3 Mar 2011

BC government failed to act on evidence of child bride trafficking after 2008 Texas raid on polygamists

Vancouver Sun - Canada February 24, 2011

Fax to social worker about 13-year-old's marriage to Warren Jeffs lost in red tape

Attorney-General learned of 2008 correspondence from Texas authorities a few weeks ago

By Daphne Bramham, Vancouver Sun

On Sept. 24, 2008, a government social worker in Creston got a fax outlining how four years earlier a 13-year-old girl from Bountiful had been taken illegally to the United States by her parents and married to Warren Jeffs.

Jeffs, who is the prophet of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, was 48 at the time and a fugitive running from charges related to having had sex with minors.

The fax was sent to Wendy Wiens, team leader for the Ministry of Children and Family Development, from Angie Voss, a child protective services supervisor in Texas, five months after Texas authorities had raided the FLDS's Yearning for Zion ranch and taken into care close to 400 women and children.

But Voss wasn't asking for help. She was providing information and offering to answer any further questions that Wiens might have.

In her fax, Voss quoted from a document labelled the Record of President Warren Jeffs that was seized during the raid.

In it, Jeffs names a man from the FLDS community of Bountiful, B.C., his 13-year-old daughter and his wife.

"I sat down with [redacted] and his wife and his daughter, gave a training on the redemption of Zion in brief, in summary, and this girl was called on a mission; and they received it joyfully. And there [redacted] was sealed to Warren Steed Jeffs for time and eternity."

Attached to the fax was a copy of the marriage record for the unidentified girl and Jeffs dated March 1, 2004.

According to Jeffs' record, both parents attended their child's marriage ceremony, which was performed by Jeffs' brother and the FLDS Patriarch LeRoy S. Jeffs in Colorado City, Ariz., at the home of James Allred. It's not clear what, if anything, Wiens did with that information.

But what is certain is that Wiens, the ministry and then minister Tom Christensen must have known about allegations of child sexual abuse in Bountiful, Jeffs, the FLDS and even the Texas raid, which had been widely reported on.

In 2004, RCMP began an investigation that wasn't completed for several years. Jeffs had been on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted list before being arrested in 2006 and swiftly convicted in Utah of being an accomplice to the rape of a 14-year-old girl.

If Wiens did pass the information on to others in her ministry, it apparently never made it to the attorney-general's office even though in early September 2008, RCMP had been asked to reopen its investigation into allegations of sexual exploitation, abuse and polygamy in Bountiful.

The request came from special prosecutor Terry Robertson -the third outside lawyer hired to determine whether charges ought to be laid.

The fax only came to the attention of lawyers in the attorney-general's ministry a few weeks ago and only after they had received more information from Texas and the seized Record of President Warren Jeffs. This time, the information involved two 12-year-old Bountiful girls who were taken by their parents in 2005 to marry Jeffs in the United States.

Last week, the attorney-general's lawyers applied in B.C. Supreme Court to have the information about all three child brides included as evidence in the constitutional reference case to determine the validity of Canada's polygamy law even though the evidentiary portion of the hearing has concluded. Chief Justice Robert Bauman will hear the application on Friday.

Bizarrely, there might not have even been a constitutional reference case had the attorney-general's ministry been given a copy of the fax in September 2008.

Instead of Winston Blackmore and James Oler -two of Bountiful's leaders -being charged in January 2009 with one count each of polygamy, it might have been other parents charged with different crimes.

The charges against Blackmore and Oler were stayed in mid-2009 after a B.C. Supreme Court justice ruled that Robertson had been improperly appointed and that the government's only options were to do nothing or follow the recommendation of Richard Peck, the first special prosecutor, who advised a constitutional reference case.

The reason? Robertson had no new information to work with. But there was new information. It just didn't make it through the labyrinth of government.

Why it didn't is a question that demands an answer. Not only does nothing appear to have been done to secure the safety of a child -no one seems to know what became of the then-13-year-old -but because you can't help wonder whether this massively expensive constitutional reference case could have been avoided and polygamy's real harms addressed head-on in a criminal case.

Because regardless of what the chief justice decides, it may still come to that.

Attorney-General Barry Penner has already referred all of this new information and once again the RCMP is investigating.

This article was found at:


Judge hearing polygamy case asked to allow new evidence of child bride trafficking between Canada and US

Canadian Muslim polygamists closely watching landmark constitutional case on Canadian polygamy law

Rape charge dropped in plea deal for FLDS man who married 14 year old cousin, pleads guilty to lesser charges

Jeffs retakes legal control of FLDS from prison, court rules Utah illegally took over sect's property trust

Intellectual abuse of Mormon fundamentalist children means few will finish high school or go to college

Utah authorities say ruling in Canadian polygamy case will have no bearing on US law

Stop Polygamy in Canada website has notes taken by observers in the courtroom as well as links to most of the affidavits and research the court is considering in this case.

Final arguments in Canadian constitutional hearing on polygamy will be broadcast on TV and Web

Canadian polygamy case hears evidence on high rates of teen pregnancies in fundamentalist Mormon community

For Mormon polygamists in Canadian case religious freedom means enslaving women, sexualizing girls, exploiting boys

Two more plural wives testify in Canadian polygamy case, see no problem with forced marriage or trafficking child brides

Testimony of first FLDS witness in Canadian polygamy case reveals women in denial that their children are being abused

First anonymous FLDS witness in Canadian polygamy case paints cosy picture of plural marriage, seems oblivious to abuses

Affidavit in Canadian polygamy case reveals shocking statistics on child trafficking, child brides and teen mothers in Bountiful

Economics professor considers financial aspects of polygamy that create inequality

Two Mormon fundamentalist women from Utah tell Canadian court positive accounts of polygamy, no hint of abuse

Brother of FLDS bishop describes intellectual abuse, child labour, spiritual abuse and loveless religion in Canadian polygamy case

No freedom from religion for women and children in Mormon polygamist towns where men claim religious freedom to abuse

Mormon polygamist survivor tells court babies smothered to keep quiet, emotional and spiritual abuse worse than sex abuse

Video testimony by Mormon fundamentalist in Canadian court says polygamy provides happy life and harms no one

Survivor tells Canadian court extreme abuses including water torture of babies common in Mormon polygamist communities

FLDS bishop of Bountiful will not testify in Canadian polygamy case so his affidavit will not be read into record

Legal expert tells Canadian court polygamy prohibitions and monogamy tradition pre-date Christianity

The issue of women's rights in the Canadian constitutional review of the polygamy law

Before holiday break in constitutional case judge hears conflicting expert testimony on harms associated with polygamy

Expert in polygamy case says society should assume all members of sects have free choice, but what about children?

B.C. government expert in polygamy case sets out long list of social harms, societies that abandon polygamy do better

Court views video affidavits from Mormon fundamentalist survivors detailing pedophilia, incest, child trafficking and forced marriage

Polygamy expert tells court in constitutional case that it reduces women's freedom and equality and leads to forced marriage

Affidavits from survivors and psychologist's testimony in constitutional case show abusive nature of polygamous lifestyle

Expert witness in constitutional case on polygamy claims Bountiful women freely choose their own religious oppression

Judge allows controversial expert witness to testify in Canadian polygamy case, no decision yet on publication of video affidavits

Pro-polygamy intervenor groups make opening statements as first week of Canadian constitutional case ends

FLDS lawyer in Canadian constitutional case on polygamy claims members freely consent to plural marriage, abuse survivors disagree

Lawyer appointed to argue for striking down Canada's anti-polygamy law in constitutional case makes opening arguments

Canadian constitutional case on polygamy begins with BC government's opening statement

Unique Canadian constitutional case on polygamy set to begin November 22, 2010

Timeline of events leading up to Canadian constitutional case on polygamy which is set to begin

Survivor of abuse by Mormon polygamists documents accounts of sex crimes in the FLDS and other fundamentalist groups

Mormon fundamentalist leader asks court to exclude evidence against him in Canadian constitutional case on polygamy

Fundamentalist Mormon spokeswoman says polygamy doesn't hurt anyone

Mormon fundamentalist claims of religious persecution in Canadian constitutional case on polygamy not supported by the facts

Polygamist leader says BC attorney general guilty of religious persecution

Polygamist leader calls charges religious persecution

More persecution than prosecution

Second Mormon polygamist found guilty of child sex assault, jury doesn't buy defense claim of religious persecution

Claims of persecution ridiculous in societies where Christians have special privileges to indoctrinate children

More pro-polygamy affidavits by Mormon fundamentalists filed in Canadian constitutional case set to begin in November

Judge will allow anonymous testimony from Mormon polygamists in Canadian constitutional case on polygamy

Mormon polygamists seek immunity from future prosecution before giving evidence in Canadian constitutional case

Canadian constitutional case on polygamy triggered by Mormon fundamentalists, but will also examine Muslim communities

Utah law professor uses Mormon polygamists as example of how religious extremism leads to deliberate child abuse

Polygyny and Canada’s Obligations under International Human Rights Law (pdf)

Research paper submitted to B.C. court in constitutional case documents harms associated with polygamy

Man from Bountiful says girls in Mormon polygamist communities "treated like poison snakes", taught to obey men and have many children

Bountiful evidence that polygamy harms women and children - constitutional case likely to reach Canadian Supreme Court

Review of the positions 12 intervener groups are expected to take in upcoming Canadian constitutional case on polygamy

Some religious practices, such as polygamy, are inherently harmful and should not be tolerated in modern society 

Women's adovcates: polygamy is an “oppressive institution” that abuses and enslaves women and children

Prosecuting Polygamy in El Dorado by Marci Hamilton

Senate Judiciary Committee Holds Hearings on Polygamy Crimes: What Needs to Be Done at the Federal Level to Protect Children from Abuse and Neglect

Senate hearing: "Crimes Associated with Polygamy: The Need for a Coordinated State and Federal Response."

Texas Will Attempt to Show That Polygamist Culture Itself Harms Children

FLDS defendants complain their religious freedom violated, while denying religious freedom to their children

Children in Bountiful have religious rights too, but are denied them by parents claiming religious freedom 

Some Canadian children are protected from religion-related abuse, while others are not

Polygamy is not freedom

Israeli politicians and women's advocates call for immediate change to polygamy law to protect rights of women and children

New study on polygamy in Malaysia finds evidence of harm to everyone involved

Indonesian Women's Association divided on whether polygamy, which is legal in Indonesia, is harmful to women and children

No comments:

Post a comment