SAN ANGELO, Texas The man whose alleged actions prompted Texas officials to raid a polygamous ranch and seize all 416 of the children there says he could not possibly have done what he's accused of doing.
"I do not know this girl that they keep asking about," Dale Barlow told the Deseret Morning News Wednesday night.
"And I have not been to Texas since I was a young man back in 1977."
A girl who said she was married to Barlow, indicated her last name was Barlow and lived at the YFZ Ranch in Eldorado, Texas, made several calls to a domestic violence crisis hotline March 29 and 30, according to search warrants and other court documents.
She indicated her married name was Barlow and her husband's name was Dale and said he was 49 years old. "The caller advised that Dale Barlow is physically as well as sexually abusive toward her," one search warrant states.
The girl said she was 16, had an 8-month-old baby, was several weeks pregnant, and wanted to leave the ranch but was fearful that she would be caught and punished for trying to escape the guarded compound.
The girl said Barlow would "beat and hurt" her whenever he got angry, including hitting her in the chest and choking her. She said he once beat her so badly she suffered several broken ribs, according to a court affidavit from the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.
The girl said the last time Barlow beat her was on Easter Sunday. She said she had lived at the ranch for three years and was only able to leave the ranch to go to a hospital when she got sick, according to the same affidavit.
Child welfare officials still have not been able to identify the 16-year-old girl among the 416 children taken from the ranch. Those children are now in state custody.
Probation officials in Arizona indicate it's unlikely Barlow has been in Texas recently.
Chief Friend Walker of the Mohave County, Ariz., Probation Department, said Dale E. Barlow, 50, who lives in Colorado City, Ariz., has been on probation since Aug. 17, 2007, and has regularly checked in with his probation officer.
"As part of his terms and conditions of probation, Mr. Barlow is required to request permission to make trips out of state and must be given a travel permit before leaving the state," Walker said. "While he has been on probation, Mr. Barlow has not been given any travel permits to Texas."
"Mr. Barlow continues to meet with his probation officer regularly and last met with him on April 8, 2008," Walker said.
On April 11, 2007, Barlow entered a plea of no contest to conspiracy to commit sexual conduct with a minor and was sentenced to three years' probation. Barlow also was sentenced to serve 45 days in jail and must register as a sex offender while on probation.
Such information is repeated in court documents that initiated the raid. While Texas officials are obviously talking about the same man, both police and child welfare officials have declined to answer repeated media questions about Barlow being in Arizona or whether they are looking for the wrong man.
Attorneys for the FLDS Church also say Barlow was not at the ranch and believe no child with the girl's name was at the ranch, either, according to a memorandum filed Wednesday.
They also argued that the phone call from the girl was never corroborated and argued that such information did not justify the issuance of any search warrant.
Walker said he has not seen a warrant for Barlow's arrest, but Judge Barbara Walther indicated in court that she believes she issued one. In court Wednesday, the church's attorney Gerald Goldstein said sheriff's officials in Arizona located Barlow in their state the day the search warrant was issued.
"I don't think anyone's going to argue that was the guy they're looking for," Goldstein said.
"So my authority is not valid in Arizona?" the judge replied. "That may be another thing we look into."
When a comparison was later made to an hypothetical raid on the Vatican, Walther joked that she knows she has no jurisdiction in Italy."I can't even get an arrest warrant issued in Arizona," she said.