June 12, 2008
A Riverside County jury found polygamist, Mansa Musa Muhummed, guilty on 25 counts, including torturing seven of the children, abusing 12 of them and falsely imprisoning the wives. Muhummed could spend the rest of his life in prison.
Muhummed, who was born Richard Boddie, told authorities that being Muslim gave him the right to be polygamist. In 1999, after one of his wives, Laura Cowan, slipped a 13-page letter to a postal service worker describing the abuse, he was arrested. His trial started last month after nine years of persistent legal issues, such as changing lawyers four times (which includes representing himself for more than two years).
In the course of the trial, several of his children and stepchildren took the stand, testifying that they had been beaten, starved, strung up by their feet and forced to eat vomit and feces. Muhummed testified in his own defense, sometimes tearful, denying the charges and blaming one of his wives for the alleged abuse.
Justice is served.
June 3, 2008
Since the raid on the El Dorado, Texas compound of a polygamist sect of FLDS followers, the Canadian government has been rying to fgure out if they can also pursue legal and criminal actions against another branch of the same Mormon-splinter.
Attorney General Wally Opal called for a special prosecutor to look into allegations of sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of girls in the community in Bountiful, British Columbia. He said the issue is whether the criminal code on polygamy is constitutional, which has been a point of contention in British Columbia’s judiciary for 20 years. At the Attorney General’s request, two lawyers recently issued opinions on the matter, both concluding it would be difficult to pursue criminal charges. One said it would be unfair to do so.
Opal picked Vancouver lawyer Terrence Robertson to determine whether the sect can be prosecuted successfully.
More on this story to come.
June 2, 2008
A judge on Monday signed an order allowing more than 440 children seized from a polygamist sect to be returned to the custody of their parents. This came following a ruling in May when the 3rd District Court of Appeals ruled that officials erred in removing the children from the ranch, effectively overturning Walther’s ruling that the children remain in state custody.
The Texas Supreme Court on Thursday let stand the lower court’s ruling that the state had no right to remove them during an April raid on the Yearning for Zion ranch near Eldorado. As a result, Judge Barbara Walther of Texas told the Department of Family and Protective Services to allow parents to pick up their children starting at 10 a.m. Monday morning. The court made it clear that under the judge’s order, the Department of Family and Protective Services will still have the right to visit and interview the children. Those visits, which will be unannounced, could entail medical, psychological and psychiatric examinations, and the parents will not be allowed to intervene.
Also under the order, the parents must attend and complete parenting classes. The families must remain in the state of Texas and notify the department within 48 hours of any trips more than 100 miles from their homes. the only real travel some parents may do will be in the state, as some parents’ children are being kept at different facilities across the state, and it could take some time to pick up their kids.
“The kids have been terrorized and put in the custody of the state for weeks and weeks,” FLDS spokesman Willie Jessop said Friday after a hearing to determine how to return the children.
“Every effort has been made to bring relief,” Jessop said outside the courthouse. “It doesn’t need to be a problem to go pick up the kids. It doesn’t need to be any more difficult than picking them up after school.”
May 13, 2008
This is not the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ ranchthat was raided last month in Eldorado after receiving reports that underage girls were being forced to marry much older men. Instead, this is the House of Yahweh, a much darker sect that the state has been investigating for quite a long time. In February, the group’s 73-year-old leader, Yisrayl Hawkins, was charged with performing polygamous weddings and forcing about 40 children — some as young as 11 — to work at his 44-acre compound found behind guarded, ornate gates at the end of a rural road.
May 5, 2008
State officials in Clayton, New Mexico have been aware of and investigating an apocalyptic cult, Lord Our Righteousness Church, that supposedly has child-molesting as part of its practices, whether stated or not in its mission statement. Although this is NOT an FLDS branch, it is not unlike the cult in Texas that recently was raided and had hundreds of children taken. A man who goes by Michael Travesser ((his real name is Wayne Bent (the bearded man in the above photo)) says he was anointed the Messiah by God in 2000 had told cult members that he must sleep with seven virgins. Recently, a father, John Sayer, who has two female children in the cult, left the cult after 16 years in hopes of saving hs family. Unfortunately, after their departure, the two girls (ages 14 and 15) returned to the cult. Children, Youth and Families Department got involved after a tip and removed the Sayer’s youngest last week. Two girls and one boy, all under the age of 18, were taken in the state-intervention.
Sayer says that his daughters were asked to just “lay naked” with Micheal, but that anything could have happened. He had continually denied the requests of Michael to make his daughters 2 of the 7 virgins he would sleep with. In a posting on the website for the cult, Michael said that he never had sex with minors nor did the cult involve any kind of molestation, child or adult.
Sounds all too familar these days. Stay tuned.
April 29, 2008
One of the girls (ages ranging from 14 to 17) taken during the raid on the Yearning For Zion (YFZ) ranch Eldorado, Texas, went into labor under guard of the state. The teenager was one of 463 children taken from the ranch and one of the 53 teenage girls that has either already given birth or had was pregnant. Now, obviously, she is a mother as a teenager. Due to the DNA testing and the large number of children involved, this case will be a very long and dragged out process.