About Utah: Texas raid violating U.S. rights

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  • Casey
    April 28, 2008 2:47 a.m.

    Americans should OUTRAGED at the violation of the FLDS in El Dorado, Texas!

    I'm still shocked about this Federal Govt Bully raid on the FLDS. Where is the ACLU, anyway???

  • A son of libterty
    April 12, 2008 12:05 a.m.

    Mike: "Gutless/stupid americans should be outraged by this abuse of power."

    No, some people are so far out over the line that they do not deserve the protection of the law anymore. Go look up what LBJ did to the KKK. They threw the book out the window and had the FBI treat them like a foreign military organization, probably worse even. The government can indeed ignore all the rules if enough people approve. No quarter for abominations; civilization must protect itself.

    You probably even call yourself a libertarian. Supporting large scale sex slaver operations in the name of liberty is idiotic and beyond contemptible.

    The real libertarian approach to this is a $1000 bounty for every dead sex slaver and then let the free market solve the problem.

  • Jessejames
    April 11, 2008 2:03 p.m.


    No one needs to seek counsel when expressing their opinion. I wonder why this column would generate so much animosity? Is it because your a biased or you prefer to stoop to bigotry? There may have been probable cause for a few and maybe even many, but to take evey child in to custody. Their happened to be a 33 yr old man married to only one 28 yr old woman who had 3 children taken. Their civil rights were never addressed, and completely violated. Mr. Bensen's comments don't need to be substantiated, he needs only to refer to your countries Bill of Rights. Read a learn, buddy!

  • Indy Coug
    April 11, 2008 10:13 a.m.

    Lee, you should have sought the counsel of your learned brother who actually understands the legal system. There was probable cause (much of it undisclosed) that a certified judge deemed sufficient to act. Your comments are unsubstantiated and not an example of good writing. Perhaps you should stick to feel good stories about Utah County.

  • Kate
    April 11, 2008 7:55 a.m.

    The 16 year old that made "the call" chould be found easily since she is pregnant and has an eight month old child. Has anyone thought that this call was made by someone who is an enemy of the FDLS church and not from anyone inside the compound. Her whole conversation addressed every possible terrible thing that could happen in an abusive situation.

    Of course, sexual perpetrators should be arrested and dealt with, but it's a sad state of affairs when children are torn from their mother's arms.

    I'm not an advocate of the FDLS teachings. Some of their actions are terrible - like turning out teenage boys to fend for themselves, having marriages performed between older men and teenagers against their will and against the law. And of course, illegally getting financial support from the government should be stopped and those involved punished.

    However, I cannot believe mothers or these small children are abusing them.These children are loved and being cared for.

    Thank you Lee Benson for your thought provoking column. I still believe the call did NOT come from inside the compound.

  • Dave
    April 11, 2008 7:10 a.m.

    Quit crying America! I'm sick of the demagoguery that is infecting this nation. You say rape and children and suddenly, the ends justify any means. Yet, I have seen nothing more than ALLEGATIONS. Who's intelect is lazy? I'm not the one that is giving the government the benefit of the doubt. As a concerned citizen, I demand proof! Are you so naive that you honestly believe that the government doesn't spin stories in their favor?

  • Jessejames
    April 10, 2008 7:34 p.m.

    Founding Fathers:

    You say no one's rights were violated! you obviously are not familiar with the Bill of Rights. Your obviously jaded and biased. Mother's chose to leave with their children buddy.

  • Founding Fathers
    April 10, 2008 6:06 p.m.

    My concern with Mr. Benson (and his supporters) is his unenlightened view of the Constitution. No one's rights were violated. Children were removed because it is the State's responsibility to protect them from harm. Mother's were allowed to leave or stay. To state that a lifestyle is being singled out and persecuted is patently absurd. What everyone is overlooking is that the FLDS are practicing a modern day version of slavery, draping itself in the Constitution. To compare this to Short Creek and claim that America yawned is a very dangerous and irresponsible statement, much like yelling fire in a theatre. His article is really an indictment against the nod and wink behavior of the State of Utah and its citizens over 50 years ago by their tacit approval of this reprehensible behavior. On the same day that Utah's Governor signed into law the most stringent criminal law against animal abuse, we are subjected to Mr. Benson's archaic views of religous rights that usurps the rights of children to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. All of this reminds me of an old saying that states "those who believe in absurdities commit atrocities". Pretty scary stuff Mr. Benson.

  • jessejames
    April 10, 2008 5:17 p.m.

    I wonder if any of you educated enlighted individuals have given much thought to reading the Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution. Any detractors here that want to slam Mr.Bensen for his great article really want to take a closer look at our Constitution. You may not like Lee personally but he simply in defense of Human Rights and The Constitution of The United States of America. Read it and learn you detractors.

  • Spokanian
    April 10, 2008 3:13 p.m.

    I can't believe that people are defending Lee's outrageous statements. Freedom of religion does not cover illegal acts. Polygamy is ILLEGAL in the United States. Most states have set the lower limit to marriage at 16, not 12 or 13. Follow the law of the land, if not the law of common sense.

  • JakeT
    April 10, 2008 9:58 a.m.

    joelaf: would it be ok for the government to take over hippie communes, and take any children of atheists, and give them to nice Baptist families to raise? And detain all the men indefinitely with no charges against them? All based on a single anonymous complaint?

    You fail when you say point blank that "Kids were being sexually molested".

    Its like me telling the cops to raid ALL the apartments in the housing projects because I think that "drugs are being sold", cause some anonymous guy reported seeing one person selling drugs. The government can't come bulldozing their way in, just on a fishing expedition for signs of any crimes.

    We all love our children and want to protect them. But just claiming an anonymous complaint doesn't give the state the right to ignore civil rights.

  • joelaf
    April 10, 2008 7:59 a.m.

    Wow, I can't believe so many people are viewing this as government abuse. Kids were being sexually molested, and you defend the rights of the molestors based on religion? I'm an atheist, and I have higher moral standards than that.

  • Can you say
    April 10, 2008 1:09 a.m.

    ACCEPTABLE BEHAVIOR? Common people! Let's get real. If this where your daughter you would be outraged that a man 30 years older than her, "spiritually" married her. People all over the country are being arrested as sexual predators for doing less than these people do everyday. I am thrilled that Texas stepped up. Maybe Utah will go kick some but now!

  • Born and raised in SLC
    April 9, 2008 10:54 p.m.

    Do any of you realize that the only people "outraged" by the actions of the Texas authorities are you people in Utah? Does that tell you anything about your perspective? Get out of your shells, folks. The only reason any of you think this is an "outrage" is because this cult has the words "LDS" in it. It's still a sick cult no matter how valid the LDS Church itself may be.

  • Anonymous
    April 9, 2008 10:26 p.m.

    I am shocked that a reporter could have such a dense vision of what is going on in this situation. The practice of forced "spiritual" marriages between young girls and grown men and the rampant sexual abuse that ensues is nothing but criminal. As a result, when a phone call for help is made by one of the alleged victims I am grateful and relieved that authorities were able to remove these young individuals without incident. A warrant to search for the girl caller would allow for the search of any area of this compound deemed to be intimately tied to the "home" and it seems these young girls were all part of this polygamous "home." In instances of alleged child abuse the only legal and morally appropriate thing to do is remove the minors from the scene until the facts are uncovered. It seems that these girls were removed from a horribly oppressive and backwards cult and not a second too soon.

  • Bill
    April 9, 2008 10:23 p.m.


    You are right on. The allegations of the 16 year old should be fully invetigated. But that doesn't include yanking over 400 people from their homes. The state of Texas way over stepped their bounds. But Texas law enforcement has a history of over stepping their boundaries. Anyone remember Waco?

  • coco
    April 9, 2008 9:19 p.m.

    The authorities stepped in because hundreds of children in were being forcibly raped. Texas law has a big problem with that and did the right thing by responding to the call.

  • Get Real Out There
    April 9, 2008 8:41 p.m.

    Child sexual abuse is a crime. Polygamy is a crime. Sexual abuse of women is a crime. The references to the Nazi's should be directed toward the men in the FLDS, not the Texas authorities.

  • Utah should be ashamed
    April 9, 2008 7:38 p.m.

    it did not do something like this to Jeffs years ago.

  • Yawning American!
    April 9, 2008 7:23 p.m.

    As long as americans like Lee Benson continue to think this groups practice of pologomy is a "religious practice" this abuse of woman and children will continue. It is acepptable behavior in Utah. We are constantly overlooking the abuse in that society. Just because they live in their own communities doesn't make it okay to abuse these people! If I thought abuse like that was going on in the house next to me, I would hope the officals would come and remove the children. I just hope that some of these kids will be away from their mothers and fathers to realize that life is different on the outside and that they don't have to be abused anymore. Texas must want to protect woman and children more than we do. Way to go Texas!

  • Right and Wrong
    April 9, 2008 5:04 p.m.

    If they did not want trouble with the law, they should not have broken the law. Being a parent does not give one the right to abuse children.

    Older men marrying and having sex with little girls is perverted, absolutely disgusting, and against the law. That behavior can not be justified with "religion." Freedom of religion in this country can't be used to justify older men having sex with kids. Sorry- don't care if your version of God says it's cool. In this society, that is disgusting, perverted, and against the law. You do that, you should be locked up with Bubba and find out what it's like to be forced into sexual relations with someone you don't want to have sex with.

    The whacked-out extremist perverted values of these men are messing up these kids for the rest of their lives, and it needs to stop. These kids are mostly defenseless, and the governments needs to step in and protect those that can not protect themselves. Those that feel as though the government should not step in and stop this behavior would feel differently if it were THEIR 13 year old daughter being forced to marry an older man.

  • right on Lee
    April 9, 2008 5:00 p.m.

    Enjoyed the column - and yes... there are some outraged Americans.... we're not all taking Prozac or Ritalin and walking around like zombies.... it is downright scary that a State Government would do this... I guess it could have been worse.... ask the Branch Davidians..oh wait ... we can't

  • Anonymous
    April 9, 2008 4:03 p.m.

    These children have been brainwashed and abused and have needed to be removed from that situation for a long time. I don't know how Texas could have gone about it more gently. I just hope the abuse doesn't continue when they return to their parents or are put in foster care.

  • Nora
    April 9, 2008 2:47 p.m.

    Children only have the rights adults give them.
    And if the adults that had the care of these children did not give the children the right to be free of forced sex relations. Then Texas did the right thing by removing these children.

    Adults who choose to break the law have a choice
    A child has no choice when their parents and religious leaders force them into sexual relations long before that child can have a choice in the matter.

    The adults see the children as property.
    Should adolescent and pre adolescent children be seen as just babymaking machines to benefit some adult's gratification?
    Should the rights of a child to be free to grow up and have their own choices be held as less than that of an adults rights and choices ?

    On the welfare fraud issue inadvertently supporting polygamy wives as supposedly "single mothers" .

    Maybe the states should have DNA parental testing of all children who are put on the federal rolls for assistance. Find how many kids all have the same father and then let the state prosecute the polygamist father for child support for ALL those kids.

  • Mahrshalalhashbaz
    April 9, 2008 2:33 p.m.

    Thomas, normally you'd be right, but when a whole town gets arrested, it's smells very stinky. By the way, couples co-habitating are breaking the law just like these people were. The only crime they seem to be guilty of is breaking a moral law, which the vast majority of americans break all the time. How many guys have more than one "partner" in their lifetime and don't even take care of their kids. They love em and leave em, but when a guy has more than one wife and takes care of her and all of the kids---ooo that's just horrible! Leave these people alone. So they aren't all perfect. So they are a little strange. And yes if one is guilty of molesting a girl they need to be prosecuted. But not the whole town. I don't agree with their religion, but I do agree with thier freedom to worship as they please!

  • Valentine
    April 9, 2008 1:37 p.m.

    Lee, I am truly astonished by your naive support of polygamist leaders so-called "rights." Are you not concerned about the "rights" of the abused women and children taken from the compound? If you want to feel outrage,read Carolyn Jessop's harrowing account of her life with Merrill Jessop in her book ESCAPE! With Merrill Jessop currently in charge of the compound in Texas, you can be sure that women and children have suffered neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse and brainwashing. This is not about "lifestyle" choices--as these isolated women and children are denied education and the opportunity to make such choices. I am truly astonished that such a community has been allowed to flourish on the backs of female enslavement, child labor and government welfare abuse. I applaud Texas for its courageous action.

  • Clayton
    April 9, 2008 1:26 p.m.

    The editorial is right on--this is a terrible human rights abuse and outright religious bigotry.

    At the same time, polygamy and the underage marriages are an outrage and must not be tolerated.

    I'm glad Texas had the guts to address the illegal FLDS activities like Utah and Arizona wouldn't, but their approach is truly frightening.

  • Fredd
    April 9, 2008 11:58 a.m.

    Very irresponsible of the DMN to print this. I guess we can all assume the editor, publisher, and owner of this paper have no problem defending the FLDS.

  • Utah hasn't turned a blind eye
    April 9, 2008 11:53 a.m.

    This has been tried before, and it didn't work.

    Google "Short Creek Raid 1953".

    Quite often having the Government stomp all over a religious cult to eradicate it produces the opposite effect.

  • Former Resident
    April 9, 2008 11:33 a.m.

    Polygamy is just a word for abuse. There is no longer any religious foundation here. It's really about older men taking young wives (children) as new sex partners. This is an abusive situation. The problem in Texas has been created because Utah has turned a blind eye for decades. Polygamy is illegal. Having sexual relations with minors is illegal. What about that do you not understand? Texas is enforcing the law. What's the problem with Utah?

  • Thomas
    April 9, 2008 11:03 a.m.

    The problem here is none of us were in Texas, we were not on site and we don't know what causes the police had to enter the compound. With the justice system in this country as it is, law enforcement has to be very careful in how they pursue cases, otherwise they get thrown out of court. We are judging this situation by what we are reading and seeing in the media. This is not evidential. If an injustice has been done, these people will have their day in court. However, the kangaroo court of public opinion does not serve justice.

  • Bob
    April 9, 2008 10:30 a.m.

    You got it right Lee. America Yawned about the violation of rights, but was fascinated by the mysterious religous compound.

    I don't agree with the lifestyle, but the Constitution and Bill of Rights deserves a little more respect than it is getting in Texas. I hope the "one call that's all" lawyers make a lot of money on this incident before the dust settles.

    American civil rights deserve a little more respect. Find the guilty abuser (s) and prosecute, but arrest an entire town????

  • BenTX
    April 9, 2008 10:26 a.m.

    Due process was not violated. There compound was raided because there was probable cause that children were being systematically raped on a very large scale.

  • Dutchman
    April 9, 2008 10:15 a.m.

    Go check out the movie "Judgment at Nuremberg" starring Spencer Tracy, Burt Lancaster, Richard Widmark, Marlene Dietrich, Maximilian Schell, Judy Garland, Montgomery Clift, Ed Binns, Werner Klemperer. See how we as Americans put Germans on trial after World War II for raids and government abuses and wondered how the German people could allow the raids and abuses to happen. It is scary. Absolutely children need protection but how can one phone call lead to the encampment of so many people?

  • JakeT
    April 9, 2008 9:55 a.m.

    To "a voice of reason": No, lets not wait for the end result. Because in America, the ends don't justify the means. Patriots shed blood so that every citizen, (even the ones the media has told us not to like), are protected from this kind of tyrannical behavior. This community was not a single household. That is absurd! That just lumps all these individual American citizens into one hive-like mass, and therefore de-humanizes them...to make their persecution more palatable.

  • Texas knew
    April 9, 2008 10:00 a.m.

    1. who the husband was.
    2. the 'number' wife she was (7th?)
    3. the age of the girl
    4. that she had a 8 month old and was expcting a second child.

    You need 400 plus to find this kid? Duh.

    child abuse is bad. Very bad. It should be delt with in a legal manner. But all children are not abused in a polygamous family, just as all kids in a two parent, gay parent whatever parent family are not abused.

    I have seen plenty of 13-16 yr olds expecting babies. They may not be polygamous wives, but they still were execting. Quick! Raid the Jr High schools and remove all thekids, as one is pregnant.

  • Missy
    April 9, 2008 9:39 a.m.

    Seriously, Lee. Is this a contrarian opinion simply to gain readers? Because you seem to have a devoted audience and shouldn't need to stoop to hack tricks to attract anyone. Starting this column with a sports metaphor? Hahaha. I guess even child rape can be reduced to a football analogy. And then, the moldly old joke about "it's hard enough to have one wife. Why would a man want more than one?"

    Lazy writing, lazy intellect. The FLDS sect has proven time and again--right under our Utah noses, especially--that it supports female slavery, child rape and physical abuse.

    It simply took the guts of Texas to prove what can be done when a state begins to look seriously at issues like this. Wish you could have done the same with your writing.

  • mike is right
    April 9, 2008 9:16 a.m.

    What's to keep the State of Texas or Utah or any other state from pre-emptively removing Jehovah's Witnesses' kids from their homes because their parents refuse to give them blood transfusions, and thus put them at higher risk for death after injury?

    Or pre-emptively removing children because their parents don't believe in vaccinations, and thus put them at higher risk for disease?

    Or perhaps pre-emptively removing children from their homes because their parents own guns, and in the opinion of a overzealous child protection bureaucrat that puts them at an unacceptable risk for injury?

    Heck, what's to prevent them from taking the kids from parents who smoke? Or drink? Or smoke an occasional doobie? Or serve them fatty foods?

    All of these hypothetical situations are based on the same logic used by the officials in Texas: Because something bad MIGHT happen to some children, they are justified in seizing every child, parental rights be damned.

  • A Voice of Reason
    April 9, 2008 9:11 a.m.

    Calm Down everyone!
    1. In order to find the girl, it was necessary to remove anyone who could have been her. We DO NOT know yet whether she has been found or not, so stop making claims!

    2. People did not cooperate in giving names, birthdates, etc. Names were changed. Some have the same names. Officials had to find a way to to determine who the young girl is. I can really understand why it was necessary to remove everyone. Sometimes they have to take a number of people in for questioning to get to the heart of the matter.

    3. When there are allegations of child abuse, all other children are almost always removed from a home. This compound is one LARGE home.

    4. What makes you THINK that the mothers did not go voluntarily? Officials were very kind to allow it.

    5. They didn't STORM the temple, but they did justifiably insist on going in; apparently they found people hiding there. All LDS temples allow government officials in to check on things too! (I was a temple worker.) They come in to do fire inspections, etc.

    Before making accusations, lets wait to see what the END results are.

  • Who is next.
    April 9, 2008 9:00 a.m.

    The more I learn about this raid the more concerned I am. How can the Government based on one person making a call that is starting to appear to have been a false statement raid a whole community and tear families apart. The media is trying to make it seem like the women in the camp left because they were freed. This is not the case they left thier homes in what might be a vain attempt to keep their children.

  • Just a Spectator
    April 9, 2008 8:38 a.m.

    Watching the reports coming out of Texas, as this thing grows and grows and grows... I keep remembering the Eduard Delecroix execution scene in "The Green Mile", which went from bad to worse to horrific. But, as guard Paul Edgecomb pointed out in the movie, once they were into it there was nothing they could do but push forward and see it through. In the movie, the execution was deemed necessary by the laws of our civil society. In Texas, it is the same. The abuse has to stop, and this shake-up is necessary, however painful it may be to the people involved; however hard it is to watch for those of us on the outside. It's gone too far now to stop until the job is done.

  • 1953 again
    April 9, 2008 8:34 a.m.

    Thank you Mr Benson for your reasoned opinion. It is an outrage that it is OK to take away civil rights of all these people at the YFZ because they are an unpopular group. Polygamists are truly one of the one last groups of people that it is ok to dicriminate against. This is an over reach. Why could they not investigate this allegation in the manner they investigate all other allegations of abuse? Because they have been "taught" by OFFICIALS and people that are such experts from Utah. They have taught them all the "out there" rhetoric to use in press briefings and filings.

  • Jake
    April 9, 2008 8:28 a.m.

    This is crazy! Yes abuse is horrible! But the rights that Texas broke, are rediculous! I can imagine, some "anonymous caller calling in and saying that someone is my house was committing an extremely illiegal act. They bust in the house on a warrent to see if there is abuse with the proported subject. They do not even find the suspect in the house, so they take the wife and other kids to interrogate, while keeping me and my, now jail-house, in Hernderson, NV! Wake-up America!

  • Warrantless
    April 9, 2008 7:24 a.m.

    The original warrant allowed a search for the original 16 year old complaining girl. She has yet to be found.

    Instead of asking questions about the 16 year old girl, over 500 people have been interrogated about their own lives. We now hear reports that many of the children, teenagers, and adult women are refusing to cooperate and will not answer the interrogations.

    So, what is the State of Texas to do now? Beat answers out of them?

    It is simply an outright lie to say the 130 women VOLUNTARILY left the compound. Their choice was to abandon their own children into a corrupt foster care system where their children are also subject to rape and mind-control of paid CPS crusaders, or accompany their children to protect them. Some choice Amerika!

  • Learn
    April 9, 2008 6:23 a.m.

    The facts are polygamy in Utah started with the Mormons but polygamy itself started in biblical times!

  • russ
    April 9, 2008 5:49 a.m.

    Texas has more courage than Utah, that's for sure. They actually believe that the state, e.g. society, has to watch out for the children. So they get a call, and they have to check it out (imagine the case if they did not check it out... oh my!!!).

    We have laws in our society to protect those who cannot protect themselves. Criminals cannot hide behind the cloak of religion. Imagine if the group had blood rites. Would we let them kill the young? Please.

    I am proud that someone somewhere had the guts to stand up to this garbage and see if the children were in harm's way.

  • mike
    April 9, 2008 4:57 a.m.

    Picture this. The government walked right into this compound and removed over 400 citizens from their homes and have basically detained them in one place or another.

    Not a shot was fired!!!

    What's to stop the government from walking into any sub-division in America and removing residents by a claim of Abuse upon a child by several residents of a community.

    Gutless/stupid americans should be outraged by this abuse of power.

  • Concern for the Children
    April 9, 2008 4:55 a.m.

    There has been plenty of documentation of Child abuse and spousal abuse, by FLDS members. I had some poligamist ancestors and they never pulled the kind of abuses that modern FLDS members are acused of practicing.

    The Constitution has never supported criminal abuses of men against women and children because the Constitution supports the rights of children and women.

  • Rockford
    April 9, 2008 3:55 a.m.

    Good assessment. The wave of outrage is building behind this kidnapping of children. This is akin to the roundups of Jews in pre-war Germany. Whether there is individual proof of child abuse or not - just round 'em up and separate parents from children.

    I've heard the stuttered excuses by the woman who is defending these actions but so far - there is no evidence that the fathers who wait behind, in the compound, are guilty of anything except belonging to a cloistered group based on religion.

    Who is next? The Amish?

  • us constitution
    April 9, 2008 2:00 a.m.

    though I thoroughly disagree with their philosophy...considering the circumstances, I believe the raids on the ranch is beyond that state's authority, considering the circumstance...

    they took some random phone call, not independently confirmed, and proceeded to violate their (the FDLS) rights

    I don't mean to say that I agree with them....however, the methods by which they try to take control....will eventually not stand up in trail....given the crazy unsubststantiatied claims of that so-called minor wife of that 50 yr old man that turns out to be from Colorado City, AZ

  • Can't figure this out
    April 9, 2008 1:51 a.m.

    I agree that sex with minors is wrong but these public health officials are the same ones who usually advocate giving condoms and birth control to teens at Jr. High and High School with a parent's consent, present graphic sexual education in schools and advocate a teen's "sexual rights." They also sometimes set up nurseries for out of wedlock babies in High Schools at taxpayer expense. I guess its out for minors to have sexual relations as long as the Gov't is sponsoring the activity. If some religious group advocates similar behavior then everyone goes to jail.

  • Timo
    April 9, 2008 1:45 a.m.

    Come on, Lee, understand the law before you write about it:

    "No one should be denied due process, be subjected to unreasonable searches and seizures, or be denied freedom of religion."

    The Texas police are very much granting due process. This case has gone before a judge multiple times already. The child protection agency is also making its own determinations - agency determinations are also a part of due process.

    This is not an unreasonable search and seizure. The warrant likely gave the police access to the whole compound to find the 16 year old. Anything in plain view that is criminal necessarily falls under the warrant. Plenty of that going on.

    Freedom of religion? Protecting child abuse with this moniker is like smoking peyote for religious purposes. Garbage.

    Texas is right on the money.

  • thetruth
    April 9, 2008 1:36 a.m.

    What is wrong with you? There should be no gentle way in removing a person who's been abused and repeatedly asked for help immediately from the situation. It must be great to talk from a position of power. I think you would feel differently if you had been abused yourself.