Tuesday, July 29, 2008

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.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Leave the emotions, propaganda and rhetoric at the door. This blogger is only interested in intelligent, logical, well-thought out, factually based comments which are on-topic, indicating the writer has an open mind and a mature ability to reason.