For those of you who have not heard anything about this, last week a 16 year-old called from the ranch and said she had been abused by her much older husband. She has not been found. This triggered a raid of the ranch, and a removal of 413 children and over a hundred mothers who chose to go with them. On one hand, there is then the possibility that the whole thing was fabricated. In hindsight, the raid may not ever be substantiated. Though this is a possibility, how, as a government official do you deal with that. I have watched a lot of lawyers tackle this question in video interviews from news stations, and they all say that it is the major point for the defense. However, nobody has pointed out that it is the duty of the government to investigate these situations.
That is my main point for the government's side. Beyond that, I think it was a overwhelming overreaction to a call. I have no doubt that abuse is occurring in the compounds. The whole basis for their second warrant was that they saw several pregnant teenage girls once they were on the compound for the first warrant. However, I think each case should have been treated individually, as large a job as that is. Just because a group practices a common religion doesn't mean that all the marriages are under-age (despite the religion's tenants, for those alone are not enough evidence to pursue the case).
At the same time, though the mothers are experiencing trauma like no other with their children away, it's hard to believe some of the things they are saying. At one point, a lady was asked if it is true that "14, 15, 16 year old girls married here?" and she replied that "this is about our children," and "we need to talk about our children and what they are doing." In several interviews, women have avoided this question by changing the subject, or saying "Not to my knowledge." When asked how old they were when they were married, they won't answer. When asked if they are in polygamist marriages, there are varied answers of "yes", and "I cannot say at this time."
The trial, the largest child custody case in the history of the US, begins tomorrow. Could you all please pray for the judge and lawyers as they prepare for the case, the children who are overwhelmed, and their parents.
Photo courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/slopjop/942931893/