A 16-year-old girl at the center of a legal fight has finally been subpoenaed to testify before a Texas grand jury investigating members of the Fundamentalist LDS Church.
The girl's mother was given a subpoena on Saturday, the girl's court-appointed attorney told the Deseret News. It orders the girl to show up this week to testify in Eldorado before a grand jury considering criminal charges stemming from the raid on the FLDS Church's YFZ Ranch.
In an e-mail forwarded to the Deseret News and posted on pro-FLDS Web sites, the girl demands that her court-appointed attorney step aside.
"It feels like you are trying to restrict me from every person in my life that I want to talk to or have anything to do with and you want to be the decider of what I do and who I have to do with," she wrote to Natalie Malonis.
Malonis went to court on Friday and obtained a temporary restraining order against FLDS Church member and spokesman Willie Jessop, accusing him of interfering in her relationship with her client and pressuring the girl to avoid service of a subpoena.
"What's been the response? More intimidation and more pressure," Malonis said Sunday, confirming that she had received similar e-mails to the ones published online.
In court papers, Malonis wrote that Texas child welfare authorities and law enforcement believe the girl may have been "spiritually" married to a man at age 15. When the Texas Supreme Court ruled that state authorities acted improperly in removing the hundreds of children from the YFZ Ranch, Malonis sought a special order to place conditions on the girl before she was reunited with her mother. They included no contact with the girl's father, FLDS leader Warren Jeffs, and a man named Raymond Jessop, whose relationship to her has not been disclosed.
In the e-mail, the girl denies being a sex abuse victim.
"Oh, Natalie, please don't make this case harder," the e-mail says. "Shut your mouth up and quit calling me a victim of sexual abuse. I am so sick of being called that when I am absolutely not a victim of sexual abuse and you have no evidence to prove that I have ever had sexual relations. The most help you will be to me now is for you to step aside and let me get a different lawyer that I feel like can help me."
Malonis said she still believes she can still maintain a working relationship with her client, and worried that the publication of the e-mails may have created a new problem by having the girl waive her attorney-client privilege. The girl admits in the e-mail that she has been avoiding service, but says Jessop had nothing to do with it."It is my own dear feelings and doings. Right now I am just at home, sitting on my bed. Does it sound like I have dissappeared (sic)? To tell you the truth, I havn't (sic) tried very hard at all to dodge this subpoena. Of course I am not just going to go running for it! I know how to think for myself, if you can believe it!" she wrote. "This is how I feel and I just thought I would let you know."