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Friday, May 23, 2008

Texas Polygamist Sect Case: Another Duke Lacrosse Rape Case?

Remember the Duke Lacrosse Rape case? You know, where a bunch of rich, white jocks gang rape a poor black girl? Except that it didn’t happen. The prosecutor was disbarred and Duke University and the city of Durham are being sued for millions.

Yeah, that one.

Well the “Texas Polygamist Case” seems to be heading in that direction. What set if off was a telephone complaint from someone claiming to be a pregnant abused 16 year-old teenage wife. Except that this person was never found and the call is suspected of being a hoax.

From the AP story:

SAN ANGELO, Texas (AP) — A Texas appeals court said Thursday that the state had no right to take more than 400 children from a polygamist sect's ranch, a ruling that could unravel one of the biggest child-custody cases in U.S. history.

The Third Court of Appeals in Austin ruled that the state offered "legally and factually insufficient" grounds for the "extreme" measure of removing all children from the ranch, from babies to teenagers.

The state never provided evidence that the children were in any immediate danger, the only grounds in Texas law for taking children from their parents without court approval, the appeals court said.

It also failed to show evidence that more than five of the teenage girls were being sexually abused, and never alleged any sexual or physical abuse against the other children, the court said.

In fact, the five pregnant teen age girls did not say they were sexually abused and in Texas, as in many other states, it is legal for teen-age girls to have babies. If child protective services were to remove the children from every family that had teen agers who were pregnant, a large part of many major cities would be devoid of children.

The court ruling is not very long and reveals the fact that the primary impetus behind the decision to remove the children was that the LDS sect was considered to have “weird” customs and beliefs.

As in the Duke Rape case, the facts presented via the press came from CPS, who had every reason to make this case as horrible as possible, with accusations of rampant polygamy, child abuse and rape of young girls by older men. None of these accusations has been substantiated. The San Angelo Standard Times has been covering the story and gives more details.

Alan Bock's Blog has some critical things to say about CPS and the media in this case.

Another problem, hinted at in stories when the raid was conducted in April, is that the telephoned tips about abuse and young girls forced into marriage may not have come from inside the compound but from a more-or-less professional polygamy-buster who claimed to be a young girl. At any rate, the girl who was supposedly the informant has never been identified or found.

What's fascinating about all this is that most of the news media have been cheering on and gloating about the raids and generally pining for more. All it takes to arouse the seizure-lust of most of the media, apparently, is allegations of child abuse along with the fact that members of the group are just plain weird.

For evidence of how the media have seized on this and their depiction of the case, see the BBC's take, the lurid reporting of the LA Times, and Time - which celebrates the aberrant behavior rich girls who don’t wear panties wrote about:
women seemingly dressed for Little House on the Prairie, whose modest appearance was jarring with their sexually aberrant lifestyle.

No one in the MSM should ever have the right to use the term "sexually aberrant lifestyle" again.

It remains to be seen what the outcome of a full and fair investigation will be. Polygamy is against the law in the US although that barrier to marriage should fall soon now that the definition of marriage has become malleable. The rationale against marrying multiple spouses is no more rational that the ban against homosexual marriage ... I'm sure the men in black robes that rule us will agree.

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