Monday, August 18, 2008

For all the hype, few actual abuse cases coming out of the Great Eldorado Polygamist Roundup

At the height of the Great Eldorado Polygamist Roundup, the state claimed 466 kids were abuse victims and dozens of fundamentalist Mormon men were suspected of sexual abuse charges. When the rubber met the road, though we've only seen "four removal requests and last month's indictment of six FLDS members on sexual abuse-related charges," reports the San Angelo Standard Times, while 66 child custody cases have been dropped. Of the six men indicted, one was a doctor accused of failing to report alleged abuse, and one was FLDS prophet Warren Jeffs who was already incarcerated in Arizona. There are still no complaining victims in any of these cases.

The hard truth about the Great Eldorado Polygamist Roundup is that despite all the tough, hang-em high rhetoric and demagoguing by state and local officials, the massive police action probably made it harder, not easier to identify or prevent abuse within the group. It caused Eldorado polygamists to circle the wagons to protect their innocent brethren, and made kids more fearful of the state than of their religious leaders, which means they'll be less likely to speak out when bad things happen.

Part of the problem with the state of Texas' approach to the raid was that officials took the wrong example as their model. They thought they were dealing with another David Koresh like in Waco, but really the better comparison was the Short Creek Raid in 1953 on the Utah-Arizona border. The Arizona Republic on Saturday offered an excellent analysis comparing the Texas raid with its historical antecedent out west, reaching these conclusions:
It's hard to see your way in polygamist country, and the most dangerous pathway through this, says Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff, is the one that came before.

Arizona and Utah officials have carefully worked to carve exit routes from Colorado City for those who want to leave. They established the Safety Net Committee to help domestic-violence victims, and on the road into Colorado City, a large billboard now advertises a "safe talk" hotline.

But "if they fear us more than they do their abusers, they're never going to seek help," Shurtleff says. "It's this fear of government they've been taught from the cradle - 'See what happened in '53? If you seek help, they'll come and take everybody.' We keep telling them, 'No, no, no. If someone needs help, we'll handle that one case. There won't be a raid.'

"And now the polygamists are saying, 'See, we told you, we told you it would happen again,' " Shurtleff says.

There's another force at work here, too, a kind of unlikely glory that comes each time the police knock on the polygamists' doors.

Nothing makes a religion like a martyr. The Bible leans on the stories of those who put faith first, who sacrificed their freedom and their families, who laid down their lives for the Lord. Through all their persecution, the polygamists talk of nothing but strength.

"The outside pressure from the government only reinforces their convictions," says [FLDS researcher Ken] Driggs, "reinforces the belief that 'We are God's chosen people, and we are going to be persecuted for living God's laws.' "

In the polygamists' darkest hours, they say, the light shines more brightly on the pathway to God.
In other words Texas blew it, however this handful of prosecutions turns out. Just like in the aftermath to the Short Creek debacle, if there are actual abused kids among the FLDS, Texas ' actions made it more difficult, not easier, for them to get help - and not just in Texas but in other locales.

BLOGVERSATION: Read a different take at Ron's Insanity.


TxBluesMan said...


I would imagine that there will be additional indictments this Thursday, since the Grand Jury is meeting again.

You should also know, in the case of Sexual Assault of a Child, it is well established in case law that the State is the complaining party, not the victim. In many cases, the victim believes, for whatever reason (love, religion, family, etc), that what they are doing is right and refuses to testify against the assailant.

In any event, that is a moot point, since the victim is not required to testify so long as the State can prove its case with other evidence, as it appears that they can here.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Bluesy, the distinction about the state being the "complaining party," is an irrelevant misdirection. That's not what I said, so it's a pure straw man. My claim was that there's no complaining VICTIM and it's true. The state has made numerous allegations during this episode - many of them flat out media manipulating falsehoods. For that matter, I doubt even the six already indicted can be successfully prosecuted. You're assuming the search warrant holds up and I personally doubt it will.

Indeed, considering your sweeping claims earlier of culpability on a wide scale by virtually every FLDS member, I'm surprised you're not just a little chastened that this is all of a case that's left to defend. No offense, Bluesy, but your predictive powers on this one haven't really panned out. A betting man could have made a lot of money this spring by examining your daily predictions in Grits' comments then wagering the farm that the exact opposite would happen.

Bot said...

The locals in Eldorado were worried about the FLDS taking over the county, so State Rep. Harvey Hilderbran sponsored a bill in 2005 that raised the legal age of consent to marry in Texas from 14 to 16. This was specifically targeted against the FLDS. When the FLDS moved to Texas the legal age was 14. Anyone outside Eldorado would call this religious persecution.

If the state really wants to stop child abuse, the CPS should concentrate on inner-city Dallas or Houston girls who conceived at age 15 or less. Jail the twenty-something men who impregnated them and attach their wages so the welfare queens can be self-supporting (like the FLDS). Then prosecute the Planned Parenthood offices which refuse to identify the adult fathers who impregnate girls 15 or less. Those offices should be closed down.

Anonymous said...

(INsert "Aw Geez, not this shit again" picture here.)

A betting man could have made a lot of money this spring by examining your daily predictions in Grits' comments then wagering the farm that the exact opposite would happen.


SB said...

Bot, Hildebran likes to tell the world that this bill was targeted at FLDS. Maybe that is not legal but it sure is an abuse of power.At the same time he tried to cover his butt and prevent FLDS from voting him out.I don.t know the result.
If Planned Parenthood didn't exist many young girls would die from lack of medical care and back-alley abortions.
Young mothers have a very rough time. Few of these pregnancies are a result of force. The male in jain or prison has no paycheck to attach. We can either pay to house another prison or keep him on the outside, working and paying court-ordered child support.Putting him in the system automatically makes his child 80% more likely to become a part of the system. We have started far more of these chain reactions than we can handle.

Anonymous said...

It is very rare for any appendage of government to admit the degree of their screw-ups, or even that they might have screwed up in the first place.

Such is the case in the "Great Eldorado Screw-up.

We can take the fact that the parties involved are not going out of their way to advertise this as a success story as an admission that they screwed up.

Headmistress, zookeeper said...

"If Planned Parenthood didn't exist many young girls would die from lack of medical care and back-alley abortions."

This is a myth perpetrated on a gullible public by pro-abortion forces who simply made up numbers back when they were trying to get abortions legalized. They have admitted that the very same doctors who performed illegal abortions in those back alley procedures were the ones who performed the legal abortions as soon as they were legal.

Few of these pregnancies [to young mothers] are a result of force.

And you know this, how? Statistically, an incredibly high number are, in fact, a result of force BY LAW since underaged girls cannot give consent, but a number of them are by force by any other measurement as well.

yutthehay said...

This is not about the children they are only being use a pawns in the Texas effort to destroy the FLDS. Children mean nothing to them. They could care less about their needs or emotions. I just don't see why they don't like the FLDS. They have hurt NO ONE. They have strong family ties. They are not a burdon on the welfare system. And the men are NOT out trying to suduce girls old or young period.

SB said...

I am for Planned Parenthood and, as far as I know, there is no alternative for those with little or no money. The abortionist may be the same as in the clinic but I would opt for the more sterile place.Is it the abortions that turn you against PP?
Someone I love very much was going there for shots. A pelvic exam is required if medication is to be given. It was during one of these exams that a precancerous condition was found and was referred to a specialist. This young lady had no money and no insurance. I know for a fact that she would have been without medical care without PP. And she would probably have died of cancer had they not been doing regular exams.

And I am aware of the multitude of young males who are in prison for consensual teen sex. I don't agree with our son's being marked as sex offenders. 30 days in jail and a restraining order sounds about right to me.

kbp said...

Texas has spent close to $30 million making this mess, and I'm sure it may cost 5 to 10 times that before the mess is cleaned up as much as it can be.

Now, while any are bragging about any they feel they've saved, I'll just remember NONE wanted their help and all of them seemed happy being left alone.

It's like we need to train them to be a victim before they can be.


Good to see the Grits hasn't completely ignored this case! :)