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Standard of Evidence

Sarah's picture

Legal standards and their arguability aside, voices round the world have heralded yesterday's triumph of the theocratic pedophilia cult over the State of Texas. Yet some courts in the state -- even in Austin -- and other voices advocating child welfare are holding out hope for the 400 minors found at YFZ ranch outside Eldorado, Texas, and calling for changes in the laws.
Long past time for changes in the law. Here, on Corrente, yesterday, I heard people saying the State of Texas had no evidence to remove children from the ranch -- because after the fact the call that prompted the initial response to the ranch was, allegedly, proven "bogus". I heard people say they would fear having the state take away their children. I heard people say the Texas CPS and law enforcement personnel had screwed up the raid and the case by moving too quickly.

I didn't hear a single voice standing up for the children at YFZ, wanting them to have a different or better future out of the clutches of the "patriarchs" of that cult and their brainwashed slave-wives. Not one voice advocated charging the "prophets" with statutory rape. Not one voice advocated charging the adults -- yes, every last living one of the adults who didn't report an abused child, a girl under the age of 17 forced into marriage, is guilty of a crime in the state of Texas under the current law -- with conspiracy to commit child abuse, conspiracy to commit child endangerment / abandonment (lost boys , anybody? excommunicating young teens and forcing their families to shun these children, who are left with neither support systems nor life skills to survive outside the FLDS compounds -- if that's not abuse, what is?), or conspiracy to transport women across state or national boundaries for immoral purposes -- and all of these things are revealed within the church's own records, testified to by the presence of multiple-"wife" households wherein children born to "spiritually married" couples are, in fact, legally born to single mothers, whose incomes are so low they qualify for S_CHIP, AFDC and other benefits their church presses them to take to "bleed the beast" of the state and local governments.

You can call my reaction horror all you want.
You can share my anger all you want.
But if you live in a state where there are polygamist cults -- and if you live in the US, Canada or Mexico, you probably live in a state with polygamist cults -- you need to go to work right now to make sure your legislators understand the urgent need to outlaw the insidious, invidious, oppressive abuse perpetrated against every child born into the FLDS.

I don't usually agree with CNN, but their legal analyst, Sunny Hostin nailed it today:

Well I think the appellate court got it wrong. Why?

Isn't this a polygamist ranch we are talking about? Under Texas law, it's illegal to be married to more than one person. Weren't all of these children living on a ranch purchased in 2003 and built by Warren Jeffs, the self-proclaimed prophet of the group, who was convicted last year in Utah of being an accomplice to rape?

Yes they were.

Weren't there 20 girls living at the ranch who had become pregnant between the ages of 13 and 17 and "spiritually married" to old men picked for them by Jeffs or his followers?
Yes there were.

And if you live on this ranch, don't you believe in polygamy, arranged marriages between young girls and old men, and that Jeffs is a prophet?

I would think so.

And if you are a young girl that lives on this ranch, isn't it true you will also be "spiritually married" to an old man chosen for you? Yes to that too. And isn't this dangerous for the children? What do you think?

There are some fundamental problems with the court's opinion. The court states that because not all FLDS families are polygamous or allow their female children to marry as minors, the entire ranch community does not subscribe to polygamy. Wrong.

They are living on a polygamist ranch and are members of the church -- a sect that left the Mormon Church so it could practice polygamy.

The court even reasoned that under Texas law, "it is not sexual assault to have consensual intercourse with a minor spouse to whom one is legally married" and that Texas law "allows minor to marry -- as young as age 16 with parental consent and younger than 16 if pursuant to court order." Wrong again.

The polygamists are not "legally married" to anyone since it is illegal to marry more than one person. They are "spiritually married" and abusing young girls. Finally, the court also states there "was no evidence that .... the female children who had not reached puberty, were victims of sexual or other physical abuse or in danger of being victims if sexual or other physical abuse."

Under the law in Texas you can have ONE valid marriage to ONE living spouse. Not two, not ten, not six, not three. ONE. That means that every single one of these men was guilty of a crime under Texas law: bigamy.

In the cases of the girls who were "married" at 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, the men are guilty of another crime: rape. In Texas the age of consent is 17.

The proof is there. The State acted as it should have done. All the sympathy in the world for religious freedom and all the anti-big-brotherism we can muster doesn't change the facts.

The girls deserve better. The boys deserve better.
The old men reaping their delightful harvest of underage sex partners and lifelong "priesthood" over slaves deserve prison, at the very least, for the rest of their lives.

We don't know who all spoke to that family crisis hotline in San Angelo, for sure. We know where some of the calls received that day came from; but the only calls we've seen publicly revealed are those leading back to a disturbed caller from Colorado. Because of that, many people claim no benefit can arise from, no investigation prompted by, those calls. That claim is based in a lie.

If the FLDS continues to win in court, how long before honor killings and female genital mutilation are the norm in the US? Because if you allow one flavor of religious behavior, you have to allow them all.

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Comments

Submitted by lambert on

For following this utterly bizarre, or, now that we're in the end game [?], sadly normal story... Religious patriarchs get away with raping girls. Move along people, move along! There's no story here!

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

myiq2xu's picture
Submitted by myiq2xu on

we called Child Protective Services "babysnatchers."

They have two settings: Too much and too little.

Parents have rights, and the state needs to meet a certain standard of evidence before violating those rights.

If you have ever witnessed the agony of a parent whose children were taken away without good cause you would understand the need to protect parents too.

All I'm saying is there are two sides to every story.

I have no sympathy for abusers and sex offenders, but not everyone is guilty.

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“I don't belong to any organized political party. I'm a Democrat.” - Will Rogers

Sarah's picture
Submitted by Sarah on

the crisis to pass, myiqx2u? if so, there was good cause.

Yeah, I think like a cop. Sue me.

One less girl with cervical cancer because the fundies don't want vaccinations against HPV.

One less girl raped on her 15th birthday because her church thinks that's a cool thing.

That's all it takes to make "too much" just right.

We can admit that we're killers ... but we're not going to kill today. That's all it takes! Knowing that we're not going to kill today! ~ Captain James T. Kirk, Stardate 3193.0

myiq2xu's picture
Submitted by myiq2xu on

That's a lynch mob mentality.

I'm not talking about the evidence in this case. I'm talking about the need for a procedure that protects the parents as well as the children.

The appellate court ruled that the trial court didn't do their job properly.

If you're so sure the evidence is there, let the court do it's job. Maybe it's not really there.

Remember the McMartin Preschool? The defendants had their lives ruined.

------------------------------------------------
“I don't belong to any organized political party. I'm a Democrat.” - Will Rogers

Submitted by cg.eye on

now do you understand why?

The "after the fact" proof she provided that the call was fake was the excuse a long-established criminal organization needed to pressure the state to back off. Would you expect the mafia to do any less, with similar financial and legal resources?

The fact no one wants to say is that the FLDS is a international organized crime organization, based solely on the decades-long evidence that a group of men impregnates women, ask some to work outside the home, and force the rest to go on public assistance, to use those funds to perpetuate their organization as single mothers. This criminal group offers to its captains the benefits of child rape and slavery. As victims of sex slavery would sensibly refuse to cooperate with authorities unless they could get an iron-clad cover of witness protection, these victims will continue to cooperate with their pimps and rapists, because there is nowhere they can go that will protect them.

FLDS rapists run police departments, local industries, municipalities, hospitals, psychiatric units, defense contractors (what would happen if the FLDS could hire Blackwater to track their women down? Nothing that would be prosecuted in our America) and, of course, settlements. Because Mormon police officers and legislators accept the FLDS by not prosecuting them, no FLDS woman or child could be certain that even if they escaped a Mormom elder wouldn't turn them back in.

Just because they are white does not mean we should ignore the influential criminals that run states that still accept slavery as a right of certain men's citizenship. In order to break the FLDS, we'll have to break the influence of the LDS in government in America.

And that will never happen.

DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

If the FLDS continues to win in court, how long before honor killings and female genital mutilation are the norm in the US? Because if you allow one flavor of religious behavior, you have to allow them all.

how true

it seems to me that because they crossed state lines federal law was violated. Also, it seems to me that you could call it a violation of the girl's right under the 13th amendment.

myiq2xu's picture
Submitted by myiq2xu on

and if the underage preganncies aren't in dispute like you say then the evidence is there.

------------------------------------------------
“I don't belong to any organized political party. I'm a Democrat.” - Will Rogers

myiq2xu's picture
Submitted by myiq2xu on

there is an immediate cry to change the laws.

Here in California after Polly Klaas was kidnapped and murdered, we passed an initiative called "Three Strikes"

The unintended consequence was a guy named Andrade, who is doing 25-life for shoplifting.

------------------------------------------------
“I don't belong to any organized political party. I'm a Democrat.” - Will Rogers

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

You write:

I didn’t hear a single voice standing up for the children at YFZ, wanting them to have a different or better future out of the clutches of the “patriarchs” of that cult and their brainwashed slave-wives. Not one voice advocated charging the “prophets” with statutory rape. Not one voice advocated charging the adults

I know you're pissed off, Sarah, and rightly so, but that's no reason to go shooting up the neighborhood. I went back to your last post and re-read the comments, including my own, just in case I'd had a mental breakdown and hallucinated what I'd read and especially what I'd written there.

Lots of support for your position, from multiple people. Plenty of agreement, there and in dozens and dozens of previous comments, that this nest of vipers need clearing out. Actual direct expressions of concern for the children? Yes there were, and again there have been in the past, many many of them. Don't make me go get the quotes.

Plenty of reason to be angry with the polygs, and with anyone who facilitates them. No call to strip the hide off of those who agree with you. Could hurt a person's feelings that way.

Sarah's picture
Submitted by Sarah on

In my own defense I should say I hadn't read your Judge Roy Bean reference when I began the writing of this post -- hadn't seen it; when I began this, although I didn't post it until after work this evening, the last comment in the queue was my own:

So Y'all Say

because when I started writing this post, that question still stood unanswered.

FrenchDoc had said she shared my anger.

Amberglow had put up three or four posts saying the appellate court was right, and the FLDS should be left alone, repeating that the CPS and local/state LEOs had "messed up bigtime", see below:

"this says they messed up bigtime— “… Earlier today, attorneys for Child Protective Services confirmed that 15 of the 31 “child” mothers placed in foster care were actually adults.."

"but if they really didn’t have good evidence to back up their actions, they totally messed this up."

"If they really didn’t have hard evidence of crimes or abuse, they messed up bigtime, and now these kids are condemned to being abused for the rest of their lives."

That's the fracking consensus view in commentary on most of the blog coverage I've seen; comments in newspapers' articles' comments sections are running around 4-to-3 pro-FLDS, "leave 'em alone," and the flavor of hatred for girls and women in more of those comments than I care to contemplate, which echoes in my mind the misogyny levelled against HRC because she won't quit running for President, as lambert pointed out, even though she's winning the popular vote and racking up primary wins, did indeed lead to a "shoot out the lights" reaction from me.

Sympathy for these ... alleged men ... and the society they built to serve their sick desires overruns considerations of law, justice, health, child welfare -- the "brittle-bone" syndrome among FLDS kids is a genetic phenomenon. The brainwashing is acculturated; the way to stop it is to stop it.

We can admit that we're killers ... but we're not going to kill today. That's all it takes! Knowing that we're not going to kill today! ~ Captain James T. Kirk, Stardate 3193.0

myiq2xu's picture
Submitted by myiq2xu on

We can't assume that the media stories fed by the prosecutors are accurate.

We need to catch our breath and let ALL the evidence be presented before passing judgment.

There is more than sufficient cause to investigate. If these creeps are guilty, I say fuck 'em, throw them under the jail.

But let's not be a lynch mob.

------------------------------------------------
“I don't belong to any organized political party. I'm a Democrat.” - Will Rogers

Sarah's picture
Submitted by Sarah on

San Angelo's Standard-Times was honest media, 20 years ago. I know. They were our competitors. Today? Quien Sabe?

AP has become so afraid of lawsuits and libel plaints it won't even uphold its own standards, never mind make writers and editors handle the copy consistently and give the information clearly.

But the stories in the media are being driven by the lawyers for the FLDS, now ...

We can admit that we're killers ... but we're not going to kill today. That's all it takes! Knowing that we're not going to kill today! ~ Captain James T. Kirk, Stardate 3193.0

myiq2xu's picture
Submitted by myiq2xu on

Lean too far towards protecting kids, and some innocent parents (and kids) get screwed. Lean to far the other way, children get abused and the guilty go free.

No matter what the rules, sometimes the system doesn't work.

I saw a case where the mom said "don't let dad have visitation, he'll hurt the kids." But she had no proof, so the court let him have visitation. Murder-suicide.

But in hindsight, the judge made the right call, because there was no evidence, just the mother's gut feeling.

The alternative is stripping fathers of visitation because the mothers say they have a gut feeling.

------------------------------------------------
“I don't belong to any organized political party. I'm a Democrat.” - Will Rogers

Sarah's picture
Submitted by Sarah on

Kid didn't have a right to protection against it, and neither, obviously, did the mom.

Congratulations to the dad's lawyer, by the way. Bang-up job.

That mom's gut feeling? Yeah, women typically don't have those about perfectly ordinary nice guys.

If only it'd been the dad's 'gut feeling' about the mom, or maybe a (male) cop's 'gut feeling' about the dad, eh?

Women are the ultimate commodity -- always at a discount.

myiq2xu's picture
Submitted by myiq2xu on

and you might want to know that the judge was really torn up about it. But she made the right call.

I take offense at:

"If only it’d been the dad’s ’gut feeling’ about the mom, or maybe a (male) cop’s ’gut feeling’ about the dad, eh?"

That's sexist, for starters, and judges aren't supposed to make decision on anyone's gut feelings, they are supposed to go on the evidence.

Just so you'll know Sarah, I was falsely accused by my ex-wife of child abuse. She did it to win a custody dispute. I was cleared after an investigation. (the cops ruled it "unfounded")

But for a while I couldn't see my kids.

So fuck you.

BTW - Eventually I got full custody, they are grown now and I am a grandfather.

------------------------------------------------
“I don't belong to any organized political party. I'm a Democrat.” - Will Rogers

Sarah's picture
Submitted by Sarah on

I'm happily married, and this weekend's my anniversary, so you can shove your invitation. You read in an accusation I wasn't making.

Damn straight it was a sexist remark, and it did exactly what it was intended to do -- pissed you off because you know it's true.

The system discounts women, from HRC to the non-English-speaking, scared-looking lady on the night cleaning crew, systematically. By default. Because they're women.

And I'll see your investigation -- I had CPS sicced on me, and APS, and I was cleared both times -- and raise you one, because not only was I in a divorce, I busted my dad out of a nursing home to keep the staff from, literally, killing him with insulin shots when he wasn't a diabetic AFTER his doctor had written standing orders to stop giving him insulin, and the staff shot him up anyway. APS was waiting at the house when I pulled into the drive with him.

CPS came out twice -- I was in a custody fight for years -- I made no false accusations. The court twice refused to take into account arrest reports, affidavits and sworn statements regarding verifiable neglect and endangerment of my then-preschooler; eventually a judge did rule that my ex, after he was found incompetent to manage his own affairs and involuntarily committed to a psychiatric facility, should not have unsupervised visitation.

So yeah, you can go to hell too.

myiq2xu's picture
Submitted by myiq2xu on

What the fuck does gender have to do with anything?

I would think someone with your experience would be sensitive to how easy it is for someone's life to be turned upside down by a false accusation.

Do you think one parent should be stripped of all their parental rights based on the unsupported word of the other parent? No evidence, no proof, just "gut feeling?"

That's would be a nightmare

myiq2xu's picture
Submitted by myiq2xu on

What's your point?

In the McMartin Preschool case the defendant's lives were ruined, even though they were all ultimately acquitted.

Was that the right outcome?

I understand your anger, but that's lynch mob stuff.

Justice is dispassionate, and she weighs evidence.

Sarah's picture
Submitted by Sarah on

got people killed.

But of course the evidence was weighed, and the lack of it was given proper consideration.

Just like with the FLDS raid.

Only, at the time of the raid, the evidence was NOT that the original caller was a deranged woman from Colorado -- and to answer that question about caseworkers, the FLDS refused to allow caseworkers back onto the property this week.

The FLDS know that their manner of handling youngsters won't withstand outside scrutiny, and actively breaks laws in every state where they establish themselves. It's why they're secretive.

Their fences are as much to keep their future-slaves in as to keep the world out.

But that's just my gut feeling, you know.

We can admit that we're killers ... but we're not going to kill today. That's all it takes! Knowing that we're not going to kill today! ~ Captain James T. Kirk, Stardate 3193.0

myiq2xu's picture
Submitted by myiq2xu on

All one parent has to do is tell the court they think the other parent wants to hurt the kids and that's it? No visitation ever again?

If a cop has a gut feeling he can arrest people, search their homes, take their kids away, whatever he wants to do, and the courts should back him up?

Should we just throw out all the rules of evidence and procedure?

We'll need to amend the Constitution to remove all the stuff about "due process of law" and "equal protection."

We can replace it with "gut feelings"

Ya know, like the gut feeling that George Bush had about Saddam's WMD's.

DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

As Sarah suggested in her post, there are existing laws to protect children. The question is, does the state of Texas and the United States of America have the will to enforce them.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

but one of those tar and feather mobs might not be so bad.

Due process, yep, that's the ticket, and from the first inkling that the initial complaint was hinkey I was concerned that this one wasn't being handled properly. Looks as though that turned out to be - at least partially - the case.

So now the state needs to settle in and clean up the mess, and protect the children. Then build a proper case, hopefully with the feds' help, and start putting people in jail.

With due process. And the full force of the law.

[Sarah: You mean to say you don't immediately read every word of every comment I ever write? What is with that? :-) You have more supporters here than me. Even myiq doesn't love the FLDS, he just wants to sort the wheat from tha chaff. That will take some time, and some judiciousness.]

Submitted by Elliott Lake on

you are sadly mistaken, myiq. This is about protecting the domination of underage sex slaves by men who have built a "religion" in order to do so. It sounds fashionable to say one wants to protect innocent fathers when actually it is protecting predators and the public image of the "church" that fosters them.

But then what do I know? I only live in a town where this is going on daily, under the blind eye of law enforcement officials who just happen to be LDS members.

Spare me your constitutional concern trolling. In the order of who gets protection first, those unable to protect themselves should get a higher rating than those at the top of the power structure.

And in this state at least, CPS has only one setting: do nothing, don't remove a child from the home, ever. As with other criminal "statistics", I'd like to see your proof of how many times men are falsely convicted/have their children taken away, versus how many children are returned again and again to abusive households.

Submitted by lambert on

By all means post on this -- we'd like to hear your experiences.

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.