Local lawmen meet with Utah, Arizona authorities
Schleicher County Sheriff David Doran and Chief Deputy George Arispe traveled to Arizona and Utah last week where they met with local, state and federal law enforcement officials to discuss issues connected with the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The group, which practices polygamy, broke away from the mainline Mormon church more than a hundred years ago. The FLDS has come under intense scrutiny in recent months from Utah and Arizona law enforcement agencies.
Doran and Arispe met in Kingman, AZ on Wednesday, April 27, 2005 with authorities from the Arizona and Utah Attorney General offices, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, as well as officials from Mohave County, AZ, Washington County, UT, where they exchanged information and reviewed several ongoing investigations.
House Bill 3006 reported out of committee
House Bill 3006, the bill introduced by State Representative Harvey Hilderbran that would raise the legal age of marriage in Texas from 14 to 16, was reported out of the House Juvenile Justice Committee
favorably last week and was assigned to the House calendar this week by the Calendars Committee.
Hilderbran offered the bill in response to developments at the YFZ Ranch here in Schleicher County followers of FLDS Prophet Warren Jeffs are relocating from Utah and Arizona. The church encourages the practice of polygamy or plural marriage, a practice that has come under increasing pressure from Utah and Arizona law enforcement agencies. Widespread accusations of incest and underage marriage have also been leveled at the FLDS.
H.B 3006 dies in Texas House
House Bill 3006, died a slow death last week in the Texas House of Representatives, when it failed to move from the House calendar to the floor for consideration. The bill’s failure came despite a favorable recommendation from the House Juvenile Justice Committee which held hearings on the bill and fine tuned the bill’s language before unanimously recommending it for passage.
State Representative Harvey Hilderbran, R-Kerrville, sponsored the legislation aimed at strengthening Texas’ laws against bigamy and polygamy after a polygamous sect of fundamentalist Mormons moved to Schleicher County from the Utah/Arizona border. In slightly more than a year, the group, known as the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS), has constructed a dozen large residential buildings and a massive temple on the YFZ Ranch, some four miles northeast of Eldorado.
Cops raid Colorado City school
Law enforcement officers and officials from the Arizona Attorney General’s office descended Tuesday on the Colorado City, AZ, where they served a search warrant on the offices of the Colorado City Unified School District. The lawmen, some wearing tactical uniforms and bullet proof vests, spent the better part of the day carrying out boxes of records and impounding the school’s computers, which were then loaded into a large U-haul truck parked near the school.
School Superintendent Alvin Barlow and administrators Oliver Barlow and Jeffery Jessop stood outside the administration building and watched helplessly as the school’s records were rounded up and carted away.
The C-City Unified School District has been under intense scrutiny in recent months, prompted in large part by the investigative reporting of John Dougherty of the Phoenix New Times, who uncovered evidence of mismanagement within the district.
Mounting legal pressure fails to derail work on FLDS temple
Workers at the YFZ Ranch near Eldorado don’t seem to have noticed that their Prophet and leader, Warren Jeffs, suffered a series of legal and legislative setbacks last week. Instead, they appear to have redoubled their efforts to complete construction on the FLDS temple, located in the middle of the sprawling 1,672 acre complex some four miles north-northeast of Eldorado. Freshly cut limestone blocks are being applied to the exterior of the mammoth building with at least one carved decorative block being installed beneath a window on the building’s south side. Work is also underway on the construction of a sweeping stairway leading up to the temple’s front door.
Governor Rick Perry signs SB 6 into law
Texas Governor Rick Perry signed Senate Bill 6 into law Tuesday, June 7, 2005, ending a months’ long battle to bolster the state’s child protective service agency. The bill, sponsored by State Senator Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound) and State Representative Suzanna Hupp (R-Lampasas), carried an amendment authored by Rep. Harvey Hilderbran (R-Kerrville) that elevated bigamy and polygamy from a misdemeanor to a felony and raised the state’s age of consent from 14 to 16.
Hilderbran first offered the legislation as House Bill 3006 and rallied to get it through the House Juvenile Justice Committee where Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff and Jon Krakauer, author of “Under the Banner of Heaven” testified on behalf of the bill. Private Investigator Sam Brower of Cedar City, Utah and Randy Mankin, publisher of The Eldorado Success also testified in favor of HB 3006.