Feb 9, 2016

Sheriff Covered Up Mormon Child Marriage

February 9, 2016
Former FLDS leader Warren Jeffs is in jail for taking two young girls as spiritual brides—and the sordid practice has continued after his arrest, according to local police.
When the Water Canyon School reopened in 2014, it was the first time in 13 years that students in Hildale, Utah could attend a public school. The closure hadn’t been for lack of children in the town, though.
Hildale is one half of a religious community once known as Short Creek, which now numbers around 7,500 and spans the Utah-Arizona border. It’s the nerve center of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS), a breakaway Mormon sect whose polygamous, patriarchal practices have often landed it in hot water with the law.
The school in Water Canyon closed in 2001 when religious fundamentalist Warren Jeffs commanded that Hildale parents remove their children from the public school system.
A year later, upon his father’s death, Jeffs assumed leadership of the FLDS church. It wasn’t long before he landed in hot water with the law, too—by 2005, he was on the FBI’s Most Wanted List and in 2007, he wasconvicted in Utah of being an accomplice to rape, after he helped marry an underage girl to an older man. While that conviction was overturned in 2010, he was convicted a year later in Texas andsentenced to life in prison for sexually assaulting two minors—a 12-year-old and a 15-year-old whom he called his “spiritual wives.” More recently, he’s been accused of sexual assault by his nephew and several of his own children. (Jeffs reportedlyhad 70 wives and dozens of offspring.)
Long after Jeffs’ arrest, an extreme culture of child brides, excommunication, and “concentration camp”-like compounds has allegedly survivedunder the nose of local law enforcement, including police who are members or former members of the church.
The adjoining towns of Hildale, Utah and Colorado City, Arizona are the subject of a federal trial in Phoenix, Arizona this month, which alleges that the town’s powerful fundamentalist leadership denied non-FLDS members access to water, electricity, housing, and help from the local police forces.
The scope of the charges against the Hildale and Colorado City governments is unprecedented—and it’s revived allegations of abuse in the secretive community.
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