Saturday, April 19, 2008

Texas cult: The Oprah factor

Rusty Shackleford says the Texas FLDS compound story has "stunk to high-heaven from the git go," and look at the way Rusty puts two and two together:
Houston Chronicle: "The Texas Rangers told us [hoax suspect Rozita Swinton] was obsessed with the FLDS. They confiscated tons of material on the FLDS (in the search of Swinton's home). She even gave real addresses and real names of FLDS people."
Rusty: Hence, how Swinton would be able to "identify" the man who "Sarah" was allegedly married to, but didn't know that Dale Evans Barlow, the man originally pegged as the "50 year old husband", didn't actually live in Texas, but in Arizona.
Right, and now let me add something else to the equation: Notice that the middle (maiden) name for "Sarah" was "Jessop" -- "Sarah Jessop Barlow."

Well, Flora Jessop is the executive director of the anti-polygamy group quoted in that same Houston Chronicle story. And if you do a Google search on "FLDS" and "Jessop," you immediately discover that Carolyn Jessop is the author of a bestselling book, "Escape," about her life inside FLDS -- and that Carolyn Jessop appeared on "Oprah" in November 2007!

Bingo! So what must have happened is that Swinton:
  • Watched this "Oprah" episode in November;
  • Became obsessed with the FLDS cult;
  • Read about the compound in Texas;
  • Learned the name Dale Evans Barlow from reports of his prosecution;
  • Combined Barlow's name with "Sarah," a common female biblical name, and "Jessop," the name of the two prominent ex-FLDS women, to create a name for her fictional 16-year-old victim; and
  • Then did a Google search to find the phone number of a domestic-abuse hotline near the FLDS compound in Texas.
OMG! More than 400 children have been seized by the state of Texas because of an "Oprah" episode?

Also I wonder if Swinton became an Obama delegate for the same reason she became obsessed with the FLDS, namely, she saw it on "Oprah"?

UPDATE: The "Oprah" Web site includes an excerpt from Carolyn Jessop's book, including this bit about physical abuse among FLDS:
[T]he women we'd see in the community when we went shopping were wearing dark sunglasses. I was surprised when a woman took her glasses off in the grocery store and I could see that both her eyes were blackened. I asked my mother what was wrong, but the question seemed to make her uncomfortable and she didn't answer me. My curiosity was piqued, however, and every time I saw a woman in dark glasses, I stared at her to see if they were covering strange, mottled bruises.
Hmmmm. Remember how the hotline tipster "Sarah" talked about beatings? And then this:
We were taught that outsiders were "agents of the devil" who wanted to kidnap us and take us away. They were seen as evil people who wanted to destroy the work of God. If they could get access to the children of God's chosen, then they would try to hurt or destroy us.
Right -- another theme in the tip from "Sarah." But perhaps the telltale clue here is this:
[Oprah producer Lisa Ling's] guide in Colorado City is Carolyn Jessop. Carolyn was raised by three mothers and has 36 brothers and sisters. At 18, she says she was forced to marry a powerful 50-year-old FLDS leader, Merril Jessop. Carolyn had eight of Merril's 54 children, but she says she was always desperate for freedom.
The tipster "Sarah" likewise was "was forced to marry a powerful 50-year-old FLDS leader." But whereas Carolyn Jessop was 18 when she was married, the Texas hotline hoaxer Rozita Swinton decided fictional "Sarah" should be 16, having been forced to marry at 15 -- i.e., conveniently below the legal minimum marriage age in Texas, so as to constitute the basis for a search warrant.

Nearly every element of the story that "Sarah" told in her calls to the abuse hotline was included in the November "Oprah" episode or in Carolyn Jessop's book.

UPDATE II: Rusty notes the "fake but accurate" angle on Swinton's hoax, and says:
Sure, she lied about everything, but isn't the goal of removing children from parents who's lifestyle we don't approve of trump truth? . . .
Let's just go into any community and take away all the kids since we know that some of them are abused, some get knocked up young, and some are molested. In some communities, these phenomena are pervasive. . . .
There is a bright line which government cannot cross under normal circumstances. That line is the home.
A raid on an entire community, without probable cause, in peace time is tyranny, plain and simple.
What next, raiding a hippie commune because we know they must smoke dope and we know they practice free love?
As I've pointed out earlier myself, "if every pregnant 16-year-old in Texas is cause for a paramilitary raid, they're going to need more SWAT teams."

UPDATE III: Sorry if these updates are creating a thread longer than God's arm, but stuff just keeps popping up. This is from a Salt Lake Tribune story that Rusty linked:
FLDS women who were in state shelters with their children until Monday say investigators appeared desperate to find "Sarah" and were grilling girls by that name. ...
On Monday, hours after being separated from the children taken into state custody, FLDS women claimed authorities appeared driven to find Sarah.
"They are trying to pin it on anybody named Sarah," said Annette, who is back at the YFZ Ranch after more than a week in custody with her six children and five nieces and nephews she is raising.
Sarah is a common name and several are in custody, she said. One by one, the Sarahs have been interviewed, she said. "They find out and then let them go, then grab another one and try to find out and the let them go."
"There is just not a Sarah that fits what they said," said Annette.
Investigators have zeroed in on one Sarah in particular, Annette said. The girl, who has a 5-month-old daughter, is petite and looks young, so the investigators don't believe she is 18, she said.
So while the Texas attorney general says "the case really doesn't hinge upon that particular 16-year-old," investigators spent days grilling every teenager named Sarah from the Texas ranch -- including one 18-year-old who merely looks young. Sounds to me like Texas officials know they've got a credibility problem in this case.

'Underage sex cult'


  1. The children should immediately be returned to their parents, and this liar should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Life in prison is the appropriate punishment for this heinous crime.

  2. OMG! More than 400 children have been seized by the state of Texas because of an "Oprah" episode?

    That logic is not cool, dude. Ummm. the law is, has, and continues to be broken by the cult. I can't see how blaming Oprah helps that.

  3. redcat sounds like a dope smokin hippie of this era.

    those children should be returned immediately or else God is going to punish the police, the cps, and everyone involved in removing happy not abused children and forcing them to live in abusive orphanages.
    you should listen to #639 and the other programs