Patterico's Pontifications

4/30/2008

The FLDS Boys and Young Children (Updated x4)

Filed under: Civil Liberties,Law — DRJ @ 11:40 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

A previously scheduled hearing before the Texas Health and Human Services subcommittee of the Texas Legislature included some surprising testimony about the FLDS boys and young children:

“Texas officials told legislators Wednesday that they’re investigating the possible sexual abuse of some young boys taken from a polygamist sect’s ranch, as well as broken bones among other children.

The disclosures are the first suggestions that anyone other than teenage girls may have been sexually or physically abused at the ranch run by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, a renegade Mormon sect.

In written and oral testimony provided to lawmakers Wednesday, officials with the state Department of Family and Protective Services said interviews and journal entries suggested that boys may have been sexually abused

Earlier, the department’s commissioner, Carey Cockerell, told lawmakers that at least 41 children, some of them “very young,” have evidence of broken bones.”

An FLDS spokesman denied the allegations, calling it “a deliberate effort to mislead the public.”

The testimony also shed light on the problems officials had during the initial investigation:

“Cockerell told a legislative committee the investigation has been difficult because members of the church have refused to cooperate. Mothers who stayed with their children for two weeks after the raid launched a coordinated effort to stymie investigators, coaching their children to not answer questions, Cockerell said.

He said the women and children would gather into apparent family units, with the children referring to several women as their mother, then the “women switched children in these family units … making it difficult.”

“When asked, women and children would change their names and ages,” he said.

The CPS report also said authorities “tried to use bracelets to identify children, but the women and children removed the bracelets or rubbed the wording off them.”

I’m a Texan and I hope the officials have acted appropriately in this case, but for the children’s sakes I hope they are wrong about these suggestions of sexual and physical abuse.

UPDATE 1: The FLDS had a licensed physician at the compound. This San Angelo Standard Times’ article discusses physicians’ obligations to report possible abuse.

UPDATE 2: It sounds like Utah leaders plan to join forces to combat polygamous and FLDS sects in that state.

UPDATE 3 – The FLDS on-site physician, Dr. Lloyd Barlow, had this response regarding the children’s broken bones:

“Lloyd Barlow, the ranch’s onsite physician, said he was caring for a number of FLDS children with broken or fractured bones at the time they were removed from the ranch. He said he has referred a number of families to emergency rooms in nearby San Angelo and to orthopedic specialists.

“Probably over 90 percent of the injuries are forearm fractures from ground-level or low-level falls,” Barlow said from his office at the Eldorado compound. “We don’t live in a community where there is a pattern of abuse.”

Forearm fractures in grade-school children probably are more common and that sounds like a reasonable response.

On the other hand, the same link also indicated that there may be more than 31 underage pregnant girls because some of the girls refused to take a pregnancy test.

It also stated that the mothers would share breast-feeding duties, making it hard to tell who was the mother of each infant.

UPDATE 4: Officials are investigating whether the younger boys were abused by older boys, not adults.

– DRJ

54 Responses to “The FLDS Boys and Young Children (Updated x4)”

  1. the investigation has been difficult because members of the church have refused to cooperate

    Why should they be expected to cooperate with the thugs who kidnapped them/and or their children?

    CTD (7054d2)

  2. Perhaps because it’s the law?

    Plus, in a typical case, cooperation increases the chances the children will be returned.

    DRJ (a431ca)

  3. If some storm troopers invaded my home and kidnapped my kids, the last thing I would be doing is helping them out by “cooperating,” regardless of what the law said. “The law” has done nothing for those poor people thus far, except take away their children on the flimsiest of evidence (evidence which is now known to be a complete fraud).

    CTD (7054d2)

  4. CTD:

    “The law” has done nothing for those poor people thus far, except take away their children on the flimsiest of evidence (evidence which is now known to be a complete fraud).

    There was evidence of abuse that satisfied Texas law. It may be that you don’t like the legal standard for removal in Texas, which is a view I can understand and respect. It’s also possible that you are responding emotionally to the idea of children being removed from their homes.

    Which is it?

    DRJ (a431ca)

  5. Any Texan can tell you how to keep cattle from bing mixed up. Brand them and put a tag in their ear. The Nazis were smarter than the Jews, they tattooed a number on the inside of their left forearm. Neither of these solutions would be out of character for CPS. How are they going to match the DNA to so many siblings with the same parents? A photograph will not be adequate two years from now when they finally get to trial.

    Boise Leon (ca3563)

  6. I can see honest outrage at this case, but why does it seem to produce such unhinged hysteria? I cite comment #5 as an example.

    Pablo (99243e)

  7. This is such BS. Out of 460+ kids less than 10% had a broken bone and CPS claims child abuse? not to mention the total sensatioanlism by the media. It makes me sick to think this used to be the “land of the free.”
    Now we live in a country of fear mongering by politicians to achieve thier political agendas!

    ABC (280476)

  8. I am shocked at how many of you defend these animals. Truly sad. I was hoping now that they had an idea the boys were being abused too that society would lighten up. After all, we all know the girls just don’t matter. If they did, the FLDS would have been stopped 70 years ago in Colorado City, Arizona for abuse of girls and underage marriage. Instead, Arizona and Utah have completely ignored this problem for 70 years and have even gone so far as to return runaway girls to the FLDS ranch there. Truly sick, depraved and wrong. I’m willing to bet some of you are the same ones who were absolutely outraged with the priest abuse scandal… But wait, that was different, it was predominantly males abused there so it matters, RIGHT?

    Pagan (1bbeb3)

  9. ABC – What is the political aganda in this case?

    daleyrocks (906622)

  10. Both.

    When hundreds of children can be taken away from an entire community on the basis on nothing more than an anonymous phone call (that the authorities knew to be fraudulent within days) with absolutely no corroborating investigation, yes I can say that’s a pathetically low standard just begging for abuse (as happened here).

    You are also correct that I have an emotional response to children being snatched from their parents based (let’s be honest) on nothing more than their parents being a bunch of weirdos.

    CTD (7054d2)

  11. Pagan – Maybe those who are outrage support child abuse and statutory rape or are unwilling to give the state time to sort the allegations out while providing for the safety of the children. It is a mystery.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  12. You are also correct that I have an emotional response to children being snatched from their parents based (let’s be honest) on nothing more than their parents being a bunch of weirdos.

    Comment by CTD — 4/30/2008 @ 1:00 pm

    Congratulations CTD, that’s about as dishonest a description of the situation as I’ve seen yet!

    daleyrocks (906622)

  13. I would say that teenage girls HAVING BABIES is pretty good evidence that they were sexually abused– unless we have a few cases of immaculate conceptions going on. It is a crime to force young girls to be forced to have sex with those dirty old coots! It makes my skin crawl. They wrap their perversion in what they want to call religion.

    EgoNarroVerum (576983)

  14. Its interesting that we see comments about claiming that the CPS evidence was fraudulent … made by commenters who make wild accusations without any evidence.

    But not surprising. I get the impression of a tiny but vocal set of supporters of polygamists in the internet.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  15. SPQR -
    Have you not been following this case? I thought it was by now common knowledge that the calls (that triggered the raid) from “Sara,” who claimed to be an abused 16-year-old actually came from Rozita Swinton, a 33-year-old serial hoaxer.

    http://deseretnews.com/article/1,5143,695273270,00.html

    The calls from “Sara” kept coming even after the .gov “saved” all the children from the ranch.

    CTD (7054d2)

  16. CTD,

    The children were not removed because of an initial hoax call. The CPS removed the children because they found independent evidence of abuse during the initial investigation. A judge upheld that temporary removal during the first court hearing. As I said earlier, I understand if people disagree with the law but there is no suggestion that the law was improperly enforced.

    Because you refuse to acknowledge any of these facts, I think your response is based solely on emotion. I applaud you for caring about these children but too much emotion is not a good thing.

    DRJ (a431ca)

  17. ABC,

    Broken bones in young children can result from an accident but they are more likely a sign of an underlying illness or abuse. It is difficult for a young child to break a bone because their bones are more flexible and have a thicker covering than adults.

    If the young children have broken bones, it could be due to a shared medical condition because many of these children are related. It’s also possible they were abused. It’s less likely so many young children would have broken bones unless they were engaging in very risky behavior.

    Our youngest son broke his leg when he was 18 months old. The ER doctors asked us a lot of questions and we probably would have had a CPS inquiry except the doctors discovered our son had a medical condition that made him more susceptible to broken bones. Certain things trigger questions about anyone, anywhere.

    DRJ (a431ca)

  18. I thought it was by now common knowledge that the calls (that triggered the raid) from “Sara,” who claimed to be an abused 16-year-old actually came from Rozita Swinton, a 33-year-old serial hoaxer.

    That isn’t common knowledge because no one involved in the case has alleged it. It’s a common suspicion. And as DRJ notes, the call isn’t the reason the children were removed, it is only the reason they went into the ranch.

    Pablo (99243e)

  19. CTD, yes, I have been following the case. Evidently in more detail than you. It is now largely irrelevant that Swinton made some hoax calls ( and it is not clear that her calls were the only ones CPS received ).

    SPQR (26be8b)

  20. babies having babies is child abuse.

    over half of the underage girls are either pregnant or have given birth. that’s abuse, plain & simple and i don’t care how you try to excuse it.

    having nearly 10% of the youth population with broken bones is highly suspicious, and is grounds for further investigation.

    the alleged physician should be charged with misconduct and have his license revoked for professional misconduct and failure to report.
    as a caregiver, he has violated his duty to his patients and deserves the maximum punishment available.

    most of the FLDS defenders posting here have Godwin’d themselves right out of being taken seriously. their adamant refusal to accept facts just furthers their marginalization.

    redc1c4 (292479)

  21. DRJ –

    What investigation are you talking about? The calls came in, the cops got all ninjafied with their machine guns and tanks, the Baptists gave them some buses to haul the kids away with, then they rolled in. Did you honestly expect them once inside to say “Hey, actually, everything’s fine here, all a big misunderstanding. We were given bad information. Sorry to bother you folks.”? Please. They would have looked even more foolish than they do now.

    And what kind of investigating do you do with an MP5 and an armored personnel carrier?

    The only investigation I’ve seen consists of the desperate CYA maneuvering currently going on as the state attempts to find some evidence to justify its thuggery. Social services bureaucrats are, I’m sure, currently leaning on terrified children, trying to get a couple to flip and “remember” being abused by someone inside the freaks’ compound.

    CTD (7054d2)

  22. CTD, that comment was an example of what I said above, you complain about a lack of evidence, pay no attention to what has been described as the evidence CPS has presented so far, and make wild accusations.

    Yawn.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  23. CTD are you a polygamist by any chance?

    daleyrocks (906622)

  24. A Paulista, maybe?

    Another Drew (f9dd2c)

  25. thank you Pagan in # 8 !!!!!!
    you are absolutely right. And anyone who knows even little about broken bones can easily recognize a pattern in which abuse occurs with those injuries. Learn people, stop jumping into conclusions. Before you right anything about subject you have no idea about– read up!!!

    unnamed (c36902)

  26. smells like carl rovian disinformation. Let’s parse the verbiage:

    “they’re investigating the possible sexual abuse of some young boys taken from a polygamist sect’s ranch, as well as broken bones among other children.”

    Key words: investigating/possible

    the are not saying that such things exist, just they they are investigating the possibility.

    well hell pardner, i’m investigating the possiblity that the local baptists were having sex orgies over at the first baptist church of el dorado. sounds bad, but it is all b.-.

    if there was compelling proof i suspect it would be waived in front of the public to protect the reputation of that fine TEXAS CPS system.

    instead we get ambiguity and future plausible deniability.

    yup, sounds like rovian dog meat for the dumb masses.

    truth (9a6738)

  27. So you think that prosecutors would splay their case all over the media, truth?

    Why is it that people with handles like “truth” generally have no regard for it?

    Pablo (99243e)

  28. very Clearly they have something to hide. They have been brainwashed and think they are doing what is best to protect their religious views. These Mom’s are less concerned with the welfare of their children than they are with their higher cause which is to protect their beliefs. I don’t doubt they love thier children but, the proof is in the sacrifice of the children for this cause. They must know how to emotionally detach themselves from their children or anything that would be held close to thier hearts, as they give so many other females the positon of equal authority over their children to be as a whole conformed unit with shared values and responsibilities. As they detach from their men,if by assignment or free will, they have to release emothional grasp on anything or anyone to share in the whole of their community. As with any kind of abuse the cycle needs to be broken and healthy thinking restored to these children and people as a whole! Very sad. I belonged to a Church that dressed exactly like them women for 15 yrs. (not polygamist though) and the process in recovering from that thinking is a long hard road that often carries alot of guilt and uncertainty. Always wondering if God is mad with you for not being what you were taught was pleasing to Him. God bless these victims and help them!

    Jeanine (255a7c)

  29. CTC- what are you smoking, and may I have some?

    Have you been getting your coverage ENTIRELY from the sympathetic articles in Utah? MSNBC interviews? Something like that?

    Set up was:
    Call for help, re: I’m being abused.
    Cops go in (WITHOUT getting all “ninjafied”, because Sheriff Doran talked them down) get varied stories about the existence or lack there of a girl matching their caller, and find very strong evidence of the crime of rape–ie, under aged, pregnant girls.
    Parents taken with children coach children to lie some more.
    Parents are removed. (considering they could have been arrested for interfering with an investigation, or even for tampering with a witness, this is nicer than *I* would’ve been)

    Foxfier (74f1c8)

  30. “The only investigation I’ve seen consists of the desperate CYA maneuvering currently going on as the state attempts to find some evidence to justify its thuggery.”

    - CTD

    Unless I’m sorely mistaken, one law enforcement agency had an undercover agent inside the compound for nearly four years, building a case.

    The call was an excuse to act on abuse they knew was going on.

    Leviticus (f90f1e)

  31. “Unless I’m sorely mistaken, one law enforcement agency had an undercover agent inside the compound for nearly four years, building a case.”

    That’s what the press had been saying up until this interview with the Sheriff.:

    But in an interview with the Eldorado Success published April 17, the sheriff said that the abuse report stemming from the hot line calls was “essential” to obtaining the search warrant. Doran said he also provided information from a confidential informant who was a former member of the FLDS, but that person had never been to the YFZ ranch.

    Jerri Lynn Ward (bf2d8c)

  32. I will be most interested in any potential prosecution or licensing investigation of the good doctor.

    How many family physicians have failed to report the statutory rape of their female children patients? Any girl, in most every jurisdiction, who became pregnant prior to age 16, was raped. That is the law.

    Where has all the reporting by the professionals been?

    Yes. I shall relish the upcoming furor over the (non-)actions of the physician in question. Yes, sirree, Bob.

    FTR – I want zero tolerance for any actual abusers. Cat O’ Nines is too good for any abuser.

    But SPARE ME the righteous tone, SPQR and others, that the LAW is being followed in Texas. It was being followed in Germany and Poland, and the USSR, too.

    Ed (f28e9a)

  33. Well, Ed, now that you’ve Godwin’d yourself, you are ignorable.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  34. Ed:

    But SPARE ME the righteous tone, SPQR and others, that the LAW is being followed in Texas. It was being followed in Germany and Poland, and the USSR, too.

    We have laws because it makes for an orderly society, and I don’t think that makes us Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia.

    DRJ (a431ca)

  35. I just posted update 3.

    DRJ (a431ca)

  36. Not my point, DRJ.

    My point is that those who simply cite THE LAW being followed are engaging in a justification that is no justification.

    I seriously doubt that any set of laws would be sufficient for this case. This, my friends, is the point. SPQR and others, many times in these threads, argue as if following THE LAW is sufficient to quell the emotions/sensibilities of other posters.

    The argument ought to be about the best possible handling of the situation. I am on record strenuously opposing the “one size fits all” brand of justice this far exhibited. So, Ed, what would be better?

    Try this – a Special Master being appointed for each child. The Bar of Texas, imo, is morally/ethically obligated to provide such if requested by a judge. Each SM would be tasked with investigating the circumstances for each child. As an officer of the court, they would be duty and honor bound to find facts and present them to a court.

    In my not-so-learned opinion, there are cross agendas at work – the needs of the children, and the “CYA” of the State of Texas’ CPS and various police agencies. At a minimum, existing law be damned, justice demands a “clean” advocacy of each child.

    Ed (f28e9a)

  37. Each child and mother has their own attorney who is representing them at no cost. Each attorney is an officer of the court who is required to represent his/her client zealously. Furthermore, each child will get an individual hearing on or before June 5. In other words, it sounds like the system is already doing what you want.

    DRJ (a431ca)

  38. Close. But, not quite. At a minimum, to argue that these kids received individual attention/advocacy in that first hearing is to engage in farce.

    Subsequently, not one of these attorneys, as far as I am aware, has petitioned any court for emergency stays/orders that would allow for, at an absolute minimum, supervised visitation. To me, they ought to be able to enable such a thing on their own order, as a special master.

    The burden of justice, imo, has been improperly weighted against the families. There has been ample time to discern physical injury. Where none was/is to be found, a reunion with the mother should be automatic. The State separated the “mothers” from their kids. It should not now place the burden of proof upon the families to “prove” progeny.

    Given the very real horrors of State-sanctioned professional corruption in the McMartin case and others, I find it tragically comic that the parents are the ones who are seen to be “coaching” and obstructing. There’s no real chance that the CPS types are coaching, right?

    Look, I see that this sect operates in an extremely abnormal manner. Off the scales and charts. I genuinely want abusers punished.

    But it is time for the State to try its damnedest to undo some of the excesses it has wrought. Transparency needs to be a near-paramount consideration. Until I see such, I will cry “foul!”

    Ed (f28e9a)

  39. It should not now place the burden of proof upon the families to “prove” progeny.

    Ed – Great thinking. I’ve noticed a real sicko in the neighborhood, maybe I should recommend that he drop by a nearby nursery school to pick up somebody else’s kid, you know, where they don’t give a shit about progeny or parentage.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  40. Subsequently, not one of these attorneys, as far as I am aware, has petitioned any court for emergency stays/orders that would allow for, at an absolute minimum, supervised visitation.

    Ed – That’s another curious thing isn’t it. Why haven’t the attorneys done the job you would expect them to do to stop this OUTRAGE. The worst the judge could do is turn them down.

    Why haven’t they done this Ed?

    daleyrocks (906622)

  41. The argument ought to be about the best possible handling of the situation. I am on record strenuously opposing the “one size fits all” brand of justice this far exhibited.

    Beautiful Ed – Living law writ large. You probably don’t like one size fits all laws in a lot of instances do you? Is your attitude captured by your summary:

    “existing law be damned”

    daleyrocks (906622)

  42. 39 – remove the kid based on a phony phone tip and come back to me.

    40 – perhaps they would like to practice law in Texas and would not wish to rock the boat? Career self-interest couldn’t possibly guide attorneys. Nope. Can’t be that.

    41 – u so right. Constitutional protections were designed to protect the State from the individual. Lord, how did I miss that?

    Does anyone disagree that Texas and the laws of Texas (if not everywhere) are not sufficient to handle such a case as this?

    What should therefore guide? I say the individual rights/interests of the individual children. I further assert that the assumption in any potential seizure must be that a child is better off with a parent than with the State.

    Now….if specific danger is shown, by all means seize/remove the child.

    On the facts, as presented in the original hearing, I simply did not see the “imminent” harm/danger, that is supposedly the statutory language, for the vast majority of the children in question.

    Ed (f28e9a)

  43. Ed – I figured it out. In your world everybody is guilty or has bad motives except the cult members, so we have to wait until somebody dies to intervene.

    Excellent.

    Lawyers should ignore judicial canons about representing clients. Check.

    Ed – Who is paying you to write these comments by the way. Nobody would write this kind of drivel voluntarily.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  44. Ed:
    Raped kids.

    What part of this are you not getting?

    Please, explain to me how a religious requirement to rape little girls who are physically able to reporoduce, four years of testimony that they are doing so, and evidence that they are doing the same, manages to be the same as “no specific danger.”

    Foxfier (74f1c8)

  45. On an odd side note: my folks are ranchers.

    At roughly a year, the replacement heifers– the “virgin cows” are able to reproduce.

    We still wait a year, to make sure that they have a good chance to live and that their calves will be healthy.

    These scum are treating humans as lower than my family’s replacement heifers.

    Foxfier (74f1c8)

  46. regarding the “forearm” fractures…..

    here’s a sample reporting P&P: http://dcfswebresource.prairienet.org/allegations/allegations2-06.htm

    if that many of their kids are running around and falling down, breaking their bones, it would appear that they are keeping the children in an unsafe environment. the other option is that the children in question are being abused.

    i’m sure the apologists will come up with some screed to ty & explain this away.

    redc1c4 (292479)

  47. #45: Amen.

    redc1c4 (292479)

  48. more fracture info for *open* minds: http://rad.usuhs.mil/rad/handouts/lonergan/osiabuse.html

    redc1c4 (292479)

  49. 43 – I learned a long time ago that the State is always to be held to a higher standard of scrutiny than any private entity. The Bill of Rights exists for this very reason. Texas seized 450+ kids. To date, the allegations of abuse apply to fewer than 100 of these kids (broken arms and/or rape). The doctor is on the record as saying the forearm fractures were consistent with typical falls typical kids experience. As to judicial canons…when da judge say stfu in open court, you stfu. I don’t blame them for their ignorant representation of the kids there. My problem is it’s been two weeks and none have filed petitions for visitation. Why is there no transparency regarding the State actions following the seizures? If the answer is that THE LAW does not provide for such, I say THE LAW should be tested.

    44 – afaik, there has been zero evidence of sex abuse of any pre-pubescent children. I have been careful to limit my criticisms for most, but not all, of the seizures for this very reason. I grant Texas has cause to withhold pubescent females from familial custody. But I fail to see why supervised visitation must be denied the mothers.

    Ed (f28e9a)

  50. red1c4 –

    “it would appear that they are keeping the children in an unsafe environment. the other option is that the children in question are being abused”

    No. The other option is that kids get fractures all the time in the course of growing up.

    http://blogs.usatoday.com/ondeadline/2008/04/texas-probes-po.html

    I fractured multiple bones as a child, and had many friends and classmates do the same. Obviously we were being abused.

    Now I see that, being unable to find abuse from adults, they’re turning to other children. Like I said, the only concern now is to attempt to justify the mass kidnapping in the face of growing criticism.

    CTD (7054d2)

  51. A lot of you people are stupid or immoral or both, CTD excepted.

    Corey (9f8c20)

  52. Polygamy aside, I believe a great evil in our society is delayed marriage.

    That’s right, delayed — not early.

    The author of this post, a Catholic, makes some great points I, a secular person, agree with:

    Bring Back Early Marriage

    (… or condemn Mary, mother of Jesus, Joseph, her worldly husband, and God the Father, who is said to have impregnated Mary; also, condemn many of your ancestors with their multi-decade fruitful loving marriages who for some inexplicable reason chose to marry at or shortly after the time when their body was screaming hormones and emotions at them to find love and procreate… it’s your choice)

    Corey (45ff97)

  53. And I apologize for expressing myself inappropriately in the comment before last. I was wrong to do so because my comment itself was wrong. I believe your position is not thought through to the point of having horrible consequences for society and for the individuals involved… however, I don’t believe your intentions are in any way negative. Your instinct is to protect young people.

    So is mine.

    However, I see no need to protect them from marriage, love, and bearing children at the age they were meant by God (many of your beliefs) or nature (mine) to begin doing so… subject to individual choices to delay for their own good reasons, not yours or mine.

    Of course, teenagers are sexual. Why not allow them to and support them in doing so within a committed relationship, taking responsibility for their creation, and still able to pursue their education and economic future without society looking down on them for doing what is both natural and right?

    Corey (45ff97)

  54. Corey -
    Please explain how trading women as objects, to be directed by the whim of the cult leader, is somehow protecting them.

    I, personally, like the idea of early marriage– it allows parents to be able to devote their full youthful energy to their children.

    This has NOTHING to do with marrying off little girls to 45 year old men who have multiple other men; if you are willing to slander those who oppose this abuse, it is you who are in the wrong.
    I highly suggest that you investigate the issue further. Right now, you sound like Mike Reagan and his obsession with mothers always being innocent.

    Foxfier (74f1c8)


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