Tuesday, July 29, 2008

FLDS Fallout

We have 'experts' chiming in on the polys, and Marci Hamilton seems to have the answer! . . . criminalize child sexual abuse. No, really! Yes, even as I say this, my eyes are rolling.

She proposes to amend the RICO laws to include child sexual abuse. She evidently thinks religion is a racket like the mob is. . . and she doesn't appear to limit this to a religion that believes in plural marriage. She proposes:

First, amend 18 U.S.C. § 1962(c) to include the following bolded language:

It shall be unlawful for any person, or enterprise engaging in, promoting, or facilitating childhood sexual abuse or neglect, employed by or associated with any enterprise engaged in, or the activities of which affect, interstate or foreign commerce, to conduct or participate, directly or indirectly, in the conduct of such enterprise's affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity or collection of unlawful debt.

Second, amend 18 U.S.C. 1961(1)(a), the definition of “Racketeering Activity,” to include the bolded language:

(1)“racketeering activity” means (A) any act or threat involving murder, kidnapping, gambling, arson, robbery, bribery, extortion, dealing in obscene matter, engaging in, promoting or facilitating childhood sexual abuse or neglect, or dealing in a controlled substance or listed chemical (as defined in section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act), which is chargeable under State law and punishable by imprisonment for more than one year;

She also proposes to expand the injuries defined by RICO from only injury to business or property to add injury to the person, if a child sexual abuse victim. This would allow for triple damages in a civil lawsuit.

Now, I don't get it. How does plural marriage or a religious practice constitute a business operation? I mean, RICO must, by definition involve commerce. Well? ( yes, readers, she appears to be a lawyer. )

Based on her writings, she is not only targeting FLDS, but the Catholic Church, with its child molesting priest scandals that have been covered up by virtually all the powers-that-be until the requisite critical mass of victims could no longer be denied. Yet, with the FLDS we are talking about how many alleged victims? A mere handful? A few members of a community doing wrong? Just like in any other American community?

Moving on. . .she wants the states to eliminate statutes of limitations on sexual abuse allegations. Given the history of sexual abuse allegations, false memories, and the child saver mentality to believe the child no matter what, this is a horrifying prospect for anyone would would be falsely accused by a bratty child seeking to get his or her own way or a vindictive ex seeking to eliminate all challenges to custody! Many states have long statutes of limitations already. This is a thoughtless, knee-jerk reaction based on emotions. Typical of the child saver.

Finally, she proposes something that actually makes sense, and I could get behind this one:

Revocation of tax-exempt status for organizations furthering child abuse or neglect. Tax-exempt status for a charitable organization under the Internal Revenue Code shall be revoked by the Internal Revenue Service from any organization if it is found by a court of law in a civil or criminal case that the organization:

(a) Fostered the abuse of children,


(b) Took steps to conceal the abuse of children,


(c) Failed to report knowledge of child abuse or neglect to the relevant law enforcement authorities.

Finally, federal agencies should not be permitted to do business with any organization that furthers or fosters child sex abuse or neglect.

Given the plethora of private charities so poorly and callously administering child welfare, foster care and adoptions, this could completely booger up the child welfare works by making foster care safer than the family home, and in the process, eliminating all inferior foster care.

The largest segment of our population who sexually abuses children is the foster care business. And foster care is a multi-billion dollar interstate commerce enterprise.

Sometimes it's the foster caregivers doing it, sometimes it's the foster care-giver's kids molesting the foster kids, sometimes it's another foster kid doing the molesting, and sometimes it's a friend of the foster care-givers. But most of it happens in foster care.

This would be an excellent tool for aggrieved parents to use to shut down the foster care agency or group home that sexually abuses, allows, covers up, or fails to report sexual abuse of their children. Bring it on, Ms. Hamilton, I can see the decimation of private foster care and adoption agencies, group homes and, OMG, residential treatment centers for children and the subsequent reduction of out-of-home placements of children due to lack of homes and beds for placement.

But wait. . .back to the proposed RICO provisions. . .perhaps these foster placement agencies, group homes and residential treatment centers COULD be held criminally or civilly liable under RICO? RICO is a darned hard case to make and most courts toss RICO claims. . . BUT. . .while the RICO might not fly for a religion, it might fly for these non-profits.


Texas, FLDS, Crimes and Misdemeanors

5 more arrested from Texas polygamist sect

AUSTIN, Texas -- Five indicted members of a West Texas polygamist sect turned themselves in to authorities Monday to face charges related to allegations of child sexual abuse.

The five men were indicted last week with Warren Jeffs, the already-jailed leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The charges stem from a state investigation into allegations that the sect forced underage girls into marriage and motherhood with much older men.

State authorities raided the FLDS's Yearning For Zion Ranch in Eldorado on April 3, eventually sweeping more than 400 children into foster care until the state Supreme Court said officials had overreached and sent the children home.

Raymond Merrill Jessop, 36, Allan Eugene Keate, 56, Michael George Emack, 57, and Merrill Leroy Jessop, 33, were charged with one count each of sexual assault of a child, a felony punishable by a sentence ranging from five to 99 years or life in prison. Their bond was set at $100,000 each.

Merrill Leroy Jessop also was charged with bigamy, a felony with the same potential penalties as the sexual assault charge.

Lloyd Hammon Barlow, 38, the ranch's onsite physician, was charged with three counts of failure to report child abuse, a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in prison. His bond was set at $5,000.

I have a few comments about this, including the ones I raised in prior blogs about the church members submitting to the DNA testing, especially without protective orders in place on the CPS cases to insure that the results are not used in criminal prosecution. How else could these indictments have come about? And could those results be thrown out as unlawfully obtained for law enforcement purposes and for being the fruit of the poisonousness tree?

The marriage conundrum is evidently going to be addressed, too. This should be interesting. Honestly, how nitpicky can the nanny-state get about what goes on in adult bedrooms with or without the benefit of a state issued marriage license? The same people who insist you can't legislate morality are . . .legislating morality. How hypocritical is that? And are the alleged child brides going to testify? or will they invoke spousal privilege? CAN they invoke spousal privilege? Are they children or emancipated adults? What was the age of parental consent at the time of the marriage? Does parental consent only apply to marriages with marriage licenses or to common-law marriages? The muddy Texas marriage waters are likely to emerge from this episode much clearer, and how will they contrast with the recent legal decisions regarding same-sex marriages in other states? Wow. It will be fascinating to see how much more the government can screw up the institution of marriage in this country.

And the hapless doctor, a mandated reporter didn't report child abuse? This would be only the SECOND case I have heard of in the past seventeen years where a mandated reporter was charged with failure to report. The first (if memory serves. . .it's been a while) involved a school nurse in Missouri, who was not convicted, because she didn't believe the incident she was charged with not reporting constituted child abuse. Her reasonable belief was adequate to defeat the conviction. That and the vague laws which define abuse loaded with loopholes for both sides. I don't know of a single conviction against a mandated reporter for failure to report, anywhere.

It's almost like the Clash of the Titans, Child Savers vs. Religion. If only the child savers had gone after the Catholic Priest child molesters and the foster care molesters with the same red-eyed vengeance they are going after the polygamists. Then they might appear more credible to the public.

Come on, guys. . .your double standard isn't hidden very well.