Monday, July 21, 2008

Teen sex cult update

In a comment on an earlier thread about the April raid on the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) in Texas, Angela asked:
Next, you could address the way CPS claimed they had 31 teen mothers by refusing to accept their legal documents proving their ages, so they could make it look like the FLDS community was as awful as the media was painting it? 31 turned out to be 5, and from what I understand (though I could be wrong, it's hard to keep the ages straight when there's so much misinformation) they'll all be 18 this year.
While I haven't been able to find any news reports confirming that only five of the mothers at the El Dorado ranch were minors, Jacob Sullum of Reason magazine notes:
CPS claimed 31 underage girls at the ranch were pregnant or mothers. It later conceded that at least 15 of them were in fact adults while a 14-year-old on the list was not pregnant and had no children. The Associated Press reported that “more mothers listed as underage are likely to be reclassified as adults."
So that reduces the number down to 15 or 16, but the claim of "31 teen mothers" is still out there all over the Internet, and none of the stories have corrections appended. At least one of the alleged "child brides" who turned out to be 18 gave birth while in state custody:
An 18-year-old who gave birth in state custody after she was incorrectly seized in a raid on a polygamist sect ranch says the state kept her in foster care in an effort to seize her baby.
Pamela Jessop said authorities knew how old she was when they raided her home on the Yearning for Zion Ranch, which is owned by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
"I gave 'em my name. I gave 'em my age," Jessop said. "I was honest. Showed 'em my birth certificate and they acknowledged it, that I was 18."
Furthermore, Sullum makes important points:
In any case, as the appeals court noted, "teenage pregnancy, by itself, is not a reason to remove children from their home and parents."
In Texas the minimum age for marriage with parental consent is 16 -- raised from 14 in 2005 with the FLDS in mind -- and "there was no evidence regarding the marital status of these girls when they became pregnant or the circumstances under which they became pregnant."
For months, I've been saying this: Texas leads the nation in teen births. If every pregnant 15-year-old in Texas is cause for a paramilitary raid, they're going to need to hire more SWAT officers.

And the business of Texas raising its marriage age just to thwart the FLDS bothers me. Fourteen-year-olds had been legally married in Texas since time immemorial, but then these religious kooks move to Texas, and suddenly the state legislature sees the need for "progress"?

(BTW: The "teen sex cult" title is a mocking allusion to the lurid tabloid-style coverage the Texas FLDS raid initially generated in the media.)

UPDATE: Harry Reid wants a federal criminal investigation of FLDS:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will take his quest for a federal investigation of a polygamous sect before the Judiciary Committee next week.
The Nevada Democrat requested and received the July 24 hearing before the committee, during which he will present evidence to support a federal crime investigation of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, a spokesman said. . . .
Reid has pushed for several years to get the U.S. Attorney's Office to form a federal task force to look at polygamous sects and has renewed that effort because current Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey "seems more receptive to it," Summers said. . . .
Reid sent Mukasey a letter in April asking for his help in fighting "pervasive criminal activity" occurring in polygamous groups -- specifically, the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. . . .
Reid contends that the FLDS are an organized crime syndicate that has engaged in bribery, extortion, fraud, embezzlement, witness tampering and labor violations. He wants the Justice Department to launch a federal racketeering investigation.
Extortion? Fraud? Bribery? These FLDS sound almost as bad as the corrupt union bosses who support Harry Reid's Democratic Party. "Almost," I said.

No comments:

Post a Comment