Family Issues

But Your Honor, I Swear I Thought She Was 15!

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I came across this tidbit while reading about today's appeals court ruling condemning the wholesale seizure of children from the Yearning for Zion Ranch. Or perhaps I should say "children" (emphasis added):

At least half the mothers taken from a polygamist sect's ranch and put in child foster care have now been declared adults, significantly chipping at agency statistics that seemed to demonstrate the widespread sexual abuse of underage girls.

Attorneys for the state's Child Protective Services agency have been conceding, one by one, that many of the mothers authorities cited as evidence that the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints committed widespread sexual abuse of girls are actually adults. 

They had admitted by midday Thursday that 15 of the 31 mothers listed as underage are adults; one is actually 27. A few are as young as 18, but many are at least 20.

Another girl listed as an underage mother is 14, but her attorney said in court she is not pregnant and does not have a child.

Then, too, as the appeals court noted, "teenage pregnancy, by itself, is not a reason to remove children from their home and parents." Teenagers in Texas can marry at 16 with parental consent, and "there was no evidence regarding the marital status of these girls when they became pregnant or the circumstances under which they became pregnant."

It's also important to keep in mind that the 16 (or fewer) underage mothers represent a small percentage of the children seized by the state, who included infants and toddlers as well as boys of various ages. As the court found, there was no evidence whatsoever to indicate these kids—at least 97 percent of those seized—were being abused or in imminent danger. 

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  1. Don’t let details get in the way of good law enforcement.

    Taser them all for good measure.

  2. I am no fan of George W. Bush but under Clinton these kids would probably have all been killed in a fire caused by the FBI “Hostage Rescue Team.”

  3. So only 3% of the children are being sexually abused or are in danger of being abused, no problem then!

  4. Ah, another ignorant wingnut.

    Koresh, the child molester, torched the children, who were his hostages. Koresh and his adult followers lit the fires. No amount of wishful thinking will change that simple fact.

    You’re probably a big fan of Koresh.

  5. Now that’s a nice piece of trolling, there.

  6. I sure if you rond up any small town your bound to find something.Even Mayberry.

  7. Truth is inconvenient for tyrants.

  8. I am no fan of George W. Bush but under Clinton these kids would probably have all been killed in a fire caused by the FBI “Hostage Rescue Team.”

    I know that facts often get in the way of a good conspiracy theory. Still, I like them.
    From the Danforth Report (PDF)

    The government of the United States and its agents are not responsible for the
    April 19, 1993, tragedy at Waco. The government:

    (a) did not cause the fire;
    (b) did not direct gunfire at the Branch Davidian complex; and
    (c) did not improperly employ the armed forces of the United States.

    Responsibility for the tragedy of Waco rests with certain of the Branch Davidians and
    their leader, Vernon Howell, also known as David Koresh, who:

    (a) shot and killed four ATF agents on February 28, 1993, and wounded 20 others;
    (b) refused to exit the complex peacefully during the 51-day standoff that followed
    the ATF raid despite extensive efforts and concessions by negotiators for the
    Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”);
    (c) directed gunfire at FBI agents who were inserting tear gas into the complex on
    April 19, 1993;
    (d) spread fuel throughout the main structure of the complex and ignited it in at least
    three places causing the fire which resulted in the deaths of those Branch
    Davidians not killed by their own gunfire; and
    (e) killed some of their own people by gunfire, including at least five children.

    I’m not defending the BATF’s and FBI’s actions in dealing with the Whacko from Waco, but claiming or insinuating that the inferno was caused by anyone other than the Branch Davidians is either dishonest or unbalanced.

    *puts lecturn back in closet*

  9. “Ah, another ignorant wingnut.”

    Glad to see we have started this dialogue in a respectful manner.

    “You’re probably a big fan of Koresh.”

    No, I am an atheist. But one does not have to be Jewish to oppose the holocaust.

    “Koresh, the child molester, torched the children, who were his hostages. Koresh and his adult followers lit the fires. No amount of wishful thinking will change that simple fact.”

    No, the FBI used incendiary devices
    http://www.greatdreams.com/waconews.htm

  10. I just noticed that some of the links in the URL I gave you are no longer good. Try this for more info:
    http://www.serendipity.li/waco.html

  11. So only 3% of the children are being sexually abused or are in danger of being abused, no problem then!

    I would be curious to know what percentage of children in Texas’s general population are being sexually abused or are in danger of being abused.

  12. Well, at least some things have improved. They didn’t gas them and torch the building this time.

    -jcr

  13. So here’s the plan: We all join a fringe cult and bribe the Governer to come in and “save” our adult children, then when they lose badly in court, we sue for pain and suffering and whatnot, then buy ourselves a new compound and employ the (soon to be former) Governer and give him a few young wives for his trouble.

    Well, that’s how I’d do it.

  14. You’re probably a big fan of Koresh.

    You don’t have to be a fan of Koresh to see that Waco was a major cluster-fuck.

    -jcr

  15. That’s not to say I like the way they do things at that place, but if the probability of a child living on that ranch being abused is similar to that of a child living in the general population then what’s the point of forcibly removing all those children?

  16. (a) shot and killed four ATF agents on February 28, 1993, and wounded 20 others;

    Good. These thugs were violating their constitutional rights.

    (b) refused to exit the complex peacefully during the 51-day standoff that followed
    the ATF raid despite extensive efforts and concessions by negotiators for the
    Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”);

    Why should they have to exit their own home?

    (c) directed gunfire at FBI agents who were inserting tear gas into the complex on
    April 19, 1993;

    I would also direct gunfire at people using chemical weapons on me.

    (d) spread fuel throughout the main structure of the complex and ignited it in at least
    three places causing the fire which resulted in the deaths of those Branch
    Davidians not killed by their own gunfire; and

    This is where the report is wrong.

    (e) killed some of their own people by gunfire, including at least five children.

    There is no evidence that the gunfire was by fellow Davidians.

  17. And the fact that page one of the FBI report mentioning the “incindiary devices” conveniently didn’t show up for years after the fact is really in the FBIs favor?

    Seriously, it’s looking like the State of Texas is going to be making these whacko mormon fundie nutjobs very, very wealthy in the end.

  18. The FBI acknowledged firing potentially flammable devices.

    http://www.cnn.com/US/9908/24/fbi.waco/

  19. So only 3% of the children are being sexually abused or are in danger of being abused, no problem then!

    There is no evidence they ever suffered abuse. The Child Abduction Organization (aka Child “Protection” Services) hastily declared many women to be “minors”, to make their case.

    I know that facts often get in the way of a good conspiracy theory. Still, I like them.
    From the Danforth Report (PDF)

    Let’s see…. The State attacks a free people, kills people; the State calls for a State’s Investigation of the State’s actions by a State commission appointed by the State’s Attorney General, and find the State’s not at fault, covering everyone’s asses within the State. Should I be surprised?


  20. Seriously, it’s looking like the State of Texas is going to be making these whacko mormon fundie nutjobs very, very wealthy in the end.

    They won’t get a dime.

  21. PIRS,

    The federal government fucked up at Waco. Big time. Hopefully they learned from it, but given the prevalence of paramiltary police operations in this country, I doubt that’s the case.

    David Koresh and his followers did a Jonestown. You don’t get to wrap it up with a bow on it. You had a charismatic lunatic cult leader, and an arrogant, poorly led law enforcement establishment. Those two facts are not mutually exclusive. You are never going to change people’s mind by spouting debunked conspiracy theories.

  22. Well, at least some things have improved. They didn’t gas them and torch the building this time.

    Not yet . . .

  23. “They won’t get a dime.”

    Maybe not from the government but from that woman who made the false charge to begin with if she has any money. She does deserve to be punished somehow.

  24. Let’s see…. The State attacks a free people, kills people; the State calls for a State’s Investigation of the State’s actions by a State commission appointed by the State’s Attorney General, and find the State’s not at fault, covering everyone’s asses within the State. Should I be surprised?

    The GOP would have creamed in its collective jeans if what is alleged were true. It isn’t.

    Aren’t you late for a truther meeting or something? I’ll waste no more time bandying words with delusional paranoia sufferers tonight.

  25. “David Koresh and his followers did a Jonestown.”

    No, they did not kill temselves. The FBI did that part for them.

    “You had a charismatic lunatic cult leader, and an arrogant, poorly led law enforcement establishment. Those two facts are not mutually exclusive.”

    On that we agree.

    “You are never going to change people’s mind by spouting debunked conspiracy theories.”

    I am afraid it is the FBI’s story that has been debunked.

  26. They won’t get a dime.

    Two words: Jury Trial.

    -jcr

  27. “The GOP would have creamed in its collective jeans if what is alleged were true. It isn’t.”

    Not really, I used to think so back when I thought of myself as “conservative” but the GOP cares more about “Law and Order” than it does liberty. It will take “Law & Order” even from a POUS with the last name Clinton.

  28. PIRS,

    False accusers of child abuse are anonymous and immune by law.According to my CPS investigator friend anyway. She says it is a Federal law.

  29. They won’t get a dime.

    Two words: Jury Trial.

    If sovereign immunity is invoked there won’t be a trial.

  30. Plant Immigration Rights Supporter

    Maybe you should come to California, and convince the State to drop the ridiculous requirement of getting rid of “non-native” plants from industrial or commercial properties. I am all for plant immigration rights! 🙂

  31. “False accusers of child abuse are anonymous and immune by law.According to my CPS investigator friend anyway. She says it is a Federal law.”

    I hate to say it but that actually does kind of make sense. It would make some people less afraid to report. But in this case she misrepresented who she was. The crime here could be misrepresenting who she was and not false reporting. She claimed to actually be one of the children which is very different from merely reporting abuse that is not there.

  32. Aren’t you late for a Truther meeting or something? I’ll waste no more time bandying words with delusional paranoia sufferers tonight.

    I tend not to trust the State when it investigates itself. Call me old fashioned, but when it comes to ass-covering, the State is non plus ultra

  33. “Maybe you should come to California, and convince the State to drop the ridiculous requirement of getting rid of “non-native” plants from industrial or commercial properties. I am all for plant immigration rights! :-)”

    I am glad to hear that! I would love to take a trip to Sacramento. How long have these laws been on the books in California. Is this the Guvernator’s doing?

  34. Can Texas claim “soveriegn immunity” in a federal civil rights case?

  35. We invented plant immigration!

    Now all your base are belong to us!

  36. Something that nobody has been mentioning, but I saw during an interview on CNN a couple of days ago (before this recent court decision) was that the state cannot take children away from mothers below the age of 16, so there was strong motivation for the younger-looking mothers to claim they were under 16 in order not to lose their children. It was on hearing that that I decided this case was probably going to unravel.
    But then I haven’t heard it again, and IANAL, especially not one from Texas.

  37. Take off every ‘ZIG’ !!

    Acording to Wikipedia you can eat Tumbleweed:

    “The leaves and shoots of many species are edible, especially when young and tender, and some are grown as vegetables, often used for salads, sushi, or as a garnish.”

    And Kudzu also makes tea and can be used to make baskets or paper. See these “invasive” plants can be very usefull.

  38. Yes, I’ve heard it said that these women deliberately lied to CPS and claimed to be minors so they would be kept with their minor children. Of course at this point the state has a lot of proving to do and I’m wont be taking their word for anything.

  39. So only 3% of the children are being sexually abused or are in danger of being abused, no problem then!

    Ummm, no, the state has further reduced the number of females that definitely were not underaged from 31 to 15, using the screening criteria of “18 and over don’t count”. They still haven’t applied the screens of “16 or 17 married with parental permission don’t count” and “not pregnant and no evidence of sexual contact by adult males don’t count”, which could further reduce the number from 15 to as low as — wait for it — zero.

    In other words, the state hasn’t credibly alleged that ANY laws have been broken by FLDS members, whereas it is certain that the state has violated the civil rights of hundreds of people.

    But, hey, don’t let facts get in the way of snark.

  40. J sub D, you couldn’t have watched the congressional testimony and come to the conclusion you expressed. If you did watch the testimony in its entirety, the most striking thing about the whole affair is the difference between what was reported by the TV news readers and what you heard for yourself.

  41. SI: If sovereign immunity is invoked there won’t be a trial.

    ktc2: Can Texas claim “soveriegn immunity” in a federal civil rights case?

    See Abrogation Doctrine. In short, Congress can abrogate a State’s sovereign immunity in federal civil rights cases under the 14th Amendment.

  42. Oops… wrong link above.

    See Abrogation Doctrine.

  43. So, last weekend I’m at the club, and these two gothic-Lolita types are standing outside, grooving to the music. They are both totally hot.

    A while later, this women I kinda, sorta know tells me that her middle-school-age daughter goes to school with the two Lolitas. They’re all 14.

    “Why did you have to tell me that?” I asked her. “Now I’m going to feel guilty about not feeling guilty about all of the nasty, degrading things I want to do to them.”

  44. BC,

    How often does Congress do that?

    I might be wrong,but I can’t see the State of Texas or the US Congress allowing a suit against Child Welfare bureaucrats by polygamous Mormon fundies.

    People often suggest an abuse by a Gov school,agency, LEO etc can be addressed with a lawsuit. I don’t think it is that easy.

  45. Franklin Harris,

    I blame it on added hormones in milk. Girls do develop at earlier ages than in years past and they seem to develop faster and faster with each passing year.

  46. My own take is that I’d want to go after these whackos for other things—like, for instance, welfare fraud. According to what I’ve read about the FLDS, they live by “bleeding the beast”—IOW, massive welfare fraud and scamming the government every way they can think of.

    I also think that no sheriff or chief of police wants Jonestown II to come down on his turf, so they’re trying to encourage the FLDS to go back to the Utah-Arizona border.

  47. SIV:

    False accusers of child abuse are anonymous and immune by law.According to my CPS investigator friend anyway. She says it is a Federal law.

    Plant immigration rights supporter:

    I hate to say it but that actually does kind of make sense. It would make some people less afraid to report.

    Yes, and you’ll probably keep saying it right up until the day some anonymous, immune person claims you or yours has committed such an act, followed immediately by all manner of fun consequences such as loss of freedom, inability to ever get anything but a McJob, public listing on the community, state, and federal “perv” websites, inability to live near a school, park or bus stop, etc… at which point the numerous sleeping cells in your brain will almost certainly wake up and realize why it is critical to be able to face and counter one’s accuser. Or at least they’ll generate a “huh?”

    It never fails to amaze me the depth, variety and creativity of excuses people come up with in order to excuse the erosion or outright surrender of their liberties. You deserve what you’re going to get, frankly.

  48. Ben, ben, ben, ben. Wow slow down here. What I said was “it makes sense” in other words I understand why this law might exist. As for the erosion of liberties I am with you. Actually I may even support less government than you do. I am, an anarchocapitalist. But, within the current government-existing-paradigm I understand why this law exists.

  49. SIV,

    I have no idea whether plaintiffs could get around sovereign immunity in this case. It wouldn’t require Congress passing a specific law for them, but rather plaintiffs would need to make a case that an existing civil rights law allows them to sue. Perhaps they could claim religious discrimination or something, I don’t know. I was just pointing out that, in general, states are often subject to federal civil rights suits without their consent.

    Also, like most every state, Texas has a “tort claims act” which specifies situations where the state has consented to be sued. I also have no idea whether the Texas statute would allow an action in this case, but that is another route they may have.

  50. I understand why the law exists as well; it is because the legislators are incompetent to hold the positions they do and to make the laws they do, and because the stupid, superstitious, stampeding public pisses down its collective leg every time anyone says “for the children” or “trr’rist” or “gun” or even “sex.”

    Blah.

  51. I might be wrong,but I can’t see the State of Texas or the US Congress allowing a suit against Child Welfare bureaucrats by polygamous Mormon fundies.

    This is outside my portfolio, but I believe that Congress has already taken blanket action allowing damages in connection with civil rights suits. Congress doesn’t take these up one at a time and pass a bill for each one, you know.

  52. “What, don’t I look 14?”

    “Well actually, Mr. Threepwood, you look to be 21, but we’re carding anyone who looks to be under 25, just to be on the safe side.”

  53. From wiki: “Prevalence research for the USA shows that approximately 20% to 25% of women and 5% to 15% of men experienced some form of sexual abuse when they were children.”

    So if this group has got it down to 3% or less, maybe they are doing something right.

  54. I’m so confused. The media continue to call them a “polygamist sect.” Isn’t polygamy illegal? Or does their “religion” protect the adults from prosecution? Maybe they should ingest sacred mushrooms, just to be on the safe side. In any event, it sounds like a wonderful place for girls to grow up and be forced through psychological duress to have lots of kids with men twice their age. I believe the Constitution protects that kind of lifestyle. And the men sure ain’t complaining.

  55. “And the men sure ain’t complaining.”

    They do if they are kicked out of the community

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lost_Boys_of_Polygamy

  56. In any event, it sounds like a wonderful place for girls to grow up and be forced through psychological duress to have lots of kids with men twice their age.

    If the state wants to make a case based on mental or emotional abuse, it is welcome to do so. However, Texas law prohibits CPS from seizing the children while it makes this kind of case; it (rightly) allows seizure only when the kids are in imminent physical danger.

  57. J sub D thinks everything is a conspiracy theory. Too much military training brainwashed him, it would seem.

  58. I think Americans are perfectly happy with emotional or mental abuse. At least the churchgoing ones are.

  59. Regarding Waco fire:

    Coroners’ reports indicated that 24 died from gunshot wounds and 51 from fire-related injuries…. However, in August of 1999, new evidence surfaced that cast doubt on the committee’s conclusion, and Janet Reno authorized a special counsel to investigate whether the FBI had intentionally withheld information indicating that it had played a role in starting the deadly fire. The special counsel concluded that the HRT had been given authority to fire three pyrotechnic incendiary devices at a concrete construction pit about 75 yards from the Branch Dividian compound (Yardley, 2000). However, the special counsel concluded that the incendiary devises did not cause the fire that engulfed the Branch Dividian compound. There is still controversy regarding whether the Branch Dividians intentionally set the fire in a mass suicide attempt or whether the fire started accidentally from kerosene lanterns that had been knocked over during the confusion of the tear gas assault (Ammerman, 1999).

    http://jab.sagepub.com/cgi/reprint/37/3/343
    THE JOURNAL OF APPLIED BEHAVIORAL SCIENCE, Vol. 37 No. 3, September 2001 343-360

    I am not sure if there is any further research to resolve the above mentioned “controversy” but clearly PIRS’s story is not quite accurate.

  60. Of note:

    “On Sunday, February 28, 1993, a team from the Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearm (ATF) agency descended upon the Branch Dividians’ compound to serve a search warrant for illegal weapons (Committee on the Judiciary, 1996a, 1996b; Greenberg, 1995; “Waco,” 1995).With an arsenal of hundreds of guns, antitank weapons, two 50 caliber machine guns, and 1 million rounds of ammunition, the Branch Dividians were prepared to forcefully resist.”

    Really all about the 2nd amendment?
    If the second is about the right to form militia to resist tyranny from a central government, should the 2nd have protected the Davidians? Did they have a right to use force to resist a properly vetted search warrant?

  61. Well considering the minor little detail that they weren’t presented with a “properly vetted search warrant,” your point seems to have missed whatever the target was.

    If you take the time and READ the warrant affidavit, you see that it has so many fatal flaws that it’s got no merit. The average affidavit is a single page, detailing the supposed crime and the authority by which the warrant is requested. The Waco affidavit reads like “Gone With the Wind,” and is pretty much as accurate.

  62. Neu Mejican, have you ever been on fire? Have you ever watched your loved ones burning to death, knowing that the only choices you have left are to watch, or to end their misery?

    Wouldn’t YOU shoot them?

    Don’t be so quick to buy the Feds’ story — unless, of course, you have actually seen that steel door that the FBI took into evidence, then has been unable to find since then. That door can prove the ATF story false about who fired first.

    Since the whole debacle was based on what the ATF claimed, proving the first lie disproves the rest of the “truths.”

    . . .you know, like how the FBI agents claimed under oath that they couldn’t be responsible for the fire, because there were no pyrotechnics used OR EVEN PRESENT. They didn’t know that independent investigators had already found the used Flite-Rite pyrotechnics.

  63. Still…not…understanding…why the states of Texas and Arizona could not get some of these people who are guilty of neglect by abandoning their 13- or 14-year-old sons on the side of the road.

  64. PIRS (aka Koresh Worshipper)—

    Linking to the websites of the mentally unstable won’t change fantasy into fact. Since you like that website so much, I suppose you endorse this portion of it:

    Following the usurpation of the presidency in 2000 by the psychopath George W. Bush, and the subsequent installation of the insane John Ashcroft as Bush’s Himmler, things became much worse. On 9/11 about forty times as many people were murdered as at Waco. In both cases the murderers have so far gone unpunished.

    You can’t have it both ways. Either you embrace this nutjob or you don’t.

    As for your first source, he’s about as nutty as you can get. Here’s another one of his pages:

    http://www.greatdreams.com/uforprts.htm

    Have you been probed by “Greys, Nazis, Underground Bases, and the New World Order” too, my friend?

    Here’s a challenge for you: Try to find one person who isn’t barking batshit crazy who has any proof whatsoever that the FBI set the fire.

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