safety Net takes no position on decriminalization, but provides resources to people needing support in the communities.  Since its founding by the Utah Attorney General's Office several years ago, the Safety Net Committee has helped more than 1,000 people with services ranging from crisis intervention to job referral to marriage counseling for multiple spouses.  Joseph said Utah can end the isolation and reach more people by making plural marriage legal.  "They're all saying, 'Why won't these people talk to us?' Well, duh," Joseph said.  "You're not going to get around that and be able to help people unless you decriminalize it."  Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff shares some of that frustration.  "Our constant refrain, in addition to trying to stop underage marriages and so forth has been that the polygamous communities have got to come out from behind closed doors, behind the compounds and the secrecy," he told Fox 13.     Read more
 
 
Group extends help to St. George children leaving polygamy
The Spectrum & Daily News
Originally published January 18, 2011

ST. GEORGE – A group dedicated to assisting children who are leaving polygamous families is expanding its services to St. George.  The Jump Start Life Skills program, first created to help children living in the polygamist communities of Hildale and Colorado City, will start offering programs next week for displaced youth and young adults – often called Lost Boys – who are living in the St. George area.  Classes on a variety of topics, from job skills to dating, will be offered on Wednesdays starting Jan. 26.  Jump Start is sponsored by The HOPE Organization, a United Way Dixie partner agency.  This program provides life skills classes at no cost to students and is funded through a two-year "Thank Offering" grant provided by the Creative Ministries of Presbyterian Women and the National Presbyterian Church in Louisville, Ky.  "HOPE is thrilled to be able to expand the Jump Start program and now offer critical life skills classes to the 'lost youth' from polygamy living in the St. George metro area," Elaine Tyler, president of the HOPE Organization, said.  "These children and young adults are living in less-than-desirable circumstances and should truly benefit from this program."  For more information contact The HOPE Organization at 627-9582 or Jeanne Adams, Jump Start Facilitator, at jzy401@gmail.com.
 
 
RCMP to investigate Bountiful father smuggling teen brides into U.S.
By Tiffany Crawford
Postmedia News
Vancouver Sun
Originally published February 25, 2011

VANCOUVER — The RCMP is preparing to visit Bountiful, B.C., following disturbing evidence divulged in court Friday that eight young teenage girls from the polygamist Mormon community were taken to the U.S. to marry older men.  "Obviously, we can't discuss what we are doing in the context of the investigation but eventually we will have to attend (Bountiful).  But as it stands we are not there right now," RCMP Cpl. Annie Linteau said on Friday.  Linteau said investigators received the evidence last week and have launched a new criminal investigation.  "We're aware of the affidavits filed by the attorney general's office," she said.  "We initiated an investigation into those allegations and the investigation is ongoing."  In 2008, Wendy Wiens, team leader for B.C.'s Ministry of Children and Family Development, received a fax from Angie Voss, a child protective services supervisor in Texas outlining how four years earlier a 13-year-old girl from Bountiful had been taken illegally to the United States by her parents and was married off to Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints leader Warren Jeffs.  At the time, Jeffs was 48, had other wives and was a fugitive running from charges related to having sex with minors.  The fax was sent five months after Texas authorities raided the FLDS's Yearning for Zion ranch and took into care close to 400 women and children.  Contacted Friday in Creston, B.C., the closest town to Bountiful, Wiens said she would not comment on anything to do with the case.  Christine Ash, a spokeswoman for the ministry, wouldn't comment either, saying the case was before the courts.     Read more
 
 
Canada reopens probe of polygamist sect
World News
United Press International
Originally published Feb. 28, 2011

VICTORIA, British Columbia, Feb. 28 (UPI) -- Canadian authorities say they are again investigating a polygamist community over reports of child marriage.  Cpl. Annie Linteau of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police told Postmedia News officers will revisit Bountiful, British Columbia, where all 800 to 1,000 residents are members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  She said investigators received troubling evidence last week that eight girls, some as young as 12, were sent to the United States to marry older men.  The constitutionality of Canada's polygamy laws is being argued before the province's Supreme Court.  "Bountiful and polygamy are quite disturbing to me and I strongly support the legislation," provincial Attorney General Barry Penner has said.  Penner said he has urged the RCMP to investigate any evidence supporting criminal charges of child sexual exploitation or parents procuring their children for sex.  "I'm offended by any suggestion [that] what has been alleged to have taken place is akin to marriage. ... What this is, is a lot of middle-aged men wanting to have sex with children," he said.  Mounties investigated two Bountiful leaders in 2006 but the charges were dropped.
 
 
Amish participate in conference on Utah polygamy
Ben Winslow
Fox13Now.com
KSTU-TV
Originally broadcast March 11, 2011

ST. GEORGE, Utah - An effort to build bridges between government and polygamous communities brought together Mormon fundamentalists, social workers, government officials and members of an Amish community in an all-day conference here.  Members of Utah's various communities met with social workers, child protective services caseworkers, government employees and non-profit groups to talk about ways to better communicate.  "As the trust builds between the outside world and the inside, then the services which are needed can be provided," said Dr. Tom Metcalf, a pediatrician who spoke at the conference.  There are an estimated 38,000 people who consider themselves "fundamentalist Mormons" in Utah and surrounding states.  Though that number includes those who adhere to a particular belief system that broke away from the mainstream Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, they do not all necessarily practice polygamy.  For generations, polygamists have been isolated from government and mainstream society after a series of raids and criminal prosecutions.  In recent years, polygamist communities have opened up to work with government officials to combat abuse and neglect in closed societies.  "Seeing a face on a human being, and noticing that 'You look like me!' I think that's been powerful," said Linda Kelsch, an independent fundamentalist Mormon and co-founder of the pro-polygamy group Principle Voices.     Read more
 
 
Supervisors vote to demolish Arnold Plaza
By JIM SECKLER
Mohave Daily News
Originally published Tuesday, March 15, 2011

KINGMAN — The Mohave County supervisors have approved the demolition of a former county building in Kingman and the construction of a justice courthouse in Colorado City.  County Public Works Director Steve Latoski said there were three options for the 22,400-square foot Arnold Plaza in downtown Kingman, which was built in 1967 and abandoned in 2005 when several county offices, including the assessor, recorder and treasurer's offices, along with several other county departments housed in the former administration building, moved into the three-story administration building.  To do nothing and replace the roof damaged from the weather and remove asbestos would cost about $200,000.  To remodel the building for office space would cost $1.9 million.  That figure is based on remodeling a similar size building that is now used by the probation department.  The last option, which the board approved, was to demolish the building, which would cost about $635,000.  Kingman Mayor John Salem supported the demolition option, calling the often vandalized building a public nuisance.  In his support for demolishing the building, District 2 Sup. Tom Sockwell said a new building could be built in its place.  Several speakers opposed spending money to demolish the building.  Denise Bensusan said with the country and the county in an economic crisis, the county is spending money on new buildings while people are starving and services for the elderly are cut.  Verna Schwab also opposed razing the building, saying the $635,000 could be better spent on a youth center.  "The citizens want you to cut back on spending too," Bensusan said.  The board also awarded a contract to Cal Nev Ari Construction, of Fort Mohave, to build a 3,500-square foot, one-story building for the Moccasin Courthouse southeast of Colorado City off state Highway 389.  The design and construction project should cost about $560,000.  The courtroom would consist of a jury box, judge's bench, clerk's station, tables for attorneys and public seating.  The building would also include the judge's chambers, space for at least six staff members, a jury deliberation room, a holding cell, a lobby large enough for a walk-thru metal detector, restrooms, a conference for attorneys and their clients and paved parking.  The firm will have six months to complete the building.
 
 
'The Primer' helps decipher the world of polygamy
Ben Winslow
Fox13Now.com
KSTU-TV
Originally broadcast March 20, 2011

ST. GEORGE, Utah — Do you know what an "other mother" is?  Or what it means to "keep sweet?"  These terms and more are explained in "The Primer," a book on fundamentalist Mormonism that basically is "everything you ever wanted to know about polygamy, but were afraid to ask."  "The Primer" is now being published by the Family Support Center, which administers the Safety Net Committee, a coalition of government agencies, social service providers and members of polygamous communities with a common goal of reaching into and providing help to closed societies.  The book was created by the Utah and Arizona Attorney General's Offices to help government officials and social workers understand the terms and customs unique to polygamous culture.  "'The Primer' is like a little textbook, so to speak," said Mike Leetham, an administrator of the Safety Net Committee.  "Something that gives you the basic understanding and hopefully entices your curiousity to learn a little bit more about them."  The book details the history of Utah's various polygamous groups, from the Hildale-based Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS), the Davis Cooperative Society (sometimes known as the Kingstons), the Apostolic United Brethren in Bluffdale, the community of Centennial Park and Alex Joseph's "Confederate Nations of Israel" in Big Water.  The majority of polygamists in Utah do not belong to any specific church, and are called "independents."  The book also covers Utah and Arizona's laws dealing with bigamy and polygamy (polygamy is illegal, but the Utah Attorney General's Office has repeatedly said it will only prosecute it in addition to crimes such as child-bride marriages or abuse, citing resource issues.)     Read more
 
 
Polygamous culture 'primer' getting 2011 update
By Associated Press
KSL 5 TV
Originally published March 21, 2011

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- State officials are working with Utah's polygamous community to again revise "The Primer," a guide to understanding polygamous culture for social workers, police and other service providers.  Mike Leetham is the administrative coordinator of the Safety Net Committee, an outreach program which works with polygamous groups and service agencies in Utah and Arizona.  Leetham says the 2011 version of the guide is being circulated for editing by polygamous groups.  A draft will be presented for a final review at a meeting in St. George on April 7.  The primer was first produced in 2005 by the Utah attorney general's office.  The book provides an overview of polygamous groups, their beliefs and cultural practices.  It outlines state laws related to polygamy and provides a guide to recognizing abuse and domestic violence.     See photo
 
 
Read The Primer updated January 2011
 
 
Canadian authorities investigate smuggling of underage girls into US for arranged marriages
NewsCore
Herald Sun - Melbourne City, Australia
Originally published March 28, 2011

CANADIAN authorities are investigating the alleged smuggling of 31 girls aged 12 to 17 into the US for religious marriages to older men, the Vancouver Sun reported late yesterday.  The girls were allegedly transported by their fathers from Bountiful, British Columbia to Texas over a 10-year period.  The revelations are detailed in documents seized by Texas authorities in a 2008 raid on the Yearning for Zion Ranch, owned by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS).  Authorities had searched the ranch for girls who were alleged to have been sexually exploited.   The raid led to the arrest of the head of the polygamy-sanctioning FLDS Warren Jeffs, who will go to trial later this year charged with two counts of sexual abuse involving two 12-year-old girls and one count of bigamy.  The documents, which include church marriage records and Jeffs' diary, have been used by Texas courts to convict seven FLDS men of child sex-related charges.  The diary tells of how men would sneak their daughters and sisters into the US for arranged marriages.  The documents are now being investigated in Canada by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police who are attempting to verify the list of girls and will determine if charges should be laid.
 
 
Utah authorities looking into more allegations of child-bride marriages
Utah's attorney general fears split in FLDS Church over leadership fight
Ben Winslow
News
Fox13Now.com
KSTU-TV
Originally broadcast April 10, 2011

SALT LAKE CITY — More allegations of underage marriages are surfacing involving the Utah-based Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  It comes as a fight is brewing over leadership of the 10,000-member polygamous church and a dramatic turnabout of control of the church's real-estate holdings arm.  A pair of affidavits filed late last month with the British Columbia Supreme Court in Canada and obtained by Fox 13 allege dozens more child-bride marriages.  The province's high court is hearing closing arguments this week in a case that could decriminalize polygamy in that country.  The affidavits, written by Texas Ranger Nick Hanna, cite marriage records seized in the 2008 raid on the FLDS Church's YFZ Ranch in Eldorado, Texas. They detail marriages going back to 1990 involving allegedly underage girls.  Some of the marriages took place in Utah.  "Attached to my affidavit and marked as Exhibit 'G' is the marriage record for Child 'T'. This marriage record indicates she was married for 'Time and Eternity' on January 30, 1999 at Uncle Woodruff Seed's Home SL (I believe that 'SL' stands for Salt Lake City)," Hanna wrote in one affidavit. "The father of Child T is listed as one of the witnesses on the Marriage Record. According to the Marriage Record, the marriage was performed by Uncle Warren Jeffs."  The affidavits have attracted the interest of Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff.  In a recent interview with Fox 13, he said his investigators have been in regular contact with Texas authorities, who are prosecuting Warren Jeffs and other FLDS members on various crimes related to underage marriages coming out of the 2008 raid.  "We'll continue to scrutinize those and if there's any evidence, then there will be future prosecutions," Shurtleff said.     Read more
 
 
Evidence in Warren Jeffs' Texas trial being sought by Utah authorities
Ben Winslow
Fox13Now.com
KSTU-TV
Originally broadcast July 29, 2011

SALT LAKE CITY - Texas authorities have seized hundreds of boxes of evidence from the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  Some of that evidence is being used by prosecutors in FLDS leader Warren Jeffs' trial on child sex assault.  Fox 13 News has learned Utah prosecutors also want to see the massive collection of evidence -- to see if there is any sign of criminal activity by Jeffs or other FLDS members.  "We've been trying for 11 years to get evidence from these guys," Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff said Friday.  "We were down (in Hildale) trying to serve search warrants for church records in 2001 and facing troubles with that."  Shurtleff told Fox 13 he has asked Texas authorities to share their evidence with Utah investigators and they have agreed -- after the Texas Attorney General's Office finishes its trials of a dozen FLDS members on charges related to underage marriages and bigamy.  In court filings, lawyers have said there are more than 1.7 billion pages of evidence seized in the 2008 raid on the FLDS Church's Yearning for Zion Ranch in Eldorado, Texas.  Among the evidence: pictures, marriage records and diaries penned by Jeffs himself.  "He likes his journals. He likes to record things," Shurtleff said.  "I knew that was all somewhere, someplace."  Shurtleff acknowledged his office has had no evidence of so-called child bride marriages taking place in Utah since 2004, when the state made child bigamy a second-degree felony.  However, he said the evidence that Texas has obtained may point to other crimes.     Read more
 
 
Child marriage and the Warren Jeffs polygamist trial
The Texas trial of Warren Jeffs should shine a spotlight on the global problem of child marriages, and efforts to prevent them.
By the Monitor's Editorial Board
The Monitor's View
The Christian Science Monitor - Boston, Massachusetts
Originally published July 29, 2011

Here's one way to view the Texas trial of Warren Jeffs, the polygamist-sect leader accused of sexual assault and marrying two teenage girls: Even America is not immune to the global problem of child marriage and should use this case to support campaigns to end it.  Underage marriage has long been common in Mr. Jeffs's secretive group, the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  To date, seven FLDS men have been convicted on the same charges facing Jeffs.  Worldwide, though, more than 60 million girls end up as child brides, meaning they marry before the age of 18, which is classified as underage by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.  Most are forced into these awkward arrangements, usually by poor, rural parents who essentially sell off daughters for a dowry.  The damage to the girl in marrying an older man, both physically and emotionally, remains largely hidden.  The practice - which amounts to rape - is deeply entrenched and not associated with any one religion, according to the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW).  While the prevalence of child marriage seems to be declining - a result of information campaigns, education for girls, and rising prosperity - the ICRW estimates that 25,000 girls will be married every day for the next 10 years - some as young as 8.  In some countries, more than half are coerced into saying some form of "I do."  Many are betrothed in the cradle.     Read more
 
 
Prevent abuse In FLDS towns
Opinions
The Arizona Republic
Originally published August 11, 2011

"If the world knew what I was doing, they would hang me from the highest tree."

- Warren Jeffs' diary, 2005

What polygamist Warren Jeffs was doing to the little girls he claimed as "spiritual wives" earned him a life sentence instead.  Few would argue with the decision by a Texas jury that this guy belongs in prison.  Yet Jeffs remains a prophet - not a pedophile - to his cult on Arizona's northern border.  That means our state dare not let the twin polygamous towns of Colorado City, Ariz., and Hildale, Utah, slip back into isolation and obscurity.  The conditions that gave Jeffs total authority over 10,000 people could give rise to his successor.  It is important that Arizona authorities continue the cooperative efforts with Mohave County and Utah that were begun by then-Attorney General Terry Goddard. Attorney General Tom Horne said in an e-mail response that "those efforts have not diminished under the current AG."  Good.  It was because of Goddard's quiet, determined work that Jeffs felt pressured to move much of his operation to Texas.  A raid on his compound there unearthed evidence used to convict him.  The Texas jury didn't buy Jeffs' claim that prosecuting him amounted to religious persecution - neither should anybody else.  Yet Jeffs rules his followers like a tyrant because they believe in his authority.  In classic cult style, he controlled their property, he controlled the police in their community, he controlled the lives of his followers to such an extent that he could order fathers to give their young daughters in plural marriage to those he deemed worthy.  Or he could just take the girls himself.     Read more
 
 
FALL OF A 'PROPHET': States hold out hope for joint task force with federal officials
Trish Choate, Standard-Times Washington Bureau
San Angelo Standard-Times
Originally published August 20, 2011

SAN ANGELO, Texas — Top cops from Arizona, Nevada and Utah walked out of a meeting in Las Vegas excited about the prospect of banding together with federal authorities for a multistate effort to fight crimes related to polygamy.  More than one state attorney general in attendance viewed the confab with federal prosecutors, the FBI and other federal law-enforcement officials as a step toward forming a state-federal task force to share information and tactics.  The meeting in Las Vegas was June 11, 2008.  The task force still hasn't materialized.  Disappointment has replaced anticipation.  Federal authorities apparently remain cool to the idea, but state officials in Texas, Nevada and Utah remain hopeful.  They say there is a glaring need for a coordinated state-federal effort to investigate allegations ranging from tax evasion to the sexual assault of underage "celestial" brides in the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  The polygamist sect is a sophisticated criminal organization whose members flow freely across state and international boundaries to evade prosecution, officials said.     Read more
 
 
Bookmark
Standard-Examiner - Ogden, Utah
Originally published September 18, 2011

As part of the Weber Historical Society's Fall 2011 Lecture Series, Newell Bringhurst and Craig Foster present "The FLDS and the Outside World" at 7 p.m. Monday in the Lindquist Alumni Center, Weber State University, 3848 Harrison Blvd., Ogden.  Bringhurst, a retired history and political science professor from the College of the Sequoias in California, is the author and editor of numerous books and an FLDS scholar.  Foster is a research specialist in the LDS Church's Family History Library in Salt Lake City.  Together, they will discuss the history of "fundamentalist Mormons" and recent news stories involving the group.  The lecture is free and open to the public.  Both scholars will be available to sign copies of their books, which will be available for sale at the event.     Read more
 
 
Authors speak about FLDS raid and its consequences on public perceptions
By JaNae Francis
Standard-Examiner - Ogden, Utah
Originally published September 21, 2011

OGDEN -- Authors of histories of polygamy in both the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints documented Monday how views of members of the FLDS Church changed as media continued to report on the effects of an April 2008 raid of their Eldorado, Texas, compound.  "Once people get to know people from the other side, the other turns out to not be so different," said Craig Foster.  He said news stories of the sect started out describing members as living lives filled with "indiscriminate prostitution" and then changed quickly to depict them as respectable people who just wanted what was best for their children.  Foster and co-author Newell Bringhurst spoke Monday at the Weber State University Lindquist Alumni Center as part of Weber Historical Society's Fall Lecture Series.  The two are authors of a three-volume series of books titled "The Persistence of Polygamy."  Volume One, "The Persistence of Polygamy: Joseph Smith and the Origins of Mormon Polygamy" (John Whitmer Books, $24.95), was recently released.  The other two are expected to be out within the next year or so.  The two authors also wrote "The Mormon Quest for the Presidency: From Joseph Smith to Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman" (John Whitmer Books, $24.95), among other books.  Monday's lecture was titled "The FLDS and the Outside World."  The presentation centered on results of the April 2008 raid, but Foster and Bringhurst also offered general observations from their interactions with the FLDS and other fundamental LDS groups.     Read more
 
 
Organization casts 'Safety Net' for children leaving polygamous homes
David DeMille
The Spectrum
Originally published October 10, 2011

ST. GEORGE - Michael Roundy's story isn't typical, but it is familiar when it comes to young people leaving their homes in the isolated polygamous communities in and around Southern Utah.  At 13, unsatisfied with the religious and cultural beliefs of his family, Roundy ran away, determined to make a life for himself outside of his Colorado City home.  "I just didn't believe in it, so I left," Roundy said last week, now 17 and having lived on his own in four states before coming to St. George to finish school.  Roundy said there is no animosity with his family - they still see each other regularly - but he has faced some challenges adjusting to the rest of the world, catching up from behind on his education and having to learn on his own how to function in society.  It's a similar situation faced by thousands of people each year as they migrate away from the polygamous communities, and like each of them, Roundy had his own unique needs.  That's where Safety Net has stepped in, a group administered by the Family Support Center to improve access to social services and community resources for those leaving their polygamous homes.  Grown out of an initial agreement in 2003 between Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff and his counterpart in Arizona, Terry Goddard, Safety Net has grown into a massive operation that helped find services for 1,012 people in 2010.     Read more
 
 
FLDS victim and others speak out against domestic violence
Nur Kausar
The Spectrum
Originally published October 13, 2011

ST. GEORGE - In recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the Washington County Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Coalition hosted its annual awards ceremony and candlelight vigil Wednesday at Town Square Park in St. George.  The event included musical and dance numbers, awards for community members who have worked to end domestic violence and speeches from both victims and advocates who have helped victims leave dangerous situations for good.  For the keynote speaker, the coalition chose Elissa Wall, who was forced to marry her first cousin by Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints leader Warren Jeffs when she was 14 years old.  Ten years later, Wall continues to speak out against the kind of abuse she faced and helps those who are in similar situations but are too afraid to say anything.  "I know how easy it is to ignore the signs of abuse, to continue that cycle," Wall said to a group of more than 200 listeners, sharing her experience and how her only option was to leave her family if she wanted to survive.  "Today, I'm happy to be a survivor and an advocate for those who haven't been able to stand up against the abuse."     Read more
 
 
With Jeffs in prison, non-profits see small exodus from FLDS faith
Ben Winslow
FOX 13 News
KSTU-TV
Originally broadcast October 13, 2011

ST. GEORGE -- A 25-year-old woman married to FLDS leader Warren Jeffs who left the polygamous church under police escort is not the only one to leave the faith recently, FOX 13 News has learned.  Non-profit groups that help those transitioning from the closed polygamous societies said Wednesday that they have seen a small, but steady exodus of people leaving the FLDS Church.  "It's not only individuals, but we're having entire families leaving," said Tonia Tewell, the executive director of the group Holding Out Help.  "We've probably quadrupled in the last two months."  Some attribute it to Jeffs being imprisoned in Texas for life for child sex assault, and a leadership dispute over the FLDS Church itself.  Tewell said others cite the rigid demands of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is taxing once-faithful members of the flock.  "The last young man that came to us, he was listening to country music," she said. "And that is why they said, 'You either have to give up your music or you have the choice to leave.' "     Read more
 
 
Call For Host Families To Help Former FLDS Members
KUTV 2News
Originally broadcast Monday, November 07 2011

(KUTV) WASHINGTON, Utah - With more people leaving or being kicked out of the polygamous sect, the FLDS Church, led by Warren Jeffs, they have few places to go.  So in a call for help, the Safety Net Committee this week will host an open house for those interested in becoming host families.  The open house will be held Thursday from 5-7pm in Washington City near St. George.  Those interested should stop by the Cottontown Village at 41 North 300 West to find out more about becoming a host family.
 
 
Homes needed for youths leaving polygamous communities
David DeMille
The Spectrum
Originally published November 8, 2011

ST. GEORGE — A group dedicated to helping young people who leave or are kicked out of nearby polygamous communities is looking for families who are willing to help.  The Safety Net committee, a group organized by the Utah attorney general to help the growing number of youths leaving the polygamous sects located in and around Utah, is hosting an open house Thursday where those interested can learn more about how to become a mentor or take one of the youths into their homes.  Jean Goode, the local case manager for Safety Net, said host families are needed as mentors and to provide temporary shelter for some of the youths.  Families who take in an underage youth would receive temporary custody.  Committee members believe thousands of young people migrate out of polygamous communities each year, often with little education or experience outside of the often-isolated communities.  That's where Safety Net has stepped in.  It is a group administered by the Family Support Center to improve access to social services and community resources for those leaving their polygamous homes.  Grown out of an initial agreement in 2003 between Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff and his counterpart in Arizona, Terry Goddard, Safety Net has grown into a massive operation that helped find services for 1,012 people in 2010.     Read more
 
 
Private investigator's book looks at FLDS church
Kevin Jenkins
The Spectrum
Originally published November 27, 2011

ST. GEORGE - A Cedar City private investigator visited with customers at a St. George bookstore Saturday as part of a national tour to promote a book about his eight-year effort to help bring Warren Jeffs and other fugitive leaders of a local polygamous religion to justice in court.  Samuel Brower first began investigating the activities of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and its prophet's practice of marrying young girls to much older men in 2004, after Brower read a media account about divisions among the church's membership.  In his book "Prophet's Prey," Brower writes about meeting with an ousted member of the church who was ordered to leave his home, which was owned by a communal trust managed by the church.  Following that meeting, Brower became involved with a series of civil lawsuits aimed to bring attention to practices within the polygamous community, such as underage marriages, child abandonment, forced evictions and sexual assaults against young boys, he said.  "The reason we brought the lawsuits is because law enforcement was dragging its feet," Brower said Saturday during the signing and discussion event at St. George's Barnes & Noble store.  "Here we've got clients raped by Warren Jeffs and abandoned, and yet law enforcement was saying it's too hard (to prosecute)," he said.  "I don't have the powers of arrest, so the next thing I can do is gently twist the politicians' arms. ... Civil litigation is what brought it into the public eye."     Read more
 
 
Safety Net needs host families for polygamous youths
David DeMille
The Spectrum
Originally published December 5, 2011

ST. GEORGE - Young people leaving the polygamous communities in and around Southern Utah often come out with no place to live and nothing but the clothes on their backs.  That's why they need help from local families that are willing to take them in, said Robert Hawkes, a St. George resident who has an 18-year-old living with him these days and has taken in two others in previous years.  "I suspect there would be quite a few more kids who would come out if they had a place to go," Hawkes said Sunday, saying the experience is rewarding for both the host families and the youths.  Two of those who have stayed with him have been able to get their GED diplomas, and the 18-year-old living with him now is attending Dixie State College, he said.  "It's really needed for kids to come out and have guidance and love," he said.  "I think that's what everybody needs."  Filling that need has been the goal of Safety Net, a group administered by the Family Support Center to improve access to social services and community resources for those leaving polygamous homes.     Read more
 
 
FLDS exodus prompts call for 'foster homes'
By Ben Winslow
FOX 13 News
KSTU-TV
Originally broadcast December 22, 2011

SALT LAKE CITY - Imprisoned polygamist leader Warren Jeffs has reportedly issued an edict to his followers with a deadline -- renew allegiances to the Fundamentalist LDS Church or be excommunicated.  With a Dec. 31 deadline looming, non-profit groups who help those leaving Utah's polygamous communities say an ongoing exodus from the FLDS Church is turning into a "humanitarian crisis," with people walking away with no place to go.  "You've got new control where you have to give everything," James Barlow told FOX 13.  "And I mean everything."  Barlow left the FLDS Church last month after refusing to give his allegiance to Jeffs. Barlow, 19, described being called before Jeffs' brother, Lyle, and asked to confess his sins and be re-baptized into the FLDS Church.  Tired of the increasing restrictions on people's lives within the church, Barlow left with the clothes on his back.  "I said 'no' and walked out the door," he said.  "To come out here and just fall on my head, just not have anything. Nothing... nobody to give me anything, a roof over my head."  He wound up at a home in the Salt Lake City area where his sister, Ruth, has been staying.  She left the FLDS Church in September after deciding she no longer believed in the faith under Jeffs.     Read more
 
 
AG intends to look into allegation of FLDS girls being secretly held
By John Hollenhorst
KSL-TV
Originally broadcast January 4, 2012

HILDALE -- Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff says he intends to look into allegations that girls are secretly being held, possibly for sexual purposes, by followers of imprisoned polygamist Warren Jeffs.  This latest allegation comes in the context of rising tension in Jeffs' church.  The prison walls did not crumble at New Years as he supposedly prophesied.  Now, there is even more turmoil among his followers.  Printed documents attributed to Jeffs are piling up at the Attorney General's office.  The purported revelations generally predict doom and destruction and they've been mailed by FLDS officials regularly in recent weeks to government offices, churches and even schools around the country.  "We read it just to see if there's any specific threat from him or from his people or any kind of order to do anything that might be a public safety concern," Shurtleff said.  So far no specific threats have been identified, according to Shurtleff.  Meanwhile, in the FLDS community of Colorado City, Arizona and Hildale, Utah somewhere between 1000 and 2000 people were reportedly told they are not righteous enough to attend regular meetings of the FLDS church.  One man in the blackballed group said his wife and ten children were taken by church leaders at 3 in the morning.  Private investigator Sam Brower said the man called him in tears.     Read more
 
 
Bennion Writes to Decriminalize Polygamy
By Danielle Drown
The Critic
Lyndon State College - Lyndonville, Vermont
Originally published Thursday, January 26, 2012

After a semester filled with traveling to France, writing publications in Montana, and becoming a worldwide renowned scholar on Mormon fundamentalism, social science professor Janet Bennion has returned from sabbatical.  Bennion spent the fall semester at her home in Montana working on her book "Polygamy in Primetime", a novel, and an article.  The article is about the abuses in a polygamist relationship and has been published in the World Journal of Psychiatry.  Her novel, "Strange Love," is a fictional account of a polygamist marriage in which a man's two wives fall in love with each other.  Coming from a Mormon, polygamist background herself, Bennion has been working on "Polygamy in Primetime" since the idea for the book was suggested to her at a conference she spoke at last year, where she spoke about her 20 years of research on polygamy.  "At the conference I was approached by Brandeis, which is an affiliate of the university press of New England that incorporates Dartmouth and the fancy Ivy Leagues. So it's a wonderful press and they really have produced a good series. My book is the first book in the series," Bennion said.  "This is a very good opportunity for me."  Bennion has been considered a leading expert on the topic of polygamy, having been called as an expert witness in a Canadian trial.  It was when the review for her book came out that Bennion learned she has now been labeled as the worldwide scholar on Mormon fundamentalism.  "If there's an expert on this, everyone is now going to start thinking about me," Bennion stated about her new distinction.     Read more
 
 
"Holding Out Help" Helping Polygamist Families
Reported by: Heidi Hatch
KUTV 2News
Originally broadcast Friday, January 27 2012

(KUTV) PARK CITY - A powerful group gathered in Park City tonight to shine the Sundance light on polygamy's victims.  "Holding out Help" - a local non profit group - gathered some of the most powerful voices helping Utah's fundamentalist polygamist groups.  It was a chance to open the eyes of many in our community to the lives of the hundreds of FLDS exiled from their own communities of Hilldale and Colorado City.  The real reason they were there was to raise money to help the families forced out of their homes as Warren Jeffs cracks down on his followers while he's locked up behind bars.  CNN anchor Anderson Cooper taped a message to those attending tonight's fundraiser to talk about the stark realities he's seen in his years of reporting on the FLDS.  The real stars were a few of the lost boys forced out of their homes and away from everything they held dear.  Joseph Broadbent was 17 when he was forced into the outside world.  He was homeless, penniless and as close to hopeless at it gets.     Read more
 
 
Organization supports polygamist refugees

Reported by: Cristina Rendon
ABC 4 News
Originally broadcast January 27, 2012

PARK CITY (ABC 4 News) – Women and children who have fled a polygamist lifestyle are seeking refuge in an organization aimed at helping them assimilate into mainstream culture.  The organization, founded in 2008, is called Holding Out Help – Helping Encouraging and Loving Polygamists.  According to Director Tonia Tewell, the organization provides resources and guidance for those desiring to leave their polygamist communities.  The group provides safe houses, food, clothing, counseling, mentoring, job training, education and referral services for women and children trying to assimilate in a foreign world.  A fundraising event held Friday was attended by over 100 people.  Sam Brower, a private investigator who contributed greatly to the government's case against FLDS Leader Warren Jeffs, said the purpose of the organization is to let people know that abusing children is not okay.  Jon Krakauer wrote a book on polygamy and took in a child from the FLDS Church.  "It's a growing problem," Krakauer said.  "To be taken out of a 19th century lifestyle and plunged into a different world is a huge challenge."     Read more
 
 
 
Event raises money for people fleeing from FLDS Church
By Jennifer Stagg
KSL-TV
Originally broadcast January 27th, 2012

PARK CITY — Sundance is full of movie premiers and celebrity sightings.  But there was a different kind of exclusive event Friday night, one aimed at raising money for former members of the FLDS Church.  There were roughly 100 people in attendance, including former FLDS member Elissa Wall.  She fled the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints six years ago.  "I have moments where it feels like a lifetime ago — a completely different lifetime — and then there's moments where it feels like yesterday," Wall said.  She stood up to FLDS leader Warren Jeffs, which ultimately contributed to his arrest and imprisonment.  Before that, she says she was a lot like 18-year-old Natalie Knudson.  "My dad has two wives and 19 kids," Knudson said.  Her polygamist father agreed to letting her leave Colorado City, but not before he forced her to get married at age 17.  She is now divorced and starting over.  Knudson is enrolled in college, working on her nursing degree, and she's finding support in the nonprofit group Holding Out Help.  "It's a lot different. There's a lot more freedom — and my dad was really strict so I couldn't do anything without being watched by him or one of the moms," she said.     Read more
 
 
 
Safety Net reaches out to FLDS
Kevin Jenkins
The Spectrum
Originally published February 3, 2012

COLORADO CITY - Carlos "Shaggy" Holm was 18 when he left the Colorado City home and society he'd known all his life and began making his own way outside the insular polygamous community that was part of his religious heritage.  "I couldn't get hold of anybody to help me, so I was out there on the streets of Hurricane alone. I was out there until about 3 in the morning and a police officer picked me up," Holm said Wednesday.  The officer placed about a dozen phone calls before finding one of Holm's cousins who would take the youth in.  Holm spent months bouncing between residences while trying to land a steady job with a minimal education and physical limitations brought on by abuse, he said.  Holm, now 22, works at a restaurant and is trying to save up enough money to eventually go to college, but he said he's watched many other youths who've left the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints spend their time playing video games and sleeping instead of learning to be productive in a society different from the one they grew up in.  A group of civic-minded professionals organized under the name Safety Net met Thursday at Colorado City's Mohave Community College in an ongoing effort to help youths and their parents avoid some of the challenges Holm faced.     Read more
 
 
AG Tom Horne Wants to Replace Cops in FLDS Haven Colorado City, Kid-Raping Polygamist Warren Jeffs' Old Stomping Grounds
By James King
Religulous
Phoenix New Times (blog)
Originally published Wed., Feb. 8 2012

A bill that would replace local police in Colorado City with deputies from the Mohave County Sheriff's Office was unanimously approved by a state Senate committee this morning.  Colorado City, for anyone who doesn't know, is a haven for members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints that straddles the Arizona/Utah border and was once headed by infamous child-raping polygamist Warren Jeffs.  Even with Jeffs locked away in a Texas prison, the FLDS still controls the city -- and apparently its police force, too.  Attorney general Tom Horne is pushing the bill hard, testifying in front of the Senate Government Reform Committee that of the 17 bills he's suggested to the Legislature, getting rid of the "marshals" in Colorado City is the "highest priority" in terms of public safety.  The problem with Colorado City's police force is that it apparently subscribes to Jeffs' practices of polygamy and raping children.  According to Horne, young women who have escaped from polygamist relationships in Colorado City say that other women who were caught trying to escape are forcefully brought back to their much older husbands.  In one case, Horne says, a woman was threatened with "blood atonement" (execution) if she tried to escape again.     Read more
 
 
Award-winning journalist, author Moore-Emmett to address polygamy
By Jessica Smith
The Oracle - Tennessee Tech University - Cookeville, Tennessee
Originally published Thursday, March 22, 2012

Author and award-winning journalist Andrea Moore-Emmett presents at 7 p.m., March 27 in Derryberry Auditorium.  Moore-Emmett is the author of "God's Brothel: The Extortion of Sex for Salvation in Contemporary Mormon and Christian Fundamentalist Polygamy and the Stories of 18 Women Who Escaped," as well as several articles on polygamy, and was the researcher for A&E's documentary, "Inside Polygamy," which aired on BBC.  She will present on these topics and will discuss the history of polygamy in America.  Moore-Emmett has served as Utah National Organization for Women president and on a Salt Lake City mayor's commission.  She has received five awards from the Utah Headliner's Chapter of Society of Professional Journalists, including the Don Baker Investigative Journalism Award.  She has also received a Women in Communications Leading Changes Award and the Leadership Council on Abuse and Interpersonal Violence and the Institute on Violence, Abuse and Trauma 2008 Award for Distinguished Service and Excellence in Journalism.  The event is free and open to the public, no tickets necessary, and is co-sponsored by Center Stage and Tech's Women's Center.
 
 
Bountiful B.C. Religious Commune Targeted In Polygamy Investigation By Canadian Authorities
Religion
The Huffington Post
Originally published April 2, 2012

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police have renewed investigation into possible polygamy within the Bountiful B.C. religious commune, a settlement of roughly 1,000 members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints located in southeastern British Columbia near the U.S.-Canadian border, the Canadian Press reports.  Shirley Bond, the attorney-general of British Columbia, issued instructions this week for special prosecutor Peter Wilson to consider filing polygamy charges against members of the commune, which was heavily investigated last year on allegations that underage girls were being moved across the border from the United States into Canada for the purpose of being entered into plural marriages with older men, the Globe and Mail reports.  Canadian authorities have been investigating the commune for polygamy-related crimes since the early 1990s, the Canadian Press reported in a separate article.  In 2009, two powerful leaders within the commune, Winston Blackmore and James Oler, were each charged with practicing polygamy.  But the judge dismissed those charges on grounds that government violated the men's freedoms when they chose a prosecuting attorney, prompting then-attorney general Craig Jones to request that the B.C. government take a look at whether the nation's 121-year-old anti-polygamy law was consistent with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, according to CBC News.     Read more
 
 
DSC students to present research to community
Kevin Jenkins
The Spectrum
Originally published April 8, 2012

ST. GEORGE - Dixie State College students from a variety of undergraduate disciplines will present the results of their research projects to the public Monday during the second annual Student Research Day.  The school will host a keynote address by Lisa Berreau, a chemistry professor and associate dean of research at Utah State University, followed by an afternoon filled with discussion of topics including polygamy as experienced by former members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, frogs in Zion National Park, the effects of texting on language skills and dying with dignity.  "We have 26 presenters. They come from different departments - mostly English, but also the physical sciences, medical fields, psychology, communications and biology," said Theda Wrede, an associate professor of English at DSC.  Wrede helped launch the event last year after searching for a way to make research projects part of the undergraduate experience at Dixie State, she said.  "The world is becoming much more competitive. ... As Dixie State College moves toward university status, academic excellence takes on a greater importance," Wrede said.  "The students need to have a venue for their research to appreciate it."     Read more
 
 
Student researchers share work
David DeMille
The Spectrum
Originally published April 10, 2012

ST. GEORGE - Dixie State College students put their academic skills on display Monday, exhibiting what they've learned and sparking an intellectual discussion with members of the community during the second annual DSC Student Research Day.  Twenty-six students, pulled from a number of disciplines, gave presentations on everything from the Lake Powell pipeline to polygamy, explaining and sometimes defending their findings to a large audience of student peers, professors and interested visitors from the public.  It was an exercise that students said allowed them to demonstrate their understanding while provoking new questions and ideas for future projects.  "To me, it's invaluable to my education. If I can explain it, it means I understand it," said Tony Rhodes, a biology major presenting on the tendencies for certain parts of the body to collect bacteria.  Rhodes said he previously attended Salt Lake Community College, where student research has been heavily emphasized for years, and he was glad that DSC is expanding and improving its efforts.  People who attend the research day come away feeling that DSC has the faculty, resources and students of a strong academic institution, he said.     Read more
 
 
New investigations into FLDS Church members, prosecutor says
by Ben Winslow
Fox 13 News
KSTU TV
Originally broadcast April 30, 2012

SALT LAKE CITY — The Washington County Attorney has a series of criminal investigations under way into members of Warren Jeffs' polygamous church on the Utah-Arizona border.  "Law enforcement is interested in, and is investigating allegations of wrongdoing by members of the community out there," Washington County Attorney Brock Belnap said in an interview with FOX 13.  While confirming he has a number of criminal investigations under way into members of the Fundamentalist LDS Church, Belnap would not reveal what those investigations were for.  However, he said he is not likely to pursue another case against Jeffs.  "The focus of my attention right now is not with Warren Jeffs," Belnap told FOX 13.  "And the reason for that is because there are plenty of other things to be focused on while he is sitting in prison on a life, plus 20 year sentence. It's not the (best) use of our resources."  Jeffs is serving prison time in Texas after being convicted of child sex assault, for taking underage girls as plural wives.  He is the last of 11 FLDS men to be convicted of charges related to underage marriages, stemming from a 2008 raid on the Utah-based polygamous church's YFZ Ranch in Eldorado, Texas.  His initial conviction of rape as an accomplice in Utah, for performing a marriage between a 14-year-old girl and her 19-year-old cousin, was overturned by the Utah Supreme Court.  Belnap said authorities in Texas have begun sharing some of the billions of pages of evidence seized in the raid.  FOX 13 reported last year on a spreadsheet that outlined hundreds of polygamous marriages — including some involving children — between FLDS members in Utah and Arizona.  "We have received a great deal of the evidence from Texas," Belnap said.  "They've been very helpful."     Read more
 
 
 
Law and order: Colorado City
Opinion
Today's News-Herald - Lake Havasu City, Arizona
Originally published Monday, June 11, 2012

The tales of the lost boys of Colorado City, and now some lost girls, have been documented by the Associated Press, CNN and just about every news outlet from shore to shore.  The tales of the polygamist Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has also been well documented over the past 15 or more years, along with the — shall we say — trials and tribulations of its controversial leader Warren Jeffs.  And although Jeffs was sentenced to life in prison last year by the San Angelo, Texas, jury that found him guilty of sexually assaulting two underage followers he took as brides, he is still actively shepherding his flock — both in Texas and on the Arizona/Utah border.  Despite being incarcerated, Jeffs illegally conducted a telephone sermon to his congregation as recently as Christmastime.  The most recent and positive news regarding this northern area of Mohave County is the announcement that Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne obtained a $420,000 grant enabling the state to enlist the services of the Mohave County Sheriff's Department to bring "unbiased" law and order to Colorado City.  The grant will pay for deputies' overtime expenses to provide law enforcement services to the area.     Read more
 
 
Justice Dept. to sue polygamous towns
BRIAN SKOLOFF and PAUL FOY
Associated Press
The Spectrum
Originally published June 21, 2012

SALT LAKE CITY — An attorney for local law enforcement in two polygamous towns along the Utah-Arizona border says the U.S. Justice Department plans to sue both communities, claiming religious discrimination.  Lawyer Blake Hamilton told The Associated Press on Thursday the Justice Department informed him of the pending civil rights lawsuit against the towns of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz.  The suit claims religious discrimination against non-sect members, Hamilton said, adding that he was told it would be filed Thursday in federal court.  Justice Department lawyers threatened a lawsuit in December when they met with Hamilton and another attorney representing Colorado City, Hamilton told the AP.  "DOJ asked us to dismantle a community," Hamilton said.  Most residents of the two towns are members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, run by the group's jailed leader Warren Jeffs.  He is serving a life sentence in Texas after convictions on child sex and bigamy charges, but he is said to still maintain control of the communities.  "There's nothing to support the allegation that non-FLDS members are treated differently," Hamilton said.     Read more
 
 
Justice Department files civil rights lawsuit against FLDS towns
by Ben Winslow
Fox 13 News
Originally broadcast June 21, 2012

HILDALE — The U.S. Justice Department has filed a federal lawsuit against government officials in the polygamous border towns of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz., alleging civil rights violations.  The lawsuit, filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Arizona, is against government officials loyal to Warren Jeffs' Fundamentalist LDS Church.  It accuses the town governments of acting as de-facto agents for the church, denying ex-members and non-members of the FLDS Church access to everything from police services to housing and utilities.  "For at least 20 years, the cities have operated as an arm of the FLDS," the lawsuit states.  "The cities' governments, including the Marshal's Office, have been deployed to carry out the will and dictates of FLDS leaders, particularly Warren Jeffs and the officials to whom he delegates authority."  Ex-FLDS members who live in the towns, praised the lawsuit.  Andrew Chatwin, an ex-member who has had lengthy battles with both Hildale and Colorado City officials, called government there "a theocracy."  "They keep starving people right out of the community," he told FOX 13.  "To where they can't get employment, they can't get decent service. I can't even use the Hildale clinic that (is) here. I have to travel a half-hour, 45 minutes just to get a doctor's visit."  In February, FOX 13 reported that federal authorities had been questioning ex-members of the FLDS Church.  The Hildale/Colorado City Town Marshal's Office has been under scrutiny in the past, with several officers losing their badges over their loyalties to FLDS leaders.     Read more
 
 
 
Justice Department to sue polygamous towns
Associated Press
The Arizona Republic
Originally published June 21, 2012

SALT LAKE CITY -- The U.S. Justice Department on Thursday sued two polygamous towns along the Utah-Arizona line, claiming religious discrimination against non-sect members.  The federal civil-rights lawsuit was filed against Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz., where most residents are members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, run by the group's imprisoned leader, Warren Jeffs.  Jeffs is serving a life sentence in Texas after convictions on child-sex and bigamy charges, but he is said to still maintain control of the communities.  The lawsuit claims the two towns, the Colorado City/Hildale Marshal's Office and utility entities have and continue to violate the federal Fair Housing Act, depriving non-sect members of their constitutional rights.  The civil action, filed in the U.S. District Court for Arizona, asks that the towns be enjoined from religious discrimination in housing, policing and public services, as well as a preventive order to stop faith-based coercion and intimidation.  In addition, the Justice Department seeks compensation for victims of discrimination and civil penalties against the towns.  Paul Charlton, a former U.S. attorney for Arizona, said town officials could face incarceration if the injunction succeeds and they subsequently fail to abide by court orders.  "They're (federal officials are) asking for what's appropriate, and that is to stop the unconstitutional behavior," Charlton said.     Read more
 
 
Justice Department files bias suit against towns home to polygamist sect
By Lily Kuo
Reuters
Chicago Tribune
Originally published June 21, 2012

WASHINGTON/SALT LAKE CITY (Reuters) - The U.S. Justice Department sued two polygamist-dominated towns on the Utah-Arizona border on Thursday, citing religious discrimination and saying they operated for two decades as an arm of a breakaway Mormon sect.  The complaint accuses the cities of carrying out the "will and dictates" of now-imprisoned sect leader Warren Jeffs, who is serving a prison term of life plus 20 years in Texas for raping two underage girls he wed in "spiritual marriages."  Most of the residents of the twin towns of Colorado City, Arizona, and Hildale, Utah, are members of Jeffs' Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which experts estimate has 10,000 followers in North America.  The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Arizona, said the police agency serving the two towns had sometimes deployed deputies to confront people about their disobedience to sect rules or to tell them to report to the sect leadership.  Deputies also failed to arrest sect members who committed crimes against non-members, such as destroying their crops or trespassing, the suit added.  "City governments and their police departments may not favor one religious group over another and may not discriminate against individuals because of their religious affiliation," Thomas Perez, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, said in a statement announcing the suit.  The suit said that at one point, when Jeffs issued an order for a sect member to return a runaway underage bride to her new husband in 2000, three deputies confronted the person to demand he return her to sect leaders, unaware he had already done so.     Read more
 
 
Tom Horne Ain't Mad About Justice Department Suing Colorado City
By Matthew Hendley
Valley Fever
Phoenix New Times
Originally published Thu., Jun. 21 2012

Believe it or not, an elected official in Arizona is pleased with something the federal government did.  Attorney General Tom Horne handed out his thoughts on the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division suing Colorado City -- the town on the Utah/Arizona border that child rapist Warren Jeffs used to call home -- and he's likin' what he's seein'.  "I am very pleased that the US DOJ has taken legal action to join us in this fight," Horne says.  "I have offered the support of my office in pursuing this case and look forward to justice being served."  Horne's been trying to crack down on the weird stuff going on in Colorado City for some time now, as his main focus has been trying to get the state Legislature to pass a law that would disband the town's "police" force.  As Horne, the experts, and the feds have claimed, the "Marshals" in Colorado City have been taking their orders from the child-raping Jeffs, even though he's still in prison for raping children.  Some legislators saw it differently, as the bill championed by Horne died toward the end of the last legislative session, but in an attempt to remedy that, he recently doled out some cash to the Mohave County Sheriff's Office to patrol the city, in addition to the Marshals.     Read more
 
 
Justice Department files bias suit against towns home to polygamist sect
By Lily Kuo and Jennifer Dobner
Reuters
Reuters via Yahoo! Canada News
Originally published Thu, 21 Jun, 2012

WASHINGTON/SALT LAKE CITY (Reuters) - The Justice Department sued two polygamist-dominated towns on the Utah-Arizona border on Thursday, citing religious discrimination and saying they had operated for two decades as an arm of a breakaway Mormon sect.  The complaint accuses the cities of carrying out the "will and dictates" of now-imprisoned sect leader Warren Jeffs, who is serving a prison term of life plus 20 years in Texas for raping two underage girls he wed in "spiritual marriages."  Most of the more than 8,800 residents of the twin towns of Colorado City, Arizona, and Hildale, Utah, are members of Jeffs' Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which experts estimate has 10,000 followers in North America.  The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Arizona, said the police agency serving the two towns had sometimes deployed deputies to confront people about their disobedience to sect rules or to tell them to report to the sect leadership.  Deputies also failed to arrest sect members who committed crimes against non-members such as destroying their crops or trespassing, the suit added.  "City governments and their police departments may not favor one religious group over another and may not discriminate against individuals because of their religious affiliation," Thomas Perez, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, said in a statement.  The suit said that at one point, when Jeffs issued an order for a sect member to return a runaway underage bride to her new husband in 2000, three deputies confronted the person to demand he return her to sect leaders, unaware he had already done so.     Read more
 
 
2 communities linked to polygamous sect sued for alleged religious discrimination
By Terry Frieden
CNN Justice Producer
CNN
Originally published Thu June 21, 2012

Washington (CNN) -- Two communities dominated by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its jailed leader Warren Jeffs have been sued by the federal government for alleged religious discrimination against citizens who don't belong to the polygamous sect.  The Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department filed suit against Colorado City, Arizona, and Hildale, Utah, and their local utility companies for taking actions including denying or delaying water to nonmembers of the FLDS faith.  The government says over time some actions have been taken by the communities under state pressure to end the discrimination but that federal authorities are seeking a court order to prevent future discrimination by the defendants.  The government also is demanding monetary damages be repaid to those harmed by the discrimination.  The government stressed the fundamentalist offshoot has no relationship to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which ended polygamy more than a century ago.  The fundamentalist splinter group FLDS includes followers of Jeffs, who was sentenced to life in prison on charges of child sexual abuse and bigamy.     Read more
 
 
 
Justice Dept. sues polygamous towns in Arizona, Utah
By Howard Fischer
Capitol Media Services
East Valley Tribune - Tempe, Arizona
Originally published Thursday, June 21, 2012

PHOENIX -- Claiming a pattern of discrimination, the U.S. Department of Justice sued the polygamous communities of Colorado City, Ariz., and Hildale, Utah.  The lawsuit, filed Thursday in federal court here, charges that the Colorado City Marshal's Office, which patrols both communities, has been carrying out "the will and dictates" of Warren Jeffs, the leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Latter-day Saints as well as his lieutenants, even though Jeffs was arrested in 2006 and is currently serving a life sentence in Texas on charges of child sex assault.  For example, the lawsuit states, the marshal's office fails to investigate crimes against those who are not members of FLDS, a breakaway sect from the Church of Latter-day Saints which continues to practice polygamy, and refuses to arrest members of the church who have committed crimes against those who are not.  Incidents range from destroying crops on a farm not operated by the FLDS or its members, to returning at least one underage bride to a home from which she had fled.  "For decades, officials of the cities have, by operating at the direction and for the benefit of the FLDS, abdicated their official duties to protect the rights of all citizens equally and to administer governmental functions consistently with the Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution," federal officials charge.  The lawsuit also alleges that the communities have made housing unavailable to those who are not FLDS members, and the power and water companies have delayed or denied service outright.     Read more
 
 
Justice Dept. files civil rights lawsuit against polygamous towns
By Jared Page and John Hollenhorst
KSL TV
Originally broadcast June 21, 2012

HILDALE, Washington County — The U.S. Justice Department is suing the twin polygamous towns of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz., citing a pattern of mistreatment of those who are not members of the Fundamentalist LDS Church.  The lawsuit, filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Arizona, alleges that the cities' non-FLDS residents are discriminated against when it comes to police protection, housing and other public services — violating their civil rights.  "City governments and their police departments may not favor one religious group over another and may not discriminate against individuals because of their religious affiliation," said Thomas E. Perez, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division.  "No individual in the United States should be targeted for discriminatory treatment by a city, its officials or the police because of his or her religion."  The lawsuit seeks a court order to prohibit future discrimination against non-FLDS residents, monetary damages for those harmed by the cities' actions and a civil penalty.  The FLDS group is not affiliated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  According to the lawsuit, public officials in the border towns have operated "as an arm of the FLDS Church" for the past 20-plus years.  "The cities' governments ... have been deployed to carry out the will of FLDS leaders, particularly Warren Jeffs and the officials to whom he delegates authority," the complaint states.     Read more
 
 
 
Justice Department sues FLDS towns
BRIAN SKOLOFF and PAUL FOY
Associated Press
The Spectrum
Originally published June 22, 2012

SALT LAKE CITY – Authorities in a pair of polygamous Utah-Arizona border towns have supported a campaign of intimidation against the unfaithful, denying them housing and municipal services and allowing members of the dominant religious sect to destroy their crops and property, the U.S. Justice Department said in a lawsuit.  The federal civil rights case was filed Thursday against the towns of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz., where most residents are members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, run by the group's jailed leader Warren Jeffs.  Jeffs is serving a life sentence in Texas after convictions on child sex and bigamy charges, but is said to still maintain control of the communities from behind bars.  According to the lawsuit filed in federal court in Arizona, city leaders and law enforcement in the two towns have for decades served at Jeffs' pleasure while ignoring the constitutional rights of residents who aren't FLDS followers.  "The cities' governments, including the Marshal's Office, have been deployed to carry out the will and dictates of FLDS leaders, particularly Warren Jeffs and the officials to whom he delegates authority," the lawsuit states.  "The Marshal's Office has inappropriately used its state-granted law enforcement authority to enforce the edicts of the FLDS, to the detriment of non-FLDS members."  In one case of law enforcement misconduct, according to the suit, officers rounded up all dogs and shot them in a "slaughter pit" outside town on specific orders from Jeffs.     Read more
 
 
Utah: Polygamous Towns Are Sued
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
National Briefing | Rockies
The New York Times
Originally published June 22, 2012

The Justice Department sued two polygamous towns along the Utah-Arizona border on Thursday, claiming discrimination against people who are not members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  The civil rights lawsuit was filed against Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz., where most residents are members of the sect, run by Warren Jeffs.  He is serving a life sentence in Texas for child sex and bigamy.  The lawsuit comes after the Legislatures in Utah and Arizona failed to pass bills aimed at abolishing the Colorado City Police Department, which serves both towns.  The Arizona bill was being pushed by the state's attorney general, Tom Horne, who said Colorado City police officers who are members of the church flout the law.  According to the lawsuit, officers allow sect members to destroy crops and vandalize property of nonmembers.  Federal officials also say the officers keep underage brides from running away and accuse the cities of refusing to provide electricity and water to nonmembers.
 
 
Feds accuse polygamous towns of religious discrimination
By Douglas Stanglin
USA TODAY
Originally published June 22, 2012

A federal lawsuit accuses two towns dominated by a polygamous sect of failing to protect non-members and of enforcing the edicts of imprisoned sect leader Warren Jeffs over the law, The Salt Lake City Tribune reports.  The U.S. Justice Department, in a complaint filed Thursday in Arizona, leveled nearly two dozen allegations against officials in the border towns of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz., many involving the policy agency they share.  The complaint charges the two towns with "operating as an arm of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints," for at least 20 years.  Jeffs, former president of the FLDS, is serving a life sentence in Texas after convictions on child-sex and bigamy charges but maintains control of the communities, the Associated Press reports.  The suit, charging religious discrimination, was brought on behalf of residents who were never FLDS members, those who have been excommunicated from the sect and those who left on their own.     Read more
 
 
Justice Department sues fundamentalist Mormon sect for discrimination
The US Justice Department alleges that the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS), which controls most of the law enforcement and other government services in two adjacent communities, discriminates against those who are not members of the polygamous sect.
By Brad Knickerbocker
The Christian Science Monitor - Boston, Massachusetts
Originally published June 22, 2012

The US Justice Department has filed suit against the adjoining towns of Colorado City, Arizona, and Hildale, Utah, communities populated largely by members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS).  The FLDS, which broke away from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormon Church), and actively practices polygamy, controls most of the law enforcement and other government services in those two communities in the Southwest.  It is charged with discriminating against those who are not members of the FLDS.  The Justice Department complaint alleges that the cities' joint police department "routinely uses its enforcement authority to enforce the edicts and will of the FLDS; fails to protect non-FLDS individuals from victimization by FLDS individuals; refuses to cooperate with other law enforcement agencies' investigations of FLDS individuals; selectively enforces laws against non-FLDS; and uses its authority to facilitate unlawful evictions of non-FLDS, among other unlawful conduct," according to a statement issued late Thursday.  "The complaint also alleges that Colorado City, Hildale, Twin City Water Authority and Twin City Power have denied or unreasonably delayed providing water and electric service to non-FLDS residents, and that the municipalities refuse to issue building permits and prevent individuals from constructing or occupying existing housing because of the individuals' religious affiliation," according to the Justice Department statement.     Read more
 
 
Federal lawsuit goes after Hildale, Colorado City for discrimination
Written by Mori Kessler
St. George News
Dixie Press Online
Originally published June 22, 2012

SALT LAKE CITY – The United States Justice Department filed a lawsuit against the twin towns of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz., Thursday.  The lawsuit alleges that town officials discriminated against residents who do not belong to the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, thus violating their civil rights.  Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff said the civil rights complaint against the two towns is a major step toward bringing the rule of law to the twin border towns.  "We have made substantial progress during the past decade in bringing justice and security to the people living in the twin cities of Hildale and Colorado City," Shurtleff said.  He added, "We have offered our full cooperation and collaboration with the Department of Justice to aggressively investigate and address these complaints."  The lawsuit alleges the Hildale and Colorado City Marshall's Office discriminated and failed to protect non-FLDS residents by selectively enforcing laws and through unlawful evictions.  The complaint also alleges the Twin City Water Authority and Twin City Power denied or unreasonably delayed providing water and electricity service to non-FLDS residents.     Read more
 
 
Federal Government Sues FLDS Leaders
By Cristina Flores
KUTV 2News
Originally broadcast Friday, June 22 2012

(KUTV) The federal government filed a lawsuit against leaders of the polygamous towns of Hilldale and Colorado City alleging leaders there discriminate against people who are not members of the FLDS Church.  They also allege the community's police force misuses its authority in order to carry out the will of FLDS leader Warren Jeffs, who still rules the FLDS people from jail.  Wallace Jeffs, younger brother of Warren Jeffs, applauds the lawsuit.  He was kicked out of the FLDS community on the Utah/Arizona border last year and was forced to leave his family behind.  He says ever since, his family has been spied on and has been discriminated against by the police and FLDS leaders in the community.  The lawsuit alleges that people who are former or non FLDS, are deprived of basic rights like housing and utilities.  Attorney Roger Hoole, who has represented many people who've been abused or ousted from the FLDS community, believes the federal government was wise to try to use the courts to address problems in the twin polygamous towns.  He praised the authorities in Arizona for taking a lead in the lawsuit.  "I don't know why Utah didn't bring this action, I wish they'd felt the need to do that," he said.  The Department of Justice would like to hear from people who feel they've been discriminated against in Hilldale and Colorado City.  If you would like to file a complaint or ask for help, call 800-896-7743.     See photo
 
 
Justice Dept Files Civil Rights Suit against Polygamous Towns
By Sam Favate
Law Blog
Wall Street Journal Blogs
Originally published June 25, 2012

These aren't the kind of disputes at the border we're used to hearing about.  The Justice Department has filed federal civil rights case last week against the towns of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz., alleging authorities in there have supported a campaign of intimidation against those not belonging to the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  The church's leader, Warren Jeffs, is serving a life sentence in Texas after being convicted in 2011 of child sex and bigamy, but he allegedly maintains control of the community from behind bars.  According to the lawsuit, filed last week, city leaders and law enforcement in the border towns have ignored constitutional rights of residents who aren't followers of the church.  "The cities' governments, including the Marshal's Office, have been deployed to carry out the will and dictates of FLDS leaders, particularly Warren Jeffs and the officials to whom he delegates authority," the suit charges.  Among the allegations, federal officials say officers rounded up all dogs and shot them in a "slaughter pit"; regularly allowed sect members to destroy the crops of non-members of the church, vandalize and trespass on their property; made traffic stops and arrests of non-members without cause; and kept underage brides from running away.  The suit also charges city departments of refusal to provide electricity or water services to non-members.     Read more
 
 
The Feds Just Accused Two Polygamous Towns Of Rampant Bias Against Non-Church Members
Abby Rogers
Business Insider - New York, NY
Originally published June 26, 2012

The Justice Department is stepping in after police officials in polygamous towns in Utah and Colorado reportedly rounded up non-church members' dogs and shot them in a "slaughter pit."  The department filed a federal civil rights case last week against Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz., claiming city officials are discriminating against any residents who don't belong to the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the Wall Street Journal Law Blog.  The lawsuit, via WSJ Law Blog, claims the towns' authorities have denied non-church members housing, police protection, and access to public spaces.  FLDS is one of the largest Mormon fundamentalist sects whose members often practice polygamy.   The church uses revelations from God to assign young women a husband and expects those women to be obedient to their husbands.  The Justice Department said town authorities were operating under the direction of incarcerated church leader Warren Jeffs.  Jeffs is serving a life sentence after he was convicted in 2011 of child sex and bigamy.  But the towns don't agree.  "Obviously, this is an extreme exercise of federal power for which the citizens of Hildale, the taxpayers of Hildale, will have to pay dearly," Hildale attorney Peter Stirba claimed.  The attorneys general of both states have pledged to fully cooperate with the Justice Department's investigation.     See photo
 
 
Mormon Sect Faces Civil Rights Suit From Feds
By TIM HULL
Courthouse News Service - Pasadena, California
Originally published Tuesday, June 26, 2012

PRESCOTT, Ariz. - The Justice Department has set its sights on two small towns along the Arizona-Utah border, claiming that Mormon fundamentalists and their jailed leader control the area's police force and ostracize nonmembers.  The twin towns of Colorado City, Ariz., and Hildale, Utah, have long been a haven for members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a polygamy-practicing breakaway sect.  The church's United Effort Plan (UEP) owns most of the property in the communities, and outsiders are not exactly encouraged to move in.  The tiny, rural communities have also been a longstanding target of their respective states, and the federal government.  In a recent lawsuit, the Justice Department claims that the towns' municipal government, police force and utility companies are de facto arms of the church.  Members of the towns' police force, called the Marshal's Office, arrest non-FLDS members without probable cause and refuse to help excommunicated women leave the community with their children, the lawsuit states.  "The Marshal's Office fails to protect non-FLDS individuals from victimization by FLDS members, fails to investigate crimes against non-FLDS individuals and their property, and refuses to arrest FLDS individuals who have committed crimes against non-FLDS individuals," the lawsuit claims.  "These crimes and actions include destroying crops on a non-FLDS-operated farm, vandalizing property in the control of the UEP Trust, returning at least one underage bride to a home from which she had fled, and trespassing on property occupied by non-FLDS individuals."     Read more
 
 
Feds step in where Legislature wouldn't
Opinions
The Arizona Republic
Originally published June 26, 2012

In one of its more inexplicable disappointments, the Legislature declined to abolish the Marshal's Office in the polygamous town of Colorado City.

It has long been apparent that the local cops were little more than the enforcement arm of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Non-FLDS residents of Colorado City, Ariz., and adjacent Hildale, Utah, could not expect to be treated the same as FLDS believers.

But the Legislature did nothing to protect residents from de facto theocracy.

Now, the Justice Department is suing both towns for violating the civil rights of non-members. The goal is to force the towns into an independent receivership.

Colorado City residents who dared dissent against church elders said it has gotten to the point that they fear the police. That is intolerable, and it is good the feds at last have stepped in where the Legislature refused to tread.
 
 
Justice Department Sues Polygamist Towns in Utah and Arizona
By Bob Morris
Independent Voter Network - San Diego, California
Originally published June 26, 2012

In what is certainly a novel approach, the Department of Justice has sued two polygamist towns for religious discrimination against non-members and expelled members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS).  This includes "denying non-FLDS individuals housing, police protection, and access to public space and services".  The joint lawsuit is against neighboring Hildale, Arizona and Colorado City, Arizona, which are controlled entirely by FLDS members.  The current head of FLDS, Warren Jeffs, is serving a life sentence in Texas on child sex and bigamy charges, including sexual assault on a 12 year old girl.  The issues and facts about polygamists are confused and murky.  I recently lived for two years in Cedar City, Utah not too far from Hildale.  Perhaps I can shed some light here.  FLDS completely control the two towns.  They are the mayor, the judge, and the police.  In fact, FLDS owns or controls almost everything.  They are secretive and unfriendly.  They are quite happy to have you stop eat at the Merry Wives Cafι, run by polygamist wives and decorated with placards on the walls making it obvious they are polygamists however venturing into Hildale itself can be dicey.  A friend who likes to look at old graveyards drove into Hildale once.  People yelled at him to leave.  When he parked, a police car came inches from his bumper.  He waved at the cop and left town.     Read more
 
 
Attorneys general must stop poor behavior by Jeffs' followers
Letters To The Editor
The Spectrum
Originally published June 26, 2012

Attorneys General Mark Shurtleff and Tom Horne, it is known that when one kills innocent animals they are capable of killing innocent human beings. Animal cruelty is a felony in Arizona and a misdemeanor in Utah. Where were these innocent animals shot to death by "the authorities" - all because Warren Jeffs said to?

Jeffs is a sick individual, and a life sentence is less than what he deserves. All those who participated in this unconscionable act should be sentenced accordingly as well. They don't deserve to wear the badge to "defend and protect."

Jeffs is a cancer and his thinking metastatic. Condoning such horrid behavior makes all those involved like the dreaded disease.

SAMANTHA SMITH, IVINS
 
 
Religious and race discrimination in the US
Opinion & Analysis
The Voice of Russia - Moscow, Russia
Originally published August 24, 2012

However, the US can't boast of having no religious discrimination.  The US Department of Justice is now suing the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS, the Mormon Church) which controls most of the law enforcement and other government services in two communities, discriminating those who are not members of the polygamous sect and revere the sect leader Warren Jeffs.  Jeffs is currently serving a life sentence for two counts of sexual assault of two minor girls who were taken as his "brides" in a "spiritual marriage".  The towns of Colorado City, Arizona, and Hildale, Utah, are populated mostly by members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS) and those who are not members of the FLDS see discrimination.  The government went to court after Arizona and Utah legislators had failed to dismiss Mormon policemen and protect non-FLDS individuals from victimization by FLDS individuals.  The local police (mainly FLDS members) also forced minors to marry and live with the sect members.  The government wants compensation for the Mormon victims and seeks banning the sect.  Even though the US government has taken the situation under control, the fact that this happened in the first place amid heavily imposed religious tolerance shows that relations between various American communities are not that smooth as described in official reports.     Read more
 
 
Polygamous town lawyers seek lawsuit dismissal
Associated Press
AZ Central.com
Originally published Aug. 27, 2012

SALT LAKE CITY -- Attorneys for a pair of polygamous Utah-Arizona border towns are seeking dismissal of a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Justice Department that claimed officials are violating residents' civil rights.  The suit filed in federal court in Arizona in June claimed Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz., officials have supported a campaign of intimidation against the unfaithful while denying them housing and services.  Residents of both communities are largely made up of members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, run by the group's leader Warren Jeffs, who is serving a life sentence in Texas after convictions on child sex and bigamy charges.  Town attorneys claim in a filing Monday the Justice Department lawsuit was too vague, and therefore should be clarified or dismissed.
 
 
Read Defendant Colorado City's Motions for More Definite Statements on Counts One and Two, and Motion to Dismiss Count Three regarding the U.S. Department of Justice's lawsuit filed against the Town of Colorado City, Arizona; City of Hildale, Utah; Twin City Power; and Twin City Water Authority, Inc. in the U.S. District Court of Arizona on August 27, 2012
 
 
Read Hildale Defendants' Motion to Dismiss Complaint or in the Alternative for a More Definite Statement regarding the U.S. Department of Justice's lawsuit filed against the Town of Colorado City, Arizona; City of Hildale, Utah; Twin City Power; and Twin City Water Authority, Inc. in the U.S. District Court of Arizona on August 27, 2012
 
 
Attorneys for polygamous town seek change of venue
Associated Press
The Spectrum
Originally published September 11, 2012

COLORADO CITY, Ariz. — Attorneys defending a polygamous town on the Utah-Arizona border against allegations of civil rights violations want a change of venue.  A lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice in June claims that officials in Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City have supported a campaign of intimidation against former members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and denied them services.  Residents of both communities largely are made up of members of the FLDS, run by jailed leader Warren Jeffs.  The Hildale defendants have asked a judge to move the case from Phoenix to Utah, where court proceedings could be held in Salt Lake City or St. George.  They say that will cut down on travel time and expenses for parties and witnesses in the case.
 
 
Read Defendant Hildale's Motion for Change of Venue regarding the U.S. Department of Justice's lawsuit filed against the Town of Colorado City, Arizona; City of Hildale, Utah; Twin City Power; and Twin City Water Authority, Inc. in the U.S. District Court of Arizona on September 10, 2012
 
 
5k run in Draper to raise money for polygamist refugees
Reported by: Kimberly Nelson
ABC 4 News
Originally broadcast September 13, 2012

DRAPER, Utah (ABC 4 News) – Nancy Knudson considers herself one of the lucky ones.  At just 17-years-old she was able to escape the grip of the Fundamentalist Mormon Church.  The FLDS is separate sect of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  "There we were told everything to do," explained Knudson.  "We're told how to dress how to live, how to clean our houses even."  She left everything she knew and risked never being able to return home to Colorado City or ever have a relationship with her family again.  "My family was a good family. I still love them," said Knudson.  But she wanted a life of her own; one that didn't include being married off to an older man.  So with the help of Tonia Tewell and her organization Holding Out HELP she did what two of her other sisters have done and left.  Tewell explained, "Really, it's word of mouth. Once you help one person it just spreads like wildfire that there are people out there who will love and can care for them."  With the help of their volunteers and fundraisers like their second annual 5 k run taking place next Saturday Holding Out HELP is able to provide those who leave polygamous families with basic needs like food, shelter and education.  "Just about everything that a refugee coming form another country will need," explained Tewell.     Read more
 
 
 
Justice Dept. pushes forward with lawsuit against polygamous towns
by Ben Winslow
Fox 13 News
Originally published September 18, 2012

PHOENIX — In new court filings, lawyers for the Justice Department urged a federal judge to move forward with a massive discrimination lawsuit against the polygamous border towns of Hildale and Colorado City.  The filing, obtained by FOX 13 on Tuesday, rebutted an argument by lawyers for the twin towns to dismiss the lawsuit.  "In short, the facts alleged in the Complaint demonstrate that Defendants' actions, through the (Colorado City Marshal's Office), have the effect of endorsing the FLDS religion and creating a troubling and unconstitutional fusion between religion and the political regime," Justice Department lawyers wrote, asking a judge to keep the case alive.  The Justice Department sued Hildale and Colorado City in June for civil rights violations, accusing the town governments of acting as de-facto agents for the church by denying ex-members and non-members of the FLDS Church access to everything from police services to housing and utilities.  The case is temporarily on hold while the federal judge decides whether or not to move the case to Utah, to be closer to lawyers and Hildale/Colorado City government officials.
 
 
5K run raises funds for people leaving polygamous lifestyle
Fox13Now Web Staff
Fox 13 News
Originally broadcast Saturday, September 22nd, 2012

DRAPER, Utah – An annual 5K run to benefit a local non-profit that works to assist people departing from the polygamous lifestyle was held on Saturday at Draper Park.  Holding Out Help seeks to create a bridge between polygamous and non-polygamous communities.  "Holding Out Help is an organization started four years ago to help women and children that are transitioning out of polygamy," said Kerri Webber, executive director for Holding Out Help.  Since being created, Holding Out Help has help has assisted more than 450 people leaving polygamous lifestyles, offering both financial and emotional assistance.  19-year-old Kollene Snow was in a polygamous family who sought out Holding Out Help after years of feeling alone and struggling to leave.  "They've helped me feel like I can move forward and I am not stuck," said Snow. "There was a lot of things that happened in there. There's a lot of controlling, a lot of lying and manipulation and a lot of incest. I just didn't want to be part of it and I felt like I had no freedom."  Saturday's second annual Holding Out Help 5K brought out hundreds of supporters, including Meri Brown, a well-known polygamist wife featured on the show "Sister Wives."  Brown says it's important that Holding Out Help offers people impartial assistance.  "I support people having their choice for whatever they want to do with their life," said Brown.  Money from the event goes towards housing, healthcare and education for the people Holding Out Help assists.
 
 
 
Colorado City attorneys want case moved to Utah from Arizona
The Associated Press
Deseret News
Originally published Thursday, Sept. 27 2012

COLORADO CITY, Ariz. — Attorneys defending a polygamous town in Arizona against allegations of civil rights violations have joined in a request to move the case out of the state.  A lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice in June claims that officials in Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City have supported a campaign of intimidation against former members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and denied them services.  Residents of both communities largely are made up of members of the FLDS, run by jailed leader Warren Jeffs.  The Hildale defendants had asked a judge to move the case to Utah to cut down on travel time and expenses for the parties and witnesses.  The Colorado City defendants joined in the motion this week.  Prosecutors haven't filed a response.     See photo
 
 
Ex-Polygamist Presents a Recovery Workshop
by Victoria M. Reynolds
KCSG Television
Originally published November 5, 2012

(St. George, UT) - Victoria M. Reynolds, author of "Transcending Fear: The Journey to Freedom and Fulfillment," will be sharing her story of recovering from the fear-based beliefs of her childhood religion.  Along with her story she will be presenting a workshop based on the six-steps to spiritual liberation and recovery from spiritual trauma.  Victoria was born into a Fundamentalist Mormon community in the mountains of Montana and found her way out at the age of seventeen.  Through her own process she healed herself from the physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual trauma that existed as a result of her childhood religion.  In her workshop, "Transcend Fear into Love", Victoria teaches that many religious beliefs cause trauma to the soul and prevent believers from discovering true happiness and their inner potential.  She speaks specifically to those who have walked away from religion in search of their own truth.  For more information please call 435-574-2181
 
 
Flora Jessop to speak to Lake Havasu Republican Women's Club Monday
Today's News-Herald - Lake Havasu City, Arizona
Originally published Sunday, November 11, 2012

Lake Havasu Republican Women's Club is hosting keynote speaker Flora Jessop, who is a former member of Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints.  Jessop continues to work and offer safe haven for girls who are looking to escape the polygamist sect in Colorado City, Ariz., which is in the northernmost part of Mohave County.  Jessop was raised in Colorado City in a polygamous family, with two mothers and 27 siblings.  All were members of FLDS.  After years of abuse, being impregnated by her father and being forced to marry her first cousin.  Jessop fled her family and her faith.  At the time, she was 16 years old.  Monday, Jessop will tell her story.  Social hour begins at 11:30 a.m. at Quality Inn, 271 South Lake Havasu Ave., in Lake Havasu City.  Cost is $15 for lunch, which is served at noon.  Menu is turkey and trimmings.  The Lake Havasu Republican Women's Club meetings are open to the public.  For reservations contact Charlotte Carr 928-716-0654, or email ccarr77@gmail.com.
 
 
Judge to hear bid to move Ariz. civil rights case
Associated Press
The Spectrum
Originally published November 27, 2012

PHOENIX (AP) — A federal judge will hear arguments Friday on a request to move a civil rights lawsuit against two polygamous towns out of Arizona.  The lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice in June claims that officials in Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City have supported a campaign of intimidation against former members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and denied them services.  The defendants had asked a judge to move the case to Utah to cut down on travel time and expenses for the parties and witnesses.  Prosecutors say the defense attorneys have failed to make a strong case against keeping it in Arizona.  Each side will be given 15 minutes to make arguments.     See photo
 
 
Holding Out Help Serves Families Escaping Polygamist Groups
By Jennifer Abbey
ABC News
Originally published November 29, 2012

The group Holding Out Help assists those seeking escape from polygamist groups.  It helps individuals and families make that difficult transition by providing access to housing, food, clothing, counseling, mentoring, job training, education and referral services.  Holding Out Help is one of a very few organizations that specializes in helping members of polygamous communities.  Since Warren Jeffs, the polygamous leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, was convicted of sexual assault and sent to prison a year ago, the number of people fleeing to Holding Out Help has quadrupled.  Jeffs, still controlling his followers from behind bars, has reportedly purged the sect of many families.  "We have entire families coming out and many individuals. They aren't equipped to deal with the outside world," said Holding Out Help's executive director Tonia Tewell.  The organization has 100 clients a month and this year Holding Out Help has added six new host homes and 20 new mentors.  The organization also has a service team that completed a home makeover on one of their transitional homes and led a youth camp in the summer.  Most of the individuals who leave their polygamist communities are lacking in education, high school education," Tewell said.     Read more
 
 
Bid to move Ariz. civil rights case under review
San Francisco Chronicle
Originally published Saturday, December 1, 2012

COLORADO CITY, Ariz. (AP) — A federal judge has taken under advisement a request to move a civil rights lawsuit against two polygamous towns out of Arizona.  U.S. District Court Judge H. Russel Holland heard arguments telephonically Friday from lawyers for the U.S. Department of Justice and the twin towns of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City.  The government has alleged in the lawsuit that the towns have supported a campaign of intimidation against former members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and denied them services.  The defendants want the case moved to Utah, saying that would cut down on travel time and expenses for the parties and witnesses.  Government lawyers say the defense has failed to make a strong showing of inconvenience.
 
 
"Humanitarian crisis" for ex-members of polygamous church
by Ben Winslow
Fox 13 News
KSTU TV
Originally broadcast December 2, 2012

HILDALE, Utah — Tonia Tewell and Kerri Webber open the back of a trailer and grab plastic bags filled with mac and cheese, packages of toilet paper and some winter coats.  They stuff a car parked here on the Utah-Arizona border with supplies, hugging a couple of teenage boys before sending them on their way.  Then, it's off to another stop.  The women, with the non-profit group Holding Out Help, are delivering necessities to people ousted from the Fundamentalist LDS Church.  "Lots of the families have been kicked out of the united order and so they don't have access to the supply house any more," said Webber.  "So we've been able to bring down supplies from some generous families in Salt Lake City."  Ex-FLDS members and church observers say an increasing number of people are either leaving or being kicked out of the polygamous sect.  Under imprisoned leader Warren Jeffs, (who is serving a life sentence for child sex assault related to underage marriages) faithful members have reportedly had to adhere to new conduct rules and dietary restrictions, while preparing for the end of the world.  Hildale's only grocery store mysteriously closed, then re-opened for a day, then closed again.  The nearest market is 45 minutes away, a huge burden for many who do not have cars.  Families are also being separated, ex-members claim, as Jeffs orders people to be exiled.  In some cases, wives and children are "reassigned" to other men.     Read more
 
 
 
Justice Dept. lawsuit against Hildale will be tried in AZ
by Ben Winslow
Fox 13 News
KSTU TV
Originally published December 10, 2012

PHOENIX — A federal judge has ruled that a lawsuit filed by the Justice Department against the polygamous towns of Hildale and Colorado City will remain in Arizona.  The judge issued a ruling on Monday, denying a request by attorneys for the town governments to move the pending trial to Utah because it was more convenient for attorneys and witnesses.  In making his ruling, U.S. District Judge Russel Holland noted that he was filing it from his office in Anchorage, Alaska.  The U.S. Justice Department has filed a civil lawsuit against Hildale and Colorado City, accusing government officials of acting as de facto agents for imprisoned polygamist leader Warren Jeffs and the FLDS Church.  It accuses the towns of denying services to ex-members of the Fundamentalist LDS Church.     See photo
 
 
Polgyamy case
Opinion
The Spectrum
Originally published December 11, 2012

A federal judge ruled earlier this week that a discrimination case involving the boder towns of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz., would be heard in Arizona.  Citing the easier access to witnesses, U.S. District Judge Russel Holland made the decision that will make this case as fair as possible.  The case alleges discrimination against people in the area of the two towns who are not members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which holds polygamy among its tenets.  Some of the witnesses are expected to be elected and appointed officials in the two towns, which is dominated by the FLDS church.  Judge Holland ruled that as officials, the officials could be expected to travel to testify.  Defense attorneys for the municipalities argued — to no avail — that a Utah court would be hundreds of miles closer than the venue in Arizona, thus saving taxpayers money.  But that argument leaves out the far more important point that the plaintiffs get a fair opportunity in court to share their grievances.  That is less likely to happen in a Utah court.  Utah has a long history of polygamy, with many residents not having to go back more than two or three generations to reach a family member who took part in the practice.  That point may leave some potential jurors from Utah overly-sympathetic to the FLDS church's stance on polygamy.     Read more
 
 
Judge denies bid to move FLDS civil rights case
Associated Press
The Spectrum
Originally published December 13, 2012

COLORADO CITY — A federal judge has denied a request to move a civil rights lawsuit against Colorado City and Hildale out of Arizona.  U.S. District Court Judge H. Russel Holland says attorneys representing the polygamous towns did not make a strong showing of inconvenience.  The attorneys had argued that moving the case to Utah would cut down on travel time and expenses for the parties and witnesses.  Holland wrote in an order this week that traveling to Prescott will take more time, but the cost will be insignificant compared to the overall cost of litigating the case.  The U.S. Department of Justice sued the towns earlier this year, alleging that the towns have supported a campaign of intimidation against former members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and denied them services.
 
 
Part of lawsuit against polygamous towns dismissed
By Brady Mccombs
Associated Press
Deseret News
Originally published Tuesday, Jan. 1 2013

SALT LAKE CITY — One-third of a federal civil rights lawsuit against two polygamous towns on the Utah-Arizona border has been dismissed.  The U.S. Justice Department opted not to contest a ruling by a federal judge that Colorado City, Ariz., and Hildale, Utah, did not operate a community park and zoo, court documents show.  The ruling makes a claim to the lawsuit irrelevant: the federal government's argument that the Fundamentalist LDS Church denied access to the park and zoo to non-FLDS members.  "Policing alone (or not policing) does not amount to operating or managing a park or zoo," wrote U.S. District Court Judge H. Russel Holland in the Nov. 29 ruling.  In a court filing submitted by a late-December deadline set by the court, the U.S. Justice Department opted not to file an amended complaint, but reserved the right to do so at a later time.  U.S. Department of Justice officials were not available for comment.  The rest of claims in the lawsuit remain intact.  The Department of Justice sued the towns in June, alleging that they have supported a campaign of intimidation against former members of the FLDS and denied them services.     Read more
 
 
Part Of Case Dismissed Against Polygamous Towns
By Ladd Egan
KUTV 2News
Originally broadcast Thursday, January 3 2013

(KUTV) Attorneys for the predominantly polygamous towns of Colorado City, Ariz., and Hildale, Utah are pleased with a federal judge's decision to throw out part of a civil rights lawsuit filed against the towns.  The twin cities on the Utah/Arizona border are home to approximately 8,000 people, with many belonging to the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  The lawsuit, filed by the U.S. Department of Justice in June 2012, alleges that FLDS leaders control the towns' police force and utility departments and "deny non-FLDS individuals housing, police protection and access to public space and services."  A judge dismissed one-third of the complaint, the section about access to public spaces, after attorneys for the cities argued that an FLDS joint property trust, not the municipalities, owned the area's park and zoo.  The Justice Department declined to amend that portion of lawsuit but will move forward with the other claims.  "The fact that they didn't amend the claim means that they didn't have the evidence to support it to begin with," said Jeff Matura, attorney for Colorado City.  "The complaint is very vague in its allegations. There's no real detail. They provide only a few dates. They don't provide any names."     Read more
 
 
 
 
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Read U.S. District Court's Order denying the Motion for Change of Venue in the U.S. Department of Justice's lawsuit against the Town of Colorado City, Arizona; City of Hildale, Utah; Twin City Power; and Twin City Water Authority, Inc., filed in the U.S. District Court of Arizona on December 10, 2012
 

 
Read Defendant Hildale's Reply Memorandum in Support of Hildale Defendants' Motion for Change of Venue regarding the U.S. Department of Justice's lawsuit against the Town of Colorado City, Arizona; City of Hildale, Utah; Twin City Power; and Twin City Water Authority, Inc., filed in the U.S. District Court of Arizona on October 8, 2012
 

 
Read the U.S. Department of Justice's Response to Hildale Defendants' Motion for Change of Venue regarding the U.S. Department of Justice's lawsuit against the Town of Colorado City, Arizona; City of Hildale, Utah; Twin City Power; and Twin City Water Authority, Inc., filed in the U.S. District Court of Arizona on September 27, 2012
 

 
Read the U.S. Department of Justice's Response to Hildale Defendants' Motion to Dismiss Complaint or in the Alternative for a More Definite Statement regarding the U.S. Department of Justice's lawsuit against the Town of Colorado City, Arizona; City of Hildale, Utah; Twin City Power; and Twin City Water Authority, Inc., filed in the U.S. District Court of Arizona on September 13, 2012
 

 
Read the U.S. Department of Justice's Response to Defendant Colorado City's Motion for a More Definite Statement and to Dismiss regarding the U.S. Department of Justice's lawsuit against the Town of Colorado City, Arizona; City of Hildale, Utah; Twin City Power; and Twin City Water Authority, Inc., filed in the U.S. District Court of Arizona on September 13, 2012
 

 
Read Defendant Hildale's Motion for Change of Venue regarding the U.S. Department of Justice's lawsuit against the Town of Colorado City, Arizona; City of Hildale, Utah; Twin City Power; and Twin City Water Authority, Inc., filed in the U.S. District Court of Arizona on September 10, 2012
 

 
Read Defendant Colorado City's Motions for More Definite Statements on Counts One and Two, and Motion to Dismiss Count Three regarding the U.S. Department of Justice's lawsuit against the Town of Colorado City, Arizona; City of Hildale, Utah; Twin City Power; and Twin City Water Authority, Inc., filed in the U.S. District Court of Arizona on August 27, 2012
 

 
Read Hildale Defendants' Motion to Dismiss Complaint or in the Alternative for a More Definite Statement regarding the U.S. Department of Justice's lawsuit against the Town of Colorado City, Arizona; City of Hildale, Utah; Twin City Power; and Twin City Water Authority, Inc., filed in the U.S. District Court of Arizona on August 27, 2012
 

 
3TV News reporter Mike Watkiss talks with KAET, Arizona PBS television
about recent developments in Colorado City, video released July 26, 2012

 

 
Read the U.S. Department of Justice's Motion to Transfer Related Case regarding Ron and Jinjer Cooke's discrimination lawsuit against the Town of Colorado City, filed in the U.S. District Court of Arizona July 12, 2012
 

 
Read the U.S. Department of Justice's Press Release regarding the lawsuit against the Town of Colorado City, Arizona; City of Hildale, Utah; Twin City Power; and Twin City Water Authority, Inc., filed in the U.S. District Court of Arizona on June 21, 2012
 

 
Read the U.S. Department of Justice's Complaint against the Town of Colorado City, Arizona; City of Hildale, Utah; Twin City Power; and Twin City Water Authority, Inc., filed in the U.S. District Court of Arizona June 21, 2012
 

 
Read Defendant Colorado City's Complaint for Declaratory Relief against the UEP and Bruce Wisan, regarding the Ronald and Jinjer Cooke discrimination case, filed in the U.S. District Court of Arizona on March 11, 2011
 

 
Read the latest edition of The Primer dated January 2011
 

 
Read the September 7, 2010 Mohave County Board of Supervisors' meeting minutes where BOS Buster Johnson tells Colorado City resident, Jake Barlow, he is going to vote against accepting real property (Parcel No. 404-21-094) by Quit Claim Deed and in consideration of $10 from the United Effort Plan Trust for use as a public library providing library services in Colorado City.
 

 
Read the flyer for The Polygamy Experience Tour
 

 
Read the Arizona Attorney General Civil Rights Division's Discrimination Lawsuit filed against the City of Hildale, Town of Colorado City, and the utility, water and power companies dated June 25, 2010
 

 
Read Mohave County Sheriff Tom Sheahan's Special Press Release about serving warrants on Colorado City and Hildale officials for misuse of public funds and fraudulent schemes dated April 6, 2010
 

 
Read the Mohave County April 5, 2010 Affidavit For Search Warrant which led to serving warrants on Colorado City and Hildale Fire Department officials on April 6, 2010 for misuse of public funds
 

 
See The Spectrum photographer Jud Burkett's photos taken while law enforcement from Mohave County and Washington County served search warrants on the Hildale and Colorado City Fire Departments on April 6, 2010
 

 


John Hollenhorst covers the search warrants story on April 6, 2010
 
 

Video Courtesy of KSL.com

 

 
Read the Arizona Attorney General Civil Rights Division's Reasonable Cause Determination alleging the FLDS-run public utility companies are in violation of state and federal fair housing laws, dated April 5, 2010
 

 
The Safety Net Committee held its First Annual Safety Net Clinical Training Conference on Monday, August 17, 2009. This program was to train service providers on how to be culturally sensitive when working with polygamous family systems. Read the flyer.  Read the registration form.
 

 
Read the latest edition of The Primer dated August 2009
 

 
Read the discussion on establishing a government facility in the Colorado City area in the Minutes of the Mohave County Board of Supervisors' meeting held April 20, 2009
 

 
Read the Press Release on a new bill to protect victims of child abuse by Texas House Representative Harvey Hilderbran dated March 18, 2009
 

 
Read the Utah/Arizona Safety Net Committee's Conference and Town Hall Meeting flyer Media & Polgyamy: Telling the Story held May 8, 2008
 

 


Watch the video from April 24th, 2008, when a
"Friends of the Library" group was formed in Colorado city, AZ
 

 


Watch ABC 4 Brent Hunsaker's interview with Stefanie Colgrove,
who is trying to provide shelter for those abandoned by the FLDS
 

 


Watch the Colorado City and the Underground Railroad documentary trailer
discussing charging Warren Jeffs for crimes
 

 


Watch this December 2000 video on Lenore Holm by Mike Watkiss
 

 
Read the Safety Net Directory - Agencies and Organizations Helping Victims of Domestic Violence and Child Abuse in Polygamous Communities, dated September 2008
 

 
Read the July 31, 2008 letters and affidavits from numerous FLDS members sent to Senator Sheldon Whitehouse asking to add FLDS documents to the official record of the July 24, 2008 US Senate hearing on "Crimes Associated with Polygamy: The Need for a Coordinated State and Federal Response"
 

 
See photos from the San Angelo Standard-Times Photo Gallery taken during the July 24, 2008 US Senate hearing on "Crimes Associated with Polygamy: The Need for a Coordinated State and Federal Response"
 

 
Read the Testimony of Sara Hammon submitted to the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on "Crimes Associated with Polygamy: The Need for a Coordinated State and Federal Response" held July 24, 2008
 

 
Read the Testimony of Harry Reid given at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on "Crimes Associated with Polygamy: The Need for a Coordinated State and Federal Response" held July 24, 2008
 

 
Read the Testimony of Gregory A. Brower given at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on "Crimes Associated with Polygamy: The Need for a Coordinated State and Federal Response" held July 24, 2008
 

 
Read the Testimony of Brett Tolman given at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on "Crimes Associated with Polygamy: The Need for a Coordinated State and Federal Response" held July 24, 2008
 

 
Read the Testimony of Terry Goddard given at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on "Crimes Associated with Polygamy: The Need for a Coordinated State and Federal Response" held July 24, 2008
 

 
Read the Testimony of Greg Abbott given at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on "Crimes Associated with Polygamy: The Need for a Coordinated State and Federal Response" held July 24, 2008
 

 
Read the Testimony of Steve Singular given at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on "Crimes Associated with Polygamy: The Need for a Coordinated State and Federal Response" held July 24, 2008
 

 
Read the Testimony of Dan Fischer given at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on "Crimes Associated with Polygamy: The Need for a Coordinated State and Federal Response" held July 24, 2008
 

 
Read part 1 of the Testimony of Carolyn Jessop given at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on "Crimes Associated with Polygamy: The Need for a Coordinated State and Federal Response" held July 24, 2008
 

 
Read part 2 of the Testimony of Carolyn Jessop given at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on "Crimes Associated with Polygamy: The Need for a Coordinated State and Federal Response" held July 24, 2008
 

 
Read the Senate Judiciary Committee announcement for the "Crimes Associated with Polygamy: The Need for a Coordinated State and Federal Response" hearing scheduled for July 24, 2008
 

 
Read the U.S. Senate bill 3313 to establish a Federal Polygamy Task Force introduced July 23, 2008
 

 
Read the April 30, 2008 Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff and Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard's joint letter to Sen. Harry Reid, D-NV asking his assistance in arranging a meeting with the U.S. Department of Justice to discuss how the federal government can help the states with polygamy-related investigations and prosecutions.
 

 
Read the flyer for the Safety Net Committee's Media Training Session and Town Hall Meeting held in St. George, Utah May 8, 2008
 

 
Read the CFUW BC Council Newsletter FOR THE RECORD Winter 2008
 

 
Read the Safety Net Directory - Agencies and Organizations Helping Victims of Domestic Violence and Child Abuse in Polygamous Communities, dated October 2007
 

 
Read the February 24, 2006 Utah Supreme Court Opinion In Re Inquiry of a Judge, The Honorable Walter K. Steed
 

 
Read The Primer dated January 2005
 

 
Read the 2005 Hinkley Journal of Politics study Child Abuse in Arizona and Utah Polygamous Families by Carly Castle starting on page 33
 

 
Read the transcript from the FLDS Priesthood Meeting held April 13, 2002
 
 
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