|6 young men sue polygamous sect|
By Joseph A. Reaves|
The Arizona Republic
Six young men filed suit Friday claiming they were among several hundred forced from their homes and cut off from their families so leaders of the nation's largest polygamous community could have easier access to multiple wives.
The suit, filed in Utah's 3rd District Court in Salt Lake City, accuses the two top leaders of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints of assault, extortion, making "terroristic threats" and encouraging or engaging in child kidnapping.
It is the second suit filed in four weeks against the hierarchy of the FLDS, which has its headquarters in the remote communities of Colorado City and Hildale, Utah, along the Arizona-Utah line.
Warren Jeffs, self-proclaimed prophet of the FLDS, was accused in the earlier suit of repeatedly sodomizing his 5-year-old nephew years ago and covering up for serial sexual molestations by other sect leaders for decades. He denied those allegations.
The latest suit accuses Jeffs and one of his closest aides, Sam Barlow, of conspiring to ruin the lives of several hundred young men by forcing them out of Colorado City and Hildale.
"The church and its leadership have established the secret, cruel and unlawful practice of systematic excommunication of adolescent and young adult males for trivial reasons or no reason at all, in order to reduce competition for wives," the suit alleged.
The young men "have been cut off from family, friends, benefits, business and employment relationships and purportedly condemned to eternal damnation," the suit continued.
The suit seeks a jury trial and asks that all assets of a charitable trust run by the FLDS be seized.
Rod Parker, a Salt Lake attorney who represents the FLDS, could not be reached for comment Friday night.
Originally published August 28, 2004
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