Imagine what it would be like to feel safe and secure in your home. Suddenly, armed law enforcement officials, carrying assault weapons and wearing body armor, come roaring into your house saying that an allegation of child abuse was made and your children must be pried from their mothers’ loving arms and held by the state, possibly even being shuttled into foster care, all while you tried to figure out how this could have possibly happened.
I just returned from San Angelo and Eldorado, Texas where I took my radio show to cover the bizarre story of the showdown between the State of Texas and the members of a peculiar polygamist sect called the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
This sect lives, works and worships on a giant tract of land called the YFZ Ranch which sits in the middle of nowhere in West Texas. Everything about this group is odd: the way they talk, their belief in the illegal act of men taking multiple wives, pretty much everything about their lifestyle is downright unusual.
But I’m hoping we haven’t gotten to a point in America where a group of people who worship and live in ways we don’t particularly agree with or understand can have their children ripped from their homes by the state.
Before you accuse me of defending child molestation or abuse, let me assure you that I fully expect the authorities to prosecute, convict and jail anyone who has committed the heinous act of sexually harming a child.
However, doesn’t something feel ominous and wrong about the way the authorities have handled this?
Let’s examine a few pertinent facts. So far, not a single person has been arrested and charged with anything. Evidently, a female who claimed to be a 16 year old member of this group made several phone calls to an abuse hotline claiming that a man named Dale Barlow, her spiritual “husband”, impregnated her against her will.
While I was in San Angelo, I interviewed Barlow’s attorney, a man named Bruce Griffen, who emphatically stated that the allegation will be pretty difficult to prove considering the fact that his client hasn’t set foot in Texas since 1977 and has never been on the property in his life.
Besides, why haven’t the police arrested him?
Based on what callers to my radio show from all over the country are saying, there is a great deal of concern over the lack of due process in this entire affair. It seems reasonable to believe that if Child Protective Services believes that a bunch of men in a religious compound are molesting young girls, they would round up the men, not hundreds of screaming, terrified children. As one emailer put it to me, it seems like it’s the children who were arrested instead of the perpetrators.