Harry Reid Praises Texas KGB for Outstanding FLDS Abduction

Harry Reid sent a letter yesterday to U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey asking him to use federal resources to put a stop to the abuse that is going on in polygamous communities. I agree--the abuse must stop. And, from my perspective, this has become a federal affair.

If a state legal agency abuses its power to the extent that it destroys a community like Eldorado, the federal government must be called on to put a stop to it.

Unfortunately, that's not

Interestingly, no criminal conduct whatsoever has been proven yet against FLDS members in Texas--and it will be difficult to do so, because Texas arrested everyone except for the ones that supposedly committed all the crimes--the men.

what Senator Reid was talking about. Instead, he was referring to--based on little or no evidence--increasing the size, scope, and control of the Federal government over the religious activities of Americans. Reid is somehow aware of "a broader pattern of serious criminal conduct" in polygamous communities. And
Reid said the raid earlier this month at the Fundamentalist LDS Church ranch in Eldorado, Texas, "illustrates the depth of the problem and the pressing need for federal leadership to combat this problem."

"The recent raid of one polygamist compound in Texas uncovered many of the problems," Reid wrote. "But Texas may be the tip of the iceberg. The existence of such communities elsewhere in the United States is well known."
Then again it may not be the tip of the iceberg. The point is, no one really knows.

Interestingly, no criminal conduct whatsoever has been proven yet against FLDS members in Texas--and it will be difficult to do so, because Texas arrested everyone except for the ones that supposedly committed all the crimes--the men.

Meanwhile, it has been for all intents and purposes proven that the basis for the entire raid on the FLDS community was a fraud.
Even after the raid on the Fundamentalist LDS Church's YFZ Ranch that led to the removal of 437 children, 16-year-old "Sarah" continued calling for help.

Those calls now appear to be a hoax, as an arrest warrant unsealed in a Colorado Springs court on Wednesday indicated phone numbers used to call the shelters match cell phones belonging to a woman named a "person of interest" in the Texas investigation.

Colorado Springs police have been investigating Rozita Swinton, 33, for a series of hoax calls reporting child abuse...
...the phony calls will not undo the decision to take the children from the YFZ Ranch...
Well, that's good to know! The saga of abuse continues! Mr. Mukasey, have you read Senator Reid's letter yet?

To further bolster their case, Texas authorities are now counting 462 children, because they have reason to believe that as many as 25 of the mothers are under the age of 18. It would be interesting to have a bit more detail as to age breakdowns for the children-mothers, but I have a feeling that wouldn't bolster Texas's case quite so well--maybe about as much as the bed-hair.

The same story reports that Constitutional rights are being faithfully upheld by Texas authorities as well--or something:

Activity at the coliseum started as the sun rose Thursday morning, when it was locked down and dozens of lawmen massed outside the cattle arena. Attorneys for the children have been turned away at the gate.

"Are attorneys not allowed to see their clients?" a guardian ad litem shouted to a Texas state trooper blocking a gate.

"No," the officer said authoritatively.

So yes, Senator Reid, you are correct. There is widespread egregious abuse as it relates to polygamous communities. But I'm afraid you'll need to rewrite your letter to the Attorney General. And put a few more facts in it this time.


  1. If Carolyn Jessop is to be believed, the FLDS community is seriously bad news. Watch her speech on Fora.tv.

  2. The FLDS community is different, but that is definitely not a crime - in fact it's what makes America great - diversity and tolerance.

    There may be some in the community who are guilty of crimes, but there is that element in every community. By your logic, if police receive a call claiming abuse in a specific city, should they detain everyone in that city?

    Why are organizations like the ACLU not speaking up? This is a HUGE Civil Liberties issue.

  3. Bradley,

    You're right, but to what extent I don't think anyone is really sure. Warren Jeffs is definitely bad news, but the irony of it is that he got due process of law, whereas all the potential victims--the women and children, are being treated like cattle. The men--the potential perpetrators--have not been arrested. Why? Because they probably couldn't make a case against them. The soft-law Family Services people have a much lower threshold, however, to be able to split up families, and so that--as Texas's latest form of damage control--is the approach they're using.

    The case they went in there for was a fraud. But instead of investigating individual abuses, they just abducted the whole kit and kaboodle of the women and kids--and left the men there.


    Your example is perfect. It may have been you on another thread that asked, to wit, if someone accused an LDS bishop of abuse, should the cops arrest the whole ward? The ACLU, I'm afraid, is showing its true colors in this case by staying in the shadows. I hope they yet prove me wrong.

  4. This whole affair is a bit similar to the "Short Creek" raids. What those raids ultimately did was engender sympathy and support for polygamous communities and scared government officials for a very long time from enforcing laws that polygamasts regularly violated.

    My guess, is that the Texas state authorities were somehow convinced that systematic abuse was occuring and believed that they had probable cause to act in a manner that would protect those at risk.

    However, they better have more evidence than what they are telling the general public at this point.

  5. This raid, like Short Creek, can't help but have engendered sympathy. A lot of the reason the FLDS are such a closed society is because we perceive and treat them as such.

    You're right--they'd better have a TON more evidence than they're letting on.

  6. The FLDS are not the Amish. I have no problem treating people are different--but benign--with respect.

    Again, if the information I'm hearing about the internal practices in this community is correct (a bit IF, I know), then ALL of these women are accessories to the crimes going on down there and I'm glad to have them separated from their children until we can sort things out. Then we prosecute the men who have perpetrated the crimes.

    It sounds to me like they had probable cause to remove the women and children from the compound, but don't have enough evidence to arrest the men yet. I hope that isn't far off.

    To be fair, I write this with severe reservations. I don't want to be party to religious persecution. I know that the early Utah Saints suffered attacks from a government that felt roughly the same way I feel toward the FLDS. I'm definitely of two minds, but I'd rather err on the side of protecting kids from abuse.

  7. Bradley,

    I agree. And I suspect that in a handful of instances that abuse will be able to be proven.



  8. Sen. Reid's stance is consistent with his general approach to public policy: expand federal government control over as much as possible as quickly as possible.

    While Ms. Jessop's depictions are indeed scary, let's also remember that it is common for disaffected members of any group to paint that group in a very negative light. Consider, for example, how many former Latter-Day Saints paint the LDS Church. Their depictions may seem accurate in their own minds. But it is wise to obtain objective independent verification whenever considering information about a group from one of its former members.

    We have expanded laws regulating family life to such an extent that every single one of us is probably in violation of one statute or another. If the authorities were to round up our kids and interrogate them, I'm sure they could come up with something to charge us with.

    As far as I understand the Constitution and case law, legal action is applied at an individual level, not at a community level. It seems that there were indeed some abuses at the FLDS ranch. Fine. Deal with them on a case-by-case basis.

    My problem is that, given the many unfortunate family situations in Texas where state officials refrain from the kinds of drastic actions taken against the FLDS, it is difficult to escape the conclusion that the FLDS are not receiving equal treatment under the law.

  9. It makes you wonder how the FLDS members in Colorado City and Hilldale are handling this? Since the FLDS members know their own children may be taken, I could imagine them amassing weapons right now just in case. I think if Utah or Arizona raided any of those towns their may very well be a gun fight.

  10. I understand where Bradley is coming from. If child abuse is endemic in the FLDS community in Texas, and the state has an interest in ending the abuse, what to do? Nab one at a time? How is that accomplished? As I understand it, the community is basically isolated. How does the state gather evidence or witnesses? Which of those wives and daughters is going to charge their husband/father/uncle of sexual abuse?

    As much as I dislike it and would rather have seen all the men rounded up, I can understand the state's reasoning that only by separating the abused from the abuser is there hope of revealing truth. Once that truth is revealed, the state can then move forward on action against the abusers.

  11. I was not even suggesting that they round up all the men. As hard as it may be, it is only just for the state to investigate and prosecute individual cases. Anything else is KGB.

    Watch this, and tell me if you feel the same way still.

  12. I suppose one could counter with videos of child abuse victims being kept in a basement - which is basically what was done to little girls living on the FLDS ranch.

  13. If they have such videos, then that's proof. But I dare say they don't have videos of abuse of nearly every child or from nearly every basement in Eldorado. Right now they're proceeding as though that's the evidence they have.

  14. The AP reported yesterday that there were 53 girls age 14-17 taken from the ranch. Of those 53 girls, 31 either have children or are pregnant.

    That goes to the pervasiveness of child sexual abuse within the community.

    It is that pervasiveness that prompted Texas authorities to separate the children from abusive parents.

    I suppose one could argue that only those 31 girls should have been taken, and that the men who abused them should be prosecuted. But how do the authorities find the evidence?

    I guess the question then becomes, does the extreme nature of what's going on inside this community warrant extreme action by the state? How many 14 year old mothers does it take?

  15. It's good they're getting down to specifics. If there is abuse, it should be punished. A couple of observations:

    (1) It's interesting that they are STILL lumping all these 14 to 17-year old girls into one figure. It would be more helpful to know how many of them are 17 and how many of them are 16. There may still be abuse of 16 or 17 year-old girls, but the authorities still act as though releasing more detailed numbers will not bolster their case.

    (2) Now that they know which girls are underage (or maybe they don't since they're saying "14 to 17"), they should at least let the rest of the mothers and children go back home. If there is abuse, they should arrest the men who are causing it.


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