Monday, April 14, 2008

Sect Investigation Moving To Courtroom

by Jennifer Dobner - April 14th, 2008 - Associated Press

An investigation of abuse at the private ranch of a polygamous sect is moving to a San Angelo courthouse this week as the state argues to retain custody of 416 children removed from their parents.

Texas bar officials say more than 350 attorneys from across the state have volunteered to represent the children for free.

"The size, the scope of this effort is unprecedented," attorney Guy Choate said. "It's terribly important to the State Bar of Texas that everyone have access to justice."

Is this the McMartin case all over again? For those who do not remember, McMartin was the investigation that destroyed more than a dozen lives for crimes that ultimately became clear . . . never happened. They were bizarre accusations that anyone sane would have realized may have happened to someone, maybe, but not likely. As a result the possibility resulted in a witch hunt that abandoned our legal protections for a family business and all its employees.

It is important to remember, this investigation in Texas started with the claim by an organization (staffed by people who help those who are abused) that "someone" (not yet proven to exist) called to report they were being abused. It was supposedly a 16 year old girl married to a 50 year old man. The reaction was amplified because of the antipathy of public officials to the possibility that polygamy was involved.

The state cannot find the young girl who was supposedly being abused. However there cannot be that many 16 year old married girls in the group in question. So what does the state do?

The response has been to round up all the women and children of any age tied to an organization that outsiders call a cult of polygamy. For the vast majority of these people there is not a single credible charge other than the possibility that they attend a church in which others have been guilty of a crime. For this POSSIBILITY, children are geing traumatized, arrested, taken away from their parents and (as in McMartin) interrogated about private matters. Proof that little evidence of a crime exists is the treatment of those who "just happened" to be away from the facility when the arrests occurred. They have been left free. If the women on site at the time were arrested, why not arrest all the other mothers as well?

However the "state", that amorphous entity, is arguing that all the children should remain segregated from their mothers because their mothers MAY be guilty of the crime of polygamy. That is what this is all about. The hypocrisy that this is about abuse is what annoys me. The investigation of abuse is being used as a red herring to prosecute these people for polygamy.

It is important to remember the lesson of McMartin. Scared children will tell adults anything they think will please the adults, and they are creative about the stories they tell. Lots of false allegations will be made in these interviews.

In such an environment, the adult investigators get angry about what they hear. They believe the children with a naive idea that children would not lie about such matters. Before this is over, numerous people who have done nothing wrong will have their lives destroyed. It is starting with the idea that the Judge ordered cell phones taken from people who have been rounded up and detained, but how have not been charged with a crime.

And what about the women who have been detained? Is there a single credible charge against them other than the belief that someone else in their church committed a crime? Their children have been taken from them.

Even if they find the young 16 year old girl who originally called, this farce by our court system is the wrong way to protect her and get her justice. It is mob hysteria being practiced by our public officials, especially the tyrants called judges. There are rumors that some of the girls below 16 are pregnant, or have children. Why can't our courts and persecutors focus on these? Because this is not about abuse, it is about polygamy. None of the officials going after this cult would be happy with just prosecuting men who have married and had sex with underage girls. This is about destroying a cult of polygamy by whatever means are available.

The next time someone talks about the witch trials in the early part of our Nation's history, we need to remind them of McMartin and FLDS. Witch hunts have not ended. Our judges make sure of that.


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