Thursday, May 01, 2008

Misleading PR initiative by DFPS muddies YFZ Ranch debate

The Texas Department of Family Protective Services this week launched an aggressive public relations initiative to justify its raid on the YFZ Ranch in Eldorado, and increasingly their much-hyped claims appear awfully thin.

First they issued statistics alleging 60% of teen girls at the ranch were pregnant or had kids, without adding that more than 80% of the girls so identified disputed the agency's assessment of their ages. (See "Lies and Statistics") I'm not sure I've ever seen a case where the state repeatedly labels supposed abuse victims "liars" in the press, but that appears to be DFPS' current media approach.

Then yesterday at a hearing of the Texas Senate Health and Human Services Committee, DFPS said they're investigating "possible sexual abuse of some young boys." Uh ... based on what, exactly? They provided the committee zero detail beyond the salacious topline allegations, which dominate this morning's headlines. Anything's "possible," but abuse allegations against FLDS in other states have focused on underage girls, to my knowledge never molestation of young boys. It's similarly "possible" the sun will rise in the west tomorrow, but I wouldn't bet on it.

Even more disingenuous was out-of-context testimony to the committee declaring 41 kids had been found to have had broken bones at some point in the past. Not mentioned: That's probably a LOWER rate of broken bones than experienced by kids in the outside world! Reacting to an account of the hearing by MSNBC, UCLA law prof Eugene Volokh explains why that assertion was misleading:
the particular news account here strikes me as a highly unhelpful, and potentially misleading, use of statistics, because it (1) includes the numerator in the headline, and leaves the denominator for paragraph seven, and (2) suggests that the number is significant evidence of abuse, without even trying to provide a comparison with the broken-bone rate among ordinary, nonabused children. The story does later quote the state agency as saying, "We do not have X-rays or complete medical information on many children so it is too early to draw any conclusions based on this information, but it is cause for concern and something we’ll continue to examine," but that does little, I think, to undercut the attention that MSNBC focused on the 41 number in its headline.
After Prof. Volokh posted that, FWIW, MSNBC actually changed its web headline, though the story still includes the misleading statements he cites. Volokh is right these news accounts are, to say the least, "highly unhelpful." But grandstanding and irresponsible media coverage isn't the whole story. IMO the release of such speculative information to the press amount to overt media manipulation by DFPS. Their court case appears weaker and weaker as time goes on, so they're trying the case in the press.

I'd like to believe DFPS is not acting in bad faith by releasing these data, but I can't help but wonder, if there really was widespread abuse going on at the YFZ Ranch would this CYA disinformation campaign be necessary?

109 comments:

dirty harry said...

I just have to ask. Are all these people somehow related to Mike Niphong?

rage said...

The government lying?

No way.

Hugh McBryde said...

Bingo, by the way Harry, that's NIFONG.

Anyway, been saying that, if they had a case why are they insinuating. Great observations, thanks for the links to Volokh's blog.

Christoph said...

I'd like to see criminal charges for violating the FLDS members civil rights.

Possibly, even making false statements before the court.

I'd like to see some of the Texas authorities receive criminal records and sentences.

Anonymous said...

Jeffrey Breinholt http://www.strategycenter.net/scholars/scholarID.16/scholar_detail.asp] has written a thoughful essay on the intersection of religious freedom and the abuse of children in today's counter terroism blog [http://counterterrorismblog.org/2008/05/polygamy_and_terrorism_the_rel.php].

Anonymous said...

They're terrorist now! It was only a matter of time. Breinholt misses the point entirely. Who argues CPS did not have the authority to investigate or possibly to remove some of the children? That is not the issue, drawing in terrorist fear mongering aside, no, the issue is individual rights of the parents and children and a) the blanket accusation based on "they don't look old enough to me," and b) the accusation that the religion itself was "grooming" that required the emergency removal of all of the children. One can agree with age of consent law and still find fault with violations of due process. The post at an anti-terrorism website likely suggests the government wants the authority to detain and convict en masse based on hoax calls. This gets scarier by the day.

Dave In Texas said...

Well, in its release DFPS didn't actually fail to address the disputed ages of the girls. Or call them liars.

"There are 27 girls who have indicated that they are 14 to 17 years old. There are an additional 26 girls who have provided conflicting information about their ages, at some points indicating they are minors and at other times saying they are adults. Of these 53 girls, more than 30 have children, are pregnant, or both. Six of these girls have two children, and two have three children."

And DFPS' claims of broken bones and alleged sexual abuse of boys wasn't exactly thrown out there without context.

"Medical exams and reports by the children indicate that at least 41 children have had broken bones in the past. We do not have X-rays or complete medical information on many children so it is too early to draw any conclusions based on this information, but it is cause for concern and something we’ll continue to examine."

Do you think it would have been best if the state just ignored indications of sexual abuse or physical abuse of minor children?

There was one interesting nugget in the release. Two males who turned 18 while in state custody opted to stay in state care. Wonder what that's about?

Amerloc said...

When I saw the broken-bones headlines, I couldn't help but think that 50% of my kids had broken bones before they hit middle school. Forty-odd percent isn't nearly as headline-worthy as they seem to think.

Amerloc said...

Sorry. My math went fuzzy on me (thought it was just my vision, but guess not). It's more like 10 percent, which is appreciably lower than my experience indicated it could be.

They must be coddling those kids.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Dave, you're quoting from a document released for yesterday's hearing. DFPS' media statements on Monday that resulted in the 60% headlines included NONE of those caveats, and the information you cite wasn't released until two days later.

Fred said...

Dave In Texas said...

Do you think it would have been best if the state just ignored indications of sexual abuse or physical abuse of minor children?

So if they didn't incite alarmist headlines they would be ignoring sexual or physical abuse? Under that standard, every sexual and physical abuse case should make headlines.

There was one interesting nugget in the release. Two males who turned 18 while in state custody opted to stay in state care. Wonder what that's about?

They wanted to stay with siblings to protect them?

whatsup said...

The 18 year old boys elected to stay where the other boys were to continue to help look after them. These boys have been arranging singing and prayers etc etc. I wouldn't be surprised to see them forced to leave in the near future. CPS doesn't like the competition for brainwashing the little ones.

Anonymous said...

I spoke to a 70+ friend that lives in San Angelo yesterday. She said her husband heard on Fox news that they found children's bones at the ranch.

These headlines just feed the desire of the local population to find they were right all along and the YFZ Ranch was up to no good.

At this point, DFPS should make sure of their facts and tell the whole truth - nothing but the truth. They are damaging any chance these children have to practice their religion - within the law - in the future.

I hope they are sued for their negligence in this case.

Headmistress, zookeeper said...

I have been interested in those 18 year old boys CPS permitted to stay, as well. I have never known of CPS to permit 18 year olds to remain in custody. I have two foster siblings who my parents took in because the state cut them loose at 18 and they had nowhere to go and no work skills enabling them to support themselves.

And if they are so concerned about the sexual abuse of male children, letting two 18 year old males from that possible background stay with the younger boys is really strange.

Don said...

Here is an example of just what you are saying. This is a letter to the editor from a Levelland Church of Christ preacher:

Professor's suggestion is a capitulation to evil'

There are several moral and ethical holes in Arnold H. Loewy's Opinion page column on the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Days Saints (A-J, April 25).

First, religious freedom and the right to be different do not give one the right to promulgate a so-called religion which subjugates women and makes girls the object of pedophilia. As for defending the isolationist policy of the FLDS, no one in authority has said that is wrong. It is simply a red herring to lure people away from the subject at hand.

Second, deciding which children should be removed should be a simple matter for anyone with any moral compass as well. When, as reported in the Associated Press, nearly 60 percent of the girls 14-17 in that group were either pregnant or had children, it becomes fairly obvious any children left in that compound will most likely either be subject to pedophilia or become pedophiles.

Finally, Loewy is right there is no easy answer, but the compromise of which he speaks is simply capitulation to evil. Similar compromises by liberal thinkers are the reason the foster system which he rightfully questions does not work.

There will be no easy answers to helping children scarred by such evil, but returning them to the impenitent people who harmed them is not an answer any moral people should stomach.

JAY KELLEY/Levelland

Evangelist

Austin Street Church of Christ

I wrote a response letter. Will include it in next post. Don

Anonymous said...

The two boys who turned 18 can technically stay in foster care until they are 21, if they have not graduated high school and have some sort of disability, either physical or mental. I dont know that this is the case here, but since these children have not had formal public education, the state can opt to keep them if they choose to stay. If they have been enrolled in school and possibly graduating (which I doubt) in May, then they can keep them til then.

Don said...

Here is my response LTE. Sorry for the long posts.

Mr. Kelley makes some pretty wild allegations here. Pedophilia has nothing to do with this FLDS debate. Pedophilia is a sexual disorder characterized by the sexual attraction of adult men to prepubescent children. This hasn't even been alleged by anyone who knows what it means. I don't concur with the beliefs of the FLDS, but I believe in the Constitution. Mr. Kelley offers "statistics" based on the CPS’ assessment as to the number of minors 14-17 who were pregnant and/or had children. Um, (1) the figure was disputed by the girls themselves. (2) The figure was a result of the CPS arbitrarily changing the ages of the girls based on this statement by the CPS spokesman: "We looked at them and some of them looked younger". They admit they don't know anyone’s age. (Number of "children" changes almost daily.)
Texas is in a world of hurt here, legally. So they wage the battle in the press, using weirdly worded releases, clearly designed to obfuscate. Emotionally charged innuendo designed to press emotional hot buttons are tailor made for folks such as Mr. Kelley. Actual evidence is sparse to nonexistent. So, to the extent that these people have broken the law, let's prosecute them. To the extent that their beliefs differ from ours, let's don't persecute them. Most of all, let's understand that the AP is not the KJV. The statement about the likelihood of pedophilia is patently absurd. Feel free to look up any words that you don't know the meaning of.

Note: I live in the same town as this preacher. Pray for me. Don

Dave In Texas said...

Actually Grits, your post raises the issue of the senate hearing and DFPS' statement.

Which is why I brought it up, since DFPS did indeed offer something more than 'zero detail' to the claim of possible sexual abuse of males. They got it from journals and talks with the kids.

As to why DFPS gave more specific information to the senate hearing than in the earlier press conference? I don't know. But so what? It's a set of facts they will have to live with under oath. Do you really think they'd take the risk to up the drumbeat against the FLDS sect?

As for the 18-year-old, your right, her birthing history certainly appears to suggest she wasn't an sexually assaulted minor when she conceived. But it does suggest bigamy. Which provided probable cause for the state moving in.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

So what? They're manipulating the media by selectively giving out skewed information, Dave, then quietly "correcting" it later after the disinformation has been reported all over the planet - that's so what.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

I also don't agree with this, Dave: "It's a set of facts they will have to live with under oath."

Not true: They change their story from day to day.

From the beginning CPS says one thing in public and another thing in court. I don't expect that to change.

The Local Crank said...

Warren Jeffs was accused of sexually assaulting his nephew and some other boys. I don't know if he was ever formally charged with that, though.

Headmistress, zookeeper said...

I don't know what to think about the Warren Jeffs stories- I was perfectly convinced he was a nasty specimen who deserved to be in jail forever- and I'm not saying he isn't, but there are some issues that have come up....

Over in the comments at my blog, a couple people claiming to be or have been FLDS have brought up some interesting points, which, IF TRUE (and I have no way of knowing right now) would put that allegation in a different perspective. One of them is that the nephew only 'remembered' this even when a psychiatrist brought it out as a repressed and long forgotten event.
His nephew did file a lawsuit about it.
Wikipedia indicates he may yet be charged and tried for that crime in Arizona, but Wikipedia still indicates the initial phone call about FyZ was not a hoax and makes no mention of Rozita at all.

David said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dave In Texas said...

oops. hit the wrong button.

Manipulating the media? Giving out selective bits of skewed information? Sweet Mary and Joseph, so are the FLDS and the sect lawyers. That's what everyone does.

Not to mention that the facts of a case don't emerge Day 1, clear and irrefutable. That's why they call journalism the first draft of history. Things change.

It's the facts presented to the court we have to pay attention to. And that's only just beginning.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Dave, admitting DFPS engaged in the accused conduct does not exculpate them for it.

If they gave out misleading information knowing they left out important caveats, as I've alleged and you apparently agree happened, they're discrediting themselves and inviting folks to second guess them. IMO that's a mistake.

"Things change," but that's not what happened here. DFPS left out context they had in hand to promote bogus statistics to the press. That's the beef.

As an aside, journalism hasn't been the first draft of history in a long time. Sometime in the '80s the press release assumed that mantle. Then blogs. Today history's first draft IMO is frequently written by blog commenters, at least on the topics I watch closely.

Cicero said...

I see the Local Crank beat me too it, but there have been some allegations against Warren Jeffs of abusing his nephews.

However, it's hard to tell, because accusations against Jeffs can be motivated by other negative experiences. Such accusations are attractive to anyone who has a grudge against the entire FLDS religion.

On the other hand, I've heard plenty to suggest that Warren Jeffs is one sick man. So I'm not sure what to believe on that matter.

The important point is that the FLDS religion does not in anyway support or excuse the sodomizing of young boys. Heck, sodomy among consenting adults would be grounds for excommunication from the FLDS church. So even if there are some cases of abuse of boys, the attempt to use it as justification for moving against this entire religion is wrong.

The only complaint I have heard about the FLDS as a group on the issue of sexual abuse of boys is that they sometimes don't fully co-operate with police- but even the authorities say that this is not because the FLDS excuses this abuse, but because they don't trust the police, and think that accusations of child abuse are a smokescreen to attack their religion.

I wonder why they might think that?

This is why Utah and Arizona took the approach they have of prosecuting individuals for specific crimes instead of attacking the FLDS as a whole. They have been building up trust with the FLDS people and so have gotten increasing co-operation from them in abuse cases (excepting the issue of underage marriages, although even that situation has been improving since the imprisonment of Jeffs).

Dave In Texas said...

I didn't say I believed Protective and Family Services 'gave out misleading information.' I said I didn't know why there was more detail given to the Senate than that given Monday.

Clearly, it assumes more importance to you than me. My point remains that the outcome of this case will depend on the facts presented in court, not in press conferences by either the state or the Fundamentalists.

I don't think DPFS has to help people second guess its actions. Folks seem pretty capable of doing that all on their own.

Anonymous said...

"the outcome of this case will depend on the facts presented in court"

That sure hasn't been the case so far.

Dave In Texas said...

That's one way to get speedy justice, Anon. Just do away with the investigation.

kbp said...

Great "Timeline" for any that have not seen it.


Somebody needs to post a LAST comment when a new post on the case comes up!!

rage said...

However, it's hard to tell, because accusations against Jeffs can be motivated by other negative experiences.

Which was the primary motivation behind Eldorado since day one, and still is. CPS thinks that if we hate them enough, we'll look the other way when FLDS rights are abused.

Sadly, most of you aren't looking the other way, you're cheering the abuse.

Anonymous said...

This is why Utah and Arizona took the approach they have of prosecuting individuals for specific crimes instead of attacking the FLDS as a whole.

What a remarkably novel approach to law enforcement!

stephen

kbp said...

Overview of the Investigation – Eldorado, Texas 2008
Chronology and Status Report
Monday, April 7

District Judge Barbara Walthers granted DFPS temporary legal custody of all 401 the children in the shelter in San Angelo, after it was concluded that some of these children had been sexually and physically abused and the rest are at risk of abuse if returned to their homes at this time.

From the CPS's own web site, a window I saved.

"CONCLUDED"

My trust in the CPS has gone downhill everytime one of their representatives have opened their mouth since the day I saw their "Status Report". I've saved 200+ pages of more reasons not to trust them.

Jeff said...

Headmistress -

It's been the policfy of DFPS for years and years to allow children that turn 18 to stay in the foster home up to the age of 21, as long as they are still enrolled in high school and have not graduated yet. Since the education range of the teenagers is lower than their appropriate grade, it is likely that any kids that turn 18 will have the option to stay for awhile.

FYI - Its actually 2 males and 1 female. All have chosen to stay.

FYI II - The state will pay a portion of college tuition to any foster home child that graduates college while a member of a foster home.

FYI III - They aren't staying to keep close to the kids (at least the males). They've already been moved to homes without younger children, while the female has been allowed to stay with several teenagers.

Jerri Lynn Ward said...

I just found 2 excellent articles by a Texas criminal attorney.

This one and,

this one

John said...

I disagree with Grits's assumption that the CPS media manipulation is targeted at covering their butts.

A couple of days ago Harvey Hildebran (State Representative, Kerrville) said that there would be prosecutions. Folks might have missed that.

I think the purpose of the media manipulation is to poison the minds of Texans so that in subsequent prosecutions jury conviction is assured no matter how absurd the charges or unconvincing the evidence.

There will be prosecutions and convictions. The effort means to destroy the FLDS community, not to protect children. It would not surprise me if some of the "children" were among those to be prosecuted. They have been accused of lying to the authorities, thwarting the authorities by removing id bracelets or erasing info on them, and misrepresenting their ages. I seem to recall that impeding state officers in the performance of their duties and/or lying to them is an offense. That's a stretch on my part to be sure, but no more so than what we have seen thus far.

I expect several of the women, and as many of the men as possible will be prosecuted on absurd charges, and convicted.

The mind poisoning has been quite effective from what I can tell. People I talk to are so shocked and horrified by the loose accusations that they simply won't listen to Grits or Volokh.

What will be the next press release? Child sacrifice? Ritual cannibalism?

Finally, where the hell is Rozita Swinton. A lot of reporters would like to interview her, so where is she? Why can't reporters find her?

I suggest again that she is in custody in a dungeon someplace. My guess is in Texas. Did some authority in Texas put her up to the hoax call? Could that be what is being hidden?

This case stinks of police state action, of Vyshinsky, the procurator of the Soviet Union. The charge of "ideologically abusive" is right up there with Vyshinsky's "objective class enemy." The crime is not what you did but who you are, the worst possible abuse of law.

blog648 said...

DFPS claims that they can't get straight answers from the minors in custody, and that their names and stories keep changing. In other words, the victims aren't cooperating, and that's making it hard for DFPS to justify the wholesale taking of these kids. They won't accept documents because they could be forged. They've vilified everyone associated with this sect, including the so-called victims. It's called "blaming the victim", and it seems to be working.

rage said " CPS thinks that if we hate them enough, we'll look the other way when FLDS rights are abused." I think that's right on the money.

What has me worried is that this will set precedents for more abuse against other groups or classes. Parental rights are being eroded. This isn't right.

Jack said...

Dave in Texas said ...
"Two males who turned 18 while in state custody opted to stay in state care. Wonder what that's about?"
Hmm! Not having to go to work? Wanting to watch over younger siblings? Ready to see the world like my 18 yr olds?
They weren't rescued from prison.

Dave In Texas said...

Oh my. First the DFPS were Nazis and now they're akin to a Stalinist apparatchik.

The reasoned discussion just gets better and better.

Is no one bothered that there is fairly clear cause for investigation of bigamy and sexual assault on minors at the compound?

kbp said...

"Facts" CPS tells us, that is not all about "bigamy and sexual assault".

Pre-Hearing


However, Meisner said she "still cannot confirm that we have the 16-year-old girl."




"We are confident that she was at the ranch," CPS spokeswoman Marleigh Meisner said. "We know she exists.".............





Authorities are trying to gain the trust of the children, she said. "Even though they have not been safe before, they will be safe with us," Meisner said.





"They are very aware the media is here," she said. "They have asked us to shield them from the media, the photographs and video." No one wants to talk.



Marleigh Meisner... said Friday none of the women were interested in speaking to the media.
However, five women spoke with a reporter with the Salt Lake City-based Deseret News and said conditions in the shelter are crowded and the children are frightened.



Meisner said child welfare officials still can't find birth certificates for many of the children, making parentage and age determinations impossible. (Oh wait, the county said they had not even looked as of 2 days ago.)


It was also in the best interest of the Child Protective Services investigators who are trying to determine whether the children were physically or sexually abused or were witnesses to such abuse, she said. (While their website tells us that they have already "CONCLUDED" there has been sexual and/or physical abuse 8 days before this report.)


Meisner explained, children who remain in the company of an adult during the midst of a child abuse investigation do not feel that they can freely speak. "We believe children who are victims of abuse and neglect are certainly going to feel safer if there is not a parent there, coaching them ... that is true of any child protection case," she said. (Beyond the 14-17 YO girls that relates to the claims of sexual abuse how?)


"...12 days after the raid began, a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, said it was unclear if the girl at the center of the raid was among the 416 children taken from the ranch.
"We cannot confirm that we have (the girl)," said Marleigh Meisner. (Where is that Sarah nobody ever confirmed even existed prior to the raid?)



"...she said, adding that children who are victims of abuse or neglect typically feel "safer" and are more truthful if their parents are not around." (which explains all not with the 14-17 YO girl group how?)


Meisner said... "I believe we have ... children who are victims of physical abuse..." (as of 4/15 or even to date?)


Marleigh Meisner - The ranch was "not a safe environment for these children."


"...pointing out that the case — simply boiled down — is about "these children whose cries have gone unheard."


"I do believe that Sarah exists," she said. "If you listen to the testimony, there were many Sarahs. We received information who were young Sarahs who were pregnant, Sarahs who were mothers. Just because perhaps someone else phoned that in really doesn't change the investigation because we believe what we found was systematic abuse." (4/17/08)



Post Hearing CPS:


"This is not about religion -- this is about keeping children safe from abuse," she added.

Meisner said she was "very, very pleased" with the judge's decision, which she said was about protecting the children and not about religion.

"When asked whether Voss would consider allowing mothers to stay with their children if they agreed to leave the ranch, she said it wouldn't be acceptable unless they disavowed their belief, according to the petition."

Dave In Texas said...

I was thinking more about the 18 year old who, per the search affidavit, told a DPFS worker the man she was 'spiritually united' with had three other wives.

But you're entitled to your own facts, I suppose.

And Jack, I was truly just curious about the two 18-year-olds who opted to stay in state care.

As probable as your assumptions may or may not be, it was interesting to me they chose not to return to the compound or the FLDS folks.

But honestly, if I was going see the world, I might pick a better spot than San Angelo.

Jack said...

Dave,

I think I would pick someplace other than TEXAS.

Also I was just reading that the men and boys at the ranch are essentially under arrest. That could make me not want to go back.

Jeff said...

Dave in Texas -

Its actually 3 kids, 2 males one female. And before anyone starts talking about how they are there to control the kids, they aren't because younger kids aren't around. The two older males are separated from the group, and the lone female is with teenagers.

eLLe said...

SEE EXPOSE' ON TX DFPS COMMISSIONER COCKERELL'S SEX ABUSE SUIT AGAINST HIM---AS HE TESTIFIES AGAINST FLDS FOR 'ABUSE'

http://www.flds.ws/

Headmistress, zookeeper said...

JEff, thanks for all your FYIs. That's interesting. I wonder if this varies state to state, or how many years and years this has been the case. It's true my foster sister who stayed with us when CPS cut her loose was my age, so we're talking *almost* three decades ago. My foster brother moved in long after I was married and gone, but I think that was about ten years ago.
My dad ws the supervising social worker for the group home my foster brother was in, and I remember him lamenting how difficult it was for some of those kids to be cut off when they turned 18 and weren't really ready to be on their own.
He's retired now, and if he weren't senile, he'd be glad to know things have changed.

I also wonder how you know that the education level for FLDS kids is so low- my information is that FLDS members often do graduate high school or get GEDS and go on to college.

And I wonder if you have a link somewhere online telling about the two boys being moved to other quarters. I'd like to read more about that. Every news report I read basically says the same as this one, "Two boys who have turned 18 since being placed in state custody have chosen to stay in the foster facilities with the others."

Has anybody else seen this?
John, you might be on to something:
" State authorities are investigating whether younger boys taken from a polygamist ranch in West Texas were sexually abused by older boys, not adults, a state official said today.

Documents taken from the Yearning for Zion Ranch near Eldorado indicate that younger boys were molested by older boys at the ranch, the official, who asked not to be identified, told the Houston Chronicle.

No other details about the abuse were available. "

Hmmm. Could it be that somebody inside is also concerned about the way CPS plays a little loose with the headlines?

More on how CPS 'discovered' those broken bones:
"Most of the information about the fractures was reported to DFPS' Texas Child Protective Services by the children or their mothers. Few X-rays have been done on the children, agency officials said."

And another tale of how CPS 'discovered' all those girls were minors, subtitled, MOthers want to be with their babies:

"The agency reached the 53 total after reclassifying 26 girls, who had said they were older than 18, as younger than 18.

Stephanie Goodman, spokeswoman for the state's Health and Human Services Department, said those girls had told officials they were younger than 18. "

Jeff said...

Headmistress -

We actually got into a discussion recently about where I got my "facts". Some people on the thread thought I was making it up, some though I worked for a Baptist home, etc. In an attempt to keep things civil, I'll simply state that I do not work for anyone directly affiliated with this investigation. I wish I could be more descriptive, but I can't.

A few notes for you:

1.) The sexual abuse about the boys comes from notebooks and journals discovered day 1 on the ranch. It's also one of the deciding pieces of information that led to the judge ordering an "all hands" evacuation until more investigation could be done. Like the recent revelations on both the pregnancy (if you believe it) and the broken bones (ditto), it will come out at some point.

2.) Lawyers for individual children have been vital in providing actual SSNs, real birth records of many children. I suspect that the number of kids will continue to fluctuate as kids are either classified as adults or classified as children over.

kbp said...

SMOKE?

Jeff said...
The sexual abuse about the boys comes from notebooks and journals discovered day 1 on the ranch. It's also one of the deciding pieces of information that led to the judge ordering an "all hands" evacuation until more investigation could be done.

Those journals and all the boxes were in the judges chambers still 3 days ago and the complaint was they had only made it through 1 box. I'd have to ask WTH is going on if one or two of the 11 journals slipped out somehow.

The "Lawyers for individual children" have to go through somebody at the YFZ Ranch to find any "SSNs, real birth records of many children". There are not ID #'s tattooed that Short Creek keeps records on. How would the documents the parents could offer be different?

The Local Crank said...

Warren Jeffs is a loathsome figure who tyrannized, fleeced and abused his followers for years, even tho by his own admission he was never legitimately the leader of the church ruled previously by his father. FLDS dates back to at least the 1930's, if not 1890 when the mainstream LDS church disavowed polygyny, so many of the members have histories with the church going back decades, making it all the easier for Jeffs to prey on them. That being said, I am still astonished at the level of State-power apologetics from both liberals and conservatives, most of it about as thoughtful as "Napoleon is always right" or "I read on the internets that them people were freaky. Off to Gitmo with 'em!" However bizarre or distasteful we might find FLDS' beliefs, do we REALLY want the gov't vetting religions to see if their beliefs are "acceptable"? I don't mean to suggest that religious belief should be an excuse for commiting crimes, but it shouldn't be used as an excuse to circumvent Constitutional rights by the State, either. People who commit crimes against children should be punished, but the State's bungling and violations of the children's Constitutional rights, much less those of the parents, seems to make it less likely that justice will ever be done.

kbp said...

Seized Documents

The Motion to transfer all the seized property that included the "journals" was filed the 10th. They had not opened more than half a box of it to influence the judge as of 3 days ago.

kbp said...

Define "household"?
"CPS officials counter that they found at least one underage girl who was pregnant or had children in each of the sect's 19 homes on the ranch when they first arrived on April 3."

Devorah said...

Nothing I have heard thus far can justify the swoop and scoop of ALL the FDLS children.

I did a bit of my own math on the broken bones using my own broken arm when I was kid. There are 5 of us kids. Using the ever changing number of FDLS kids I came to a number of 46. In short--400 plus kids with 41 who had broken bones fits pretty much into the norm.

As a nurse I question why this hit the headlines prior to medical checks. It is not hard for medical personal to determine if a broken bone is from abuse or an accident.
Working in the ER we make these calls all the time.

I have a friend who works as a counselor for the city in San Angelo--she has worked closely with both the judge in this case and CPS.(not on this case) Like others--she was on board with the actions taken but now given the misinformation she hears every day she is no longer so sure that the motives of the state are pure.
Devorah
Former Texan

Headmistress, zookeeper said...

Jeff, according to a news report I already posted here, the sexual abuse of the boys was believed to be committed by *other* boys, not parents.

Lawyers would get the social security numbers and other documentation from where? Wouldn't it be.... wait for it.... the parents?

CPS' own Darrel Azar has said there are three ways they are determining age of the girls- these quotes have been posted before.

HE ADMITS THE EYEBALL TEST.
The second method he mentions is the girls' own representation, which is clearly liable to misrepresentation since CPS has made it clear to the girls that it won't believe them if they say they are adults, will believe them if they say they aren't, and will let them stay with their young children if they say what CPS wants to hear.

And finally, yes, according to Azar, *some* of the girls' ages have been determined by documentation provided from their lawyers.

Yet another CPS agent, when asked how they were determining the ages of these new girls, only mentioned the 2nd method- the representations of the girls themselves.

Jeff said...

KBP -

The issue of the not believing the original documentation from the "parents" (quotes used for specific reasons, but I don't want to get flamed) is an easy one:

The parents continue to provide different documentation for each child multiple times. I'll give you a story(you can choose to believe it or not): when the loaded up the girls to move them to coliseaum, a list was provided to place specific people on the bus. Once the bus started moving, two separate people got names for each adult and child on the list. When they compared those two lists to the original, not a single name matched, not even to names they provided the other investigator on the bus. As an investigator, why would you believe an adult that comes forward with "proof" of age and birth parents, when 10 different parents have claimed that child their own, and each parent gives investigators 10 different names of each child?

As to the journals, they don't need to open much to get some serious evidence from them. I should have ammended what I wrote earlier, because I didn't speak with what I knew exactly, only what I thought. Here is what I know exactly:

The journals were one of the primary reasons CPS decided to pull all the children, because it indicated a clear "wide spread pattern" of abuse.

I just ASSUMED that the judge had seen that same material, but I do not know that for fact, and I apologize for writing it; it makes me seem as if I am attuned to what the judge has done, when I do not.

Jeff said...

Headmistress -

The sexual abuse is believed to have ocurred from both other boys and older men; that is from the journals.

I will admit that it will be a difficult line to walk between girls CPS thinks are underage and what some of the lawyers provide. It is difficult to reconcile a child that looks 14 and claims to be 19. I'm not privy to how they will make those decisions, so I won't post about it.

Anonymous said...

I see lots of commentors making disparate remarks about the FLDS members (parents and children) for not providing CPS the information they wanted, or for giving misleading or false information. I would be the responsibility for CPS to conduct their investigation any way they could, but their prime source of information should come from the person lodging the complaint, not the accused.

Even though most CPS actions are civil in nature, the FLDS members were told from the outset that there could be criminal reprocussions. That gave them the right to remain silent (even if not placed under arrest or charged with a crime). If the FLDS members said anything more than "I understand you have an investigation to conduct, and I wish you well" - they have said too much.

doran williams said...

Jeff, were you able to take your bike to San Angelo with you? I understand the area is a favorite place for road dogs.

Since you claim not to be employed by anyone directly involved with the "investigation" (I think of it as an attempt by the State of Texas to destroy a religious group, a church), can we accurately conclude that you are on contract with CPS?

Headmistress, zookeeper said...

"It is difficult to reconcile a child that looks 14 and claims to be 19."

Jeff, my 25 year old daughter just went to Europe for her college spring break. Several people she met were surprised, and very sorry for her, that her mother let a 15 year old go to Europe by herself.

My 23 year old daughter is a member of a local writer's guild. Recently, the guild decided to change the location of their annual meeting at a local pub because they assumed, by looking at her, that she was only 16 years old. They actually only guessed she was that old because she drives herself to the meetings.

People whose business it is to ask for I.D. cards for everybody over ten at military bases never asked for her I.D. card until she was 16. When she goes to the theater, she is often offered the '12 and under' price.

People are always surprised to hear that our 19 year old daughter is older than her 17 year old sister. They assume both girls are around 15 and 16.

When we fly, they are very seldom asked to show their I.D. because it is assumed they are all minors.

So when Darrel Azar admits that CPS *looked* at the girls to decide whether or not they are minors, it only makes me think these people are utterly incompetent.

As for the sexual abuse by men and boys, the only public statement I have seen is this one (linked earlier in the thread):

" State authorities are investigating whether younger boys taken from a polygamist ranch in West Texas were sexually abused by older boys, not adults, a state official said today.

Documents taken from the Yearning for Zion Ranch near Eldorado indicate that younger boys were molested by older boys at the ranch, the official, who asked not to be identified, told the Houston Chronicle.

No other details about the abuse were available. "


I'll also ask, again, how you know that their education level is so low?

the 'cultural' statement put out by CPS for the group foster homes and posted at Brooke Adams' site says only:

"Educational Background:
Attended school while on the compound.
Some older children may have attended public school out of state.
Some children may not have education beyond the 8th grade."

And, of course, most of the children aren't even old enough to be educated beyond the 8th grade.

Was your 'source' also one of the insiders telling reporters that they thought the color red was 'evil' and that they have no toys and don't know how to play or use crayons?

diogenes said...

Maybe I've missed a detail, but if the journals were found on Day 1 of the raid, how were they used to justify removing all of the children? My understanding from everything I've seen and read is that they went in to remove all of the children from the get go after receiving the call from "Sarah". Things just aren't adding up.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

"It is difficult to reconcile a child that looks 14 and claims to be 19"

Funny you say that, Jeff. When I was a senior in high school back in Tyler, I recall hanging out once with a fellow a year older than me who was home from school, and we ran into some girls at an arcade. They all announced they were in college, and my buddy was particularly taken with one buxom young woman who told him she was 19 and a freshman at Baylor.

As it happened, I knew her sister who was in my high school class, and had first-hand knowledge that the girl was 13, though let's just say she was already amply endowed. I'll never forget my buddy telling me as we left, shaking his head, "Damn, Henson, I can't believe, it. You just saved my ass."

Since that incident, I've never had much confidence in the "eyeball" test.

Also, to anon who writes that CPS' "prime source of information should come from the person lodging the complaint, not the accused." that might be how things usually work but in this case there is no complaining victim - she turned out to be a hoax. Which is why we're now in this never-never land where CPS can only prove its case by insisting the victims are liars.

Finally, I should point folks to two excellent comments on the string at the Volokh Conspiracy, see here and here.

I'm probably off the blog for the day, but folks here appear to be carrying the ball forward on their own! Thanks, everybody, for the thoughtful discussions on this topic over the last few weeks. :)

Anonymous said...

Which arcade? The one in the mall, Putt Putt by Hickory Fare, or the one by Taco Bell and IHOP?

I liked the girls at the mall better, they were older.

Headmistress, zookeeper said...

Oh, and in response to this:

Is no one bothered that there is fairly clear cause for investigation of bigamy and sexual assault on minors at the compound?


I really grow tired of this strawman. NOBODY has EVER said there is no way, no how, that any abuse has happened. NOBODY has EVER said that actual abuse should not be investigated and the perpetrators tried and convicted- in fact, so far as I can tell, everybody who you are claiming just doesn't care about this has actually said the opposite- we care so much that we'd like to make sure the men who did those things are put where they cannot do them again, unlike CPS.

I don't see any evidence that the state is interested in pursuing charges of bigamy, or in jailing men who have committed sexual assault. The last bothers me a lot more than the first.

That some men and women on the ranch have committed bigamy is not reason for them to lose their kids. That some men have been 'spiritually' married to teen-agers is also not a good enough reason to remove nurslings and preschoolers from their mothers.

You seem to believe that CPS is justified in almost any dishonesty or wrongdoing, and I don't. When Angie Voss says that leaving the ranch, leaving their husbands, getting their own apartments or houses is not good enough, but the only way that mothers can be with their children is if the disavow their religious beliefs, that ought to send chills down everybody's spine. I can't believe it doesn't bother you at all.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

The one by Taco Bell and the IHOP. ;)

kbp said...

Jeff, you are starting to be the master of re-writes here.

You start by posting all as FACTS from your inside source that you can't share with us, but when challenged on any of those FACTS, you select portions of each post as an "OOPS!, just my mistake in an assumption".

Any reading what you've posted are left with the task of listing your various FACTS and then striking off what you later admit is your opinion, all so they can distinguish which parts of your comments are unconfirmed FACTS and which have transformed into simply your opinions.

When I finished reviewing all you had posted, I concluded I was left with questionable theories at best.


diogenes
The first journals of any sort I could find record of were seized mid-day or later on 4/5 (which would be day 3 of the raid), going off the public records all can see.

doran williams said...

Headmistress:

May I get preachy for a moment?

Grits For Breakfast is one of the few blogs I'm familiar with which allows almost unrestrained access to the blog's comments section. As far as I've been able to discern, people who disagree with Scott are not banned from commenting; nor are people banned from commenting even when caught in outright lies and other forms of deception.

Grits' openness in this respect makes the comments section vulnerable to disinformation campaigns, or efforts, by individuals and by entities.

Grit For Breakfast may be the best place to go now for information and analysis about the State's armed attack on the Eldorado Kids. There are some very thoughtful, experienced, and shrewd people posting comments here about what CPS is doing, about what CPS is not doing, about the real agenda of the State, etc.
This reporting and commentary makes Grits For Breakfast a target for people and agencies trying to hide, conceal, mislead, and "spin" the events about the YFZ Ranch.

I think it possible that some of the commentors on this blog are here for the express purpose of misleading readers, of putting misinformation here in an attempt to confuse readers, of trying to divert the conversation from facts, or the absence of facts, to rumor, innuendo, fantasy, and factoids.

There are ways to deal with people who are making this disinformation effort. One way is to moderate/censor the postings. I do not want to see that happen; I think Grits himself is unlikely to start doing it. Another way is for the rest of us to absolutely refuse to let lies, distortions, rumor-presented-as-fact, and other disinformation techniques go unchallenged. We need to keep doing what some of us have been doing, which is to identify the liars and their lies, call them out, challenge them, and so discredit them as liars that they will finally go away.

Some people, I hasten to admit, may just simply be confused or honestly mistaken, or have a difference of opinion about how to interpret events. So lets call them out, also, and help them get unconfused, help them to learn how to read, point out the flaws in their thinking, and suggest other ways they might see things.

Every time a CPS or DPRS designated liar puts out propaganda, someone here needs to deconstruct it and set the record straight.

I have two repeat commentators in mind as people who are deliberately trying to skew the dialogue by putting out misinformation. One, I think, is acting independently, as a kind of free-lance disinformation specialist.

The other, I'm starting to think, might actually be an employee of CPS and/or DPS. I think of him as a less competent, clumsier, modern day, wannabe version of Lamont Cranston, The Shawdow, who had the power to cloud mens' minds.

I'm very interested in eventually finding out if DPRS or DPS are actually paying a salary to someone to monitor this and other blogs. Would an open records act request turn up something?

Jack said...

CPS stoop to putting misinformation on blogs?

Tell me it isn't so!

kbp said...

What a coincidence Doran's post above was!

As I read through people picking away at various parts of this mess, such as journals or what made CPS decide to take ALL the children, etc... I find it is easy to forget what the big picture from the beginning shows us.

Reading Diogenes' comment quickly reminded me of how this all started with that little portion of the comment telling us; "My understanding... they went in to remove all of the children from the get go ".

How did it start?
A call telling of a pregnant 16 YO experiencing life threatening physical abuse that has required her to go to the hospital, information in which NOBODY tried to corroborate.

The threat was left unattended for FIVE DAYS from her initial call, while CPS, the Sheriff and the Judge worked out the plans and warrants needed to attend to a Sexual Abuse of a Child, soon to add Bigamy.

Only fools would believe they'd need 700 warriors and 12 CPS workers to save the life of one girl.

Diogenes' "understanding" can see the big picture and is something all should remember to take into consideration as they're reviewing the minor details involved in this entire mess.

One doesn't have to be "conspiracy" minded to see all the great efforts the CPS and various other public servants have been making to obscure or obfuscate what is going on.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Williams--I for one like to hear all sides of this debate, not just from you and a couple of others who for whatever reason are anti CPS. I have enough sense to muddle through it all and make my own determination of what I believe and not believe. I get on this blog once or twice a day just for that purpose. Don't try to sensor just because you don't agree or believe some of the posters. Why would you want to do that. Seems to me this would be a pretty boring place. Not to mention, I am not too sure that the persons you are referring to, and I think I know at least one of them, don't know what he is talking about. I think its fascinating to hear it all. By the way, many of your posts are as intriguing.

Jeff said...

I'm assuming you guys think I don't know what I'm talking about. That's very lovely . . . as I always post, you can either believe it or not, I don't care one way or the other.

doran williams said...

To Mr. Anon 11:36.

"Don't try to sensor just because you don't agree or believe some of the posters. Why would you want to do that. " Your statement is just exactly what I was talking about. Maybe we can help you learn to read. Go back and read my post. I explicitly said I don't want censorship. How can you reasonably interpret my post as advocating precisely the opposite?

Jeff, just stick to the facts, ok, and leave speculation to gamblers and weather forecasters.

lowery.shirley said...

Sex Crimes Against Children is a phrase that leads to blind panic. All rules and reasoning go out the window at a time when it is most needed. Every day the public passes judgment on those accused and the verdict is always guilty.
Some say a 3 year old does not lie. I disagree. And CPS is helpful in this area.
Lives are regularly destroyed with no evidence. Innocent people take a plea rather than being made an example out of in court. When in doubt juries give a "little bit of punishment" to make sure a guilty person does not get off completely free. When it comes to sex offenders there is no little bit of punishment.
Nobody care if the claim is made during a heated custody battle or by a rebellious teen daughter. DNA and wrongful identification play no role. Proving something did not happen is next to impossible. We destroy those who piss us off.
Maybe the day with come when this money-making, political witch hunt ends. There IS life after sexual abuse and what a joy it would have been to find a living, breathing Jessica Lunsford. Laws lean more and more toward the same punishment whether a child is killed or not. Murder becomes a freebie so doing away with a victim/witness is the smart thing to do. This insanity encourages murder.
The public must also accept blame for what happened at FDLS. We constantly grow more rigid on what is sexually acceptable. We do not get the truth from CPS or the media. FDLS children have been exploited and taken because we work with emotions rather than facts. The seeds of change can be planted right here if change is what we want.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Just sticking my head in for moment amidst other work, but Doran the reason I don't regulate "lies" is two-fold. One, they're hard to identify from afar. Two, when the MSM already reprints them as un-debunked headlines, what's the harm in letting them recur in blog comments where they might actually be challenged?

Even assuming (without evidence) one or two people here are agent provocateurs, the same lies are being told anyway behind closed doors. Reacting in blog comments lets folks take a crack at them in a freewheeling, informal setting that encourages creative approaches and arguments. At their best, comment sections can almost be an antidote (or inoculation) to false memes being put out earlier than previously possible.

Admittedly this freewheeling approach has problems and limits. During the TYC coverage there have been cases where I finally did require some overt restrictions to keep things on topic and limit personal insults. There does come a point where such behavior detracts more than allowing freedom helps, and rest assured when I think that's happening I step in. I've worked too hard to make this blog credible to let anonymous cowards and fools destroy it. So I appreciate the approach you propose - rigorously holding such commenters accountable. That's exactly the best thing that can happen, IMO, to encourage productive debate.

Jeff, it's not we mistrust you, but it's hard to always accept claims by someone who says, "I have inside knowledge but I can't say how or why," particularly when it differs from information that's public and verifiable. Please don't take offense, that's just the nature of the claims you're making, and I'm sure that's a function of limits placed on you by your position. So be it, both directions - folks just have to take your comments FWIW. best,

Anonymous said...

Its obvious that you, Mr. Williams, do not like to think that someone disagrees with you or has another opinion, that's it. I cannot believe that you are telling anyone else to "stick to the facts" when most of the comments here are speculation. Unless you are working this investigation or are involved in some other way, then you are not there to gather facts. You interpret and speculate about what someone else has said or done. I dont think anyone here knows the facts. You know what has been filed in court and reported in the media. I doubt you will argue given that, who can really believe anything that is coming out about this mess.

Anonymous said...

I am in agreement with Grits as far as putting myself out there to believe anyone on here who indicates that they have inside information about the YFZ controversy. However, I do believe that intelligent persons who might have that knowledge of facts do post here and at other blogs. I do not think there is someone hired by the state to lurk here and sway anyone into the DFPS side of the issue.

Fred said...

The Feds weigh in:

Feds are stymied in probes of FLDS

Anonymous said...

More like feds butt out!

Bush to Texas: You're on your own!"

kbp said...

BIG
BREAKING
NEWS
!!!!


The plan from the START?

Fred said...

Why was Rozita Swinton's case sealed? Could it be all the information about the FLDS in her possession came from a source involved with the raid?

kbp said...

I meant to add;

"It must be Friday"!

Headmistress, zookeeper said...

Texas authorities (finally)cancel the warrent for the arrest of that guy in Arizona who supposedly managed to abuse an imaginary 16 year old in Texas.

Doran Williams said...

Experienced lawyers generally tend to be circumspect about filing pleadings. They usually don't, for instance, file pleadings alleging facts which they know to be untrue or unprovable. It damages a lawyer's standing and reputation with the courts to do so. Filing a false pleading is also subject to disciplinary measures against the lawyer doing the filing.

It is unlikely that Attorney Gerry Goldstein rose to close to the top of the legal profession by filing false pleadings. I assume that he will be able to prove, through testimonial and documentary evidence, that Sheriff Doran knew before he executed his arrest warrant that Mr. Barlow was not on the premises of the YFZ Ranch. This should have given the Sheriff pause; it should have alerted him to the possibility that the warrant was not supported by probable cause.

So, are there any experienced criminal lawyers following this thread?

We have a Sheriff with a search and arrest warrant who knows the man he is after is not where the warrant directs him to go. Is the warrant faulty? Did the Sheriff act unreasonably. Can the fruits of this seach be suppressed? And perhaps most importantly, does Ranger Long, upon whose affidavit the warrant was issued, have some 'splainin' to do?

kbp said...

'Bishop's Record' lists families of the YFZ Ranch

"...The record, released Thursday by Tom Green County District Court, contains names, ages and locations for many of the men, women and children of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints living at the ranch."

I guess this is the CPS Friday special, all they had to spin this weekend maybe. Doesn't tell of anything incriminating in the article.

Anonymous said...

"As of today, 464 children are in the state's custody, including a boy born this week."

It's almost amusing to see even the media apprehensive about yet another number to report.

Sadly, they still can't locate or specifically identify "Sarah". I would expect that by now, they could have interviewed every person in the compound to locate her, twice.

William said...

Sarah was a fake, and they knew that, well, they knew Barlow wasn't there, the sheriff called him beforehand

TxBluesMan said...

Yeah, it is incriminating.

It appears to be a census type form, in the head of household's handwriting. In the list (which are from 2007, but still within the statute of limitations) it shows:

4 men married monogamously to underage girls, one with an infant.

19 men in polygamous marriages in Texas, with 5 of them married to underage girls.

4 other men in polygamous marriages outside of Texas, and therefore not prosecutable here, but it might be possible in Utah and Idaho.

One of the men, Wendell Nielson listed 22 wives.

I don't think it will be long before you start seeing indictments.

doran williams said...

tx, have you ever heard of the hearsay rule and of the necessity of authenticating documents to be used as evidence? Do you think these evidentiary rules can be used to keep the "Bishop's Record" from being used as evidence at a trial?

Anonymous said...

CPS publishes their legal notice in the ElDorado to the named and unnamed parents of named and children taken...

http://www.myeldorado.net/Pages/LegalNotices.html

kbp said...

TBM,

You have a link to share for this data?

or anyone?

Dave In Texas said...

Here ya go.

It's in the newspaper link listed above.

Or maybe the great Family and Protective Services Conspiracy slipped it in. You know, just to make the polygamist look bad.

Fred said...

tx wrote:

4 men married monogamously to underage girls, one with an infant.

Were these legal marriages with parental permission or not?

19 men in polygamous marriages in Texas, with 5 of them married to underage girls.

This last appears to be illegal for all 5 of the girls. Were the marriages consummated or not? In other words, will the girls testify they had sex? That is one problem the Feds had.

They may have the same problem with the man married 22 time (22 times!) if the wives refuse to testify. Some of the objections to the raid, which I agree with, is that potential witnesses may be more set in their ways and refuse to cooperate. But if the state can prove its case without it getting thrown out, it will be lucky. Even so, this is hardly enough evidence to justify the emergency removal of all the minors when it was possible to continue the investigation without doing so. Better to remove the men and abusers (if boys abused) and maybe anyone pregnant and in need of medical care.

I don't care about the polygamy though many do. Indeed, if the raid were only for polygamy without the element of minors, the backlash would likely be far, far worse.

kbp said...

Besides bigamy charges, I only saw 3 that could be subject to Sexual Assault of a Child if these records are of any value one way or the other.

Nephi Jeffs 38
Elizabeth Jessop 16

Lehi Alred 28
Rachel Alred 16

Abram Jeffs 35
Suzanne Jeffs 16

kbp said...

Fred

The way I read the Code, I believe the state can subpoena the "spiritual wives" to testify.

If this is the limit of what the state has, it's still very embarrassing for what they did to the children.

TxBluesMan said...

Doran, I know that you are a geriatric solo in a small town outside of Austin, but even you should know that these documents can be admitted.

These are documents that the defendant prepared, and are covered by the personal records area, not the hearsay rule.

See Goldberg v State, 95 S.W.3d 345 (Tex. App. Houston 2002) pet refused (Tex. Crim. App.) cert denied (USSC). Documents that were prepared by the defendant voluntarily are admissible.

See also Andersen v Maryland, 427 U.S. 463 (1976).

I really expected better from you - that was really weak.

TxBluesMan said...

kbp,

They can subpeona them, but why?

Charge them with Bigamy and then give them immunity for their testimony.

It's hard to get your kids back when you've been indicted....

Anonymous said...

"Charge them with Bigamy and then give them immunity for their testimony.

It's hard to get your kids back when you've been indicted...."

Yes because people's lives and their kids are all just pawns to be moved about on a chess board. Indict them with no intent of prosecuting. Pressure them to say what DFPS wants whether its true or not under threat of taking their kids. Great idea! Yuck, yuck, yuck. Just pitiful.

Anonymous said...

tx, you bring up an interesting question not yet discussed or even seriously considered. Is the government evil?

It's not an absurd question. Many on the left think Bush evil for lying about the war and taking our freedoms. Many on the right think to government evil for allowing abortion.

Many others think the government evil for having the highest incarceration rate in the world. I think you fall into this category.

Anonymous said...

kbp wrote:

Nephi Jeffs 38
Elizabeth Jessop 16

Lehi Alred 28
Rachel Alred 16

Abram Jeffs 35
Suzanne Jeffs 16


They would not be illegal either with parental permission. Also, I think the lawyers of all of them will be onto tx's strategy and will come up with one of their own. So far it appears there were no 13, 14 or 15-year-old as so often claimed, and so after tx's post, unless there is a genuine victim who wants to press charges, I hope they all beat it.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

So, Bluesman, now we get the admission that the only possible charge against most people at the ranch is "bigamy," and that at most three underage brides were identified (though NOT 13-15 year olds, as touted in the press). But bigamy is not grounds for removal of a child by CPS, which must find one of these four circumstances to justify removal:

1. an immediate danger to the physical health or safety of the child

2. the child has been the victim of sexual abuse

3. the parent or person who has possession of the child is currently using a controlled substance

4. the parent or person who has possession of the child has permitted the child to remain on premises used for the manufacture of methamphetamine

So please explain to me why CPS had authority to seize all these kids based on this skimpy, inconclusive evidence? Shouldn't the kids from families where no abuse was alleged all go home now?

kbp said...

TBM
From all I've read, they are a very tight group and I doubt very many will turn evidence for immunity.

That means Texas has to show the world they're looking to look away those evil women!

As for getting the kids back, it's impossible to say what new rules Judge "en masse" will make up as she goes along. Frankly, I think she is in way over her head and her prints are all over this mess from the start. I do think she is worried herself, judging from the Plan A, B & C on nursing babies.

I also believe she may have some splainin to do in HOW the last 2 Orders were signed. It's looking like there was some back-dating or she purposely left them UNSIGNED while forcing them to be followed.

Read FOOTNOTE 1 on the latest Writ filed TRLA and let me know if that is SOP in Texas courts.

Anonymous said...

I know it's been beaten death, but it seems to need repeating.

CPS has claimed that 60% of girls between the ages of 13 and 17 are pregnant or have had children. The number of girls within that age group totals 53.

26 of these girls had been "reclassified" (by the looksy test)to get placed into that age grouop. Prior to that mass adjustment, CPS claimed that 5 of the 27 girls in initial group were pregnant or have had children. Of the 5, 2 were pregnant, 1 was suspected of being pregnant, which leaves two that have already had children.

There is no information as to the ages of the 2 girls that had children, nor the 1 girl suspected of being pregnant, but 1 of the girls about to deliver (and has now delivered a baby boy) was 17 at the time of conception.

This information leads one to believe 100% of the girls that were reclassified were either pregnant or have had children. This is how CPS artificially inflated the now triumphantly touted 60% number.

Yet the Bishop's record indicates numbers closer to the original information provided by CPS to the court (not to the media).

kbp said...

OOPS!

Should read;
"...Texas has to show the world they're looking to LOCK away those evil women!"




ADD:
So far, the CPS is the only 'fall guy' needed in this mess. If & when charges for criminal code violations come into play, the focus shifts away from the CPS.

kbp said...

Anon 3:16
They would not be illegal either with parental permission.

The law doesn't allow a bigamous marriage as a defense in a Sexual Assault of a Child charge from all I've read.

That would mean only those that are the first or only wife are okay, I believe.

kbp said...

Anon 8:37

The "Bishop's Records" are either not dated or from;

5/20/07
4/25/07
8/9/07
5/10/07
3/19 thru 28/07
6/9/00

If the ones assigned determining criminal charges based on the dates are no better at math than CPS, the statutes of limitation may run out before they figure it out! HaHa!

kbp said...

Sorry Anon 8:37

I was laughing so hard at the idea of CPS counting that I forgot why I posted!


The number pregnant or with a child could have changed quite a bit since the "Bishop's Records" were put together, plus it doesn't tell when or where the births or marriages took place.

doran williams said...

tx, I am continually impressed by your omniscient knowledge of all things relating to the YFZ debacle. For instance, only you would know that the Bishop's Records were created by "the" defendant! And you were able to arrive at this conclusion without even having the actual documents in your hands! Damn, I wish I had the ability you have to peer through time and space and down the internet tubes and see what happened months or years ago. Is it something you smoke or drink that gives you this power? Spider venom, maybe? Or a stainless steel colander on your head?

Do you think you will be called as an expert witness at one of the criminal trials to testify to your expert knowledge based on your super-hero abilities? [Seems possible, since the presiding judge there allowed some other yahoo to testify as an expert based on stuff he read in "the media."] I mean, how else will the State establish that "the" defendant prepared the docs if not by your expert testimony?

On the other hand, these docs do seem to put the shiv to the State's allegations/fantasies as to the extent of child sexual abuse at YFZ by fat and nasty geriatric men. For that reason alone, I will support you in your new role as CPS Expert Witness.

Keep up the good work. Spread the word to other blogs that the Bishops' Records knock a huge hole in the CPS rationale for removal of all the kids.

kbp said...

TBM
"4 men married monogamously to underage girls, one with an infant.

19 men in polygamous marriages in Texas, with 5 of them married to underagegirls."


It would be helpful to any trying to find where your numbers came from if you define what you mean by underage,

TIA

TxBluesMan said...

Anon 3:16 stated that it would not be illegal with parental permission.

True. All they would have to do is to get a copy of the sworn affidavit that was filed with the county clerk within the 30 day period prior to the issuance of the marriage license, which must also indicate that neither party is currently married. Otherwise, it would be an illegal marriage.

kbp asked a question relating to the first footnote in the amended motion for mandamus. Written orders can be issued after the oral orders in the court. If you want, I’ll look up and provide the cites.

kbp commented on Anon 3:16’s statement (above). Being the first or only wife would be a defense only if they complied with the parental consent law as noted above.

kbp asked a question on the statute of limitations. First, bigamy is a continuing offense, so if they can prove that they were still living together as of the raid, the later date would be the date used. Second, the statute of limitations for felonies is three years in Texas, unless otherwise provided (such as no limitation for murder). Basically, if going from the date on the record, they would have until 2010 to file.

Doran, did you even take the time to look at the records? I doubt it. First, the record indicates that it is to be completed by the head of the household, each record identifies the head of household as ‘self’, and each record uses a different style of handwriting, which can be confirmed by handwriting analysis. After looking at how poorly you understand the issue, I begin to wonder if you are now suffering from dementia. You apply the wrong standard to the records, you don’t understand what they say on their own face, and you don’t bother to try and cover your lack of ability with any type of research or effort. Did you survive by being an appointed counsel and pleading all your clients out? Is it your insecurity that causes you angst when your lack of knowledge is pointed out? Just curious.

kbp, underage is under the age of consent for marriage according to the Family Code.

Headmistress, zookeeper said...

"Being the first or only wife would be a defense only if they complied with the parental consent law as noted above. "

Would this be true if they'd gotten married outside of Texas?

TxBluesMan said...

headmistress, I don't know.

My initial thought is that if they could show that the marriage happened in another state, with reliable proof, the Federal Defense of Marriage Act would require that Texas recognize the marriage.

I also think that they would want this to be documented through the government of that state, given the questionable documents that have been discovered during the search.

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