May 13, 2006

Blind Eye to Culture of Abuse

COLORADO CITY (AZ)
Los Angeles Times

By David Kelly and Gary Cohn, Times Staff Writers
May 12, 2006

COLORADO CITY, Ariz. For half a century, while polygamous members of this remote enclave engaged in widespread sexual abuse and child exploitation, government authorities on all levels did little to intervene or protect generations of victims.

Here in the sparsely populated canyon lands straddling Arizona and Utah, members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or FLDS an offshoot of Mormonism live by their own rules.

The religious sect of about 10,000 portrays itself as an industrious commune of the faithful, choosing to live apart from a hostile world. But their simple lifestyle and self-imposed isolation have concealed troubling secrets that are only beginning to emerge.

Court records, undisclosed investigative reports and interviews by The Times over the last year show that church authorities flout state and federal laws and systematically deny rights and freedoms, especially to women and children.

Posted by kshaw at May 13, 2006 03:04 PM