Webb's Blog

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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Warren Jeffs' conviction isn't the end

While it’s nice that child rapist Warren Jeffs has been sentenced to life plus twenty years, many of his followers and enablers are still busy ruining children’s lives in Utah, El Dorado, Texas, and my home state of Arizona. While I was a reporter for the Tribune Newspapers, I began covering Colorado City, which was being ruled by Jeffs’ iron hand. Horrified at what I found, I wrote the book, “Desert Wives: Polygamy Can Be Murder.” Because my claims seemed so preposterous at the time – religion-sanctioned child rape and rampant Welfare fraud – my publisher turned the manuscript over to Janet Napolitano, the then Arizona Attorney General. Napolitano found no inaccuracies in the manuscript, which was then published.

That was in 2002, folks, a full 9 years ago. During those 9 years, Neither Utah nor Arizona could make a prosecution stick against Jeffs or his followers, so thank God for Texas. During those nine years, local officials argued that that there had been no complaints about child abuse in the compound, an argument which was ironic since Child Protective Services never went into Colorado City to investigate the complaints that were being made by women who’d escaped. Why didn’t CPS go in? According to reports, Jeffs’ men – many of them armed police officers – stationed themselves at the entrance to the compound and refused CPS entrance to the homes where the abuse was alleged to be taking place.

During those 9 years, Janet Napolitano looked the other way, her successor Terry Goddard looked the other way, and now Tom Horne, Napolitano’s and Goddard’s successor is looking the other way. Horne is, however, very, very busy attempting to prosecute users of medical marijuana, which has been declared legal in the state of Arizona. Odd, that. In the meantime, escapee after escapee from Jeffs’ cult have been sharing their stories about alleged rape, sodomy, and even child homicide, but the Arizona authorities still haven’t gone into Colorado City to investigate their allegations. What are the authorities waiting for? Remember, it took only ONE phone call for Texas to act.

Among the excuses the authorities have given me for Arizona’s failure to act are these:

1. No complaints have been made about any crimes being committed against children in Colorado City.
2. But even if complaints were made and the authorities attempted to go in, it would probably result in another Jonestown, Waco, or Heaven’s Gate. So they’re not going in for the sake of the children.
3. The authorities can’t prosecute a crime without evidence, and they can’t get evidence without going into the compound. This excuse dovetails nicely with the above two excuses.

Sounds like something out of Alice in Wonderland, doesn’t it? This kind of legal gobbledygook is the reason Arizona children remain at risk in Colorado City. This sad state of affairs will continue until we – the American public – make such a fuss that Arizona politicians and law officials can no longer ignore it.

Here’s what you can do to help protect Arizona’s children. Write or call Tom Horne, Arizona’s attorney general, at 1275 West Washington Street, Phoenix, AZ 85007-2926. Tom Horne’s office phone number is 602.542.5025 or 800.352.8431; fax is 602.542.4085. Send a copy of your complaint to your local FBI office and to your local government representative.

Arizona’s children deserve justice, too.

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Vicki Delany said...

No complaints have been made? So if someone is murderered and they don't complain about it the police won't investigate? Preposterous.

Betty Webb said...

Tha's good ol' Arizona, Vicki. See no evil, hear no evil, prosecute no evil.

Barry Ergang said...

I guess Jan Brewer and Joe Arpaio, two people as ugly as some of their attitudes, are more concerned with harassing Hispanic people about their citizenship than with the welfare of children.

Betty Webb said...

Very true, Barry.

Ann Littlewood said...

Thank you for wielding your lance at this issue. Eye opening, appalling.