FLDS: Sexually Abused Boys, Brittle-Boned Children
Texas' DFPS officials say they have evidence that children taken from the Eldorado FLDS compound had broken bones, and that based on interviews with the kids and journals found at the ranch, some of the boys were sexually abused.
A lawyer for the church denies the claims, saying it's the result of a disease among the sect's children.
Meanwhile Harry Reid appears to be trying to smooth over his recent tiff with state officials in Utah and maybe Arizona. Reid had said publicly that the states had not done enough to protect children in the FLDS and similar sects against abuse.
WASHINGTON -- Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff today to say the two should "kiss and make up" after the they dueled this week in news reports over action taken against crimes in polygamous communities.
Reid, D-Nev., blasted Utah and Arizona in a radio interview on Monday, saying officials in the two states were afraid of taking action against the polygamous sects in their states because the groups had developed political clout. Shurtleff, a Republican, and Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard, a Democrat, fired back that Reid was ignorant of their efforts.
Wednesday morning, Reid called both attorneys general and was helping to set up a meeting between the two and the U.S. Justice Department to boost coordination between the agencies.
"He called to say, 'Let's kiss and make up. We have the same goal and that's to get more federal involvement,'" Shurtleff said of his conversation with Reid.
Reid's comments to KUER's Doug Fabrizio were prompted by the raid of a Texas compound in which several hundred children were removed from their homes and an investigation into child abuse launched. Reid said he was a cheerleader for what Texas did and that Utah and Arizona should have done it decades ago.
I'm a cheerleader for what Texas did too, but as those of you who've been reading here know, Arizona tried something like this decades ago, at Short Creek in the 1950s. Because local officials in and around the community were themselves polygamists and/or sympathizers, and because pro-polygamy views weren't just tolerated but encouraged by the public uproar that resulted from the Short Creek raid, no justice took place as a result. It was the time of the Cold War, and anti-Big Brother forces came out on behalf of the polygamists, too.
They're doing it again.
The children and teens taken from the Yearning for Zion ranch are facing a tough adjustment as they arrive at and settle into foster homes. These young people are, in an all-too-real sense, as frightened as can be. All their lives they've been taught that the outside world is dangerous and evil and will steal away their souls. Not even the boys are prepared (although many are excommunicated between the ages of 12 and 16) for a life beyond the sheltering psychic walls of the FLDS' compounds, despite the "church's" profiteering from their labor in fields and on construction sites over generations.
Texas officials know this, and are working to assist the children during this rough time:"We recognize it's critical that these children not be exposed to mainstream culture too quickly or other things that would hinder their success," agency spokeswoman Shari Pulliam said. "We just want to protect them from abuse and neglect. We're not trying to change them."
That may be playing too soft a ball game, particularly with the older kids -- say, seven years old and up, when they've already gotten the idea that girls should marry at puberty and no one needs to graduate from high school. "Corruption" from within has flattened every opportunity for these youngsters, during their "normal" lives among the fundamentalist community that makes up the only home they've ever known, to be curious about or willing to interact with the world beyond those psychic fences.
Perhaps now the truth can make them free.