Friday, February 4, 2011

The Evidence is there - Prosecute Now!

In Her Vancouver Sun article on 31st January, Daphne Bramham produced a clarion call for prosecution of criminal polygamists.


How is it not sexual exploitation when one of the pillars of a community has sex with a child placed in his care? 

What is it other than sex slavery and/or human trafficking when that man had a 15-year-old brought across an international border to a country where she has no immediate family with the intention of having sex and impregnating her? 

And how can that unnamed man from the fundamentalist Mormon community of Bountiful, B.C., not have been involved in immigration fraud a few months earlier when he brought a 17-year-old "bride" into Canada? 

The girl was clutching a letter from her parents giving her permission to stay with a "friend." What nobody said was that the friend was the man -- more than twice her age -- who became her husband the previous day and with only 30 minutes' notice in a ceremony presided over by a prophet, who himself has been charged in three states with child sex abuse. 

These details are, presumably true since the 17-year-old, now 24, testified under oath to their veracity last week in B.C. Supreme Court. 

(Through some curious reasoning, leaders of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and their lawyer thought that her testimony in a constitutional reference case would bolster the church's claim that the guarantee of religious freedom in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms allows them to practise polygamy.) Little more than a year after this man brought both of his American teen brides to Canada, each of them -- wives No. 4 and No. 5 -- had a child. 

Their church, their fathers, their mothers, their teachers and their community had groomed them to submit to these arranged marriages or face God's wrath in the afterlife. 

Still, it's appalling that this 24-year-old woman, who grew up in the United States and attended a publicly funded school in British Columbia, finds nothing wrong with what happened to her or her sister-wife. 

More appalling is that nobody in government did. 

What happened to these two girls is part of a long-established pattern that was also documented in the reference case by evidence through birth records, school records and immigration files. And it can all be confirmed with DNA samples collected by RCMP officers several years ago before they recommended that the B.C. attorney-general lay charges.

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