04-10-2008, 05:33 PM
Livin' the dream!
Keep Calm and Chive on
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Southern California
ELDORADO, Texas (AFP) - A Texas polygamist compound emptied of more than 400 children was the site of pervasive sexual abuse where girls were groomed to accept sex at puberty and boys were indoctrinated to perpetuate the cycle, officials said in court records released Tuesday.
Girls as young as 13 were "spiritually married" to men who claimed several wives and were forced to have sex with their significantly older husbands "for the purpose of having children," according to an affidavit by an investigator with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.
Children were deprived of food and locked in closets as punishment, and severe beatings were also reported on the sprawling YFZ (Yearn for Zion) Ranch outside of Eldorado, Texas owned by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
A number of young girls who were pregnant or had recently given birth were discovered on the ranch after a desperate call for help was made by a 16-year-old girl.
In a series of whispered calls on a borrowed cell phone, the girl told a local family violence center that she was being held against her will on the compound and was told she would be "found and locked up" if she tried to leave.
The girl said she began to be abused soon after she was left at the ranch by her parents about three years ago and at age 15 became the seventh wife of a 49-year-old man.
She said she is pregnant again just eight months after giving birth to her first child by a man who would force himself on her sexually and beat her "whenever he got angry," the affidavit said.
Other women in the home would hold her baby while the man identified as Dale Barlow beat her.
Barlow would choke her and hit her in the chest and she was once beaten so badly that she was taken to the hospital with several broken ribs.
The girl said she had no contact with her parents but knew they were preparing to send her 15-year-old sister to the ranch.
While she was anxious to escape, she was worried about what would happen to her if she left the confines of the ranch.
"She reported that church members have told her if she leaves the ranch, outsiders will hurt her, force her to cut her hair, to wear make up and clothes and to have sex with lots of men," investigator Lynn McFadden wrote in the affidavit.
The girl has yet to be identified among the 416 children and 139 adult women removed from the ranch in a raid which began Thursday.
A number of the children interviewed in the course of the investigation were "unable or unwilling to provide the names of their biological parents or identified multiple mothers."
A judge has temporarily placed all the children into state custody as a result of what investigators found when they entered the ranch in an attempt to find the girl.
A hearing is set for April 17 to determine if the children should be permanently separated from their parents.
"There is a pervasive pattern and practice of indoctrinating and grooming minor female children to accept spiritual marriages to adult male members of the YFZ (Yearn For Zion) Ranch resulting in them being sexually abused," McFadden told the court.
"Similarly, minor boys residing on the YFZ Ranch, after they become adults, are spiritually married to minor female children and engage in sexual relationships with them, resulting in them being sexual perpetrators," she said.
"This pattern and practice places all of the children located at the YFZ Ranch, both male and female, to risk of emotional, physical and/or sexual abuse."
The 1,700-acre (688-hectare) ranch was purchased in 2003 and built by Warren Jeffs, who considers himself the sect's prophet and was jailed for life for being an accomplice to rape.
The mainstream Mormon church -- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints -- renounced polygamy more than a century ago as a price of Utah's admission to the United States.
It now excommunicates members who engage in the practice and disavows any connection with the FLDS church.
Merrill Jessop, a ranch overseer and elder at the YFZ ranch in Eldorado, told The Salt Lake Tribune: "There needs to be a public outcry that goes far and wide. What's coming we don't know. The hauling off of women and children matches anything in Russia or Germany."
Pretty sickening and also alarming.