31 Aug 2007

Legalizing polygamy shapes up as societal nightmare

Vancouver Sun - Canada

August 31, 2007

Bureaucratic horror story in government briefing paper
Daphne Bramham

British Columbia's de facto legalization of polygamy could force a massive overhaul of family law and result in demands that would overwhelm the taxpayer-financed social safety net.

That's what Ida Chong, B.C.'s minister responsible for women's issues, has been told by her officials in briefing notes prepared in 2006 prior to her ministry's budget estimates being debated.

Family law, social programs and even public and private insurance benefits schemes were established on the basis of average-sized, monogamous families. No one contemplated fundamentalist Mormon families composed of several wives and 30, 40, 50 or 100-plus children.

As a result, plural wives and their children have no legal protection or recognition under current laws and social programs. If their religious or spiritual marriage is dissolved, there are no laws covering child custody, support or division of "marital" property in polygamous relationships. In the event of the husband's death, only the first wife and her family are entitled to his property.

This, of course, could lead to tremendous inequities among the wives and serious consequences for the children's well-being.

"The de facto or formal legalization of the practice [of polygamy] would invite a situation that carries the potential for enormous challenges in rewriting a whole array of laws," said the briefing notes dated April 2006.

(British Columbia effectively legalized polygamy in 1990 when then-attorney-general Colin Gabelmann refused to prosecute the leaders of Bountiful, a polygamous community in the province's southeastern corner, fearing polygamy was protected by the constitutional guarantee of religious freedom.)

(Attorney-General Wally Oppal doesn't share that view. Earlier this month, Oppal said he believes Canadians find polygamy "abhorrent and contrary to the equal treatment of women." But rather than laying polygamy charges against any of the men in Bountiful, he is considering referring the anti-polygamy law to the B.C. Court of Appeal to determine whether the law is valid.)

In another briefing note from 2006, officials advised Chong that plural wives might be successful if they sued for property by claiming to have contributed to its acquisition and maintenance.

"The husband should not be able to rely on the fact that this was an illegal union to deny this type of equitable relief to recognize contributions," one briefing note says.

But few of the women have the education, money or knowledge of outside society to take such a case to court. So, to ensure that plural wives and children aren't abandoned or left destitute, Chong's staff says dozens of laws would need to be changed -- the federal Divorce Act, the provincial Family Relations Act, the Matrimonial Property Act, and the Estate Administration Act.

As difficult as sorting the legal morass may be, it seems almost simple and cheap compared to the implications that legalizing polygamy would have for the taxpayer-financed social safety net.

The April 2006 memo says that while a polygamous husband may have a legal obligation to pay support, "his actual ability to do so will be limited."

It goes on to say, "If the social assistance system were to take into account the reality of a polygamous lifestyle -- and it was confirmed that these families for the most part were not self-sustainable -- this would cause a drain on government funds."

No cost estimate was given. However, one of Bountiful's leaders, Winston Blackmore, now has 20-some wives and 115 children (most of whom are under the age of 16).

There was also no cost estimate for extending employment benefits to all the wives and children. Instead, the briefing notes simply point out that it would be easy for all of a man's children to be covered even if they don't have the same mother.

"While a second or third wife would not be able to apply for benefits, the children of those wives could easily be grouped with the first wife and receive access to benefits, thereby overwhelming insurers and public funds."

That, of course, would result in inequities between first and subsequent wives (all of whom are expected to have eight to 10 children). But the minister's staff says that if all of the wives and children were covered, it would likely result in a large increase in premiums in areas where there are substantial numbers of polygamous families.

As for taxes, the bureaucrats said, "Potentially... the man's deductions, as a result of so many children, would outweigh or greatly reduce any taxes owed."

For someone like Blackmore, who has more than $6 million worth of assets, it could mean savings of tens of thousands of dollars each year in addition to the tens of thousands he already collects from the Child Tax Credit, B.C. family bonus and the National Child Benefit supplement.

So what will Chong do or say about legalizing polygamy or Bountiful when Oppal goes to cabinet this fall with his recommendations about a court referral? Who knows? Chong's ministry removed all 18 pages of recommendations before it released the file to me.

But I'm betting that Chong and the others will say no to polygamy. Forget morality, ethics or equality rights. It will come down to cash.

Taxpayers and politicians are reluctant enough to help poor families with several children. Who would willingly subsidize the folly of polygamous men and their super-sized families?



Former students of private religious college tell of exorcisms and harsh discipline

Globe and Mail - Canada
August 31, 2007


TORONTO AND BROCKVILLE, ONT. — A private religious school that charged up to $35,000 a year for tuition has abruptly closed its doors amid allegations of sexual improprieties and cult practices.

Citing rising costs and a drop in enrolment, officials at Grenville Christian College, which sits on one square kilometre on the edge of the St. Lawrence River town of Brockville, Ont., announced at the end of July it would close.

Students who attended the school over a period dating back to the 1980s paint a picture of a bizarre environment, involving so-called “light sessions” where teenagers were ordered from their beds in the middle of the night, made to sit in a dark room with a bright light shining on their face and accused repeatedly of being sinners by teachers and staff they couldn't see.

The Right Rev. Peter Mason, the retired bishop of the Anglican diocese of Ontario, which includes Brockville, said he had heard allegations from former staff members of cult behaviour at the school but had not been aware it involved students.

Students from that period have told The Globe and Mail they feel psychologically damaged by their time at the school, which accepted children from the age of 6.

Andrew Hale-Byrne, a British civil servant who graduated from the school in the 1990s, said former students from the past 30 years have begun sharing their experiences at Grenville after one of their number created a message board on an Internet site devoted to cults.

Mr. Hale-Byrne told of being summoned at night to the school chapel and being made to endure an experience that he described as an exorcism, a liturgy for casting out of demons. Mr. Hale-Byrne, who was 16 at the time, said yesterday he felt afraid and isolated.

“For 10, 12 years, I had recurring nightmares about Grenville.

“Our parents had no idea, and a lot of people always ask the question, ‘How did your parents not clue in to this?' From my perspective, being British, all I can say is that my parents were quite reserved, they were quite wealthy, they were very distant. I tried to tell them briefly about it, and they said, ‘Oh, you're just in a new culture; Canadians do things differently.' Also we weren't with our parents and they [at the school] knew that.”

Present and former staff interviewed by The Globe and Mail acknowledged being aware of the allegations – headmaster Rev. Gordon Mintz called them “disconcerting” – but said they were without foundation.

Rev. Mintz, an Anglican priest, said the school had a “regimented schedule. We pushed people to excellence.”

The message board links Grenville – which counts two former Ontario lieutenant-governors, a senator and a former Canadian high commissioner to the United Kingdom among its “patrons” – to a titular Anglican group known as the Community of Jesus in Massachusetts, which has been labelled a mind-control cult in the U.S. media.

The community's founders, Mother Cay Andersen and Mother Judy Sorensen, were invited to Grenville in 1973 (“to show us God's prayerful way of doing things,” according to long-time headmaster Rev. Charles Farnsworth) and lived there for several months.

For years afterward, the community sent its children, especially those considered rebellious, to Grenville.

Both it and the school believed children should be separated from their parents for considerable periods of time because parents were prone to “idolatrize” their offspring and not teach them discipline.

There have been about 1,000 posts to the message board by former students and teachers, several of whom The Globe and Mail has interviewed.

As well as facing the so-called light sessions, students talked of being sentenced to “discipline”: ordered not to speak for a week, or assigned to wash dishes, scrub toilets or cut the lawn with scissors, or – especially when the alleged sin involved contact with the opposite sex – be suspended for weeks.

Many of the students say that throughout their years at Grenville, they were constantly told by staff how mediocre they were so as not to develop pride and turn away from God.

According to a number of students, some senior staff at the school seemed obsessed with sex.

Jay Thompson, who runs a community advertising website out of Toronto and graduated from Grenville in 1995, said girls were required to bend over in their dormitories in the morning to make sure their underpants couldn't be seen and had their drawers regularly rifled by teachers to ensure they wore only the most modest garments.

Girls who let their hair grow too long were summoned before staff and told they were Jezebels – the name for the biblical temptress who turned an ancient king of Israel away from God.

Jesse Noonan of Ottawa recalled in an interview being asked over and over again by a teacher for minute details on his sexual encounter with a girl.

Mr. Thompson said he was not allowed to graduate because he brought his girlfriend to the graduation ceremony.

A female student alleged in a message-board posting that insulting sexual comments were made to her by a teacher who also licked her neck.

Michael Phelan, of Binghamton, N.Y., the son of a former headmaster and a professional musician, said he was ordered by staff not to play the piano for long periods of time because it would make him “haughty.”

He said in an interview he continues to have regular nightmares about his time at the school.

Bishop Mason, who said he had a “pastoral but not canonical relationship” with the school when he was head of the Kingston-based Ontario diocese, said he was aware staff members were subjected to the light sessions but not students.

Although both the former and current headmasters, Rev. Farnsworth and Rev. Mintz, are Anglican priests, Bishop Mason implied that the school was Anglican in name only. He said the school was not under the church's control.

The website has a lot of discussion about the possibility of taking civil or criminal action against the school, but no suits have been launched. Grenville County Ontario Provincial Police said they have no complaints against the school on file.

Grenville College

Known as St. Mary's School in the early 1900s, and set up for young boys who wanted to become priests.

The main building was built in 1902 by a Redemptorist order of Catholic priests.

In 1969, it was sold to Berean Christian Schools, led by the Reverends Al Haig and Charles Farnsworth. Grenville Christian College was created in the early 1970s as an ecumenical Christian school for young men and women. A number of new facilities, including the dining room, staff apartments, a gymnasium, track and chapel were added while Rev. Farnsworth and his wife, Betty, headed the school.

GCC is situated on 107 hectares of lawns and forest overlooking the St. Lawrence River in Brockville, Ont.

The school motto is Copiosa Apud Eum Redemptio (In Him is Plenteous Redemption).

It claims 98 per cent of its graduates are accepted to universities and colleges of their choice.

GCC is a registered non-profit organization.

Source: www.grenvillecc.ca


Private schools in Canada that have seen staff members convicted of sexual offences

Upper Canada College


In 2005, former teacher Douglas Brown was sentenced to three years in prison for sexually assaulting six students in the mid-1970s. Mr. Brown is appealing this decision. In 2006, Lorne Cook was convicted of the sexual assault of two pupils, resulting in a one-year conditional sentence that included 30 days of house arrest, and a three-year ban on contact, as either a teacher or volunteer, with people under the age of 14 without another adult present. Teacher Clark Noble admitted at a hearing to the 1971 rape of an 18-year-old UCC student he had taken to his midtown Toronto apartment after a night of bar-hopping.

Crescent School, Toronto

In the spring of 2006, John Inglis, a former math teacher and guidance counsellor at Crescent School, was sentenced to 15 months of house arrest for sexually assaulting four male former students at his Bancroft, Ont., cottage during the summers of 1978 through 1985.

Appleby College

Oakville, Ont.

In a 1998 plea bargain that allowed him to escape incarceration, Clark Noble pleaded guilty to the 1988 sexual assault of a former male student of Appleby College, a top-flight Ontario private school. It was at this same hearing that Mr. Noble admitted to the December, 1971, rape of a UCC student at his Toronto apartment.

Knight's Alternative School, Forest Glen, N.S.

In 2000, Donald Charles Knight, a former teacher in Cape Breton, was sentenced to six years in prison after pleading guilty to five charges of sexually abusing young boys. The judge reduced the sentence to three years because of time already served. Six students between the ages of 10 and 15 were abused at Knight's Alternative School in Forest Glen, N.S., between 1984 and 1993.

St. John's Cathedral

Boys' School, Winnipeg

In 2001, Kenneth Mackinnon Mealey, a teacher and assistant headmaster at St. John's Cathedral Boys' School, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 30 months in jail for fondling young boys as they slept. The incidents occurred from 1984 to 1986. The private Anglican school, which had Grades 8 through 12, closed in 1990 because of falling enrolment.

Compiled by Johanna Boffa and Stephanie Chambers


30 Aug 2007

Jehovah's Witnesses say state seizure of babies for blood transfusions 'didn't meet principles of fundamental justice'

Globe and Mail - Canada

Province denied parents fair hearing, lawyers say


August 30, 2007

VANCOUVER -- The government was in such a rush to give transfusions to premature sextuplets last January that it denied the Jehovah's Witness parents their right to a fair judicial hearing, the Supreme Court of British Columbia was told yesterday.

Lawyers for the Fraser Valley parents, who can't be identified because of a publication ban, are asking Chief Justice Donald Brenner to make a ruling that the process followed by the B.C. Ministry of Children and Families in apprehending four surviving babies so that they could be given blood transfusions "didn't meet the principles of fundamental justice."

The six babies, which weighed only 700 to 800 grams each when they were born at 25 weeks gestation, struggled to survive from the outset and two died. The province seized the other four at the hospital, and took them away for transfusions before returning them to the care of the parents.

The father, who attended the hearing yesterday, said the four babies "are doing really well," and that he and his wife are caring for them at home.

As devout Jehovah's Witnesses, the parents opposed blood transfusions, and had been urging alternative medical care for the infants.

Chief Justice Brenner noted in his comments in court that no decision he could make would turn back the clock for the parents concerning the blood transfusions, but he acknowledged that his decision might have significance in similar cases.

"You can characterize this case as being not about religion at all, but about the right of parents to make decisions [on behalf of their children]," said Chief Justice Brenner.

Shane Brady, one of two lawyers appearing for the parents, agreed with that assessment, but said the court should weigh the importance of the family's religious views because it explains the "great emotional and psychological impact," of the government's actions.

He said the parents felt violated when blood transfusions were imposed on their babies.

The state moved quickly to authorize transfusions after two babies died and the hemoglobin levels of the surviving four began to drop.

But Mr. Brady said the government moved before the hemoglobin levels had reached a level that was of imminent medical concern.

He presented a chart that showed a wide range of views among doctors over what hemoglobin levels are safe in premature infants, and said the babies had not yet fallen to the lower end of that spectrum.

"Certainly by medical standards, transfusions weren't necessary [immediately]," he said.

Mr. Brady said although there was "ample time" for the government to allow the parents to make a legal argument, authorities chose to authorize the transfusions without a judicial hearing.

When the parents went to court to challenge the apprehension orders after three of the children had been transfused, the government filed a withdrawal form to return the babies formally to the parents. That negated the parents' opportunity to make their arguments in court.

Mr. Brady said later that same day, only hours after leaving court, the government restarted the process and seized the fourth baby for treatment.

"The parents' main attack is on the ... process," he said.

"This is not a case saying a state never has a role," said John Burns, who is also representing the parents. "But state intervention must be justified."

Responding to a question from Chief Justice Brenner about what happens when the urgency of a medical situation comes up against the rights of parents to a fair hearing, Mr. Burns laid out the timeline of the sextuplets' birth and subsequent treatment.

He said that it is clear from the record that the government had planned for nine days to apprehend the babies, and that it did not hold a hearing during that period.

"There was a reasonable opportunity ... [but] the state acted to avoid a fair judicial hearing," he said.

The case continues today.


Ex-member of LDS choir pleads guilty in porn case

Deseret Morning News - August 28, 2007

By Geoffrey Fattah

A former member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir faces up to 10 years in federal prison after pleading guilty Monday to a charge of possessing child pornography.

Robert Matthews, 52, of Orem, appeared in U.S. District Court to admit he possessed images of child pornography that were sent over the Internet. His plea comes as part of a plea bargain struck with federal prosecutors.

Prosecutors say they will recommend the lower end of the federal sentencing guidelines for Matthews' acceptance of responsibility in the case. Sentencing is set for Oct. 9.

Matthews was indicted by a federal grand jury in October of last year. Charges were also filed in state court on four felony counts of sexual exploitation of a minor and three counts of lewdness involving a child, a misdemeanor. The state charges were dismissed in lieu of the federal case.

According to police, Matthews was arrested Sept. 28, 2006, after they received evidence that he swam naked with four young boys during a trip to Diamond Fork Hot Springs in July of that year. While on the trip, Matthews took pictures of the nude swim and later processed the images on his computer.

Matthews had joined the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in January 2006 but was released after The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints learned of his arrest, according to a church official.

When sentenced, Matthews also faces being placed on federal supervised release for the rest of his life.


Prosecutors say testimony was for sale, drop charges against ex-cop in polygamous communities

The Salt Lake Tribune - August 27, 2007

by Brooke Adams

Arizona authorities have dropped charges against former Hildale police officer and polygamist Rodney Holm after discovering the victim offered to change her testimony for money.
Mohave County Attorney Matt Smith said the case against Holm, which was to go to trial on Sept. 5, will be dismissed immediately. Holm will be required to complete 40 hours of community work service and eschew similar behavior to avoid having charges refiled.
Holm, a member of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, faced three counts of sexual conduct with a minor stemming from his 1998 spiritual marriage to Ruth Stubbs, then 16.
A Utah court convicted Holm of bigamy in 2003 for that marriage to Stubbs, who was his third wife. He was sentenced to a year in jail and was decertified as a police office.
Stubbs was the key witness in the Utah case and was to testify in the Arizona trial.
A statement issued by Smith's office said it had "fairly recently discovered" that Stubbs and an unnamed brother had tried to blackmail a leader of the FLDS church.
"It appears that the victim did in fact write a letter indicating that she would not testify against certain defendants if excessive money was given to her brother and another man by one of the members of the FLDS church," the statement said.
Holm was the last of eight defendants to be tried on sexual conduct with minor charges based on underage marriages.
Arizona authorities have gotten mixed results in the other cases.
Last week, Dale Barlow received three years supervised probation and 45 days in jail for his spiritual marriage to a 16-year-old girl.
Kelly Fischer was found guilty last summer and spent 45 days in jail. David Bateman, also found guilty, is serving a nine-month sentence.
Charges were dropped against Terry D. Barlow after he proved his marriage took place in Canada. Charges also were dropped against Randy Barlow after the victim refused to testify against him.
Donald Barlow was acquitted after the state failed to prove his marriage took place in Arizona. Vergel Jessop received three months supervised probation in a plea deal.


Catholic Teacher on Sex Charges

Sydney Morning Herald - August 28, 2007

David Braithwaite

A 52-year-old Marist Brother has been charged with 21 sex offences against primary students in Sydney's east more than 30 years' ago.

It is understood the man was a teacher at St Michael's School at Daceyville when he allegedly abused a number of year five students in 1974.

The man, who is still a member of the Catholic order, was arrested by detectives yesterday and charged with 21 counts of indecent assault.

The Marist Brothers professional standards officer, Brother Alexis, said the alleged offender had been based in Sydney when arrested.

"He is currently located in an area where he is not in contact with children or any child-related activity,'' he said.

Brother Alexis said the order would welcome hearing of any similar complaints.

"As far as we're concerned we fully co-operate with [the police],'' he said.

"If anyone has a complaint we would like to hear about it.

"Anything like that is a very serious matter as far as we're concerned.''

St Michael's was believed to be a single-sex school at time of the offences.

Brother Alexis said he was unable to comment further as the matter was before the courts.

The alleged offender was granted conditional bail to appear in Waverley Local Court on September 18.

Police said the charges against the man were consistent with offences available under the law in 1974.


25 Aug 2007

Dominicans to Pay Man $1.2 Million in Lawsuit

Washington Post August 24, 2007

A group of Catholic friars has agreed to pay $1.2 million to a 20-year-old man who accused a one-time Washington area priest of sexual abuse when the man was a teenager and living in Germantown.

Under the terms of an agreement announced yesterday, the Dominican Friars, Province of St. Joseph, will pay the money to Brandon Rains, a former altar boy at Mother Seton Parish in Germantown, where the Rev. Aaron J. Cote was associate pastor in 2001 and 2002. In a lawsuit that Rains filed against Cote, the Dominicans and the Archdiocese of Washington, Rains accused Cote of "harmful sexual conduct and contact" with Rains when he was 14 and 15 years old, causing him "severe and permanent emotional distress."

Cote could not be reached for comment.

"It is our sincere hope that this settlement will be a source of healing and reconciliation for all involved in these allegations," the Dominican Friars said in a statement, adding that anyone with similar allegations should contact the order's Victims Assistance Coordinator. Cote was removed from his job at a Rhode Island parish after the lawsuit was filed in D.C. Superior Court two years ago.

"A.J. Cote is a serial molester-predator," said Jeff Anderson, an attorney for Rains, at a news conference outside St. Dominic Catholic Church on E Street SW. Anderson held a picture of Cote and Rains that Anderson said was taken in May 2001, about the time the alleged abuse occurred. In the picture, the two are smiling, dressed in red robes, and each has an arm around the other.

Rains's attorneys said the settlement concludes the lawsuit. The Archdiocese of Washington said it was not involved in the financial settlement.

At the time of the allegation, Cote "was not in any ministry with the Archdiocese nor has he been since," said a statement released by the archdiocese yesterday.

"We have no holding in this case," said Susan Gibbs, a spokeswoman for the archdiocese


Fury as paedophile escapes jail

The Mirror - UK

August 24, 2007

by Richard Smith.

A judge who spared a paedophile jail for a string of sex attacks was branded "pathetic" yesterday by the pervert's own sister.

Senior Jehovah's Witness Michael Porter, 38, attacked boys for 14 years between 1986 and 2000.

He admitted 24 charges of gross indecency and indecent assault on 13 children, one only 18 months old.

But Judge Tom Crowther gave him three years' community rehabilitation after being told he had had therapy and was a changed man.

As she left Bristol crown court Porter's sister Tina Hughes said it was an insult to his victims. She added: "I'm very angry. I can't believe the judge thinks he is safe to be allowed on the streets. He won't stop.

"He blamed his childhood for the attacks, which was a lie, but the judge ate it all up. He had no right to leave the courtroom. He's not human - he's an evil monster."

She said parents trusted Porter, an Elder in the Witnesses in Portishead and Clevedon, Somerset, to babysit, take children on holiday and have sleepovers at his home.

She said: "Children loved him and parents worshipped him. They thought he was God's son on earth.

"He was the last man they'd ever suspect of something so horrific." He now lives in Finchley, North London, and is thought to be an Elder in Mill Hill. Ms Hughes said: "They're backing him and haven't thrown him out. He'll still be in contact with children and visiting houses door to door."

Porter was also banned from any unsupervised contact with anyone under the age of 18 and put on the Sex Offenders' Register.

Norman Brennan, founder of the Victims of Crime Trust, said it "gives paedophiles a licence to offend", adding: "This out-of-touch sentence does nothing to reassure the British public."

Labour MP Dan Norris said: "I hope the Witnesses will ensure children's safety by expelling Mr Porter. I hope they will not turn a blind eye because of his faith."

Avon and Somerset police said they will consider an appeal. A source said: "One of the problems was that most of the victims were not prepared to make statements.

"The offences took place a long time ago and most of them seemed keen to put it all behind them."

No one from the Witnesses in Clevedon or London was available.

Jehovah's Witnesses who fail to live by the religion's strict moral code face expulsion. Porter escaped this, according to his sister, and is being supported by Witnesses.


A Jehovah's Witness has been spared a jail term after admitting a series of sexual assaults on children

BBC News - UK

August 23, 2007

Michael Porter, of Okehampton Close, north London, admitted 24 counts of indecent assault and gross indecency on 13 victims aged 18 months and older.

Among the individuals were others involved in the faith.

Judge Tom Crowther at Bristol Crown Court sentenced Porter to three years of community rehabilitation.

The judge opted not to jail Porter after hearing he had undergone therapy and was a changed man.

He was banned from working with anyone under the age of 18 and put on the Sex Offenders Register.

But Porter's sister, Tina Hughes, said: "I am absolutely disgusted. He should not have walked free.

"He has lost nothing. We have to tell the victims we have got no closure. He is an evil person. He is not human."

Det Con Lisa Finch, of Avon and Somerset Police, said: "Many of the families involved have been completely traumatised. It has turned their lives upside down."

Avon and Somerset Police are thought to be considering appealing against the sentence.

Norman Brennan, founder of the Victims of Crime Trust, said: "If we're to reassure parents and send out a strong deterrent message to paedophiles, then those convicted should face prison sentences that both punish and deter others."

The court was told that Porter, 38, carried out the assaults between 1986 and 2000.

He finally admitted what he had done after one of his victims threatened to go the police.

Porter declined to comment as he left court with his wife.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/ bristol/somerset/6960166.stm

Child rape wrapped in religion

The Arizona Republic

August 22, 2007

Child rape can take on a Twilight Zone quality when the rapists identify their victims as "wives."

Needed clarity comes from Mohave County Attorney Matt Smith, who gets credit for taking on the thankless job of prosecuting accused child rapists.

"This case isn't about polygamy," Smith said. "It is about the defendant having sexual conduct with a minor."

Smith said this as one of eight cult members who were accused of polygamous sexual unions with young girls was handed a 45-day sentence.

The unrepentant 49-year-old cult member fathered a child by a 16-year-old girl. Dale Evans Barlow called her his third "wife," which insults marriage. The lawyer for the eight cult members said they were being religiously persecuted, which insults religion.

These people were members of a cult run by Warren Jeffs, who is awaiting trial on two felony counts of rape as an accomplice. In Jeffs' cult, young girls are routinely forced to become the multiple "wives" of much older cult favorites. Young boys are routinely run out of town to decrease the excess male population that builds up in polygamous communities.

Prosecutors, including Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard, deserve gratitude for standing up for victims. Sadly, the prosecutions did little to bring the law crashing down on the polygamists.

Four of the accused got sentences ranging from one day to nine months. One was found not guilty. Charges were dismissed against another because the reputed victim would not testify. Charges were dropped in another case because of jurisdictional issues. The last of the eight will be tried next month.

It looks like the polygamists are left to laugh at how ineffective our laws are at stopping them. That's not how we look at it.

The prosecutions were a victory. For decades, Arizona turned away from what was going on. Prosecutors should continue to go after this cult because we all become victims when an organization that specializes in child rape is allowed to wrap itself in holy cloth and call itself a religion.


Indicted pastor, trainer draw support at rally

Express-News San Antonio

August 21, 2007

by Jeorge Zarazua

Some fidgeted. Other teens stumbled through their speeches.

Katie Williams said it through tears.

"Christian Boot Camp was an enriching experience," she said. "It taught me the importance of integrity and hard work and that with God, everything is possible."

Williams said that because of the values she learned at the camp, she would fulfill her dream this fall and become a nurse.

Hers was just one of dozens of success stories told Monday night at a support rally for Pastor Charles E. Flowers of San Antonio's Faith Outreach Center and a Christian Boot Camp trainer, Stephanie Bassitt, both of whom have been indicted on one count each of aggravated assault.

Flowers, 46, and Bassitt, 20, are both accused of dragging a 15-year-old girl behind a van at the Love Demonstrated Ministries' boot camp near Corpus Christi. They are free on $100,000 bond.

Williams echoed other teenagers who filled the Faith Outreach Center's stage when she said everyone who completed the camp was better off because of it.

The rally was Flowers' first public appearance to address the allegations since he and Bassitt were arrested Aug. 10.

Speaking before a crowd of about 400 supporters, including several pastors from other churches in San Antonio, Flowers said, "I want to thank God I'm no longer in jail."

"Also on the heels of that," the retired Air Force instructor continued, "I want to say sometimes you are taken where you don't want to go."

Frances McClintock, the mother of the alleged victim, a Floresville student, said last week that she never thought her daughter would name the pastor as one of her assailants.

Affidavits filed to obtain arrest warrants in the case say McClintock's daughter, Siobahn, told authorities that when she fell behind her running group during a morning exercise June 12, Flowers ordered Bassitt, his training assistant, to jog beside her.

When Siobahn began to walk, Bassitt yelled at her and pinned her to the ground, according to the affidavits.

Flowers then used a rope to tie Siobahn to a van, got behind the wheel and dragged Siobahn behind it on her stomach, the affidavits said.

A witness, who was not named in the affidavits, said Siobahn attempted to stand up and fell at least three times as she was dragged.

Nueces County District Attorney Carlos Valdez declined to comment about the rally, saying it wouldn't affect prosecution.

"If they say it's OK to tie up teens to the back of a car and then drag them, then I'm interested," Valdez said. "That's the only relevant question."

He said that although McClintock signed a "parental consent form" before entering her daughter in the program, it doesn't protect Flowers or Bassitt from prosecution.

http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/ metro/stories/MYSA082107.01B.pastor_ rally.346bd06.html

24 Aug 2007

'Extremist cult' slammed

Sydney Morning Herald

August 22, 2007

Federal Labor leader Kevin Rudd has labelled the Exclusive Brethren an extremist cult and called on Prime Minister John Howard to reveal what was discussed when he met its senior members recently.

Mr Rudd said he had real concerns about the impact of the Brethren on Australian communities and, unlike Mr Howard, he refused to meet its members.

"I believe this is an extremist cult and sect," Mr Rudd told reporters in Adelaide today.

"I also believe that it breaks up families. I also believe that there are real problems with the provision of modern education to kids under their system where they, for example, are not given full range of access to information technology."

Mr Rudd's comment followed a report today that Mr Howard had met senior members of the sect, including a man under Australian Federal Police scrutiny for his spending on the Prime Minister's 2004 election campaign.

Mr Howard today said there was nothing wrong with him meeting members of community groups, including the Exclusive Brethren, but deflected questions about whether the sect was providing election funding for the Liberal Party.

Mr Rudd said Mr Howard should detail the content of his most recent meeting with the group.

"Mr Howard has a responsibility to level with the Australian public," he said.

"How much money has the Exclusive Brethren given the Liberal Party, what was the content of his most recent meeting with the ... so-called supreme leader of the Exclusive Brethren and what undertakings have been given?

"Remember, the Exclusive Brethren are currently under investigation of the Australian Federal Police concerning previous election activities.

"The Australian public deserves some answers on all of this. Mr Howard needs to be fair dinkum with the Australian community rather than pretending 'they are some other group'.

"They are not. They split families and I am deeply concerned about their impact on communities across Australia."


I'll meet with Exclusive Brethren, says Health Minister

News.com Australia

August 22, 2007

FEDERAL Health Minister Tony Abbott has said he has met with members of the Exclusive Brethren sect before, and may do so again.

Mr Abbott today said he had met with members of the ultra-conservative Christian group, although not recently.

"I certainly don't believe I have had any recent meetings but, look, I will meet them again if I get the chance," he said.

Prime Minister John Howard has faced criticism today after a private meeting two weeks ago with a Brethren member.

The member, Mark Mackenzie, is under police scrutiny after his company channelled $370,000 into advertising in support of Mr Howard at the 2004 election, Fairfax newspapers reported today.

Mr Abbott said he had no problem with his colleagues meeting members of the Exclusive Brethren.

"They are Australians, they are citizens," he said of the sect members.

"I have no reason to think they are not people of decency and goodwill, and I have absolutely no problem with colleagues meeting with them now or in the future."


Australian PM Met With Religious Extremists

News.com Australia

August 22, 2007

FEDERAL Labor leader Kevin Rudd has labelled the Exclusive Brethren an extremist cult and called on Prime Minister John Howard to reveal what was discussed when he met its senior members recently.

Mr Rudd said he had real concerns about the impact of the Brethren on Australian communities and refused to meet its members.

"I believe this is an extremist cult and sect," Mr Rudd said.

"I also believe that it breaks up families, I also believe that there are real problems with the provision of modern education to kids under their system where they, for example, are not given full range of access to information technology."

Mr Rudd's comment followed a report today that Mr Howard had met senior members of the sect, including a man under federal police scrutiny for his spending on the Prime Minister's 2004 election campaign.

Mr Howard said today there was nothing wrong with him meeting with members of community groups, including the Exclusive Brethren, but deflected questions about whether the sect was providing election funding for the Liberal Party.

Mr Rudd said Mr Howard should detail the content of his most recent meeting with the Exclusive Brethren.

"Mr Howard has a responsibility to level with the Australian public," he said.

"How much money has the Exclusive Brethren given the Liberal Party, what was the content of his most recent meeting with the ... so-called supreme leader of the Exclusive Brethren and what undertakings have been given.

"Remember, the exclusive Brethren are currently under investigation of the Australian Federal Police concerning previous election activities.

"The Australian public deserves some answers on all of this, Mr Howard needs to be fair dinkum with the Australian community rather than pretending `they are some other group'.

"They are not. They split families and I am deeply concerned about their impact on communities across Australia."

Mr Howard said ealier today he was astonished that people thought it odd for him to meet members of the Exclusive Brethren.

"As prime minister, I have met an enormous number of organisations. It's my job," Mr Howard said.

"I find it quite astonishing that people think it odd that I have met with a lawful organisation. I do not deny for a moment I have met with members of the Exclusive Brethren, and why not? They're Australian citizens, it's a lawful organisation."

Mr Howard said he did not know whether the Brethren had made any donations to the Liberal Party.

"As for matters of financial support you should talk to them," he said.

Among those Mr Howard met in his electorate office was reportedly Mark Mackenzie, a Sydney pump salesman whose company, Willmac, allegedly channelled $270,000 into advertising for the 2004 election in support of Mr Howard.

The Australian Electoral Commission later investigated the Willmac money, while an Australian Federal Police investigation is continuing.

Treasurer Peter Costello today also admitted meeting the Exclusive Brethren many times.

"There's nothing wrong with meeting the Exclusive Brethren, they're Australian citizens just like anybody else," he said on Southern Cross radio.

Health Minister Tony Abbott also said he has met with members of the Exclusive Brethren sect and may do so again.

Mr Abbott today said he had met with members of the ultra-conservative Christian group, although not recently.

"I certainly don't believe I have had any recent meetings but, look, I will meet them again if I get the chance," he said.

Mr Abbott said he had no problem with his colleagues meeting members of the Exclusive Brethren.

"They are Australians, they are citizens," he said of the sect members.

The sect's world leader, Bruce D. Hales, his brother Stephen and another elder, Warwick John, also attended the August 8 meeting with the Prime Minister, a sect spokesman told Fairfax.

The spokesman denied the group asked for Mr Howard's help on the police probe or offered the PM assistance in his battle to retain his Sydney seat, Bennelong, against star Labor candidate Maxine McKew.

The spokesman said the elders assured Mr Howard they were praying for him, and that Willmac and Bennelong were not discussed.

Stephen Hales ran the Brethren's pro-Howard campaign in Bennelong in 2004, the report said.

A private detective in New Zealand claimed last year that he was hired by the Exclusive Brethren to dig dirt on Labour MPs including Prime Minister Helen Clark, and her husband.

Miss Clark said at the time that she had been told the Exclusive Brethren religious sect had hired a private detective to follow the couple.

"The Brethren stand condemned for this activity and frankly if the (Opposition) National Party does not now renounce any support either now or in the future from the Brethren then its credibility goes down the gurgler with them," she said.


Cult leader jailed for more sexual abuse

The Age, Australia

August 24, 2007

Self-proclaimed prophet William Kamm will spend the next six years behind bars after a second offence involving the seduction of a teenage girl.

The 56-year-old cult leader, known to his followers as the Little Pebble, showed the girl letters "from the Virgin Mary" telling her it was God's will she sleep with him to help him repopulate the earth with his mystical seed.

Kamm, who claims he can communicate directly with God and receives messages from the Virgin on the 13th day of every month, is already serving a minimum three-and-a-half-year term for sex offences.

His non-parole period was on Friday more than doubled for an almost identical offence.

NSW District Court Judge Peter Berman said Kamm abused his position as the leader of his self-proclaimed cult, the Order of Saint Charbel, to satisfy his own desires.

His victim wrote "poignant" letters to the Virgin Mary, to which Kamm responded with orders that she sleep with him, and signing off as the mother of Christ.

The girl, who moved into the religious community near Nowra with her family at a very young age, was taken to a motel at nearby Figtree, and sometimes to Kamm's room in the commune, and forced to have sex with him.

Kamm told her girl and her parents she was chosen by the Virgin to help him repopulate the earth with his "mystical seed" to create a master race for the new era.

Her mother, who remains a follower and lives in the Cambewarra community, was so devoted she consented to Kamm having sex with two of her daughters, Judge Berman said.

The sexual relationship continued from the time the girl was 14 until she was 19, when she became pregnant and gave birth to his child.

It wasn't until she left the community in 2002 that the victim realised she had, in fact, been abused on a weekly or fortnightly basis, she said.

"William Kamm has taken my innocence, my childhood, my independence and my virginity," she said in her victim impact statement, read to the court.

"I believe William Kamm should be put away for a long time so he can't hurt any more young girls like he can hurt me.

"I believe he is a danger to young girls and their families. I don't wish the pain I went through upon anybody in this world."

More than a dozen of Kamm's followers crowded the courtroom for a glimpse of their leader, whom they believe to be God, unflinching as Judge Berman condemned his beliefs as deserving "no respect at all".

"It's difficult to understand how anyone could have been taken in by the offender but clearly many were," Judge Berman said.

"It's remarkable that although many believed him to be God and that the writings came directly from the Virgin Mary nobody thought to ask ... why he was incapable of spelling simple words correctly.

"This was clearly not the work of an all powerful God."

Kamm, known to his followers as the "Little Pebble", was impassive throughout.

In addition to his current sentence, against which he lost an appeal last month, Kamm will now serve a seven-and-a-half-year non-parole period with a maximum term of 10 years.

He will be eligible for release on April 13, 2013.

Kamm's lawyer, Greg Stanton, said his client contrition or remorse, and indicated he would lodge an immediate appeal.


Australian Prime Minister attacked for links to secret Christian sect the Brethren

The Independent - UK

August 23, 2007

by Kathy Marks in Sydney

They describe themselves as "a Christian fellowship based on the Holy Scriptures", but others call them a sect, and they have meddled in elections in New Zealand and Australia.

So when the Australian Prime Minister, John Howard, admitted that he had recently met leaders of the ultra-conservative Exclusive Brethren, his critics smelt something unsavoury. The group, an offshoot of the Plymouth Brethren, with followers in Australia, New Zealand, Britain and the US, enforces a policy of separation, including from other Christians. Children are educated in Brethren-run schools; adults work in Brethren-owned companies. Brethren eat, drink and socialise only with other Brethren. Television, mobile phones and computers are banned.

But although members are also forbidden to vote, the group tries to mould the political landscape. Australian Federal Police are investigating expenditure of A$370,000 (£150,000) on advertisements supporting the Howard government by a company owned by Mark Mackenzie, a senior Breth-ren member, before the last election in 2004.

During the last election in New Zealand, in 2005, the Brethren spent an estimated A$100,000 on pamphlets attacking the social policies of the governing Labour Party and the Greens. The former leader of the conservative National Party, Don Brash, later admitted meeting Brethren leaders during the campaign, and said he knew about the pamphlets.

Last year, the New Zealand Prime Minister, Helen Clark, accused the group of spreading rumours that her husband, Peter Davis, was homosexual. She said they had hired a private investigator to follow Mr Davis. It was later confirmed that the Brethren did recruit a private detective to investigate Labour politicians. Now an election is due in Australia before the end of the year, and polls suggest that Mr Howard's chances of winning a fifth term for his right-wing Liberal-National Party coalition are slim.

But yesterday he defended his meeting two weeks ago with Brethren elders, including Mr Mackenzie, and the group's world leader, or "Elect Vessel", Bruce Hales, in his Sydney electoral office.

"I do not deny for a moment that I have met with members of the Exclusive Brethren, and why not?" Mr Howard said. "They're Australian citizens. It's a lawful organisation." Asked about political funding, he told ABC radio: "As to matters relating to financial support, they're things that you should talk to the Liberal Party organisation about."

A Brethren spokesman told local media that the elders had merely assured the Prime Minister that they were praying for him.

Two other members of the Government, the Treasurer, Peter Costello, and the Health minister, Tony Abbott, said they had also met Brethren members. "I have no reason to think they are not people of decency and goodwill," said Mr Abbott, who is a conservative Roman Catholic.

But the opposition leader, Kevin Rudd, described the Brethren as "an extremist cult and sect... [that] breaks up families". The group has also been accused of trying to cover up sexual abuse by a Brethren elder.


21 Aug 2007

Sex abuse sends ex-Bible study leader to jail

The News & Observer - August 18, 2007

Sarah Ovaska, Staff Writer

RALEIGH - Brian Goodrich Jr. turned Friday and faced the families of teenage boys he was convicted of sexually abusing and said he was sorry.

"I apologize for the deceit, the lies and the betrayal," Goodrich said, minutes before he was led away in handcuffs.

None of the six boys with whom Goodrich was convicted of having inappropriate sexual contact were at the sentencing Friday but parents of several of the boys were.

Goodrich was sentenced by Superior Court Judge Ripley Rand to at least 13 years in state prison in exchange for guilty pleas on two counts of statutory sex offense, four counts of first-degree sexual exploitation of a minor and two counts of taking indecent liberties with a child.

Goodrich, 26, had been the leader of a Bible study group for the 13- and 14-year-old boys who attended Providence Baptist Church in North Raleigh. Wake Assistant District Attorney Adam Moyers said Goodrich used his position of trust to participate in and observe sexual acts with the boys between January 2005 and June 2006.

Goodrich volunteered at the 3,000-member congregation and was also a student at the Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest.

One of his victims and parents of several of the boys wrote letters about the painful aftermath of the abuse.

"He's feels used and duped," the parents of one boy wrote in a letter read aloud by Moyers. "He felt that if the truth came out he would be ostracized."

Goodrich's attorney Joe Cheshire said Goodrich was deeply remorseful and was a victim of sexual abuse himself. Cheshire said Goodrich was molested by a neighbor and also a family member when Goodrich was between the ages of 4 and 12. Since his arrest, Goodrich has struggled with depression and underwent intensive therapy to address his problems, Cheshire said.

Cheshire said he recognized a desire in Goodrich to rehabilitate himself.

"I saw somebody that I thought was worth saving," Cheshire said.

In Raleigh, the abuse began when Goodrich introduced a game of truth or dare to the group, Moyers said. The dares became increasingly inappropriate, he said, with the boys eventually engaging in what police have described as group masturbation sessions.

A Raleigh police officer conducting a routine patrol of Laurel Hills Park discovered Goodrich and one boy sitting in a parked car in June 2006.

After questioning the boy, police suspected that Goodrich had victimized him. Additional charges were filed after detectives talked with other youths in the church.

In court Friday, Goodrich also apologized to the larger church community.

"You guys had faith and trust in me and I betrayed that," he said.

Kristie Melvin, the communications director at Providence Baptist Church, said church members have struggled to come to terms with Goodrich's crime, but also have grown closer.

"It's actually strengthened the church, we've been able to lean on each other," Melvin said.

Although protocol was already in place to screen those who work with youth, church leaders now conduct more extensive interviews and requires volunteers to undergo more training before working with youth, she said.

It is the News & Observer's policy to withhold the names of the victims in sex crimes.


On Their Own: FLDS exiles learn to cope with life after polygamy

The Spectrum - Utah


(Editor's note: This is the first of a two-part series on the young men and women who either leave or are asked to leave the twin cities of Hildale and Colorado City, Ariz., a community made up mostly of members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The names used in this story have been changed to protect the identities of those who spoke about their lives. Please see tomorrow's edition of The Spectrum & Daily News for the final installation of the series.)

HURRICANE - Marc can still remember the events that took place on Feb. 18, 2004. After a long day working, he was cooking up spicy lemon chicken for his dinner when two of his brothers said they had to have a talk.

His brothers informed him he had to leave, not just leave home, but the community where he had lived since third grade. Going up to his bedroom, Marc found his mother crying while packing his belongings.

Marc was only 17 years old with a sixth-grade education when his world collapsed and he joined many other young men and women who were no longer found as desirable residents of Colorado City - a community primarily made up of followers of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints where the members practice polygamy as one of their tenets.

The FLDS church is not affiliated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which denounced polygamy in 1890.

"I lived in a dream world the next six months," Marc said. "I was kicked out in February but didn't leave (in mind and dress) until July or August."

Marc said the "offense" that led to his being asked to leave the community was for "being human" - wearing a short-sleeved shirt, listening to music or maybe glancing at, or worse, talking to a girl.

Many of those who either leave or are told to leave the twin cities of Hildale and Colorado City end up in trouble.

Some find themselves in the court system for drugs, alcohol and theft. Others end up on the streets of Las Vegas selling their bodies for cash, said Elaine Tyler, with the Hope Organization, a group dedicated to those looking to leave polygamy.

While there is help for these kids looking to rebuild their lives outside the community, it's often difficult because they have had little formal schooling and don't know how to meet the day-to-day challenges of life.

Michelle Benward, founder of the New Frontiers program, is now running a home in St. George dubbed by the kids as the "House Just off Bluff," which will provide transitional housing for those leaving or those who have been told to leave Hildale and Colorado City.

In a previous interview, Benward said there are literally hundreds of kids from the twin cities who need help. They often stay together, many to an apartment that they call "butt huts" because of the numerous kids sleeping all over the apartment with the exception of the bathroom.

Although every community has teen pregnancies, child abuse, spousal abuse and substance abuse problems, because statistics from the polygamous community are sketchy, there are no hard figures and facts of abuses in the communities.

Those who have left have different stories and different views of what life is like in the twin cities. But there are similarities.

Most of those told to leave are young men, which the boys claim is in part to keep the young women or girls in the community available for the older men or the young men in the prophet's favor, although older men and women have been asked to leave as well.

Lacey, 20, was one of the girls asked to leave at 16 by followers of Warren Jeffs, leader of the FLDS Church, until she gained her belief in the religion.

Kevin, 19, was told to leave for his wicked ways - having a television and a small refrigerator filled with alcohol in his bedroom.

Kevin said he never liked Colorado City, yet he wasn't prepared for the unstructured living once he was told to leave.

"I got into drugs and alcohol," Kevin said.

Even though Kevin worked as a teenager in the construction trade, all the money he earned was turned over to his father. He was not used to dealing with finances.

"I ran myself into debt," Kevin said. "I'm a frugal guy now."

Like many of the kids who leave the community, Kevin said he got into trouble and had a hard time keeping a job. He lived in an apartment with about 12 other kids.

"When I first left, I was always getting into trouble, but the novelty wears off," Kevin said.

He has become accustomed to life outside the Colorado City community. Running into him on the street, no one would ever know he once was a member of the FLDS church.

His hair is longer than it could have been in the twin cities and during a recent interview, he was wearing a pair of shorts and a T-shirt, which showed off his tattoo.

Kevin has worked in the construction trade for years and said he is used to working 14-hour days and has a strong work ethic.

"I can outwork any kid out here," Kevin said.

Starting work at 14 was liberating, Marc said.

He got to go out with the men where it was new and exciting and didn't have to be doing what the moms always told him to do. All the money earned went to his father to pay for family expenses, which Marc shrugs off.

"I had older brothers that did that for me," Marc said.

Benward said she has mixed feelings about the kids going out at such a young age - often at age 9 or 10 - to work primarily in the construction field.

"The kids (from Colorado City and Hildale) have a good, strong work ethic, but it's sad that the kids are pulled out of school and are working 10- or 12-hour days," she said.

Benward said another problem is that the kids work, yet the money is all turned over to the family and the kids don't see much, if any, of the money they earn.

Benward also said she knows of at least one teen who worked but was paid through a 1099 form and after he left the community, found out he had a huge tax debt that accrued when he was a child.

Kevin said he still doesn't agree or believe in the FLDS religion or its principles, but said there are a lot of good people out in the twin cities. Many may no longer believe in the teachings of the church, but to say anything means losing everything, he said.

Lacey said she does stay in touch with her dad and two sisters who still live there but is no longer part of the community.

"I don't have a problem with polygamy. This is the United States and people have the right to live their religion, but I don't agree with the marrying of underage girls," Lacey said.

Marc said he was lucky when he left Colorado City. He had family members to stay with but still had many adjustments to make.

Although Marc is still mindful of those family members who still believe in the FLDS religion and in the church leadership - namely Jeffs - he has no desires to go back.

"I grew up thinking I would work like my dad and have a big family," Marc said.

Marc said many of the changes took place when Jeffs came into power but said there has always been a big break with a new leader with multiple views.

Now, since he has been removed from the society, Marc wants to stay in school and possibly move to Australia.

Going back to school with only a sixth-grade education may be daunting for some, but Marc, after a serious brush with the law when he was busted with illegal drugs, knew it was the only way to get ahead.

Before he went to school, Marc said his goal was learning how to learn first by earning his GED and eventually getting enrolled in Dixie State College where he takes classes in business, computers and communications.

He said he's already been to the school of hard knocks so going to school during the day and working nights is nothing.

But Marc said looking at his life, he feels like he has lived two different lives.

"When I go and try and think back to my childhood, it's like having someone else's memories," Marc said.

Although his beliefs have changed, Marc says he can understand why people still do believe - including other family members who have been forced to leave the community.

While people may struggle to understand how one person can hold so much sway over so many, Marc points out the similarities to others who have strong religious beliefs and especially about what's beyond this life.

"This is a testing ground, a second in our existence, and when that is taken away, you go through struggles, but if you look at it (the after life) in the religious sense, it works," Marc said.

Marc still looks up to his businessman father whom he calls his hero. His goal is still to be a businessman like his father.

Marc had to learn to live with himself and by doing so, had to completely annihilate his values just to live, he said. By getting rid of his values, literally by blocking out all he had been raised to believe, Marc also found himself in trouble with the law for selling illegal drugs.

Marc points out that everyone from the community, whether still living there or not, has their own views and perceptions of what happened in the communities over the last few years and although he doesn't have hard feelings against those still living the life, Marc said he has a new life.

His run-in with the law, which landed him in jail for a few days, taught him quickly that he had been, in effect, not only boxed in by a lifestyle he was exiled from, but because of his own choices, had boxed himself in again. He made the decision that he was never going back to either way of life.

He started searching and found the tools available to get help through the Division of Child and Family Services and Elaine Tyler with the Hope Organization and Michelle Benward.

Marc said both Michelle and Elaine are doing a lot of good for people like him.

He said the two women have helped him and others like him from the community by helping them find help but not giving a handout.

"They would feed us, teach us a class and that's the attitude the boys need," Marc said. "Those looking for a handout will still be looking for a handout five years from now."

One thing Marc hates the most is the Lost Boys label. It's part of a stigma and Marc said he would rather be called a polyg kid than a Lost Boy.

"Hey, I'm a polyg kid. I have more than one bellybutton," Marc said with a joking reference to his several moms.

While Marc has a different view about what he left behind than some of the others, he points out that if you go to visit Chinatown in New York City, you know it's Chinatown with a different subculture, but you don't treat it like a different country.

Marc said Colorado City sometimes feels like a different country and that it is a place where a white person could go and feel just as discriminated against and uncomfortable as an African-American would going into a Caucasian community.

Marc is grateful to those who have helped him, particularly Elaine and Michelle and the family that took him in and helped him learn the unspoken language of middle class and what it was like to be outside the sub-culture and treated normally.

But for those who want to help people like Marc, he's got one bit of advice: Cut back on the questions. He understands people are curious but said it gets monotonous answering the same questions over and over.

"We still breathe and have a pulse, we are just a little unorthodox," Marc said.

http://www.thespectrum.com/apps/pbcs.dll/ article?AID=/20070818/NEWS01/708180302

A win for those who want to halt abuses at Bountiful

Vancouver Sun - August 21, 2007

Activists don't get all they want from Victoria, but it's a start
by Daphne Bramham

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Children in all independent schools in B.C. may soon get a more balanced education. People leaving the polygamous community of Bountiful may find it easier to get the help they need. And Attorney-General Wally Oppal may come under even more pressure to ask the courts to rule on the constitutionality of the anti-polygamy law.

It's all because of a small group of seemingly indefatigable women who complained two years ago to the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal that the provincial government has discriminated against all women, but specifically against the female members of the fundamentalist Mormon community in Bountiful.

The women contended that the government had failed to enforce the law that forbids polygamy and failed to provide Bountiful's girls and women with equal access to services.

The women didn't get all that they asked for.

But they got something despite the provincial government doing all that it could to stop their complaints from being heard.

What they got was an agreement spelling out that:

- Premier Gordon Campbell and the cabinet will be advised by their own officials that the Independent School Act does not prohibit taxpayer-funded schools from discriminating against women and girls, yet it does forbid racial discrimination.

The majority of the government-accredited and -funded schools are operated by a variety of religious groups.

They are allowed to teach religion and they are allowed to filter the rest of the provincial curriculum -- whether science, literature or history -- through their religious doctrine as long as they are not fostering doctrines of "racial or ethnic superiority or persecution, religious intolerance or persecution, social change through violent action, or sedition."

What's surprising is that sexual discrimination was not included when the act was written in 1985 or when it was amended earlier this year. The Independent School Act -- like all Canadian laws -- is supposed to comply with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which has a separate section on women's equality.

- The government will provide funds for basic crisis intervention training for interested members of the Bountiful community as well as an information package that includes listings for all government services (from counselling to safe houses) available to people exiting the community.

Susie Palmer, a teacher who has only recently left the closed community, has agreed to work with a community services social worker to do that and get the get material distributed through the two private schools.

- The government will maintain the current level of services to the Bountiful community, "nurture trust and develop relationships" within the community and work to refine the way those services are delivered to residents of the closed and secretive community.

"I feel we've really achieved something," said activist Jancis Andrews, one of the complainants.

"We've created a good foundation stone for the government and other groups to build on whereby all of the abuses can be stopped . . . although it will possibly take years to accomplish."

The complainants included: former resident Debbie Palmer; Andrews; and, Audrey Vance and Linda Price, the co-chairs of Creston-based Altering Destiny Through Education. During the two days of meetings with the government, the complainants got advice from Jane Blackmore, a midwife and ex-wife of one of Bountiful's leaders Winston Blackmore, and from Susie Palmer, who taught at Blackmore's Mormon Hills School until this spring and is one of the plural wives of Blackmore's 'bishop,' Duane Palmer.

Andrews and the others were disappointed that there is no way to force Attorney-General Wally Oppal to enforce the polygamy law or the laws against sexual abuse of children even though Winston Blackmore, one of the religious leaders in the community, admits to having many wives including several who were only 15 or 16 when he impregnated them.

In 2006 the government went to court, which said the tribunal had no jurisdiction over the attorney-general's ministry or any decisions involving what is called "prosecutorial discretion."

Prosecutorial discretion is exercised in decisions such as the one made two weeks ago -- based on a recommendation from special prosecutor Richard Peck -- that no charges be laid against men from Bountiful in spite of the recommendations of the RCMP following an investigation begun in 2004.

In another case, the province succeeded in having the tribunal's powers narrowed so that it can rule only on personal complaints, not third-party complaints. That took away the tribunal's power to hear the complaints involving the remaining three ministries. However, it was left with the ability to attempt a mediated settlement between the complainants and the government.

Two days of mediation late last week resulted in the agreement, details of which were released Monday.

Judith Doulis, the complainants' lawyer, called it a positive outcome in a "very difficult situation where no one can say you have to do this or you have to do that. . . . They [the complainants] did what they could and hopefully it will assist people [in Bountiful] who want to make a lifestyle change."

The government made sure that the women couldn't get what they wanted. But they got something. It's another sign that more than 60 years after the breakaway sect set up camp in British Columbia that slowly, ever so slowly, the politicians and the bureaucrats are being pushed and prodded into finally living up to their responsibilities of care for the women and children.



20 Aug 2007

Judge OKs testimony by ex-members of Warren Jeffs polygamous sect

The Salt Lake Tribune, USA

Aug. 20, 2007

Brooke Adams


ST. GEORGE - Two former followers of Warren S. Jeffs will be allowed to give limited testimony about marriage practices at the polygamous sect leader’s upcoming trial.

Fifth District Judge James L. Shumate said Monday that Richard Holm and Jethro Barlow also may testify about Jeffs’ position of authority within the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

But the judge said the men will be precluded from discussing how Jeffs’ leadership differed from that of his predecessors, because it is not relevant to the charges against him.

Jeffs faces two counts of being an accomplice to rape for a marriage he allegedly conducted in 2001 between a 19-year-old man and his 14-year-old cousin. The woman has testified that she objected numerous times to the union.

Attorneys on both sides of the case said they are ready to go. “Absolutely,” said Walter F. Bugden, one of Jeffs’ three defense attorneys.

The court will bring 300 prospective jurors to the Dixie Center on Sept. 7, where each will fill out a questionnaire about their familiarity with the case and opinions of Jeffs.

Bugden said there are 75 questions on the form.

Shumate said on Sept. 10 prospective jurors will be brought in groups of 50 to the 5th District courthouse, where they will be questioned individually in his chambers “until we have a jury seated or we run out of jurors and move to a different county.”

Shumate said he will allow attorneys to question the prospective jurors, the first time he has ever done so.


Cult leader gets 40 years for kidnapping

Philippine Star, Philippines

Aug. 18, 2007

Non Alquitran


A Marikina City judge sentenced a cult leader yesterday to 40 years’ imprisonment for kidnapping and serious illegal detention of minor members of his congregation last year.

In his decision, Regional Trial Court Branch 273 Judge Manuel Quimbo said the convict, Antonio Dumala Faelnar, 56, pleaded guilty to the charge.

Faelnar heads the religious sect Global Empire Covenant of the Divine Government based in Barangay Marikina Heights, which has been operating for two years.

Marikina police chief Superintendent Sotero Ramos Jr. raided the cult’s headquarters last Aug. 4, 2006 following reports that Faelnar is illegally detaining a number of minors in the area.

Court records show that complainant Jessie Carbonell, also a sect member, and his wife left the sect’s compound sometime in July 2004, but left behind his minor sons.

However, when Carbonell returned to fetch his sons, Faelnar refused. The complainant recalled that while they were still staying in the compound, Faelnar prohibited them from leaving the premises.

Armed with a search warrant, Ramos was initially refused entry into the compound by Faelnar. However, the local police managed to sneak in and rescued not only Carbonell’s children but several other minors found in the compound.

Police said they were able to rescue 15 children ranging from two to 15 years old, who later said Faelnar frequently sexually harassed them.

An adult member of the cult and two young girls filed rape charges against Faelnar, who allegedly convinced them to offer him their bodies as a form of sacrifice. The charges are still being heard in court.

Faelnar denied all the allegations against him, saying he is only sheltering minors from the provinces who had no place to stay in Manila.

Quimbo ordered that Faelnar be transferred to the Bureau of Corrections in Muntinlupa City to serve his sentence.


The Cult That Spawned the Tough-Love Teen Industry

Mother Jones - August 20, 2007

By Maia Szalavitz

The idea that punishment can be therapeutic is not unique to the Rotenberg Center. In fact, this notion is widespread among the hundreds of "emotional growth boarding schools," wilderness camps, and "tough love" antidrug programs that make up the billion-dollar teen residential treatment industry.

This harsh approach to helping troubled teens has a long and disturbing history. No fewer than 50 programs (though not the Rotenberg Center) can trace their treatment philosophy, directly or indirectly, to an antidrug cult called Synanon. Founded in 1958, Synanon sold itself as a cure for hardcore heroin addicts who could help each other by "breaking" new initiates with isolation, humiliation, hard labor, and sleep deprivation.

Today, troubled-teen programs use Synanon-like tactics, advertising themselves to parents as solutions for everything from poor study habits to substance misuse. However, there is little evidence that harsh behavior-modification techniques can solve these problems. Studies found that Synanon's "encounter groups" could produce lasting psychological harm and that only 10 to 15 percent of the addicts who participated in them recovered. And as the classic 1971 Stanford prison experiment demonstrated, creating situations in which the severe treatment of powerless people is rewarded inevitably yields abuse. This is especially true when punishment is viewed as a healing process. Synanon was discredited in the late 1970s and 1980s as its violent record was exposed. (The group is now remembered for an incident in which a member placed a live rattlesnake—rattle removed—in the mailbox of a lawyer who'd successfully sued it.) Yet by the time Synanon shut down in 1991, its model had already been widely copied.

In 1971, the federal government gave a grant to a Florida organization called The Seed, which applied Synanon's methods to teenagers, even those only suspected of trying drugs. In 1974, Congress opened an investigation into such behavior-modification programs, finding that The Seed had used methods "similar to the highly refined brainwashing techniques employed by the North Koreans."

The bad publicity led some supporters of The Seed to create a copycat organization under a different name. Straight Inc. was cofounded by Mel Sembler, a Bush family friend who would become the gop's 2000 finance chair and who heads Lewis "Scooter" Libby's legal defense fund. By the mid-'80s, Straight was operating in seven states. First lady Nancy Reagan declared it her favorite antidrug program. As with The Seed, abuse was omnipresent—including beatings and kidnapping of adult participants. Facing seven-figure legal judgments, it closed in 1993.

But loopholes in state laws and a lack of federal oversight allowed shuttered programs to simply change their names and reopen, often with the same staff, in the same state—even in the same building. Straight spin-offs like the Pathway Family Center are still in business.

Confrontation and humiliation are also used by religious programs such as Escuela Caribe in the Dominican Republic and myriad "emotional growth boarding schools" affiliated with the World Wide Association of Specialty Programs (wwasp), such as Tranquility Bay in Jamaica. wwasp's president told me that the organization "took a little bit of what Synanon [did]." Lobbying by well-connected supporters such as wwasp founder Robert Lichfield (who, like Sembler, is a fundraiser for Republican presidential aspirant Mitt Romney) has kept state regulators at bay and blocked federal regulation entirely.

By the '90s, tough love had spawned military-style boot camps and wilderness programs that thrust kids into extreme survival scenarios. At least three dozen teens have died in these programs, often because staff see medical complaints as malingering. This May, a 15-year-old boy died from a staph infection at a Colorado wilderness program. His family claims his pleas for help were ignored. In his final letter to his mother, he wrote, "They found my weakness and I want to go home."

In Training to Combat Satan

Washington Post - August 18, 2007

Military-Style Camp Aims to Toughen Teens For Spiritual Warfare

By Kay CampbellReligion News Service

KELSO, Tenn. -- "What's this?" roared Henry Phillips. "There's trash on the floor in here."

Inside the simple block cabin, teenage girls stood at attention at the ends of their bunks, each bed neatly made up with a Bible and study notebook on top of the pillow.

Trash cluttered the entryway to the little cabin; Phillips, "sergeant major" to the campers, had just dumped over the trash can, spilling crumpled paper towels and cups onto the freshly swept floor.

"There's to be no trash in the cabins whatsoever!" Phillips shouted, his voice ragged from a week as drill sergeant at Spiritual Warfare Camp. "And no trash in your hearts. Do you have the message?"

"Yes, sergeant major," the girls answered in chorus, their eyes focused straight ahead as he marched up and down the line.

Inspections at the weeklong camp, designed to toughen bodies and souls, were just one of the rough parts. If you pass the camp general, Pastor Lou Ostrzicki of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Hazel Green, Ala., and forget to salute, you will be on the ground doing push-ups. Make a wrong remark, and you might have a dog biscuit pushed into your mouth.

Unlike North Dakota's Kids on Fire School of Ministry, the subject of the 2006 documentary "Jesus Camp," Spiritual Warfare Camp concentrates on children's spiritual, mental and physical fitness, not on their political actions. The services at Spiritual Warfare Camp are lively, but they don't tip into the charismatic speaking in tongues as did the North Dakota camp, now on hiatus.

Each day at Spiritual Warfare Camp began with a half-hour of physical training and a run, then another half-hour of prayer done while marching.

One squad of boys spent a day wearing diapers over their jeans after the boys whined about push-ups. At this camp, there are no excuses, no whining and no let-up.

What matters in life, Phillips told the kids, is not what happens to you but how you deal with it. Abuse comes because life isn't fair. That's what Satan does to Christians, no matter how hard they try, the camp leaders say.

The kids were met the first day with the command to walk through the pool with their clothes on and then roll in the dirt. The first morning's inspection was like an act of vandalism.

"The first day, we tore everything out of there," Phillips said as he and the camp officers headed to the next cabin. "There's a little bit of edge here."

Phillips explained, "That's what Satan does: He tears up your life."

Phillips knows about disruption. He survived three tours in Vietnam, failed marriages, one child's death and another's drug addiction. Now a middle school history teacher, he is determined to help other kids make better decisions than he did.

One activity turned a trail hike into an exercise in decision-making. A paint-ball course taught campers to work together toward a common goal. They earned each meal by memorizing a Bible verse from a list of Scripture about character, steadfastness and God's love.

The themes at Spiritual Warfare Camp are teamwork, respect for authority and creating the right relationships in life. The cabin squads went everywhere together, lined up behind a leader holding the squad's guidon, or flag. They chanted march cadences, some traditional, some special to the camp: "Alpha squad will always fight. . . . Under God we will unite."

Henry Phillips learned about the camp from Louie Barnett, who established the first camp in Michigan. Phillips's children attended one. Phillips was so impressed that he gave up weeks of summer vacation to help run the camp in Michigan for 14 years. This year, he decided to set up one closer to home.

The camp was held at Crystal Springs Camp, a Cumberland Presbyterian campground in eastern Lincoln County, Tenn. The camp, attended by 48 teens this year, has a capacity of 120. Phillips said he expects it to be full next year, since all of this year's campers have told him that they want to return.

Aaron Ball, 15, of Tullahoma, Tenn., said this year's camp helped keep him on the course he chose last year when he attended the camp in Michigan.

"This camp turned my life around," Ball said. "I did a 180. Before, I thought life was just stupid, and I wondered, 'What's the use of living?' But after camp, I was really on fire for God. Now I know why I'm living."

Kay Campbell writes for the Huntsville Times in Huntsville, Ala.


19 Aug 2007

Pastor at Christian boot camp indicted on assault charge

Lubbock Avalance-Journal, USA

Aug. 18, 2007


CORPUS CHRISTI (AP) - The director of a Christian boot camp and an employee have been indicted on aggravated assault charges for allegedly dragging a 15-year-old girl behind a van after she fell behind the group during a morning run.

Charles Eugene Flowers and Stephanie Bassitt of San Antonio-based Love Demonstrated Ministries are accused of tying Siobahn McClintock to the van with a rope and then dragging her, according to an arrest affidavit filed by the Nueces County Sheriff’s Department.

“This is a tragic incident,” District Attorney Carlos Valdez said. “This is the next step in seeing justice is done.”

Thursday’s indictment followed the arrest of the defendants last week. Flowers, a pastor at the Faith Outreach Center, and Bassitt were released Wednesday from Nueces County Jail after posting $100,000 bond each.

The 32-day boot camp for girls ages 13 to 19 includes 28 days at a facility near San Antonio, then four days at a camp in Banquete, about 10 miles west of Corpus Christi.

Flowers, the camp’s director, allegedly ordered Bassitt to run alongside the girl after she fell behind during a June exercise, the affidavit said. When the girl stopped running, Bassitt allegedly yelled at her and pinned her to the ground while Flowers tied the rope to her, according to the affidavit.

Scrapes and bruises still were evident on the girl’s face, abdomen, legs and arms when she arrived home two days later, the affidavit said.

Frances McClintock, the 15-year-old’s mother, said she researched the camp and thought it would be good for her daughter. She signed a release form but didn’t expect her daughter to be harmed, she said.

“I talked to parents and kids and it all sounded good and really positive. I counted on the Christian part,” she said.

Flowers, a retired U.S. Air Force instructor, has declined to comment on the allegations.

A San Antonio religious organization called the Gathering of Pastors and Leaders expressed support for Flowers in a prepared statement.

“Pastor Flowers has worked devotedly and sacrificially with troubled youth for over ten years,” said Rune Brannstrom, the group’s president. “For some this boot camp has been what a judge has decided as a last chance before going to prison. There are hundreds of teens that have been positively impacted by the love, strength and devotion of Pastor Flowers’ ministry.”

Valdez criticized a “parental consent form” the camp had parents sign before their children attended. The form states, “I realize that Christian Boot Camp is a strenous (sic) and highly intense program. I further realize that the possibility of accident, injury or even fatality to my child does exist.”


Abuse vicar is sacked by Church

BBC - UK August 16, 2007

A vicar jailed for sexually abusing six boys over a 30-year period has been removed from office.

The Reverend David Smith, 52, was jailed for five-and-a-half years in May. He had been the vicar at St John's in Clevedon, Somerset.

The Church of England said Smith will never work as a priest again - the maximum penalty it could impose.

It had been continuing to pay Smith his annual stipend since the conviction, but this has now also been stopped.

The Bishop of Bath and Wells, the Right Reverend Peter Price, said the penalties were imposed as soon as possible after the conviction.

A spokesman said: "It was not possible to take action immediately after Smith was jailed as the bishop was obliged to comply with various time limits in the Clergy Discipline Measure 2003 including the allowance of further time for Smith to appeal against the bishop's penalty.

"That time limit has now expired and the penalty has been imposed."

Bishop Price added: "The legal processes we had to go through take a frustratingly long time but they have now been completed.

"We can now look to the future with hope and confidence."

During Smith's trial, it emerged that concerns had been raised with the Church of England on two occasions about him - once in 1983 and then in 2001.

Between 1983 and 1993 he was team vicar at Malvern Link in Worcestershire.

Despite the church reassuring two complainants that the matter had been "dealt with", Smith continued to abuse boys at the vicarage in Clevedon.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/ somerset/6949388.stm

20 N.J. Men Allege Sexual Abuse By Lutheran Pastor

CBS2 - August 17, 2007

(CBS) TOMS RIVER, N.J. Twenty men have come forward and are claiming the pastor of a Lutheran church in New Jersey sexually abused them when they were children, adding that children in the parish were abused for almost 20 years.

Michael Isaacs is the only one of 20 men suing St. Thomas Lutheran Church in Brick, N.J. on sex abuse charges who isn't afraid to show his face and address the public.

"He'd make you touch him, ask if you liked it, and make sure you wouldn't tell anybody about it," Isaacs tells CBS 2 HD. "He called it the 'typewriter game' where he'd bring you into his office, sit you on his lap and let you hit the typewriter keys and he would fondle you."

Other plaintiffs insisted on staying anonymous because they say the alleged abuse by former pastor Robert Slegel was so traumatic they don't want any more public embarrassment.

Many of the plaintiffs lived in the neighborhood and they charge that the sexual abuse took place not only at the church, but also at the pastor's house.

"He would take you into the house. He would sodomize you," Isaacs says.

Robert Fuggi is one of the lawyers representing the plaintiffs, seeking tens of millions in damages.

"He was a surrogate father figure. He manipulated them through trying to intimate that he loved them, but did sexual things to them," Fuggi says.

The case passed its first hurdle when the judge agreed to let it into court, but the next hearing won't be for about a year-and-a-half.

The bishop of the New Jersey Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church says it's too early to comment on the allegations in the lawsuit, but he stressed the church "does not tolerate inappropriate sexual behavior of any kind by members of the clergy."


Polygamist must register as a sex offender for 3 years

Deseret Morning News - August 18, 2007
By Ben Winslow
A Colorado City polygamist has been ordered to register as a sex offender for three years after he was sentenced for having sex with a teenage girl.

Dale Barlow, 48, was sentenced Friday in Mohave County (Arizona) Superior Court. He was convicted of conspiracy to commit sexual conduct with a minor, a class-6 felony. Barlow was given three years on probation and ordered to serve 45 days in the Mohave County Jail.

Barlow is one of eight members of the Fundamentalist LDS Church charged with sex crimes in Mohave County, Ariz. Three were convicted, one was acquitted and the charges were dropped against two.

Rodney Holm, 40, is scheduled to go on trial in September. The Hildale man was convicted in Utah of bigamy, and the U.S. Supreme Court earlier this year refused to hear his appeal.

The men are all believed to be followers of FLDS leader Warren Jeffs, who was recently indicted by a Mohave County grand jury on sexual misconduct and incest charges, accusing him of arranging child-bride marriages, sometimes involving relatives. Jeffs, 51, is scheduled to go on trial in St. George's 5th District Court on charges of rape as an accomplice, a first-degree felony. In that case, he is accused of performing a marriage between a 14-year-old girl and her 19-year-old cousin.