Thursday, February 24, 2011

Lost in the Shuffle (of Government Paperwork)

It has come to light only recently that three under-age girls were taken by their parents from Bountiful to Colorado City/Hildale, to be sealed in all eternity in “marriage” to the Prophet Warren Jeffs. Two of the the children were 12 years old, the third was thirteen.

Apparently a fax from the US government went astray once it reached Canada, and B.C. Government lawyers working on the Polygamy Reference were blind-sided by the news of this child trafficking when they learned of it only recently. They immediately set about appealing to the Chief Justice for the inclusion of this evidence in the testimony gathered so far. They went before Judge Bauman this morning with their appeal.

In an article in today's Vancouver Sun, Daphne Bramham wrote:

On Sept. 24, 2008, a government social worker in Creston got a fax outlining how four years earlier a 13-year-old girl from Bountiful had been taken illegally to the United States by her parents and married to Warren Jeffs.

Jeffs, who is the prophet of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, was 48 at the time and a fugitive running from charges related to having had sex with minors.

The fax was sent to Wendy Wiens, team leader for the Ministry of Children and Family Development, from Angie Voss, a child protective services supervisor in Texas, five months after Texas authorities had raided the FLDS's Yearning for Zion ranch and taken into care close to 400 women and children.

But Voss wasn't asking for help. She was providing information and offering to answer any further questions that Wiens might have.

In her fax, Voss quoted from a document labelled the Record of President Warren Jeffs that was seized during the raid.  In it, Jeffs names a man from the FLDS community of Bountiful, B.C., his 13-year-old daughter and his wife.

"I sat down with [redacted] and his wife and his daughter, gave a training on the redemption of Zion in brief, in summary, and this girl was called on a mission; and they received it joyfully. And there [redacted] was sealed to Warren Steed Jeffs for time and eternity."

Attached to the fax was a copy of the marriage record for the unidentified girl and Jeffs dated March 1, 2004.

According to Jeffs' record, both parents attended their child's marriage ceremony, which was performed by Jeffs' brother and the FLDS Patriarch LeRoy S. Jeffs in Colorado City, Ariz., at the home of James Allred. It's not clear what, if anything, Wiens did with that information.

But what is certain is that Wiens, the ministry and then minister Tom Christensen must have known about allegations of child sexual abuse in Bountiful, Jeffs, the FLDS and even the Texas raid, which had been widely reported on.

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