Nov 30, 2016

Even after chilling tape detailing sexual abuse is played, defence for three polygamists calls no witnesses

James Oler, Brandon James Blackmore and Emily Gail Blackmore
National Post
Daphne Bramham, Postmedia News
November 29, 2016

CRANBROOK — The trial of three parents from the polygamous community of Bountiful, B.C. charged with trafficking their 13- and 15-year-old daughters to U.S. for sexual purposes wraps up next week with final arguments.

The parents — James Oler, Brandon James Blackmore and Emily Gail Blackmore — face up to 10 years in jail if convicted. Despite that, they called no witnesses or evidence to rebut the Crown’s case against them and never objected even when a chilling tape was entered in evidence on Tuesday.

It was an audio recording of Warren Jeffs, the prophet of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, instructing one of the victims on how to sexually touch him.

A tiny and frightened voice was barely audible. But Jeffs, then 49, invoking the name of Jesus Christ and telling her where to put her hands and about the “patriarchal grip”.

The voice on the tape was identified as the Blackmores’ 13-year-old daughter by one of her 21 brothers.

Brandon Seth Blackmore was one of two of Blackmore’s children to testify on Tuesday. He told the court that he and his 13-year-old sister (who can’t be identified because of a publication ban) were married in ceremonies on the same day in March 2004 in Colorado City, Az.

Brandon Seth was 21 and told the court he had been instructed by Oler, the FLDS bishop of Bountiful, to go to Colorado City about a week before the weddings took place.

During that week, Brandon Seth said he encountered Oler as well as his father, one of his several mothers, Gail Blackmore, and his 13-year-old sister there.

Brandon Seth said neither he nor his father knew why they had been called to the United States. Brandon Seth said it only became clear on the day that the weddings took place. About five minutes before his marriage, Brandon Seth was told what was about to happen. He only found out who he was marrying when the ceremony began. He had never met her before.

Less than an hour later, his 13-year-old sister was married to Warren Jeffs, the 49-year-old prophet.

Although Oler was at the March ceremonies, he is charged with having taken his 15-year-old daughter from Bountiful in June 2004 to be married.

On Tuesday, another of Brandon James Blackmore’s children testified. She can’t be identified because of a court-ordered publication ban.

She was 16 when she drove across the border with her father and her mother, Susan Steed Blackmore.

Once across, they pulled over and waited for another van to arrive. When it did, she and her parents transferred their bags into it. They were joined in the van by Oler’s 15-year-old daughter as well as two more of Blackmore’s sons. (Blackmore has 21 sons and 15 daughters).

They arrived in Cedar City, Utah around midnight, she said. The following day, the prophet conducted 18 rapid-fire weddings. Among those married that day were Oler’s daughter and Blackmore’s 16-year-old daughter.

Neither Oler nor Gail Blackmore has a lawyer. Neither is expected to make a closing argument when the trial resumes in B.C. Supreme Court on Monday. They have sat passively throughout the past two weeks of trial and for the two weeks of the closed voir dire session – except to occasionally acknowledge their children and other witnesses they know with a small smile.

Brandon James Blackmore does have a lawyer, who indicated he will be making a closing argument.

No comments: