Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Searching for principled voices on the Eldorado raid

Once the government launches a wave of persecution against a religious minority based on popular animosity, there's no telling which ugly direction it will turn, as evidenced by a the vandalism of a Mormon couple's house in Placedo, near Victoria, which they believe is related to Eldorado raid (though the victims are mainstream, not fundamentalist Mormons). This to me is the nearly inevitable result when officials use the might of the state to prosecute groups based on their beliefs rather than charging individuals for their crimes: It encourages attitudes that amount to wholesale bigotry.

Which brings me to the point raised in this post by a new blog sponsored by the group Principle Voices - Introspection of a Plural Wife (at Heart): The ACLU and other civil liberties groups need to step to the plate on this issue and inject some rationality into the process. Breaking its silence 13 days after the raid, the Texas ACLU issued a press release announcing it was "observing" the case, but did not return phone calls to the national media. Indeed, ACLUTX's early decision to remain a spectator is one of the reasons I've jumped on this case with both feet - it increasingly appears they will not.

Wrote Principle Voices director Mary Batchelor, "We understand that the Texas ACLU is watching this case closely ... but we strongly urge the Texas ACLU to become actively involved in these proceedings now before many more violations occur."

Hear! Hear! I can tell you for certain that when I was Texas ACLU's police accountability project director (2000-2006), I would have been all over this case like stink on a hog. I understand from third-hand sources the Eldorado raid has been a source of major internal wrangling within TX ACLU, and some leaders in the organization have opposed getting involved behind the scenes, which explains the weenie "we're observing" language in their press release. (Jim Harrington, a former ACLUTX executive director who runs the Texas Civil Rights Project, so far has been more actively involved.)

I'm glad to see Principle Voices taking leadership, since the Eldorado story has been marked by nothing more prominently than the utter ignorance of government officials and the media about fundamentalist Mormons. Wrote Batchelor:
There are many things people do not understand about our culture. Fundamentalist Mormons are not a single homogeneous body. There is great diversity within the culture, with varying belief systems and practices, separate groups and churches, and even those who refer to themselves as "independents" who are not a part of any church or group. (For example, I am an independent.) Many polygamists from these other churches, or who are independents, are well-blended in society, are cosmopolitan, live in regular neighborhoods and could not be picked out of the crowd and identified as polygamists.

There is a lot of confusion regarding Mormonism. The term is commonly identified with the mainstream LDS Church, which abandoned polygamy over a 30 year period beginning in 1890 when it released a manifesto renouncing the practice. It subsequently authorized underground polygamy while publicly denying the practice, until ultimately, by about 1929, it ceased altogether (except where it is still accepted as a theological tenet enduring in the hereafter; the LDS Church still regularly marries men in its temples to more than one female spouse for after this lifetime.)

The different branches of Mormonism can be compared to the different branches of Christianity. There are Protestants, Lutherans, Baptists, Catholics, etc., who all consider themselves part of the larger Christian body (LDS also consider themselves part of that body, with a great deal of protest from mainstream Christianity).
The strange dress, hairstyles and public presentation of the FLDS polygamists has too much detracted from the central constitutional issues at stake, so I welcome the perspective of serious religious folk demanding protection of the YFZers' First Amendment freedoms.

Relatedly, Grits' writing on this subject has recently received some attention. A Dallas News editor crafted together a couple of my recent columns to produce this op-ed today, and yesterday I did an interview on WNYC public radio in New York.

With as much national media as the case has received, I've been amazed how many folks - even reporters - are still unaware that the original phone call setting off the incident was a hoax, that there was no 16-year old rape victim to be rescued by the massive raid on the ranch. Invariably, I find that adding that tidbit of information changes people's perception significantly about what's going on in this case.

UPDATE: Confirming my sense that the ACLUTX and other civil liberties advocates on both left and right are abdicating their responsibilities by failing to participate this case, David Bernstein at The Volokh Conspiracy opines, "It's time for a nationally prominent civil liberties attorney to get involved." Yeah, because there aren't any "nationally prominent" Texas barristers who could handle it, right?


Anonymous said...


Senator Jane Nelson, chair of the HHS committee, is holding hearings on CPS (and from early news accounts, the YFZ raid) on April 30. Have you had any luck getting the hearing transcript? The testimony of the CPS investigators--as well as of their own psychologist expert that the children shouldn't be separated--should be seen by the committee.

Anonymous said...

Well lets see, I had clients that were FLDS, abused by the FLDS! I was the child abuse Prevention rep. of FOR KIDS SAKE in Arizona & Utah between 1996 and 2001. I lived 24 miles from Hildale/Colorado City and know the faces 1st hand!

Warren Jeffs Confession part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Warren Jeffs Negro Race Part 1
Part 2
part 3
part 4
part 5
part 6
part 7
Geneaolgy Tracking in Salt Lake City Les & Jolene
Underground Railroad The Fawn Girls & Flora
The Evil Swept part 1
Warren Jeffs Negro Race Part 1
Warren Jeffs Explaining POLYGAMY
Warren Jeffs #2 Cont. on Polygamy
Warren Jeffs #3 Continued on Polygamy
Leesa Morrison Arizona AG Deputy 12-03-00 When did they know?
Planning Caroline's Rescue with her cousin Sarah Cooke/Jay
Raw audio/visual of Caroline at age 15 while she was in hiding with us


Gritsforbreakfast said...

Jerri, I spoke to three lawyers involved, and though I got a lot of additional background from them, neither had the transcript yet, then I didn't follow up like I should. I still need to call the court reporter, as Doran suggested.

Frankly, all three said they were too overwhelmed to have gotten it yet because the nuts and bolts stuff was still so messy. One told me of a family with six detainees, only three of whom even now (after their 14-day hearing) have been assigned a lawyer. And of course the 21 they found yesterday don't have lawyers, because no one knew about them to assign them one.

On the transcript, one attorney estimated it might cost "a couple of thousand dollars," which dampened my enthusiasm, but I'm hoping one of the ad litems already paid for it who wouldn't mind sharing. If not, it's the family lawyers who need to do a chip-in!

When I get my head above water from my own family stuff this week (which now seems infinitesimally trivial, except perhaps to my daughter, compared to the family crisis these folks are going through), I'm going to file a few open records requests, too, that might need some support, especially regarding pre-raid coordination and planning. They won't be back by April 30, but that's an "interim" hearing and thus at most can only be the beginning of a process, not any final word. I'm guessing this fight will likely go on 2-3 years, minimum, sad to say. I'll figure out soon what we need to get it, I promise.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

To fincenMIB, just curious given your background: do you support taking all FLDS kids away from their families in Hildale and Colorado City?

I've said from day one all actual abuse should be prosecuted, within the bounds of the law. In this case a bogus phone call (the Salt Lake City Tribune figured that out a week before the Texas Rangers) led to hundreds of men with machine guns, SWAT units, and an armored personnel carrier descending on a community to do house to house searches. They took away so many kids they're still trying to figure out how many are in their custody more than two weeks later.

With all your experience, would you consider it justice if it happened in Hildale/Colorado City, using a hoax as pretense for taking children away even from people who DIDN'T have underage brides or break any sex crimes laws?

Anonymous said...

For a 2 day hearing comprised of very long days, I had calculated the transcript to cost at least $3,000.

Mike Chapman said...

Hello, I've just come across your blog again after seeing a notice of your DMN piece. I'm amazed that you wouldn't see this as child abuse. Rape is rape. A brainwashed mom consenting to allow her daughter to be raped is someone who needs help. Pull your head out of the legalisms here and get real. This is some really sick behavior and I fully support a portion of my tax dollars going to direct intervention on the behalf of the many, many victims involved.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Jerri, let's see if the lawyers get a copy, then (and I'll still call the court reporter to ask who if anyone has requested it).

$3K is a lot, especially since the lawyers are expected to do this pro bono! My wife and I just spent that much to buy my daughter her first car, much to my chagrin! If it's possible to raise that much money on the blog, frankly I'd prefer to do so for other purposes. This is a great example why ACLU or other groups with resources need to get involved immediately.

To Mike Chapman, what specifically is the "this" I'm supposed to see as child abuse? Polygamy per se? You're right that "rape is rape" and it should be prosecuted. CPS testified in court they found 10 married girls age 16-19, all of legal marriageable age with parental consent, and five of them were pregnant. On this basis, plus an unsympathetic feminist analysis of their religious beliefs by a CPS investigator concluding that teaching women to value child bearing and large families amounts to "abuse," 437 kids were removed from their homes, including from monogamous households and from parents where there was no allegation of underage sex at all.

My overarching fear is that this will make impossible criminal prosecutions of actual child abuse,. That's what happened after the Short Creek Raid in 1953 in Utah, and the MSM is just beginning to catch on that it's the likely outcome here, too.

Anonymous said...

Mike Champman,

Nice imbued from the media comment you made there big guy!!

They don't have any proof of what you just said, and the rate of teen pregnancy is much lower than the overall state of texas's is. Perhaps you can use the rational thinking portion of your brain for a few minutes, and get some real insight for us, either that or put up or shut up.

Mike Chapman said...

Easy, let's not just base our judgments on minimum legal standards and look at the entire body of evidence. A little common sense wouldn't hurt either. Trained mental health counselors see a situation which is obvious. The girls in the compound are not exactly being provided with all the healthy options they should be given before making a decision, with the consent of the parents you keep referring to, to engage in sex with men much older than them. Maybe you should look at this from a different angle. Are these little girls similar to sex slaves? If you're worried about legal barriers to other cases, you're forgetting the real issue...the individuals right in front of you. I'm not an attorney, so I'm not really interested in a legal debate as much as public policy discussion of what we desire for ourselves as a society. Do we really want to let any child be raped, or allowed to be mated with because it is custom?

Mike Chapman said...

Thanks anonymous. I have no idea what your point is.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Mike, who is "raped" when a legally married girl gets pregnant?

Don't forget, the allegations of forcible rape that got them onto the compound turned out to be a hoax.

Anonymous said...

"Jerri, let's see if the lawyers get a copy, then (and I'll still call the court reporter to ask who if anyone has requested it)."

The attorneys may be able to get it free by filing pauper's affidavits.

Mike Chapman said...

Again, I'm not hung up on precedent here as much as figuring out how to handle a very sick situation. A sixteen year old pregnant from a fifty year old man isn't normal. It's not likely that's happening in your neighborhood as you put it. So let's let the professionals investigate regardless of the original tip. If they've got nothing to hide, they'll be exonerated. Hopefully our legislators will tighten up the laws that allow children to be married off and impregnated well in advance of when any child should be. I notice you didn't respond to the similarity to sex slavery comment.

Anonymous said...

OK is this a form of rape? Today i turn 16 my daddy sends me to a man to be his wife. I can not say no to this because my daddy says i will spend eternity in hell and he has raised me for this glorious day. please note the small letter i. Now I can see from this point of view a very low self esteem and brainwashing from birth makes me think this is normal as I have nothing else to reference these actions to. As a women I am highly offended that you men would think 16 year old girls are mature enough to make a decision to marry for the purpose of having babies to assure an old man becomes a God when he dies. Yep that is what they believe not that she or the other women will be exaulted in heaven, but that the men will become Gods. I am not saying Texas could not have done somethings better and differently but sometimes just the fact someone is doing something has to be enough. Shame on anyone one of us who think we know better than those involved. Sorry guys but this is from the point of a female who has no legal training, has read the book of Mormon and Bible after being told how she would live. Guess as a run away bride I am a failure as a human I am a survivor. Think about my side of this. By the way I am now 60 years old and have had a very happy marriage by chose and raised 4 boys ,none who were forced to leave my home. Yep at 16 I was banned from Hillsdale and never saw my family again.

Mike Chapman said...

Thank you "old runaway flds girl." I forgot to even mention the plight of the young men involved. There are many, many men in this state who totally agree with your position. Many.

Headmistress, zookeeper said...

"A sixteen year old pregnant from a fifty year old man isn't normal."

I would agree that this unacceptable.

" It's not likely that's happening in your neighborhood as you put it."

Like fun it isn't. IN California, 70 percent of teen-aged pregnancies are fathered on them by over-aged adult men. Across the nation it's well over half. I forget the numbers for Texas, but it's well into the majority- which makes your scenario 'normal' after all.

Nobody is saying everything at YfZ is kosher and cool. What is being said is that the same standard of evidence and proof should be applied to them that we would want applied to us.

I fail to see why every other family in the nation should be at risk of losing their kids on the basis of an anonymous accusation because sometimes horrific things have been done in FLDS communities.

What you're really advocating is trading one sort of abuse for another.

Old FLDS girl, good for you for running away. But no, what happened to you is not a good enough reason to remove 437 children from these parents today. If they are gong to lose their children, I really think it should be because we have proof of something criminal *they* have done, not a moving story about what your parents did to you 45 years ago. I am not making light of what you experienced. I am a victim of child abuse, too. I have a 40 year old brother who still will not speak to our father, and I don't blame him. My daddy was a preacher, and later a social worker- which I always found to be excruciatingly ironic. Should all preacher's kids or social worker's kids be removed from their parents today because of what that man did to us 30-40 years ago?

Or should we maybe have some evidence....

Mike Chapman said...

You make the case brilliantly for intervention. If you have suspicion of abuse, you should report it and it should be investigated thoroughly. Period. The problem you allude to in California is not an excuse to look the other way here or there. We can't undo the past, but we can sure learn from it.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

runaway flds girl, just for the record, if authorities can identify a fact situation like you describe, they should prosecute. OTOH, one of the pregnant girls supposedly is a 17 year old married monogamously to Another 17 year old, both in custody. How about them and their child - should they be split up? I think each case should have been made individually - sweeping everyone up was wrong.

Unfortunately, even if situations like you describe can be documented, the WAY authorities went about this will make it difficult or impossible to prosecute. The threshold for seizing kids is lower, but evidence from the search warrants simply won't likely hold up in a criminal court.

I'm all for prosecuting those who commit sex crimes. That's why I think it was foolish to turn this into an anti-religious jihad instead of going after individual perpetrators.

Mike Chapman said...

It's tough as hell to criminally prosecute, you know that. Many of the victims will be too intimated to take the stand, even if it's just a video. Thank goodness there are civil procedures as well. None of that changes the fact allowing this behavior is not what we should accept as a society. Argue over the details all you want, I support the intervention.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

So Mike, 17-year old marries 17 year old with parent's permission, you're fine taking their kids away like this? How about older monogamous couples at the ranch? Or families where no one was married underage? I just don't understand why you believe taking away THEIR kids serves a higher purpose than prosecuting sexual offenders. To each his own, I guess.

Mike Chapman said...

I think it's important to look at the entire situation and to take the point of view of mental health professionals as well as the law. The instances you point out are obviously not clear to the investigators on the scene. And I think you have to admit that the whole environment is suspect. The situation is not permanent. Most of the children will be returned to their mothers, that's what CPS usually does, sometimes at the peril of the children. Taking the time to be prudent, with the backing of a Judge, seems very reasonable. This is a horrendous situation and simply trying to analyze it from a legal point of view misses so much of what is actually at stake. The very article you highlighted mentions girls younger than 16 being used for sex. Sexual abuse is a pervasive problem in our society and any small steps that we can take to protect girls and women is worth the risk of not doing it perfectly every time.

Mike Chapman said...

And by the way, I didn't mention the monogamous couples or the 17 year olds, so I'm obviously not making the point you mentioned.

Anonymous said...

In re: media still unaware FBI traced the phone calls.

What shocks me is that I can show the article to people, and they continue to go on about 16 year olds being raped and beaten by their 50 year old husbands. They've *seen* the article.

Or those who will claim folks supporting due process for all are cherry-picking the news. In their minds, a quote from the judge or live transcript cannot be believed if one does not also believe the rumors reported without factual basis.

Cognitive dissonance.

Headmistress, zookeeper said...

Except the monogomous couple, the single mom, and the possible 17 year old couple have lost their children, too, possibly forever.

Why was it necessary to place 437 children in foster care in order to investigate the possible crimes of a few? Why was this done in such a way as to ensure that any criminals can escape with basically unblemished records so they can do it again?

Why is this massive foster care undertaking not a horrible violation of, well, just about everything?
Here's an email somebody in the comments at Feminist Mormon housewife says she's received (just part- you can read the rest there) fromk:
Arrow Child and Family Ministries... found out today that they
will be receiving 80 -100 permament placement children from the Eldorado Compound from infants
to 11 years of age. These are children that will be placed in Arrow’s care for 1 - 2 years.
More than likely, the parental rights of their parents will adventually be terminated and they will placed
in foster homes and/or adopted out. Arrow is an excellent Christian Foster to Adopt agency..."

I find it pretty horrifying, if true. It purports to be from a volunteer who is coordinating other volunteers to help clean up the cabins for the CPS inspection. She says her sister works for the founder of the organization.

Anonymous said...

Mike, we all know we can trust you to make sensible exceptions to the rule of law and due process for both the short-term as well as long-term benefit of society, but is this a privilege we want to grant every Tom, Dick and Harry who reckons they've got a problem to deal with?

Ron in Houston said...

Mike Chapman

First, let me say that I'm pretty sympathetic to your position. I see this as a case where the environment endangers the emotional well being of SOME of the children.

I have some pretty major problems with the way this whole matter is being handled from a due process standpoint.

It's interesting to see people talk about this case because most people tend to have what I'd call "knee jerk" reactions. Grits has a strong reaction about the civil rights/due process aspects of the case. You have a strong reaction about protecting the children.

I have a real problem with the removal of infants that aren't in any real physical or emotional harm. You can't indoctrinate or program a 1 year old. You can severely emotionally harm them by taking them away from their mothers.

Having said that, for me, FLDS has a lot of fault there by playing the game of who's your Daddy and who's your Mommy. If CPS is going to return children, they need to insure that they're returning them to the actual parents.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Mike, you may think you're "obviously not making the point [I] mentioned," but I've summarized the net policy result of your stance, and the position of the state. They're going ahead with seizing every kid, regardless of circumstance, and you support it. For the individuals involved, your reasons, or the state's don't matter much if they were unfairly targeted because of their faith with no evidence of individual wrongdoing. And if a handful of real sexual predators are later freed because of overbroad, headline grabbing actions now, the Judge and CPS will have no one to blame but themselves.

Ron, FLDS is definitely partly to blame here for their reaction in the aftermath, which fell back on patterns dating from a century ago, when polyg kids were taught to answer questions about their parents by telling police officers, "I don't know, it could be you." OTOH, you could similarly condemn early Christians as lawbreakers for their stop snitching code during the period when the law of the land outlawed their day to day practices.

Honestly, one great argument for religious freedom is that it would be great if these folks could practice their deeply held faith in a way that would permit regulation of actual criminal acts - not just child abuse or negligence, but financial misconduct and everything else. By making adult polygamy illegal when it's practiced semi-openly by tens of thousands of religious folks, we drive the practice underground and it becomes much less likely abuses will ever be reported or prosecuted.

Headmistress, zookeeper said...

"Having said that, for me, FLDS has a lot of fault there by playing the game of who's your Daddy and who's your Mommy. If CPS is going to return children, they need to insure that they're returning them to the actual parents."

Yes, they do. But I am not sure who's playing games here- FLDS or CPS. At least some attorneys complained in court that their clients had presented identification that was ignored, and the judge ruled that she couldn't tell whether or not they might be forged, hence the DNA requirement. So if DNA reveals that a man who looks like he's 43 fathered a child with a girl who looks like she's 16, do you really think the state is not going to have identification proving the ages of either of them?
After all, the girl's birth certificates are what the state used to prove rape against their fellow members of FLDS communities in Arizona and Utah.

Their lawyer says they've got birth certificates, too:

"Salt Lake City-based attorney Rod Parker, who represents FLDS families, on Tuesday accused Texas Child Protective Services of playing dumb about the children's parentage.
Texas authorities have access to birth certificates, he said, noting that the DNA tests could have dual purpose in assisting with criminal prosecutions."

And I keep hearing that these FLDS people abuse the welfare system- which, if true, would mean they have identification.

It's true I am very upset about the damage being done to these children by CPS- the ripping of breastfeeding infants from their mothers when even the state psychiatrist said that would harmful is making me sick. But I am also upset about what seems to me the dishonesty and gamesplaying by CPS and state officials.

Anonymous said...

flds girl, if what you say is true, I'm sorry for what you lived with and for the pain you had to fight through to survive and create a life for your own self.

You said, "As a women I am highly offended that you men would think 16 year old girls are mature enough to make a decision to marry for the purpose of having babies to assure an old man becomes a God when he dies. Yep that is what they believe not that she or the other women will be exaulted in heaven, but that the men will become Gods."

Good for you for saying so. It's a shame that more people don't see this kind of enslavement for what it is and instead chalk it up to religious eccentrism and freedom, comparable to any major religion. Sometimes men cannot understand how women see these things because they've never lived with a female perspective. It's similar to when people in a racial majority insist that racism isn't a problem anymore.

Ron in Houston said...


Don't even get me started on the game playing by CPS. They will go to absurd extremes to try to justify their behavior.

Grits made a really good point. By having stupid laws like outlawing adult polygamy, government has caused a lot of the mistrust that makes the FLDS deceive investigators.

I don't trust CPS, but I don't see them as 100% evil. I don't trust FLDS, but taking all these kids at once was just wrong.

Headmistress, zookeeper said...

Um, I am a woman. I have seven kids.
I don't like what I know of FLDS teachings. But not liking them is not the same as making my dislike a crime for which they all must lose their kids.

Anonymous said...

"Um, I am a woman. I have seven kids. I don't like what I know of FLDS teachings. But not liking them is not the same as making my dislike a crime for which they all must lose their kids."

I was saying that people should not put sexual and ideological slavery on par with major religions. I didn't say anything about due process or removing children from their parents. That is a legal discussion, and I was making a point about minority experiences.

Anonymous said...

The Volokh Conspiracy has finally mentioned this case:

Anonymous said...

Well, actually, my mom was 16 when she got married and not only did she decide to get married, but she agreed to move 2000 miles away from her family to a new country. By the standards of today, my father was a child abuser (he was in his early twenties). It isn't impossible for a 16 year old to make a decision on marriage, nor has it been outside the norms of society until fairly recently. I cannot assume that simply because a girl is 16 or 17 years old that somehow she cannot make a competant decision to marry and have children.

I understand that the FLDS community is quite different, but we cannot simply say that FLDS 16 years olds are brainwashed idiots incapable of rational decisions, at least not without some real evidence. Furthermore, by deriding the FLDS women as merely brainwashed we are implying that they really aren't competant enough to have rights or to understand them. I do not think this is a healthy argument for society to make. Any girl raised in a strict Catholic or Baptist or Jewish or atheist home could be viewed as 'brainwashed' and incapable of making 'healthy choices' because of the teachings she was exposed to in her youth.

kbp said...

Thanks Grits and all others for sharing your comments.

It truly is my position that the safety of children is one of the most important things in my life.

But, after reading Chapman's comments, it helped me to realize it's my own children that are not safe if the public allows authorities run unchecked as they have at the YFZ Ranch.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

"I am a woman. I have seven kids"

Headmistress, you are clearly oppressed by the patriarchy! Obviously you've been taught by abusive parents to value family and motherhood, and you must be de-programmed.

Given your comments, you're clearly "one of them," or else a symp. Probably one of them dern homeschoolers, too. I know where you blog, missy! Don't worry! Me and several hundred of my closest jack-booted friends will arrive soon to liberate you from slavery's chains, not to mention liberate all your kids into foster care. ;)

kbp said...

FLDS update: FLDS moms to stay with babies in state care

"no moms"


"case by case"


Yes, nursing mom's can stay.

Was there a worry the NATION is catching on to what is going on there?

Anonymous said...

It just bugs the hell out of me that my old employer, the Texas Civil Liberties Union, has dropped the ball in this controversy in such a dismayingly public and disreputable fashion. I get sour and grumpy and all out of sorts just thinking about it. Civil liberties issues abound in the controversy, but because of concepts of political correctness, ACLU of Texas is going to come out of it a first class stinker.

What will probably happen is that some national conservative, right-wing civil liberties organization -- there are such -- will step in and start cleaning house. And the progressive-left ACLU of Texas will have forfeited the role of good guy to the right.



Anonymous said...

As I've said, I believe the feds should step in and investigate the Texas authorities for violating the rights of the FLDS members.

Headmistress, zookeeper said...

"you are clearly oppressed by the patriarchy!"

Grin. That's what I tell my husband every morning when he brings me a cup of coffee while I am still in bed.

Incidentally, I also dress real funny and I do not wear make-up (I'm allergic to it and I think it costs too much), and I certainly am one of them dern homeschoolers. My first graduate is an honor student at a prestigious university which just awarded her first prize in a history paper competition.

And seriously, this case and the hysterical reaction of the press and the general public scares me to death.

kbp said...

Arrest warrant: Colo. woman
"In mid-April, Texas Rangers called Colorado Springs Police regarding their investigation into the Yearning for Zion Ranch.
Texas Ranger Brooks Long asked about two telephone numbers, both with Colorado Springs area codes. One of the phone numbers, the document says, "was possibly related to the reporting party for the YFZ Ranch incident," and was one of the numbers police had connected to Swinton. "

Certainly makes some wonder why those calls checking on the out-of-state area code numbers could not have been made in that FOUR DAY LONG time span the authorities used to get a warrant needed for the EMERGENCY.

Headmistress, zookeeper said...

And WHY did Texas authorities ask Colorado to seal that information? We only have it now because the press sought to have the files open.

I have another question- from the same story Kpb is linking:

Walther said individual hearings for the children will begin May 18, and urged attorneys representing sect members and those lawyers appointed by the state to represent the interests of the children to refrain from making filings with her at this point.
"We have four to five feet of filings, and it's very hard for me to go through five feet of filings," she said.

So... the children have been shipped hundreds of miles away from their lawyers and contact is difficult if not impossible, and now she's telling the lawyers to making filings because she's too busy? Can she do this?

Anonymous said...

Given the overall situation standard of Mike Chapman,the fact that the Eldorado situation may or may not exist is sufficient to justify taking away Chapman's wife and children on the theory he did not personally stopp this situation even if he personally didn't know about it because someone knew about it years ago and Chapman did nothing. After all he wants innocent people to be responsible for other people's actions so let's start holding Chapman responsible. Makes as much sense to me as what Chapman has ranted and raved about.

Mike Chapman said...

If there is nothing to hide, an investigation is nothing to be afraid of. There obviously is much to investigate since it is taking so long. I have actually familiarized myself with CPS and the good work it does. Most of the hyperbole I'm reading in the comments is not very fact-based. The situation in this case is tantamount to child sex slavery. I don't like it.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

"If there is nothing to hide, an investigation is nothing to be afraid of. There obviously is much to investigate since it is taking so long."

Interpretation: Trust us, we're the government, we're here to help. Didn't Reagan say those were the scariest words in the English language?

Mike, if they'd seized children of individuals accused of specific offenses, I'd agree with you. But the reason it's taking so long is that they cast the net so widely. They don't think they have to "investigate" anything. They've argued that the teachings of the church itself constitute "abuse," and the judge agreed.

Anonymous said...


Wouldn't you welcome input from us serious non-religious folks as well? In my experience, those without religion are far more likely to stand up fpr the rights of the religious, than the religious are for those without.

Anonymous said...

Easy, let's not just base our judgments on minimum legal standards

Let's not use legal standards when investigating abuse? Holy Hell Batman.

Thanks anonymous. I have no idea what your point is.

That's abundantly clear.

Mike Chapman said...

Grits. We will agree to disagree. That being said, I am still very happy that an intervention has taken place. This isn't just about prosecution of crimes. It's much bigger than that.

Anonymous said...

Your are absolutely right, Mr. Chapman, it is much bigger than than. It is about over-reaching by a State bureaucracy, about improper police conduct, about Church-State relationships, about State approved abuse of 417+ children, about CPS being allowed to snatch children from parents becaue of the parents' religious beliefs, not because of the parents' abusive behavior, it is about a judge who has a bias bigger than the West Texas sky. I'm glad to see that we agree on some many basic issues in this controversy.

Anonymous said...

Doran, what is the bias you speak of here? What is she biased for or against?

. . .not because of the parents' abusive behavior, it is about a judge who has a bias bigger than the West Texas sky. . .

Anonymous said...

Mike Chapman - If this is not about the prosecution of crimes, what do you think it is about?

From what you've written, I think you are possibly on the Public Relations staff of CPS. If that is not the case then the only thing this can be about is your personal belief that --------

Freedom of Religion should not be protected by the Courts.

SB said...

Mike, we may not like how sexual behavior is being controlled but I wish we had a smidgen of control out here. Underage girls are put on birth control and allowed to run free. Parents don't know who their children are involved with nor what diseases they may contract. There needs to be proof before these kids are introduced to a world where Britney Spears crotch shot makes headlines. And Jamie Lynn Spears is 16, pregnant and has no husband. If she lived across the border in TX this young man would be a sex offender.
I don't know the legal issues either but the US took 20th place in a study on the well being of children in 21 industrialized nations. I totally agree with these findings. Maybe we need to call in experts from the Netherlands. They took 1st place.

The Local Crank said...

I'm sure I've beaten this dead horse to pulp by now, but let me say again: this is NOT DFPS procedure. DFPS removes the alleged abuser, NOT the alleged victims. And without considerably more evidence, they do not punish abused mothers because their husbands/boyfriends were abusing the children. DFPS does NOT allow parents to come along after a removal. If you have to do a removal, then by definition, the parent cannot safely be around the child. DFPS does not then kick the parents out, THEN invite them back. Just doesn't work that way. In nearly 10 years of doing DFPS cases, I have NEVER seen or even heard of a case handled this way. The number of kids (and the number keeps changing) is irrelevent. Procedures and guidelines should have been followed and they weren't. All this continues to make me think that DFPS did not plan this raid, that is was a law enforcement action (DFPS has NEVER had the pull to get APCs and SWAT teams for a removal) and DFPS was drug along. Now, they are in WAY over their heads, any criminal prosecutions may have been botched due to the incompetent way this was handled, and nearly 500 children from a very sheltered upbringing, all agree, are being scattered around the state with total strangers, unless DFPS sticks with allowing the mothers to go. And so far, the tone of the State apologists seems to be variations on the theme of "Ick, these people seem creepy to my whitebread suburban sensibilities. They MUST be child molesters! More power to the State!" I have often asked the most rabid supporters of George Dubya if they would be comfortable giving the type of power he claims to, say, Hillary Clinton. I'll ask a variation of that to the State apologists: would you be comfortable if DFPS used this standard, this type of scrutiny and this level of competence with YOUR children?

Anonymous said...

This isn't just about prosecution of crimes. It's much bigger than that.

Yes, it is. And that's why it's unconstitutional.

But I guess as long as it's someone else's rights being violated, you're OK with it.

(First, they came for the FLDS, and I said nothing...)

Anonymous said...

I'm not answering any questions from anyone who will not identify themselves other than as anonymous. If you don't know who you are, then maybe someone should do some DNA testing on you.

Anonymous said...

Since those Texas laws were expressly passed to "get the FLDS", I suspect a Federal prosecutor could get the trial (for Proxmire Act violations) reduced to proving the acts occurred (which of course they did), heck he might just have to introduce Walther's order and show that each defendant participated in carrying it out. Most defendants would probably admit guilt rather than face all the additional charges (like kidnapping, deprivation of civil rights, etc.) Can you imagine the world-wide outcry against our child-abuse laws?

But why don't the lawmakers really do something about this: make mental health professionals and social worker testimony more like hearsay (and thus of lower quality than trained investigators, parents, etc as everyone knows social work is an art and they give their opinions more than facts) because they are funded to take away the children and perjury/lying improves their financial position. Even better would be to take the investigation aspect away from them entirely and make it more independent where the funding doesn't depend on taking the children out. Given that most of these cases are tried by judges who are familiar with the local social workers, judges now believe the social workers over parents, relatives, and neighbors even when they clearly testify otherwise in numbers. Of course requiring these cases tried by jury would eliminate that as well.

Anonymous said...

"I'm not answering any questions from anyone who will not identify themselves other than as anonymous. If you don't know who you are, then maybe someone should do some DNA testing on you."

Does this mean you'll be sharing less of your rare pearls of wisdom with us? What a loss. I thought you had all the answers, like what Judge Walther's biases are.

Anonymous said...

When will you sheep ever learn? You have no rights, you have only privileges given to you by the government and they can be abused or taken away from you at anytime. God help America, this isn't what the founding fathers wanted.

TxBluesMan said...


I see that you have asked if it was 'rape' if a 17 year old was married with parental consent.

Let's change it to a 16 year old (the lower limit of the law in Texas).

We know that a 16 year old can legally marry if there are certain conditions that are met.

First, the marriage must have a license issued by the County Clerk.

Second, to issue the license, the parent must make a sworn statement to the clerk (on a designated form) that they give permission to the minor to marry. It is a felony if one of the parties is already married to make the sworn statement.

Third, without the above, you do not have a legal marriage, and therefore no spousal immunity to a sexual assault charge.

Fourth, a bigamous marriage, which includes the so-called 'spiritual' marriages practiced by the FLDS is de jure illegal, and there is therefore no spousal immunity to a sexual assault charge.

I would anticipate that in the coming weeks you will start seeing indictments for FLDS men for Bigamy and Sexual Assault.

So yes, there can be a rape.

Anonymous said...

"Third, without the above, you do not have a legal marriage, and therefore no spousal immunity to a sexual assault charge."

This has been pointed out very clearly to Grits before. He did not entertain or discuss the likelihood that this was what was occurring at the ranch.

I am predicting that Grits will say that bigamy should not be illegal, and that these people are breaking the law only because it has historically been written to persecute bigamists, and they don't have anywhere to turn, so instead of following the law, they will go further into hiding, and the FLDS are victims because they have no place in the country to legally practice their belief in "celestial marriages."

At least, that is what I've gleaned from his posts. He's free to prove me wrong, of course.

TxBluesMan said...

He is free of course to believe that, but the likelihood of bigamy and/or polygamy being made legal by a court decision is slim to none.

Numerous courts have already held that Lawrence v Texas doesn't cover bigamy, the most telling one being the Utah Supreme Court in upholding R. Holm's conviction for Bigamy.

Holm was the FLDS police chief convicted of Bigamy and Improper Sexual Conduct with a Minor.

The U.S. Supreme Court denied cert.

Free exercise of religion has never included acts that were prohibited by law to the general public.

Anonymous said...

"Free exercise of religion has never included acts that were prohibited by law to the general public."

I'm not sure this is true. Aren't Native Americans allowed to use peyote in religious acts?

Mike Chapman said...

Sex slavery is wrong.

The Local Crank said...

"Of course requiring these cases tried by jury would eliminate that as well"

You have the right to demand a trial by jury on termination cases in Texas. We are VERY big on the right to a jury trial here; you can even demand one for traffic tickets or juvenile cases.

"Fourth, a bigamous marriage, which includes the so-called 'spiritual' marriages practiced by the FLDS is de jure illegal, and there is therefore no spousal immunity to a sexual assault charge"

An excellent point. And if that turns out to be the case, these guys should be strung up and vigorously prosecuted. It still doesn't make this ham-fisted removal fiasco right, though. And here's something else to consider, a point that escaped our Attorney General when he was running his mouth on TV-an essential element of bigamy is that the bigamist must be legally married. So our theoretical defendant here could have as many "spirit wives" as he wanted, provided a) he never legally married any of them; and b) all of them were either over 18 or they were at least 14 and the "spirit husband" was not more than 4 years older. Something tells me the FLDS isn't that smart or legally sophisticated.

"Aren't Native Americans allowed to use peyote in religious acts?"

It depends. First we weren't, then we were (due to an executive order from of all people Nixon), then the Smith case from Oregon upheld discriminating against peyote-using NDNs in employment decisions, then came the Native American Religious Freedom Restoration Act, so probably yes. Given how the feds go after medical marijuana users, I wouldn't bet the reservation on it, tho'. But it should be noted that only the Native American Church (founded by that famous Texan Quannah Parker) ritually uses the sacrament of peyote, so it's not all that widespread a phenomenon.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Y'all may predict away about my views. It's easier, after all, to create a red herring than debating what I've actually said.

I doubt seriously bigamy or sexual assault charges will hold up because the search warrant won't hold up. They made this a religious jihad instead of going after individual perpetrators. They can seize the kids based on the crappy warrant, because the proof threshold is lower for CPS, but they won't get to prosecute anyone, IMO.

There are tens of thousands of pregnant teens in Texas, but when CPS walked around YFZ and noticed a few, they swept up every child in sight based on zero evidence except their pregnancy and media accounts of the group's beliefs. It's true the First Amendment doesn't protect acts that are illegal for everyone. But Texas doesn't treat every underage pregnancy this way, particularly when there's no complaining victim - only if your religion is unpopular.

Headmistress, zookeeper said...

"There are tens of thousands of pregnant teens in Texas, but when CPS walked around YFZ and noticed a few, they swept up every child in sight based on zero evidence except their pregnancy and media accounts of the group's beliefs"

According to an interview Sheriff Doran gave:"Mankin: What prompted the new warrant?

Doran: Let’s just say when we got in there law enforcement officers and CPS investigators witnessed evidence of other crimes.

Mankin: CPS has reportedly identified a number of pregnant young girls, or young girls with babies. Would that be the evidence of other crimes you are referring to?

Doran: Well....I’m going to leave that question for CPS to answer.

Mankin: Fair enough. So, a new warrant was issued and the search is going house to house?"

Which sounds to me like the new warrant was based on how old the girls *looked.* From a mother whose 25 year old daughter was recently taken for 15 by an entire group of people (she traveled to Europe for spring break, and people at church felt sorry for the 15 year old whose mother let her go to Europe alone=))- I don't think that's a good enough reason to take away nursing babies, toddlers, preschoolers, and kindergarteners.

Doran also says he used information from his informant for the first warrant- but he admits his informant was a former FLDS member who was NEVER on the YfZ ranch.

Anonymous said...

Rev. Charles from Tulia chiming in:

I have followed these posts from the beginning, and have chimed in only occasionally. As I read the comments on this and previous posts, I see basically two opinions: (1) FLDS is a wierd religion and has practices that are not healthy for society, therefore the end justifies the means in closing them down; (2) FLDS is subject to rule of law, and they should not be subjected to illegal search and seizure and violation of their first amendment rights.

I am in the second group. I suspected this was a community jihad against an unpopular sect as soon as I read about it. I was suspicious of an anonymous phone call. When I saw that some of the buses used to cart the kids and their mothers away were church buses of the predoominant Texas religion, my suspicions increased.

Bottom line: I think this was a bogus raid manufactured on bogus grounds to rid a community of an "undesirable" group of people in their midst.

Time will tell, maybe?

Anonymous said...

I will appreciate if someone or sometwo, will post links to the affidavits of Sheriff Doran and the warrants which were issued in response to his requests. Thank you.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Doran, Cicero at Red State linked to all the affidavits that are public in this Appendix, about halfway down the page.

Anonymous said...

So, let me see if I understand this case correctly. A group of evil male FLDS authoritarian child molesters at the YFZ Ranch brainwashes their women and children to believe in polygamy and marriage at an early age. Then, some of the brainwashed underage women are voluntarily molested by the evil FLDS men and have children. When the State of Texas receives an anonymous phone call from a 30-something year old female in Colorado claiming to be an abused 16 year old FLDS female from Texas, without making any effort to verify the authenticity of the phone call, a local Texas judge orders the immediate round up of all FLDS women and children at the YFZ Ranch like cattle and then takes the children away from their mothers to "protect" them from some imagined but unsubstantiated abuse. Meanwhile, the evil FLDS men who allegedly victimized the FLDS women and children remain free and unmolested by the State of Texas at the YFZ Ranch. If this weren't true, I would think that it was some sort of fiction invented in the Twilight Zone. You simply gotta love Texas-style justice! ... Constitution! We don't need no stinking Constitution! We have the Texas Rangers and the CPS to protect us!

The Other Guy said...

Wow. Anyone who can defend the child rapists of YFZ sure sees the world through a different lens than I do. First, get children out of harms way. Then get help for the women. Where are all the young men who don't get to grow up to be sex slave owners? You guys amaze me, and not in a good way.

Anonymous said...

the other guy:

We're not defending the criminals. We are defending the rights of the innocent victims. The way this case was handled makes it much more likely that real criminals will avoid prosecution. In this case, there was no immediate need to destroy families and traumatize children. This was sloppy law enforcement work driven by religious bias and should not be tolerated in a democratic society.

kbp said...

I have not seen any "defending" conduct of any perp's, just a great many questioning the methods used.

Anonymous said...

Rev. Charles chiming in again:

There may, or may not have been child abuse inside the compound prior to the raid. But the raid has produced wholesale child abuse, wrenching four hundred and something children from their homes, separating some of them from their mothers and all of them from their fathers, housing them wholesale in a coliseum. To me that's state sponsored child abuse.

The Other Guy said...

Listen, it takes a lot to get one child removed from a dangerous home environment, much less 400 of them. These are bureaucrats, people. Doing nothing is the easier, softer way. So there is something really, really wrong going on to warrant this kind of action. You don't know the facts, neither do I. But I do know that Warren Jeffs is a nut case who thinks it's ok to sleep with little girls and hide behind a religion when doing it. Rationalize and change the subject all you want, this is sickness and needs treatment.

Anonymous said...

the other guy:

Utah didn't round up everyone associated with Jeffs and take their children away in order to prosecute him. They did it the right way. They gathered the evidence legally and convicted him in a court of his peers. I don't see anything like this happening in Texas. What Texas is doing is unconstitutional and disgraceful.

don said...

The other guy:
Let me see if I understand your logic chain here. Socratic reasoning, for the lawyers amongst us:

1. It "takes a lot" for CPS to remove 1 child victim of abuse.
2. That is evidence enough that CPS and the state didn't overstep in this case. They never do. No more evidence needed.
3. Warren Jeffs is a nut case who thinks it's ok to sleep with little girls and hide behind your religion while doing it. Ergo, all these other men whose names are NOT Warren Jeffs and who are NOT in prison also think it's ok and they must be also doing it, regardless of evidence.
4. All the people who are posting on this site questioning the propriety of the raid are "rationalizing and changing the subject", even though the subject IS the propriety, legality, or lack of it in the actions of the state.
5. (or whatever) Having fully and firmly established that Warren Jeffs is a nut case, (widely believed to be in prison); the CPS, DPS, Judges, Sherrifs, etc. NEVER overstep, and are ALWAYS right and thus could not be wrong in this case, because they NEVER are; and it takes a "lot" to remove even 1 child so it must take 430 "lots" to remove 430; and whatever this is is sickness, and must be "treated" by getting some paramilitary guys with tanks and machine guns and jerking kids up and tagging them like cattle and herding them into a strange building, some without their moms. Is that pretty much it?

The Other Guy said...

Don, You can stop at number 2. Didn't write it, it's not the point. Thank you.

The Other Guy said...

Oh, and Don, look into your heart on this. I was not attempting to construct a brief. This is a blog.

Anonymous said...

The other guy: don't seem to understand the difference between draconian, unconstitutional law enforcement methods and reasonable less invasive approaches to finding/prosecuting criminals that respects the constitutional rights of U.S. citizens.

Anonymous said...

CPS has the authority once in a home to determine if there is evidence of further abuse and remove children as appropriate - with wide discretion. The search warrant and/or probable cause determinations were done in two stages. Although the initial investigation has weak evidence (the anonymous phone call) the following actions have been in line with the authority granted to CPS.

If FLDS had not lived in a communal situation and did not refuse to make clear who the parents of the children were, it would have given CPS the opportunity to determine which individual members were involved in illegal practices. It is the decision by FLDS to incorporate all members of their religious community into a single family that left CPS to round up all the children.

Blame for the way that this investigation went down lies in two places. First, FLDS chose social practices (communal living, apparently unmarried minors having children, refusal to identify parentage) that greatly exposed them to CPS discretionary decision-making. Second, the laws and policy regulating CPS are obviously hard to adapt to a communal group of several hundred people.

I am at a loss to identify the religious freedom issue in what I just described. Last I checked polygamy and sex with a minor are illegal and therefore not really a religious practice that the government has to protect. CPS acts this way in a more individualized manner every single day.

Anonymous said...

Haywood said...:

Your argument is exactly why something needs to be done to reign in extreme, abusive behavior by CPS thugs. Americans shouldn't have to live in fear that their families could be destroyed by anonymous allegations before any real proof of wrongdoing is shown.

Anonymous said...

haywood said...

If FLDS had not lived in a communal situation and did not refuse to make clear who the parents of the children were,

Dear haywood:

There were no parents of the Sarah that called. How in the world could they identify her? hey had no information on anyone else, and hence no justification for taking them.

You're still reading articles from a week ago, aren't you?

The Other Guy said...

Haywood, Unfortunately, most of the comment makers here seem to be fine with the so called religion being practiced at the compound. Go check out Sorry, Grits, for highjacking. Don't blame Pink Lady.

Anonymous said...

Haywood, Unfortunately, most of the comment makers here seem to be fine with the so called religion being practiced at the compound.

I personally think any religion is for dolts. But theirs is as valid as yours. I seem to remember Abraham being told to kill his son, God letting Satan kill Job's family, multiple plural marriages in the Bible, and so on and so on.

Anonymous said...

The point is that CPS has very wide discretion. CPS regulations allow them to assess a situation once they respond (even to an anonymous tip) and determine if the children in the home, once CPS enters, are in danger. No matter what the family home situation, when CPS comes in and sees apparently pregnant minors they will likely take the minors out of harms way. Then, the legal process begins and CPS determines if the children are truly abused. This is the process no matter if it is 400 children or 1.

The fact that CPS basically followed their normal procedure undermines claims that CPS did not provide the proper legal process to the YFZ folks. In truth, CPS could have done much more such as forcing parents to take on the spot drug tests, not allowing the mothers to be housed with the children, and various other intrusive actions.

Please remember, there are different standards for criminal investigations and investigations of child abuse. If you have a problem with the way CPS runs its investigations, that is pretty different from accusing the state of Texas of religious intolerance. I would argue that many of the posts on this blog articulating concern over these events stem from a misunderstanding of the nature of CPS investigations.

Anonymous said...


What information did they have to detain every child there? Even "wider discretion" cannot be exercised with no allegation of abuse at all.

The Other Guy said...

Haywood, you are a voice of sanity in a sea of whack jobs here.

Rage, get a life. Be here now! Using lines from the Bible isn't going to excuse raping children and keeping them as sex slaves.

Anonymous said...

the other guy:

I bet you're a Baptist.

There is no evidence that the current group rapes children.

If evidence comes out that that's the case, I hope those people are taken out back and shot.

Unfortunately, the entire investigation has been run in a way that makes prosecution virtually impossible.

Anonymous said...

If every apparently pregnant minor had told CPS they were impregnated by someone outside the home or by someone their own age, CPS would have had much less ability to take the children out of the home. That was my point about the refusal to identify parentage. It left CPS to investigate who the fathers were and this investigation by CPS routinely involves removing any children exposed to a possibly abusive environment. From what I have seen, CPS went step by step through their protocols, frankly, as I would think they would with as much news coverage as they must have known would happen.

I would honestly have a hard time arguing that CPS investigations are fair or respectful enough of individual liberties. My point is that having a problem with CPS is different from claiming religious freedom is on trial.

Anonymous said...

Haywood said...

If... apparently pregnant... had told... CPS would... my point about the refusal to identify...

If this, would that, shoulda woulda coulda. What it comes down to is that the CPS has wider discretion to initiate an investigation. But when it gets to court, the constitution and rules of evidence still apply.

And those people still have the right not to incriminate themselves, and it's still the state's burden to prove them guilty. Right now, they can't. Hell, they can't even count to 416.

My point is that having a problem with CPS is different from claiming religious freedom is on trial.

Except when CPS is the mechanism the local government used to attack a particular religious group, which, by the way, had already been targeted by legislation for their religious beliefs alone.

Keep trying.

The Other Guy said...

Rage, I'm not a baptist, but you are a sympathist for rape. Shame on you.

The Other Guy said...

Haywood, please go to and help out. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

the other guy:

I'm admittedly a sympathist for stupidity, which is the only thing that can explain your flagrant failure to read the part where I said I hoped any rapists or abusers would be taken out and shot.

The problem I have is that this investigation endangers their ability to do so.

I guess you're nto Baptist after all. Even Baptists can read.

Unknown said...

Rage, I'm sorry. You make no sense. You bounce around and I can't follow you. Admittedly, I only glance at your comments. I don't study them in order to respond. Here is my basic position...the system isn't perfect, but it's what we've got and we are where we are. I support any measure that gets those children away from the men while the next step is determined. Period. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Haywood, good luck. Everything you've said has already been articulated many times, many different ways, but some people don't seem to understand that sometimes religious fanaticism and child abuse happen to intersect, and because the laws are written to apply to broad, common situations, that its application will look like a bull in a china shop when applied to uncommon situations like the FLDS ranch.

But keep trying. You're as entitled to your opinion as anyone.

Anonymous said...

but some people don't seem to understand that sometimes religious fanaticism and child abuse happen to intersect

We do understand that. We're pissed because the abuse cannot be prosecuted as a result of the targeted attack on the religion.

Mike Chapman said...

Rage, if you're basically in agreement with the goal of prosecution, stop whining. Let's take what we've got, and make the very best of it. Stop complaining and start being part of the solution. Show us how we can make this work from this point on.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Mike, everyone is basically in agreement that law enforcement should prosecute child abuse. Why can't you also agree that it's wrong to seize children from non-abusive homes?

If you value both the prosecution of the guilty AND protection of the rights of innocents, this raid is the worst possible outcome. If the men are molesting children, why do they get to stay at the ranch while the alleged VICTIMS are carted away against their will?

I don't see how we "make the best of it" out of that screwed up situation. It's just flat out wrong.

Anonymous said...

Rage, if you're basically in agreement with the goal of prosecution, stop whining.

Wanting the Constitution to be followed by the authorities is whining now?

Let's take what we've got, and make the very best of it.

And right now, that looks like nothing, predicated upon a raid they knew was based on a false tip before they went in. Where's the 'best' in that?

Stop complaining and start being part of the solution.

The solution here is to let all of the kids go back, and start another investigation based hopefully on new evidence.

Show us how we can make this work from this point on.

You can't make something work when it's fundamentally flawed. You'd have to overlook the constitutional violations in order to proceed. I'm not willing to do that.

I'm for capitol punishment for child molestors. You people don't understand that the reason I and many others are so angry about this whole situation is because they have pissed away there chances to prosecute any abusers, all because they wanted to target the religion.

Mike Chapman said...


Come on. Those of us who put the children's safety before all other considerations would be fine to have the men removed from the property for the full length of the investigation. And to have someone watching the brainwashed women who are coaching the children. Not realistic. I get really upset with folks like you who don't think it's ok to get a victim into safety, no matter what, until it can be shown that their is no danger. The prosecution of a crime comes later. Please think about the immediate safety of the children first. Please. And to answer the question of whether I would be ok being held to the same standard...Hell, Yes! And so would anyone who isn't doing something they shouldn't be.

Mike Chapman said...

That should be there instead of their.

Let's agree on this...we both want the children to be safe. You are arguing that it would be best to do it a certain way in order to achieve long term safety for the children. I am looking, obviously, at the short term. We need a policy that can accomplish both. Agreed?

Mike Chapman said...

Rage, You sir, are an idiot!

Anonymous said...

Stay classy, Mike Chapman.

Anonymous said...

I get really upset with folks like you who don't think it's ok to get a victim into safety, no matter what, until it can be shown that their is no danger.

Man, you are just missing the boat.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Mike, I simply disagree that fundamentalist Mormonism is a cult or that those who believe in it are "brainwashed," even the hermits in the prairie dresses: No more or less so than those who believe they speak to a Jewish carpenter from 2,000 years ago, and think he wants them to forbid contraception for teens. This isn't David Koresh or Jim Jones; the belief system cited as "abusive" to women in court is common to a whole lot of folks among mainstream LDS, evangelical Christians and devout Catholics, which is why you see people like the Headmistress speaking out.

I wish the public and media were as fretful over the thousands of other pregnant teens in Texas who don't have any family or religious support group.

Your argument, Mike, seems to be essentially that the end justifies the means. Based on that you can justify anything, which makes it difficult to debate.

Mike Chapman said...

anonymous -

Thanks for the reminder. I do get just a bit impatient with someone who just will not or cannot seem to get this issue from the perspective of the victim. All the fine legal arguments in the world matter little to the person who is being victimized at the time it is occurring. Imagine a rape occurring visibly in front of you. And you do nothing but consult the law books to see if it is ok to stop the rape from occurring for fear of endangering a future prosecution. That's how plain and simple this case is to many of us who aren't buried in the legalisms.

Anonymous said...

It was a joke, Mike. Not only are you wrong but you're now spouting names.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

You're almost there, Mike! You write:

"Imagine a rape occurring visibly in front of you. And you do nothing but consult the law books to see if it is ok to stop the rape from occurring"

Now imagine you're a cop, get a call about a rape victim in immediate danger, but you WAIT FOUR DAYS before entering to check on her. In the meantime, you confirm that the alleged rapist doesn't live at the ranch and is actually in Arizona under community supervision - the Sheriff even speaks to him on the phone and knows the original call is a hoax.

But wait, we don't have to imagine it ... that's what happened!!

How do you justify the Sheriff waiting four days to go after a rape victim if he really believed there was one? This isn't about legalisms, Mike, it's about a pretty blatant abuse of power.

Anonymous said...

" . . .the belief system cited as "abusive" to women in court is common to a whole lot of folks among mainstream LDS, evangelical Christians and devout Catholics. . ."

See, this is where you keep muddying the issue, because these religions, by and large, do not SEGREGATE their followers and place them under the strict control of a centrally powerful human figure.

You are conflating enormous belief systems and ignoring the practical implementation of those beliefs, and how much freedom individual members have to seek other options for themselves. It's intellectually dishonest for you to imply that the TYPICAL Catholic, Baptist, Jewish, or Muslim female has as little freedom in her individual life as a TYPICAL female on a FLDS commune. Is that what you expect us to understand?

Anonymous said...


Don't forget, in the hypothetical the cop also has to know that it's someone from another state faking the report, because the cop had the calls traced ahead of time.

Mike Chapman said...

Ok, I get it, I get it. You don't have to convince me that the authorities botch things and did in this case. My point all along has been that we must handle this situation now that we are here. I'm thankful the children are away from the perps. Period. I'm hopeful, but realistic, that the adult women victims will get some help. I am aware of how difficult it is to do that. I fundamentally do not believe that a cult is a state protected religion. I don't believe that a man with three female children in a private home should be allowed to do whatever he wants to them either.

Mike Chapman said...

You guys have fun debating this. I'm going to go to work making sure elected officials know that a whole bunch of people appreciate the good work of the CPS on this.

It's been fun.

Anonymous said...

Mike Chapman:

Define "cult." Then define "religion."

And by the way, "here" is somewhere that will prevent effective prosecution if abuse is proven. Again, you can't cure some legal violations.

Anonymous said...

Awwww, Mike's taking his ball and going home.

I'll be calling them to make sure they know that the law is against them, and that they won't be able to get the child molestors now.

They know this already, buit as long as the "cult" is breaking up they don't give a damn about those kids.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

No, Mike, that's what the CPS investigator who testified in court would have us understand, not to mention the judge who seized all these kids based on her reasoning.

I don't think these women are forcibly restrained or required to marry, I think those who stay with the group do so because of religious beliefs taught to them by their parents, who would let them leave if they chose to do so. That seems to be the description of FLDS from experts like Professor Walsh and others like this woman, who like Carolyn and Flora Jessop left FLDS and disagree with its teachings, but give quite a different view of FLDS arranged marriages.

See a further elaboration here on why the beliefs chastised in court are legitimate religious views. Though I can't quite muster the energy to rehash it this morning, suffice it to say I'm not the one who turned this into a religious witch hunt. I'm REACTING to actions by the state and the state's publicly stated reasons for what it's done, which could equally apply to millions of religious women in this country.

Mike Chapman said...

Anonymous, have fun dude. Rage, sigh.

Grits, I'll read the stuff you've attached. I certainly want to be as open minded as I can be. We do have some fundamental disagreements, that's fair. I'm as adamant about the abuse of young men by Catholic priests as I am in this case, or by individuals who aren't affiliated with any religion or cult abusing women and children.

FYI, I'm pretty familiar with CPS and all of the flaws. I still am 10,000 percent in support of them getting those kids away from the perverts in this case.

The Local Crank said...

"I still am 10,000 percent in support of them getting those kids away from the perverts in this case."

By any means necessary...

Gritsforbreakfast said...

9:45, see this post for a further adumbration of why I think that.