For starters, ABC News had a good series of pictures from inside the compound, complementing nicely the excellent photography by Trent Nelson. In addition, here are a few recent stories casting additional new light on the controversy:
I'd not heard of Salt Lake City Tribune reporter Brooke Adams before a week ago, but I've quickly become a big fan. She continues her excellent coverage, both on her blog, The Polygamist Files, and reporting for the Tribune, including news that "Texas authorities confiscate cell phones of FLDS women at Fort Concho." Hmmmm, and I thought a big part of the criticism was that FLDS cut these women off from the outside world; I guess now Texas state government has assumed that role. Another SLC Tribune piece Adams co-wrote that's well worth reading: "Polygamy: Where religious liberty ends."
Adams had been the only reporter to focus significantly on the perspective of the people who've been removed from the ranch, for example in her story, "Texas bishop, doctor: FLDS women, children say 'they want to go home.'" We get another window into the perspective of women and children seized from the YFZ compound in a letter they sent to Gov. Rick Perry, described in a report by AP: Sect mothers appeal to Texas governor.
Perhaps Adams' most important contribution to story overall was to figure out very early on that the man named in the allegations actually lived in Arizona and almost certainly could not be the perpetrator. It took a full week, but Texas law enforcement has finally caught up with her assessment, see the Salt Lake City Tribune: "Texas Rangers say Barlow may not be their man."
So they still haven't found the 16 year old who supposedly made the accusations. Adams' pointed out early on that the language she supposedly used didn't match FLDS rhetoric, and identified other incongruities with the call. Now we learn that a similar call was received regarding the FLDS compound in Colorado City, AZ, but authorities there did not believe they had authority to do what we did here in Texas, see the Arizona Republic: Colorado City CPS phone call resembles one in Texas - One led to raid, one didn't.
In addition, a story today in the Corpus Christi Caller Times, "Utah lessons applied in Texas" (April 13), makes most explicit declaration yet that changes to Texas law were intended explicitly to target FLDS.
So here's where we stand. The laws the sect are accused of violating were expressly created to target their religious practices. The raid was based on a phone call that may turn out to be bogus. No victim has been identified, and the man alleged to have abused her we know for a fact could not have done the deed. Finally, at this point it's the state, not men from the sect, who are isolating these women and children.
"It's very poorly and awkwardly drafted," said John Young [an attorney representing an alleged polygamist in an ongoing Texas court case], "with two different penalty ranges for the exact same conduct." ...
[DA Association lobbyist Shannon] Edmonds said some of the confusion in the bill stems from the way it was passed. Hilderbran initially wrote it as a stand-alone bill that directly targeted the Eldorado sect, which began building a retreat in Schleicher County in 2004.
The original bill included language that would prevent new Texas residents from running for office within a year -- a provision aimed at preventing the sect from taking over local government offices and law enforcement agencies as it did in two neighboring cities, Colorado City, Ariz., and Hilldale, Utah.
Hilderbran's bill was never scheduled for a vote in the House, and with the legislative session coming to a close, he took provisions dealing with polygamy and teenage marriage and inserted them into an overhaul of the Department of Child Protective Services that was pending in the Senate.
Stay tuned ... this thing is a long way from over.
See Grits' comprehensive coverage gathered here.
UPDATE: Jim Turner at ConchInfo adds his thoughts.