Patterico's Pontifications


Warren Jeffs’ Texas Compound Update

Filed under: Civil Liberties,Current Events,Law — DRJ @ 12:43 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Two days ago, I discussed in this post that the Texas Department of Public Safety had sealed Warren Jeffs’ Texas compound near Eldorado, Texas, removed 52 children, and were searching for a 16-year-old girl and her child.

Initial reports indicated that the residents were cooperating, but all cooperation stopped when authorities tried to enter the group’s temple. Drudge and many other media sources referred to it as a Texas stand-off. Recent reports indicate the problems may have been resolved and the investigation is proceeding.

The search began after a 16-year-old girl at the ranch called authorities twice claiming she was in the facility and had a child with a 50-year-old man:

“The girl called authorities at least twice, [First Assistant District Attorney Allison] Palmer said – once March 29 and again the next day. Palmer declined to say which agency the girl telephoned, but said it was not by dialing 9-1-1, and that the girl said she was calling from inside the ranch.

“She didn’t use the term ‘forced into marriage,'” Palmer said. “She indicated that she was underage and had a (50)-year-old husband.”

According to a search-and-arrest warrant filed Thursday in Tom Green County state district court and released by the court Friday afternoon, the girl named Barlow as her husband and said he had fathered her child.

Doing the math, Palmer said, the girl could have been no older than 15 at the time of conception, and state law does not allow any kind of marriage for girls younger than 16.

“You have a 15-year-old child who was assaulted by the father of her baby,” Palmer said. “That is not a marriage the state of Texas has been prepared to recognize.”

NOTE to commenter PD, who strongly objected to the actions by the Texas authorities and ended his/her comment with this slur:

“Probably the only reason the citizens of Eldorado are creeped out by these people is that the FLDS are cleanest people they’ve seen and probably raised average IQ of the town by twenty points.”

The investigation has been handled out of San Angelo, not Eldorado. The 2,000 residents of Eldorado let the FLDS members live in peace at their ranch until one of their own called for help. Since then, area residents from Eldorado, Sonora, Ozona, and San Angelo have provided shelter and have spontaneously and generously gathered food, clothing, and donations for the displaced members.

Related posts here, here, here, and here.


16 Responses to “Warren Jeffs’ Texas Compound Update”

  1. So you’re saying that law enforcement is proceeding in a reasonable and rational manner to address a complaint, and the local citizenry is showing compassion and care for the people affected adversely?

    No beatings? No bombs, chanting, signs, SWAT assaults and religious hatred? In a small town in Texas?

    C’mon! Who you kidding?

    heldmyw (76f7ba)

  2. “…has been handled out of San Angelo…”…
    Well, San Angelo is the County Seat of Tom Green County.
    Sounds like this issue is being handled from the top – not entirely unreasonable with such a sensitive subject.

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  3. Couldn’t we just pretend they were muslims. Then all the problems would disappear. Isn’t that how a lot of this stuff is handled in London? Different religion = different law.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  4. But, didn’t we settle some years back, as to whether or not we would live according to British sensibilities?
    And, they don’t seem to be doing such a good job of it, do they?

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  5. AD – That’s not a very multiculti attitude to take in this situation.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  6. Further to DRJ’s update regarding local area residents assisting displaced members of the compound, I would challenge anyone to name an area of the country where folks are as gracious, helpful, and generous as West Texans.

    capitano (03e5ec)

  7. daley….
    If I didn’t know you’re being VERY sarcastic, I’d tell you where you could park that flashy new MultiCulti.
    Since when have I ever taken such an attitude?

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  8. Further to DRJ’s update regarding local area residents assisting displaced members of the compound, I would challenge anyone to name an area of the country where folks are as gracious, helpful, and generous as West Texans.

    Provo, Utah.

    And really, what’s with the one-upsmanship? Seems like you should be nice for its own sake, not so you can beat everyone at the game of being nice.

    Russell (5ecf4a)

  9. What I find disturbing is that they have removed over 200 children and teen aged girls on the basis of one complaint. It seems a bit over the top. I don’t like the FLDS but I wonder about the whole fourth amendment thing as well as parental rights. It seems to set a bad precedent.

    Dr T (340565)

  10. Dr. T,

    I agree that would be troublesome if that’s what happened, but I don’t think that’s what the reports say.

    The reports say the authorities interviewed the women and children and removed them after they were interviewed. In addition, 18 girls have been placed in foster care. It sounds like information was obtained in the interviews that led to those actions.

    DRJ (a431ca)

  11. I don’t have a dog in this fight, but as some of you may know I do tend to look at things sideways, and look for alternate possibilities. So here’s one:

    What if it turns out they can’t find that girl, and ultimately can’t prove she even exists? In other words, what if the two phone calls turn out to have been a hoax? Wouldn’t that be interesting?

    I have no idea whether that’s the situation, and I’m not suggesting that it is. But it might be, and in that case there’s going to be hell to pay, because it would mean the search warrant was granted based on phony evidence.

    Steven Den Beste (99cfa1)

  12. I don’t think that’s unreasonable speculation. In fact, it’s my guess that was a concern and it may be why the girl had to call twice on successive days. I suspect the authorities used the extra day to verify the information she gave them (her name and birth date, alleged husband’s ID, etc.) and that the call actually came from the ranch.

    That’s just my guess, of course, but this sect and the allegations about underage forced marriages have been well-known since they moved in. There have been two prior stand-offs in Texas at Waco and the Republic of Texas group in far West Texas. As everyone knows, the federal government handled Waco and that did not turn out well. The Texas Rangers handled the Republic of Texas stand-off with better results. Knowing all that, I’m sure the officials were very careful before they started this operation.

    EDIT: Even if it turns out to be a hoax, that doesn’t mean the search was invalid if it was based on reasonable probable cause.

    DRJ (a431ca)

  13. AD – You got it. Just mocking the libs, not you.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  14. STB: let’s try a different scenario: a new-age commune has phone calls coming, on two separate days, calling for help because they’re being beaten by their husband and are afraid they’ll be killed.

    They go into the commune and find three dead people, but none of them can be confirmed as the caller.

    Would anyone try to argue that they did any wrong, or that those three murders shouldn’t be investigated and charged? I doubt it; more likely, they’d be calling for the head of whoever waited for the second call.

    So why a different angle on child rape?

    Foxfier (74f1c8)

  15. The report I heard (local) said that 52 children (some as old as 17, legal age in Texas) and 137 women had been removed from the compound. Under what law could the DPS, CPS require all those women to leave? I suspect that most of them left voluntarily.
    There is a woman who left that compound a few years ago who claims that the women are told that if they leave, their children will be harmed, so they stay. She also claims that since she left, she has not been allowed to speak with her own mother. If that is the case then the state gave them a way out. It will be interesting to see how many woman return to the compound.
    If you will also remember, some left Waco voluntarily before the whole situation went to hell. Those women and children were put into foster care and the CPS pulled in phychologists from all over the state.

    Fox is reporting that last night CPS told them that 219 women and children have been removed from the compound but they are still removing them this morning and that number is considerably higher. The reporter said they are still trying to i.d. the girl who made the call to report abuse but since the FLDS members routinely change their names they don’t know if she is being hidden on the compound or is in the group that has been removed.

    retire05 (0aaa44)

  16. Update

    The Texas CPS said today in a news conference that it has taken custody of 401 children from the FLDS compound. It also said that the women who had left the compound left voluntarily and were free to leave at anytime but that most have chosen to remain outside and not return to the compound. So my hunch that the women left on their own was correct.

    The spokesperson said that they did not know if they had the girl who made the initial complaint in custody yet as it is routine for the FLDS residents to change their names many times. They also said that evidence was presented by the CPS to a judge and the judge made the determination that the children (or at least some of them) were in eminent harm/danger and ordered them removed.

    She also said the women were being “reasonably” cooperative with CPS.

    Are we about to see charges brought against Warren Jeffs in Texas?

    retire05 (0aaa44)

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