Tuesday, October 25, 2005

POLITICS: I Still Take You, and You, and You...: "Colorado City, Arizona and Hildale, Utah are not typical of small town America. In these bizarre neighboring communities, men have multiple wives, women are reassigned to new husbands all the time, and teenage girls are forced to marry men twice their age. They make up a place that operates entirely under Warren Jeffs, despite the fact that he no longer goes there and is a federal fugitive, wanted for sexual abuse charges. And, as the New York Times reports, even the constant presence of Arizona state law enforcement officials for over a year hasn't changed a damn thing.

[T]he twin towns of Colorado City, Ariz., and Hildale, Utah, continue to defy the law, the authorities say and dissidents say: under the direction of leaders of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, women are still being removed from their husbands and assigned to other men, and girls under 18 are ordered to become brides of older men on a day's notice, all despite the presence of full-time outside law enforcement.

DeLoy Bateman, a high school science teacher here who left the church several years ago, says his daughter's marriage was recently broken up by church leaders. She was ordered to become the bride of her father-in-law, a man twice her age, Mr. Bateman says.

'This just makes me want to cry,' said Mr. Bateman, a lifetime resident of Colorado City. 'They tore up this marriage and ordered her to have sex with this older man. I've lost my daughter and her children to this church. I have to stand outside on the sidewalk and beg if I want to see my grandchildren.'

The Police Department, the school board, and the mayor's office are all run entirely by Jeffs followers. One third of the residents are on food stamps and the towns are completely impoverished.

The Arizona attorney general, Terry Goddard, whose own office is already active here, has asked the Justice Department to investigate the local police, saying they 'seem to be aiding and abetting' criminal behavior by discouraging witnesses in sexual abuse cases from testifying; a third of the force has been decertified by Utah and Arizona for criminal conduct.

In a recent letter to the United States attorney general, Alberto R. Gonzales, Mr. Goddard wrote, 'I believe that the officers of the Colorado City Police Department have engaged in a pattern of conduct that deprives individuals of their constitutional and civil rights.'

The Justice Department has not decided whether to intervene.

Such a place is almost unimaginable, though one state investigator offers a depressing description in an effort to capture the towns' reality:

'If you can visualize a 90-year-old frail woman who has given everything she owns to the cause and has been left penniless - that is the condition of the town right now,' said Jim Hill, an investigator with the office of the Utah attorney general. 'It's been sucked dry by these people.'

(Written by: MissTyrios)


(Via SuicideGirls: News Wire.)

1 comment:

Nixie said...

I'm thinking road trip...