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FLDS: Jeffs' DNA taken in 4 'Spiritual Marriage' Child Rape Cases

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Texas authorities collected Warren Jeffs' DNA as part of the State's investigation into four child rapes the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints celebrated as "spiritual marriages" while Jeffs, convicted of conspiracy to commit rape in a separate incident, stayed at the Yearning For Zion ranch near Eldorado . The female children were not born in Texas but were residents of the state when the "spiritual marriages" -- recognized by the church but not legal in Texas -- took place.

According to the CNN story, The criminal investigation moved to the forefront Friday as a Texas judge refused to sign an order returning to their homes more than 300 children seized last month from the polygamist sect's ranch. Judge Barbara Walther said she wanted all the mothers involved to sign the order first.

In the criminal investigation, marital records -- known as bishop's records -- were seized April 3 from the sect's Yearning for Zion ranch, according to an affidavit for a search warrant seeking the DNA samples. The records show that Jeffs married a 14-year-old girl January 18, 2004, in Utah, the affidavit says.

Jeffs "married" three other underage brides -- two 12-year-olds and a 14-year-old -- at the sect's 1,700-acre ranch near Eldorado, Texas, the affidavit says.

The court document refers to photos of Jeffs with his alleged child brides. In one picture, the affidavit states, he is kissing one of the 12-year-olds. In another, he is with a 15-year-old wife at the birth of their child in October 2004, according to the affidavit.

Jeffs is believed to have "committed the felony offense of sexual assault of a child," the affidavit says. One of the 12-year-olds, who was believed to have married Jeffs on July 27, 2006, allegedly was sexually assaulted by him that day, the affidavit states.

San Angelo state district court judge Barbara Walther didn't take the appeals' court and Texas State Supreme Court decisions returning the children lightly, but she is acting to protect the children at risk

by requiring that the mothers seeking recovery sign the agreement -- in person -- before she signs off on it herself.

Those of you who read here regularly know that I'm not a fan of "family values radio"; but there's an item of news bulleted at the 570 KNRS website worth repeating:

UPI) – Warren Jeffs, the convicted polygamous sect leader, has been brought into the West Texas polygamist ranch investigation, Texas officials said.

Child welfare officials want to know the depth of a possible relationship with some of the young girls at the Yearning for Zion Ranch.

DNA samples have been taken from Jeffs at the Kingman, Ariz., jail where he has been held since his conviction on sexual assault charges, the Austin Statesman-American said Friday.

Authorities want to know whether Jeffs, 52, had married and had sex with at least four underage girls from the Texas ranch. Two of the girls in question were 12, court filings said.

Arizona court documents say Jeffs, his sect's so-called prophet, is under investigation in the Texas case in connection with sexual assault of a child, aggravated sexual assault, bigamy and prohibited sexual assault. All are felonies.

In one case, records that Texas investigators seized show that Jeffs married a 14-year-old girl in January 2004 in Utah. In October 2005, when she was 16, the girl, who at one point moved to the Texas ranch, gave birth to a child believed fathered by Jeffs.

At least one lawyer who comments here has accused me of wanting to lead a lynch mob, because I consider that returning children to the mothers who remain involved with the men who built this 'religion' around their own perverted appetites is wrong.

I stand by the Constitution of the United States of America. One of its most crucial clauses I repeat here:
"Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

I took oath 30 years ago to support and defend that Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic; it is an oath I repeated in civilian service in 1980, 1990, 1998, and 2000, and it is an oath I have never renounced.

The United States government is said to be subservient, by the Mormons, to the rules of their church. Increasingly we hear cries of religious discrimination when criminals -- whose offenses range from sexual assault of minors to mutilation and murder of women for violating tenets of sect interpretation of the rules of religion -- are brought to justice.

The FLDS and Warren Jeffs are no exception to that jesuitical tradition.

Texas is not Utah, nor Arizona. The 400-odd children taken from the YFZ ranch have been swabbed, and DNA tests are running to determine, as much as possible, the parentage of those children.

If Jeffs' "Gone to Texas" ploy gave him time and opportunity which he employed to rape four girls, he should go to jail for the rest of his natural life. His religion is no defense against criminal conduct.

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vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

RL and pie-fight have got me on the run (why is everything I say today a John Lennon reference?).

But hats (the secular kind) off to you for continuing the "Religious People are the Best People" series!

In the 2004 election postmortem, when some precious 18% (IIRC) voters said "moral values" mattered to them, and it was taken gospel that you now had to be a Christianist to play in today's political pool, it became clear that fighting the easy, smarmy, and deeply untrue notion that religion is a marker for values was going to be a necessary crusade if we were going to save our nation and world.

And so it was, that when Obama began dogwhistling that tune that I started to develop a sense of what kind of (supposedly) blue pie I didn't much enjoy the taste of.

The piefight, too, shall pass, but not the need to be vigilant about the hazards of the kneejerk deference that religion receives in almost every circle.

Submitted by hipparchia on

i can't bring myself to read all the way through your posts, i just can't. the whole subject just angers me too much.

but because of your posting on it, it's spurred me to bring up the various issues in political discussions with family, friends, neighbors, coworkers. thanks for doing this.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

Rule of law. Justice carries a sharp sword; two edges, cuts both ways. The good judge promised due process when she got dinged by the Appellate Court, and so here it is. She's going to get her hearings, and she's going to do what a judge should do in this setting: look to the welfare of the children.

Going to cost a bunch of money. Hopefully, the State of Texas will pony up the cash to protect children, rather than decide that they just aren’t worth it. Hopefully the people of Texas, and their representatives, will do the right thing and be better than the citizens of Utah and Arizona and Idaho and Colorado and British Columbia. There has been too much shamelessness already.

The FLDS are an international criminal organization. Just as was done the American Mafia, argued by those within it to be nothing more than an assemblage of friends, it needs to be taken apart and destroyed and the leadership imprisoned. Those who have been exploited must be helped and set free. As was done with the Mafia, the laws should be enforced to their full extent, and the full power of the state should be brought to bear in an unwavering drive to put an end to this gross criminality.

That this argument even has to be made, in 2008, is all but beyond belief. That the effort would be abandoned for matters of cost or difficulty, that corruption and child abuse and rape would be societally ignored because those perpetrating it claim special privilege by divine revelation, is simply unconscionable and unacceptable. I hope Judge Walther, and the whole of the Texas judiciary, will employ the powers of office to uphold the trust placed in them by the people.

Much of the law is cloudy when it comes to moral and religious issues; especially amongst consenting adults, the state should forbear from interference unless the acts involved are blatantly egregious and demonstrably harmful to the greater body politic. That caveat made, if we cannot protect children from being raised as human fodder for the perverted appetites of documented predators, we have failed as a civilization.

The FLDS, and others like them, must be stopped – now.