WASHINGTON Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has asked U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey to review the federal efforts to stop child abuse or other criminal activity in polygamous communities.
Reid said the raid earlier this month at the Fundamentalist LDS Church ranch in Eldorado, Texas, "illustrates the depth of the problem and the pressing need for federal leadership to combat this problem."
Two years ago, Reid wrote former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales that the federal government needs to work with state officials to look at the "broader pattern of serious criminal conduct by all those who use multiple marriages to abuse women and children."
Reid wanted a federal task force to specifically investigate interstate crimes by polygamist communities, but told Mukasey in an April 18 letter that he is "not satisfied that a comprehensive federal strategy has been implemented."
"Federal assistance is vital," Reid wrote, noting that the local governments of small towns containing polygamist communities are often dominated by polygamists.
"The recent raid of one polygamist compound in Texas uncovered many of the problems," Reid wrote. "But Texas may be the tip of the iceberg. The existence of such communities elsewhere in the United States is well known."Reid, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, included the personal note "this deserves your personal attention" on the letter.