"This is the United States," Schleicher County Justice of the Peace James Doyle told me two years ago when I was reporting onpolygamy in West Texas
. "And I don't kick in your door and you don't kick in mine and we don't kick in theirs. They're citizens of the United States and we've got to have a probable cause."
The citizens he was referring to were members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, who’d built a temple in the West Texas brush near Eldorado. Polygamy was common within this breakaway Mormon sect, and with Prophet Warren Jeffs still on the loose, there were fears of all hell doing exactly what hell is known to do.
Jeffs has since been captured, and authorities finally got their probable cause last week when a girl called and said she was only 15 when she'd been married to and impregnated by a 50 year old. The SWAT team suited up, and more than 200 women and children were removed from the compound for questioning, although the girl who phoned authorities still has not been identified.
We should have more updates on the situation develops, and I’ll definitely let you know if any of my old contacts sends info my way, although they’re probably getting deluged by the storm of media rolling into the rural county.
For background reading, be sure to check out “Big Love, Texas-Style,” not to mention John Dougherty’s excellent coverage of the sect for our sister paper in Phoenix. And don’t skip the archives of The Eldorado Success. The site might not be pretty, but Editor Randy Mankin and his small staff have been covering the compound from the get-go. – Keith Plocek
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