Saturday, May 24, 2008

How many underage moms were at the YFZ Ranch? It sure wasn't 60%

The Headmistress over at The Common Room has been doing a terrific job summarizing the daily blow by blow in the YFZ Ranch case, and I strongly recommend those interested to check out her update for today, which provides several clues to what might happen next in the wake of the 3rd Court of Appeals recent decision (e.g., Judge Walther appears to be on the warpath, and Prof. John Walsh, who studies FLDS professionally as an academic, says the state misrepresented his research in its court filings).

But stepping back for a moment from the daily drama, let's clear up once and for all a bogus statistic that has clouded many discussions of the Great Eldorado Polygamist Roundup. Brooke Adams wrote yesterday on her blog at the Salt Lake Tribune that DFPS:
kept telling us, the media and the public, that there were 31 girls between the ages of 14 and 17 who were pregnant, mothers or both.

Now we know the truth: There are only five girls in that group. All but one are or will be 18 this year. One gave birth when she was 17, three when they were 16. One is pregnant. (emphasis added)
So we're talking about five teen moms out of 27 teenage girls, not 31 out of 53. But even for those five, said the 3rd Court of Appeals, DFPS did not meet their burden of proof. The court declared that:
there was no evidence regarding the marital status of these girls when they became pregnant or the circumstances under which they became pregnant other than the general allegation that the girls were living in an FLDS community that condoned underage marriage and sex.
So all this hoopla at the end of the day was about five teen moms out of 440 some odd kids. You could go into any community in Texas, I bet, and find the same thing. Not only that CPS presented no evidence about the fathers' age or the girls' marital status upon conception. These data are a far cry, aren't they, from the terrible depictions of abuse CPS portrayed to the press over the last six weeks?

See prior, related Grits posts:


Headmistress, zookeeper said...

Here's something else to consider. People are comparing the stats on Teen pregnancy in the FLDS with the mainstream society.

But the FLDS don't practice birth control, do they? Or abortion? So mainstream teen pregnancy stats are skewed by those two factors- at least for the purposes of comparison with FLDS teens.

1/4 of mainstream teens have had at least one STD. What's the rate of STDs in the FLDS teen population? Probably zero.

Anonymous said...

Now that we have a better idea of how many teen girls were on the ranch, how does that compare to the number of teen boys in the same age bracket?

Gritsforbreakfast said...

According to this article, there are 17 teen boys of comparable ages. OTOH, the same article got virtually every other piece of data wrong, so take the reference FWIW.

kbp said...


Using that count, or ANY count, it does not show an immediate danger.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

That's true, KBP, but I'm not naive enough to discount the "Lost Boys" issue.

I think it says something about the sociology of the place if there are only 63% as many boys compared with girls. The question is what? It doesn't have anything to do with the ongoing case, but it's a question a lot of folks have been rightfully asking as the drama played out, and it's better to discuss it with good data than bad. FTM, I'd like to see the Dallas News revisit the issue to correct their previous coverage. It's out there and deserves to be talked about.

Prof. Walsh's explanation that young men were more attracted by outside influences and less interested in pious lifestyles might account for some of it. (For perhaps similar reasons, the majority of converts to mainstream Mormonism are women, I recently read.) Plus, all the teens by definition migrated from elsewhere (since the YFZ Ranch was built in 2004), so the gender split may not have ever been 50/50. I've not heard of any specific "lost boys" related to the YFZ Ranch, but that doesn't mean they're not out there.

Whether or not that's how they consider themselves might be another matter.

kbp said...

"[Texas...] agreed to reunite 12 children with their parents while the case moves on.
...Lori and Joseph Jessop had been scheduled to appear in Bexar County district court on their motion to release their three children..."

State was in the wrong court that day.

Had the wrong judge that day.

Faced with a decision they did not want to see (lose custody NOW).

Smartest move the state has made yet.

Shows the public the state's position is to RE-UNITE the children with their parents and avoids a loss. They look like the good guys then!

If any of those cases would have involved a single child less than 12 months old, still nursing, I'd have liked to have seen the court's ruling instead of a temporary agreement. Worst case then is that the mother would still have been allowed to stay with the baby to nurse it.

Still a good outcome for the now!

The Local Crank said...

After discussing this case with some people I know who let's say are often involved in a professional capacity with DFPS cases, the consensus seemed to be that DFPS would definately take it to the Supremes (as it turned out they did) in order to avoid losing face) and if they lose their they will either issue "reason to believe" (abuse occured) letters, offer no services and close their cases or try to proceed on the service plans for a couple of cases they think they can actually make or where they think the parents will refuse or fail to follow the plan.

Anonymous said...

What about the Lost Boys?

I've seen 2 interveiws with LB's and they both said that they decided to leave.


Show me one who was unjustly thrown out.

Anonymous said...

I think you could go a whole lot farther than just pointing out the misinformation purported to the media by the State, and often testified in court, regarding the number of at risk or harmed underage girls. There is an entire laundry list of this misinformation including:

ø - Number of underage girls pregnant or having already had children.
ø - Forced marriages.
ø - Single household.
ø - Pervasive system of belief that guarantees sexual molestation.
ø - Perverted old men standing in line to get their mitts on the next young girl available.
ø - Adolescent males bred to become future sexual predators.
ø - Pervasive belief that no age is too young for a girl to marry.
ø - CPS unable to determine names and ages of any of the children or their parents.
ø - There is no Sarah Jessup Barlow.
ø - The raid triggering phone calls were a hoax.

Number of underage girls pregnant or having already had children
Grits has already made a very good case supporting this misinformation.

Forced marriages
There is ample testimony in court, and even the State acknowledges in their motions/briefs that females are given the option to refuse a marriage if they want to. Evidence also supports that not all pubescent females are married, indicating that not ALL are forced to marry.

Single household
Evidence supports that there are numerous households on the ranch, each private and securable by locks. Even in a polygamous family, the patriarch may have numerous households which he travels between, establishing separate households for each portion or subset of family. The entire ranch is not a single household.

Pervasive system of belief that guarantees sexual molestation
Pervasive - to penetrate and affect all. It is fact that not all at the ranch practice the belief that sexual molestation is guaranteed, nor has it been established that sexual molestation is part of the doctrine. Not all of the children, or even all of a subset of underage females, have been molested.

Perverted old men standing in line to get their mitts on the next young girl available
There are a relatively large number of young girls who are not married, not pregnant, nor having child. Evidence showed that the majority of young females were married to men close to their age. No evidence indicated that elderly men had more than one young wife, and the majority had none.

Adolescent males bred to become future sexual predators
No evidence has been presented to prove this issue, aside from testimony of CPS workers about the belief of the worker, not the beliefs of the young men.

Pervasive belief that no age is too young for a girl to marry
Opinions and testimony of all interviewed on this topic varied widely. Each person held their own opinion, much as anyone else would on any other topic. There was no pervasive belief (all encompassing or singular) discovered. Actual practices supports there is no pervasive belief, as no underage girls were found to be married.

CPS unable to determine names and ages of any of the children or their parents
CPS may be able to claim that some parents or children were reluctant to provide information, but can not make the claim it does that all provided no or even false information. It is well documented in now numerous individual cases who the parents of numerous children are. These facts were established prior to the hearings, or else the hearings could not have been held the way they were. Service plans developed by the State indicated parent/child relationships were defined.

There is no Sarah Jessup Barlow
CPS has searched to no avail to find Sarah. They even attempted to use Sarah as a euphemism to describe many other girls. The calls were not made by a euphemism, they were made by a person. Sarah does not exist at the YFZ ranch, if at all.

The raid triggering phone calls were a hoax
One of the most damning pieces of evidence is the phone calls that triggered the raid. It has been questioned by Grits and others ad nausea as to why the calls have not been clearly defined as a hoax. Perhaps the answer is that the calls were not hoax calls at all. A hoax being a random, unrelated event. To brush off the calls as a hoax might be the easy way to escape blame, but authorities have been reluctant to do so. We know that the calls were not authentic, in that there is no Sarah Jessup Barlow, no Baby Barlow, and Dale Barlow was not her husband nor had any involvement with the YFZ ranch. It has also been established that the calls originated from Colorado, from the cell phone of a known hoaxer, who has never been to the YFZ ranch. What hasn't been established is that the calls were a random act, or if they were an instigated act. Did she make this up out of the blue, or was she put up to making the calls by someone else? The reluctance to classify the calls as a hoax seems to indicate that they were intentional, purposeful, and potentially subcontracted.

kbp said...


If the latter of the possible outcomes you predict comes into play, one should assume there will be attorneys (or PI's) watching closely for any problems that can be added to a civil complaint I anticipate we'll see.

Another factor to consider will be whether or not any criminal charges come of the raid. That will be a big influence on what the families do.

Maybe both sides can claim victory then and move on, though i do not think that would put an end to all civil complaints we may see.

kbp said...

Number of underage girls pregnant or having already had children
Grits has already made a very good case supporting this misinformation.

That number is not firm yet. Brooke Adams, who is staying on top of everything quite well, tells us there are 5 of the 31 girls between the ages of 14 and 17 who were pregnant, mothers or both left that may be in that group.

I believe she came up with that number at 11am yesterday (Friday the 23rd). It's 15 reclassified as adults and one not pregnant after all, IIRC.

On the CPS unable to determine names and ages of any of the children or their parents, I could not find how the CPS is due such information even if they have custody, and I certainly doubt they can demand it if they do not have custody or an order. Makes me wonder if Walthers orders or directives are void.

kbp said...


If the CPS claimed 31, I am really slipping in my math!

That 16 and 1 posted above can't be accurate.

I am certain the ZERO is not the number of 14-17 YO's pregnant or with child.

The CPS threw so many numbers, often including some that would not be illegal due to their ages when it happened, that it's a difficult number to keep track of.

Anonymous said...

The age discrepancy begins at age 6-9, I don't know if the FLDS has figured a way to increase the number of girls born during their youth or if some of the older men take the older boys off to work on the projects they get hired for as additional cheap labor. I believe that one of the FLDS' businesses is to build homes and buildings. Apparently they do quality work at rates competitive with Mexican labor. There are some contentions that they use under-aged help in the businesses.

If CPS really wants to help these people they should return them on the condition that every child who lives on the ranch should be required to be enrolled and working toward a program to get a HS diploma or GED. And they should also have to provide facilities for residents who may wish to pursue higher educational degrees by distance education(i.e. provide proctors and allow residents to use satellite TV dishes and the internet to attend class).

I think that if Texans realized that the FLDS practice some more akin to fornication with specific partners under restrictive religious supervision, and that they don't have VD problems of simple fornication because of those restrictions. I think that the FLDS needs to understand that not only do Texans in general find polygamy/adultery/fornication offensive, Texans don't want their sisters marrying into the FLDS nor do they want to care for a lot of genetic problems from marrying closely related people and they want everyone to be able to provide for himself in these rapidly changing times and that means (to Texans) everyone needs a good education. I think the FLDS needs to take steps to eliminate their neighbors fears to minimize the dangers to their religion. Their failure to do that of course doesn't justify the taking of all their children.

don said...

To Anon. 6:58
Seems to me that CPS probably won't get to set forth any "conditions", such as you would require. Just how is it that CPS can "require" FLDS to make all those things you mention available. Has it not yet dawned on you that CPS and the state of Texas is LOSING? Could be that "Texans in general" need to realize that FLDS may not give a flying flip what they find offensive except to whatever extent, if any, that laws are broken. You can't force someone to respect your values and beliefs, any more than they can force you to respect theirs. It's all about the RULE OF LAW. Otherwise, they should be able to tell you to take your religious bigotry and shove it. You guys just keep spewing this baseless nonsense, hearsay, and stuff that somebody makes up. For instance, where are the "genetic problems from marrying closely related people" that Texans don't want to care for? Where? Who? When? You don't want your sister marrying into it? Fine. Tell your sister. At the moment, if I were in a position of authority within CPS working on this particular operation, I don't think I'd be drafting new demands and conditions to impose upon these people. I think I would be, and they probably are, trying to figure out how to back out of this deal with at least part of my ass intact.

SB said...

Years ago I was in the Phillipins and there were 9females born to every one male. I believe that the US now produces more females than males. I didn't count but while going over the Bishop's list it sort of stuck in my mind that they seem to be producing more females than males.
I think women would be attracted to a lifestyle that does not judge on outer beauty. I doubt anyone goes hungry or is tossed into the street for failure to pay rent. Many females would drawn by the idea of a secure environment.

Headmistress, zookeeper said...

I have six daughters and one son. I promise I did not reach that inequity by getting rid of any surplus male children.
I know my family is too small a data sample to reach any particular conclusion.
I suspect the number of children at FLDS is likewise, not significantly large enough to make a statement one way or the other about the ratio of boys to girls without more information.

SB said...

Hildebran's legislation stalled in the waning days of the 2005 legislative session and was in danger of dying when the legislative clock expired. But Hildebran managed to tack on most of its provisions, including raising the minimum age for a girl to marry from 14 to 16, to a sweeping measure to overhaul the state's Child Protective Services. That measure passed and was signed into law by Gov. Rick Perry.
I remember Perry announcing that he had given broader powers to CPS.

Flora Jessop thanked Rozita Swinton for making the call "even though it was a hoax". If anyone comes across that please post the link.

SB said...

Then there's the question of Texas Ranger Long, himself a long-time acquaintance of Flora Jessop.


Jessop said she had to maintain the pretense that her caller was real so that Texas police could continue investigating.

2004-When it all began.

Jessop is leading the media and others on a wild goose chase,1249,590037547,00.html

Melanie said...

**If CPS really wants to help these people they should return them on the condition that every child who lives on the ranch should be required to be enrolled and working toward a program to get a HS diploma or GED. And they should also have to provide facilities for residents who may wish to pursue higher educational degrees by distance education(i.e. provide proctors and allow residents to use satellite TV dishes and the internet to attend class.**

Sorry, but you can't require more of a particular group of people that you can require of the population at large. Children are required to attend school through age 8 in TX, graduation is *not* a requirement. Nor are any other parents in the state required to make sure that their children have access to higher education. Helpful to *offer* those services perhaps, but you cannot legally require them of the FLDS as part of getting their kids back.

Headmistress, zookeeper said...

Melanie, you mean grade 8, surely.

Melanie said...

ROFL - no, I meant age 18. LOL, boy wouldn't some kids love an age 8 requirement! :-)