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