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FLDS Leaders indicted


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In a case that some say could destroy Utah's largest polygamous sect, federal prosecutors on Tuesday announced indictments against leaders and members of the polygamous Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on charges related to food stamp fraud.

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Charged in the indictment are Lyle Steed Jeffs, 56, John Clifton Wayman, 56, Kimball Dee Barlow, 51, Winford Johnson Barlow, 50, Rulon Mormon Barlow, 45, Ruth Peine Barlow, 41, and Preston Yates Barlow, 41, all of Hildale.

Also charged are Nephi Steed Allred, 40, Hyrum Bygnal Dutson, 55, and Kristal Meldrum Dutson, 55, all of Colorado City; and Seth Steed Jeffs, 42, of Custer, South Dakota.

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Lyle Steed Jeffs handles the daily affairs of the FLDS Church organization in Hildale, Utah and Colorado City, Arizona — including its financial matters. He is accused of directing members to divert their food stamp benefits to the FLDS Storehouse. Members are told they must obtain all of their food and goods from this storehouse.

I am THRILLED!

*doing a happy dance*

http://www.sltrib.com/news/3571913-155/polygamous-church-leaders-indicted-arrested-for

Edited by OnceUponATime
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9 minutes ago, happy atheist said:

Are any of these guys among the chosen few who are allowed to impregnate the women?

I've never found a definitive list of the chosen ones, but I suspect Lyle Jeffs and the Jeffs in South Dakota in fact, are chosen.

I think several women are in this list, which interests me.  I'm reading the SL Trib background and comments now - will be looking around for other sources.

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3 minutes ago, SpoonfulOSugar said:

I've never found a definitive list of the chosen ones, but I suspect Lyle Jeffs and the Jeffs in South Dakota in fact, are chosen.

I think several women are in this list, which interests me.  I'm reading the SL Trib background and comments now - will be looking around for other sources.

My suspicions are the same as yours.  I bet it's only the Jeffs males who are allowed procreation opportunities.  

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34 minutes ago, amandaaries said:

My suspicions are the same as yours.  I bet it's only the Jeffs males who are allowed procreation opportunities.  

I think the Barlows and the Allreds are allowed to procreate, also. At least the Barlows in a polygamy compound down the road from where I used to live in Utah were breeding like bunnies.

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I hope they can nail these fuckers. They need to be nailed bad.

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I just spent the past 6 hours at the doctors/hospital getting SEVERELY medicated and I had promised myself that I would sit on my hands until some of the good stuff wears off, but I CAN'T.

This is freaking fantastic news.  I don't want to be overly optimistic, but I have significant doubts that the feds would have moved forward with the indictments at this point in time if they were not pretty damn confident about their ability to prevail in this case (given the history of this absolutely horrific clusterfuck of a situation).

I am happy dancing in my head and probably will be for days.

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It may be akin to AL Capone doing time for tax evasion instead of murder, but I suppose a win is a win. Now, is there any way to cut them all (Warren included) off from issuing orders while incarcerated? 

I wanted to add that between this and the Kingston clan being raided by the IRS it seems like the feds are done waiting on Utah to do something. 

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I'm torn about this. On the one hand, I'm all for prosecuting felons. Whether the laws about welfare are just and right is one issue, but they are what they are and abusing them makes you a felon. On the other hand, I see a people thrive on persecution. That's a personal impression after reading so many books about the FLDS. I have no first-hand knowledge.

So, in my totally unqualified opinion, yes, the felons should be prosecuted, but it'll likely turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy for the believers. The "world" coming after them, will feed into the memories of the Short Creek Raid in the 1950s, and the raid in the 2000s. I don't see this changing many minds, I fear that it will become another example of how "the gentiles" prey on believers. And never mind that said believers committed felonies.

Again, the criminals should be prosecuted, but the believers will probably make it out to be persecution. So, I can't be entirely happy about this. My prediction is that this will make the true believers dig in deeper, rather than question. It'll just create new martyrs.

Having said that, letting crime go unchecked is not an option either. Justice needs to be served. But in an ideal world, in a situation like this, it would come with an outreach programme that is sensitive to the community, and works with it, towards solutions.

Sadly, we don't live in an ideal world. Pretty much every country's legal system is overworked as it is. There is no time or money for this kind of thing. And honestly, if officials showed up in my home tomorrow, telling me that I'm wrong about pretty much everything, I would dig my heels in too.

What I'm trying to get at is that yes, it is right to prosecute, but I don't see this as a victory in the long run. And, I have no alternatives to offer.

Edited by samurai_sarah
Sorry about the Burris-length mind-blurb!
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@samurai_sarah I agree with what you are saying to a large extent.  However, right or wrong there is a pretty strong consensus amongst officials trying to break this cult that the women and children are being abused, mistreated, etc.  As people say, they are brainwashed and the likely result of removing the men in control is that they will feel persecuted which will likely reinforce everything they have been told to believe.  

That said, this does seem to be the best possible chance to actually break the group.  The feds are now combing through everything they can get their hands on to look for further evidence.  These are the steps that seem to be needed in order to gain decent access to this community by someone not controlled by the leaders of this cult.  The more access the authorities have to information and FLDS members, the more likely they will find something that will provide proof of suspected abuse, etc. which they can then act on.  

I am not explaining this well, but if they are able to actually remove this group of men for a decent period of time, it may well crack the whole situation wide open (though likely not immediately).  Maybe think of it kind of like the slow wearing down of the group in Oregon or something similar to that.  Without some kind of inroad into the group and disruption of the group function, it really seemed unlikely that much if anything was ever going to change.  The present situation is totally not ideal, but it is the type of break the people who have been trying to deal with this situation (and get the children out of the toxic environment if possible) have been hoping for.

Edited by Whoosh
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6 minutes ago, Whoosh said:

@samurai_sarah I agree with what you are saying to a large extent.  However, right or wrong there is a pretty strong consensus amongst officials trying to break this cult that the women and children are being abused, mistreated, etc.  As people say, they are brainwashed and the likely result of removing the men in control is that they will feel persecuted which will likely reinforce everything they have been told to believe.  

That said, this does seem to be the best possible chance to actually break the group.  The feds are now combing through everything they can get their hands on to look for further evidence.  These are the steps that seem to be needed in order to gain decent access to this community by someone not controlled by the leaders of this cult.  The more access the authorities have to information and FLDS members, the more likely they will find something that will provide proof of suspected abuse, etc. which they can then act on.  

I am not explaining this well, but if they are able to actually remove this group of men for a decent period of time, it may well crack the whole situation wide open (though likely not immediately).  Maybe think of it kind of like the slow wearing down of the group in Oregon or something similar to that.  Without some kind of inroad into the group and disruption of the group function, it really seemed unlikely that much if anything was ever going to change.  The present situation is totally not ideal, but it is the type of break the people who have been trying to deal with this situation (and get the children out of the toxic environment if possible) have been hoping for.

@Whoosh, exactly how much will the feds be able to investigate?  If the charges are fs fraud, beyond going into the financials of the people charged, won't they be limited to only records and interviews of those charged?   They can't go in and start interviewing the children on whether they are abused, or going through marriage licenses of everyone in the compound.  How much scope do these indicitements give?

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Just now, violynn said:

@Whoosh, exactly how much will the feds be able to investigate?  If the charges are fs fraud, beyond going into the financials of the people charged, won't they be limited to only records and interviews of those charged?   They can't go in and start interviewing the children on whether they are abused, or going through marriage licenses of everyone in the compound.  How much scope do these indicitements give?

I wish I could give a good answer to that, but I can't.  Hopefully someone will be able to.  I mean, theoretically they should be able to speak to anyone who would reasonably have information that is relevant to the indictments.   While that doesn't give unbridled authority to ask every question under the sun, who knows what might be uncovered in the process of the investigation.  Also, if suddenly all the people in power are gone and lots of their followers lose their SNAP benefits, etc due to participation in the fraud - well, you can't legally just let the children in your charge starve to death.  Honestly, lots of people have devoted immense amounts of time and effort attempting to crack the code of silence in this group even a little bit.

 

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@samurai_sarah While I think you could be correct in many ways in certain scenarios, given how the FLDS has lost power over the last few years, this could be more helpful than harmful.  Al-Jazeera (and others, one which was on FJ) had some articles on people slowly breaking away.  Warren Jeffs has been slowly losing influence; hopefully this new raid will sow more doubts in the minds of those who still believe.  The power of the Internet and social media are slowly working to awaken those who would otherwise remain unaware of their circumstances: http://america.aljazeera.com/multimedia/2015/3/fleeing-the-flds-sect.html

3 hours ago, daisyd681 said:

It may be akin to AL Capone doing time for tax evasion instead of murder, but I suppose a win is a win. Now, is there any way to cut them all (Warren included) off from issuing orders while incarcerated? 

I wanted to add that between this and the Kingston clan being raided by the IRS it seems like the feds are done waiting on Utah to do something. 

ETA: I agree with these statements.  I think that this is the way the feds have found to break up the cult, and I also think that the government is trying to stop looking the other way.  These are charges they can pursue, not charges dependent on the victims standing up to condemn the perpetrators of violence and testify in court.  

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This is great news!

Have you all read "Escape" by Carolyn Jessop? A very very interesting and enlightening account of life in the FLDS cult and how one woman got out.

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Just now, livinginthelight said:

Have you all read "Escape" by Carolyn Jessop? A very very interesting and enlightening account of life in the FLDS cult and how one woman got out.

There are so many excellent books out there by survivors.  They are all quite insightful, painful, and worthwhile.  abebooks.com has a fantastic selection of memoirs from FLDS and other branches of polygamous Mormon sects.  Those are all great reads for FJs and others.  

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3 hours ago, Whoosh said:

 Also, if suddenly all the people in power are gone and lots of their followers lose their SNAP benefits, etc due to participation in the fraud - ...

 

To me it sounded like the fraud they are being charged with was the leaders forcing the members to turn over their benefits to the cult. So that would be fraud on the part of the church leaders, not the women/kids who would be the victims.

(To be clear, I think it's also fraudulent for a man to have 6 wives and 30 kids and not supporting them, and I think it's also fraudulent for each wife to claim she's a single mom in order to get support, but I don't think that's the feds are trying to prove/charge at this time.)

Also, as to whether this would help crack the cult open, cause people to wake up & leave - People were leaving in droves in the past few years when all the new rules were handed out by Jeffs from prison. I do think a lot of people will take the opportunity to get the hell out of there.

Edited by snickerz
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56 minutes ago, snickerz said:

To me it sounded like the fraud they are being charged with was the leaders forcing the members to turn over their benefits to the cult. So that would be fraud on the part of the church leaders, not the women/kids who would be the victims.

The indictment is for conspiracy to commit SNAP benefits fraud and conspiracy to money launder.  Those charges are offenses against the federal government.  These leaders were able to succeed in that fraud against the government because they directed their followers to act in a manner that illegally transferred SNAP benefits and covered the tracks of those illegal transfers.  The victim in this case is the Federal Government at this point.  That is why it tends to look on the surface like persecution IMHO.

For any SNAP benefit recipient, it is unlawful to knowingly misuse the funds.  This is also fraud against the government.  Anyone who is found to have done so is at risk of losing their SNAP benefits.  One possible defense the SNAP benefit recipients could possibly employ if the government did try to terminate their SNAP benefits would be to say that their misuse of the funds was involuntary due to coercive or fraudulent acts of the indicted, etc.  That is pretty much what the officials would love to have happen.  If the SNAP benefit recipients are unwilling to admit that they are victims in this situation, I am not entirely certain how things will play out.  

Edited by Whoosh
not all the indicted are men. my bad.
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2 hours ago, livinginthelight said:

This is great news!

Have you all read "Escape" by Carolyn Jessop? A very very interesting and enlightening account of life in the FLDS cult and how one woman got out.

The Witness Wore Red is another good read. Sickening in parts, though.

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It's about time this happened. I also think the feds realized that Utah wasn't going to do anything about this cult, so they had to step in.:Yes:

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Steed Barlow, Barlow Jeffs, Jeffs Steed, Allred Barlow... the family tree in that cult really is more of a family-wreath. Guess I shouldn't be surprised by it anymore, but I gets to me everytime i see lists of names like that one.
The chance of getting married of to someone who isn't in fact also your uncle and half-brother as well as your dad's step-grandfather, but also your 5th grade math teacher, is getting smaller everyday, poor girls (and boys).

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3 minutes ago, Whoosh said:

(snip) Without some kind of inroad into the group and disruption of the group function, it really seemed unlikely that much if anything was ever going to change.  The present situation is totally not ideal, but it is the type of break the people who have been trying to deal with this situation (and get the children out of the toxic environment if possible) have been hoping for.

I hear you and @amandaaries, and goodness knows, I hope that things will change. But I am merely being pessimistic about change coming from anywhere but within the FLDS.

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2 hours ago, Iokaste said:

Steed Barlow, Barlow Jeffs, Jeffs Steed, Allred Barlow... the family tree in that cult really is more of a family-wreath. 

Perfectly put and I'm still laughing!  This is the only way to understand these family relationships.  Likely the only way the FLDS will come completely unglued is if Warren Jeffs told them to disband.  There will always be a substantial core that will never change beliefs. That said, these types of legal actions are helping release the FLDS stranglehold on Hildale/Colorado City.   

(Love your Hyperbole and a half avatar!)

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Family wreath is an incredibly apropos description. I read one family line to Dh once as an example and his response was "that's not a tree, it's a thistle bush!" I liked that one too.

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