Sunday, April 13, 2008

Lots of substantive Eldorado coverage

Since I've been writing so much this week about the raid on the polygamist compound in West Texas, I'm pleased to see a great deal more substantive coverage popping up than the initial reports parroting law enforcement sources.

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.

"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.

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.

Stay tuned ... this thing is a long way from over.

See Grits' comprehensive coverage gathered here.

UPDATE: Jim Turner at ConchInfo adds his thoughts.

15 comments:

Doran Williams said...

Is there any recent development of the announcement by CPS that persons claiming to be the parents of any of the children will have to submit to DNA testing? This seems to me be a ploy by law enforcement to find evidence upon which to base aggravated sexual assault cases: That is, cases against men who fathered some of the children of mothers who had to have been 14 or younger at the time of conception.

CPS does not have a reputation or history for admitting error. They will push the most absurd cases and claims arising out of this debacle, at the expense of the children and parents involved, primarily, but also at the expense of the tax payers of Texas and of the county in which the cases will be filed and heard.

In the meantime, case workers across the state -- already overworked due to understaffing -- will have to take up the slack. That means some legitimate cases will be slighted, abused children will not get the attention the need, while other children and parents will go to the end of the line, held in limbo while CPS farts around in Eldorado.

txwordpounder said...

It's good to see that the Corpus Christi Caller Times finally got around to reporting on Rep. Harvey Hilderbran's legislative shenanegans ... 3-4 days after I broke the story on my blog.

Cicero said...

The only thing I've read about that touches on that front was the Deseret News interview with some of the mothers that CPS won't let see their children because they weren't at the ranch at the time of the raid.

The mothers claimed that when CPS said they needed proof they were the actual mothers they produced birth certificates for the children, but that CPS reject them on the grounds they might be forgeries.

Ron in Houston said...

Doran Williams said:

CPS does not have a reputation or history for admitting error. They will push the most absurd cases and claims arising out of this debacle, at the expense of the children and parents involved, primarily, but also at the expense of the tax payers of Texas and of the county in which the cases will be filed and heard.

Amen. You're obviously someone who has been around the agency.

In their defense, it's pretty much a fundamental human flaw - not admitting your mistakes. They just seem to have become experts at it.

Ron in Houston said...

Grits

According to the Houston Chronicle the removal of the cell phones was not done by CPS, but pursuant to a motion by the representatives of the children.

Anonymous said...

Scott, are you saying that it's intrusive to interfere with girls 14 or younger engaging in coerced relationships, marriages, or sexual encounters with others, including males over 17? Who do you think was impregnating the underage girls?

I don't understand if you're objecting only to the state's investigation of this group based on possibly flawed evidence, or if you also think that if someone has a religion that arranges and facilitates relationships and marriages among young and old, as well as polygamy, that it's okay, because they're practicing a religion. Law enforcement has been aware of this compound for four years. They don't sound like they exactly jumped the gun.

When religion is used to explain away and justify the evils of mental and physical enslavement, it has gone beyond religion. It has become fascism.

The Local Crank said...

Who the hell was in charge of planning this fiasco? Who signed off on warehousing babies in a 140 year old cavalry fort? Did no one think in advance to look if there were enough lawyers in a five county radius to serve as ad litems? Or if it was even feasible for one district court to shut down all it's operations to devote to one case? Or if there was even a courtroom big enough? And now, after letting some mothers come along with their children (admittedly an unusual act in a removal case), then stripping them of their cell phones, now they decide to kick them out unless they have kids under 4? This sort of screaming incompetence is going to permanently scar these children AND risk destroying any criminal cases that might be made. It's just beyond belief.

Anonymous said...

It is a comfort to know everyone is still alive. Doesn't matter to me which God you thank!

As far as I can tell, these children are well cared for. The real question is:

In 2008, can the government really provide freedom from enslavement and parenthood for young women who are attractive to old men?

I'd say no but at the same time, I suppose the government has to try.

Anonymous said...

The ad litem bloodsuckers, oops, lawyers will reap fortunes...the complainant will never be found...CPS has already moved to terminate parental rights of many if not all...and I await filing of property seizure/forfeiture actions...after all that's almost 2000 acres plus improvements.

Oh, right, this is about polygamy, aka child abuse. But no arrests for abuse in what was initially painted as a slam dunk.

Best

Anonymous said...

One thing that has kept me confused pertains to the phrase "age of consent" -- some use of the term, with respect to Texas, puts the age of consent at 17, where it has been for years, at least since 2001:
http://teenadvice.about.com/library/weekly/qanda/blageofconsentchart.htm

That "age of consent" seems to be sexual relations with a minor, while not married.

The "parental age of consent" that was change from 14 to 16 a few years ago, seems to have to do with marriagable age.

Some of the Salt Lake Tribune comment pages have mentioned "bleeding the beast" as a FLDS practice, having most of the spiritual wives (ie, not the 1st wife in the plural marriage) sign up for single-mother welfare. If they're legally single mothers, for those purposes, would there be some legal issue with whomever had sex with any of the mothers who might be under the age of 17?

The Local Crank said...

"The ad litem bloodsuckers, oops, lawyers will reap fortunes..."

Oh, yes, clearly. I and many other lawyers have become millionaires solely on ad litem appointments for CPS cases. *eyeroll*. That's why 400 lawyers VOLUNTEERED to serve as ad litems or mentors to ad litems PRO BONO. Check your facts before taking cheap shots.

barkeep said...

A few comments from the "home front". I'm the actual author of the conchinfo comments noted at end of the article, but Jim Turner and Jim Ryan are often confused even here in San Angelo.

local crank; one thing that is clear, no one did much advance planning on sheer logistics. There isn't a motel room open closer than Abilene. As to lawyers, there aren't that many shysters in a five county radius. I ran into our local State Rep. Drew Darby last night at a school board meeting, told me at least 300 local families had made room in their homes for legal talent, mostly pro bono, coming in from all over the state.

An aside, as emergency lodging, Ft. Concho was not that bad, a nearly completely restored historic site, it provided acceptable short-term accomodation and could be secured without disrupting the town completely. Yesterday, that was discontinued, with: the girl children removed to the Coliseum/Fairgrounds complex; the mothers returned to the Edorado YFZ ranch (about six mothers have elected to go "elsewhere"); and the minor boys removed to a separate undisclosed location. A handful of mothers of girls six or under were allowed to stay with the girls

As with any case this size, to say information is leaking like a sieve would insult sieves. Judging from what has proven reliable in the past, and I caution, this is ONLY my personal judgement as to reliable, FLDS was continuing a systematic pattern of ritualistic sexual abuse of minors.

It is also dawning on the locals that some of this high-powered legal talent acting ad litem may actually question the validity of the original application for a warrant.

Some sect mothers seem confused as to which children are theirs, at least their statements change. The men are saying nothing. Coming from an insular world of "sister-wives", and dormitory housing, it is doubtful whether many of the children could identify with any certainty their genetic parents if thay wanted to, and apparently most don't want to.

Assuming the warrant holds up and the investigation does proceed, at some point, someone will have to pony up high side of a million to DNA test and match and draw up a confusing geneolgy (sic) of this group to discover which children belong to which mother, fathered by which old goat before the Court can proceed with hundreds of individual removal from custody cases.

To say the Tom Green County legal system is overwhelmed is my contender for understatement of the year. The State of Texas is overwhelmed, there has never been anything approaching this circus in Texas' history.

IF what I hear is true, there is a compelling body of evidence that a culture of statutory, if not forcible, rape existed. That said, given the sect's otherwise peaceful co-existence with the small town of Eldorado it could have been let go, as it has been for five years, while someone did a little planning in anticipation of and preparation for this unprecedented scale "event".

CPS does seem to have acted before they thought all this through. Once CPS jumped, the rest of the legal and law enforcement system was pretty much constrained to follow that lead.

The state, local and FEMA response to Katrina may have been woefully short, but at least no one could say FEMA reached out and stirred up the damned storm.

Anonymous said...

10:43 said:
"IF what I hear is true, there is a compelling body of evidence that a culture of statutory, if not forcible, rape existed. That said, given the sect's otherwise peaceful co-existence with the small town of Eldorado it could have been let go, as it has been for five years, while someone did a little planning in anticipation of and preparation for this unprecedented scale "event"."

How is this supposed to work, exactly?

1. If they do prepare for as long as it would take to address the crisis satisfactorily, they could be easily accused of deliberately targeting the sect and having a conspiratorial agenda against them. Once the well crafted plan was put into motion, any attorney representing the FLDS could say, "If the situation were bad enough to remove these kids at all, why wasn't it bad enough weeks ago when you started "preparing" to deal with the problem?"
2. If they prepare multiple people and authorities in advance, it's very possible that people within the sect would be alerted, and they would flee. These kinds of fringe groups have very intricate networks, communications, funding sources, and legal representation. The sheep may not hold much power, but the people in command don't spend all day praying and working at Salvation Army. They're usually paranoid, egomaniacal, and manipulative, and they establish and run networks that both protect and maintain their self serving lifestyle.
3. If authorities take the time to prepare because such preparation is warranted, given strong enough evidence, how does it look to take time "getting ready" once a certain limit of probable cause has been reached? When child sexual abuse is what's at stake, NOBODY would be sympathetic to a state agency saying, "We needed to get things ready, so we did, even though we strongly believed young children were being raped. Yes, they stayed in the sexually abusive situation longer, due to our need to prepare, but we avoided overburdening the system." What average taxpayer hearing that would think it's okay?

The discussion on this blog puts authorities in a damned if you do, damned if you don't light. The fallout resulting from fringe groups like the FLDS can be compared to natural disasters, or refugee situations. There's never enough preparation in the world because people who provide services to them have to address immediate needs, while trying to plan for potential, unforeseen disasters. Keep in mind that CPS and DPS still have their normal case loads to deal with. These people, the kids' attorneys, and volunteers are the people doing the actual work and contributing to help in this situation. Anyone who just wants to sit on the sidelines and throw verbal "batteries" like an angry baseball fan can take comfort in their "what ifs" and their "coulda shoulda's," but they sure don't amount to much.

aintmyfault said...

Is CPS a bunch of Hippocrates. They have guidelines they MUST follow in what they do; but, they have been getting away with committing commissioned FELONIES against the public for so long, judges rubber stamp their lies so that they can carry out criminal acts, even abusing the children they allege are already abused.

CPS takes them to the Child Advocacy Center where they are turned on to child porn (drawings of naked boys and girls, showing everything on the front and back), children are FORCED to touch the private parts on the drawings and explain what they use these parts for ... they have to draw circles and such around them so that they are drilled into their little minds, the perversities of the interviewers. The department brain washes the children that are innocent, to where when they leave the interview, they now want to try out some of the things they have been sheltered from by their parents and taught by the child molestation “services”.

You know what a farmer calls it when he puts a bull out to pasture with the heifers? That's right, he calls it “servicing” or a “service”. Personally, I don't want CPS to “service” me any further, they mentally abuse these children to where they become even physically ill, and the parents as well. I am speaking from experience – THEN THEY PROTECT THE ONE(S) MAKING THE FALSE STATEMENTS TO BEGIN WITH ... anyone else would be arrested and jailed for aiding and abetting KNOWN FELONS – but; with CPS, they protect them so that the ones committing State Jail Felonies by their KNOWN FALSE STATEMENTS ... may be excited about it and do some more calls so that CPS can go search more houses, steal and molest more children and even give them new homes so Foster Parents can collect their $800.00 per month – PER CHILD, paycheck.

File CRIMINAL CHARGES against CPS with the District Attorney for criminal acts they commit – the District Attorney DOES NOTHING. One has to become a Private Attorney General to get anything done, that may be in the making. Why does the District Attorney not do a thing? Because he was ELECTED – he does not have to keep the law, he does not even have to Return the Original Complaint; BECAUSE, then you could have the Attorney General of Texas take up the matter. With no Returned Original Complaint – you cannot go to the Attorney General of Texas for help. Tell me who the real criminals are here.

Yediddiyah Hawkins was arrested and jailed by someone that hates the House of Yahweh. News crews jumped all over this with banners flaying in the wind ... “HOUSE OF YAHWEH MEMBER ...”. When is the last time you saw an article saying, “BAPTIST MEMBER STEALS CANDY BAR AND IS CAUGHT ON TAPE”, or “CHURCH OF CHRIST MEMBER “ ... WHATEVER ... Only the House of Yahweh members are given that privilege to be persecuted by the news and society; and, we thank you for it. It is a prophesy that would not be fulfilled if it weren't for the diligence of those writing the stories to give us selective persecutions in such a manner. Tests and trials we were promised, read your scriptures for yourself to see whom they are that bring forth the tests and trials and call them what they are – sons and daughters of the devil, whom can deny that?

Did the news bother to run any articles about the MANY other families that were FALSELY ACCUSED by CPS because of False Statements by someone who wanted to terrorize them? Of course not. Did the news tell you how CPS goes into a court room without any evidence – AND EVEN OMITTING EVIDENCE, so it can get a Known Fraudulently Filed Lien or Claim and the Order thereof, signed by the judge that presumes that these CPS agents are telling the truth and are not – so they can ransack your house, steal your children from you and pervert them?

In my opinion and not meaning any harm whatsoever: how can you tell when a CPS agent is lying? Watch for the evidence of their lips moving and you can figure it out.

Sure, they are not your children so they and the courts say, they belong to the State ... hmmm. You know, that sounds so great until one gets a divorce and has to pay child support ... miss a payment and end up in jail, why? Simply because one did not pay for THEIR CHILDREN ... ahhhh, when you are in the home raising them, they are not yours – get a divorce and have to pay child support – THEY MAGICALLY BECOME YOURS, even more so if you get your visitation rights taken away as well ... then they really, really become your children.

Why don't CPS help children that are over 18 years of age? THEY GET NO FEDERAL FUNDING FOR A CHILD OVER 18 YEARS OLD ... and they get released out of Foster Care at midnight of their 18th birthday – tossed out on the street because they no longer have any use for them there caring CPS agents and their business associates. Do the research and see for yourself how truly caring these CPS (Public Servants) agents are.

Certainly, ACTUAL child abuse should not be tolerated; but, child abuse is not the issue here, it is money. CPS/DFPS, Foster Care is a multi BILLION DOLLAR INDUSTRY that is encouraged by most who have “not been” molested by their "services". As soon as a report is heard of that CPS is checking into a False Statement – the family members are black balled, instantly they become scum as the CPS department would certainly NOT waste their time to steal children away from their parents if what they were checking into were not true ... or justified, eh?

Did you know that it is a law that CPS MUST contact the one allegedly abusing a child or children ... WITHIN 72 HOURS FROM THE TIME THEY RECEIVE THE INITIAL INTAKE of the complaint? Did not CPS state in the news they been sitting on this for a while? If the abuse was so bad as they say, could not LIVES HAD BEEN LOST ... from their sitting around?

This is not an opinion, it is documented with sure facts and evidence. CPS is a Fraud, they cannot even act without having SOME Evidence - but, they do it anyway because until now, nobody had called them on their felonies they commit by the encouragements of ignorance on the “We the People's” part. Until now. Of course, CPS won't even tell us if it was a male or female that called in the False Statements, other than the statement itself – ANY information pursuant to the LIARS is so protected, it is a felony to divulge any of it pertaining to the apples of CPS's eye ... the LIARS who love the excitements of false accusations so they can rejoice at the breaking up of people's homes and possible jail time for the innocent parents. I forgive them for it, though I forgive them – a curse does not come causeless and they will still have to answer in a court for breaking the law of giving false statements to the department.

I hope they repent and start to keep the law they claim to enforce; but, do not.

Here is the law they must operate under (yeah, right), or they lose their immunities:

From the Texas Family Code: § 261.304. INVESTIGATION OF ANONYMOUS REPORT.; “(c) Unless the department determines that there is some evidence to corroborate the report of abuse, the department may not conduct the thorough investigation required by this chapter or take any action against the person accused of abuse.”

check it out for yourself @ http://tlo2.tlc.state.tx.us/statutes/index.htm

Their evidence to do this horrendous crime against all American's families is that there is a 16 year old girl with an 8 month old baby THAT THEY CAN'T EVEN FIND ... hey, let's go into Iraq because they got weapons of mass destruction. Yes indeed, ALL AMERICAN'S FAMILIES; because, when they got your support they will be unstoppable ... even at your own door. The judgment you use will be used against you.

It is against the law for them to TAKE ANY ACTION ... unless they have some evidence. HEY – ANYBODY SEEN A 16 YEAR OLD GIRL THAT HAS AN 8 MONTH OLD BABY OUT THERE??? She has some broken ribs and probably some marks on her neck where she was just being choked in Eldarodo, Texas ... by her child molesting husband THAT HAS NOT BEEN IN TEXAS FOR THE LAST 31 YEARS ... ummm, evidence ... who needs it – we got us a cartoon we created and can use it to steal over 400 children from their mamma's. Don't matter if they ever find the one 16 year old they invented, they have custody of over 400 children times over $800.00 per month ... not a bad wage for a couple days work, eh? And the payments won't stop until they turn 18 years old.

IS IT NOT A FELONY - TO REVEAL THE INFORMANT'S IDENTITY ... that is correct, a case worker, the department of CPS and DFPS CANNOT give out ANY information pursuant to the one making the complaint to them excepting for a County, District or Criminal District Attorney or to law enforcement and the Attorney General of Texas. It is a FELONY to divulge ANY information as to whom the complainant is - BUT ... they say - oh, she is a 16 year old with an 8 month old baby ... married and molested by some Dale Barlow ... a guy that hasn't been in state for 31 years - but; choked and broke her ribs ... anyone hear of “X-RAYS”?

So - CPS has no problem committing commissioned FELONIES by giving all the specifics about the girl that allegedly made the phone call, from a ranch that those who live there while being molested CANNOT EVEN LEAVE ... she is 16 years old - her husband that HAS NOT BEEN IN TEXAS FOR 31 YEARS ... some how beat her and sexually molested her ... PROBABLY - BY - FAX OR EVEN CERTIFIED MAIL ... as he has not even been here for the entire period that she has been alive on this earth ...

Talk about SUPPORTED lies and deceptions going on here ... and the caring citizens here just eat it up like a dog returning to it's vomit. CPS gets around the constitutional right that you are innocent until proven guilty – with CPS, they do their best to CREATE a means to make you guilty. After all, why hinder the FRAUD with facts, only clouds up the lies and makes their jobs diffi CULT..

Sound fishy??? And remember, it is a FELONY for a CPS agent or anyone else to divulge ANY information about the one making complaint.

Know why they are not charged for endangering the life of the informant??? BECAUSE SHE WAS MADE UP - A FAIRY TALE ... a cartoon that was created to get a court order RUBBER STAMPED by EX PARTE hearing that the defendants were not even invited to ... can't kill a cartoon; so therefore, they really didn't divulge anything except a primer to get the pump of societal hatred spewing all over the place.

Closing note: where are all the male children? Hmmm, these FLDS guys must be eating em, eh? Don't you find it at least a little bit strange that it is said that ONLY GIRLS have been taken and some of their mothers went along willfully so they can have their cell phones taken and not allowed to leave the grounds of where they are being held prisoners? Where are the male children at? When they become teenagers, they are kicked out of the compound so that the 50 year old men can have their way with the 13 year old girls. You know – they only have 50 year old men there, none 47 or 53 ... all of em are 50 years old and have been 50 years old for the last 27 years.

What has occurred to the male children. Wake up America and take back your rights – the rights to have Public Servants ONLY OPERATE WITHIN THE LAW. When they abuse the law and commit Official Oppressions, Abuse of Official Capacities by and through Color of Law and Color of Office, it is time to give them a taste of their own medicine and see how much fun it is to be locked up behind the same bars they break the law to get others behind. Get back those people's children and if necessary – get them counseling. Having full time counselors on the premises even, would save the tax payers a huge chunk of money that we will be paying, for over 400 children times over $800.00 each, per month to support them in broken homes. If you allow this without speaking up – you are guilty of these children being abused by CPS and their co-conspiring agencies, agents, employees and/or etc.

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