Wednesday, September 16, 2009

New "Texas Monthly" FLDS Article (The "Sex Bed" is baaaaack...)

I've read through it. The article is incomplete and somewhat one sided. You might want to as well.
"Less apparent in the tranquil setting was a powerful undercurrent of joy: Merrianne Jessop had arrived the night before. There was no 'Welcome Home' banner, no party; such theatrics would have been out of character for these humble, quiet people. But the feeling was there all the same. 'Right now there seems to be a little bit of relief in the air,' said Willie Jessop, the unofficial FLDS spokesman (Jessop is a common surname in the FLDS), as he drove me around the 1,700-acre spread outside Eldorado. Merrianne, a spunky fifteen-year-old with red hair, was happy to be back with her family on the ranch. She was quick to joke, rolling her eyes every now and then for laughs, tossing her head as a light West Texas breeze ruffled her lavender prairie-style dress.

The past year had been an ordeal. In the spring of 2008, the ranch was raided, and the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services had removed 437 children, including Merrianne, after a local domestic abuse hotline received a call from someone claiming to be a sixteen-year-old FLDS member. The caller’s report of underage marriage and sexual abuse triggered a massive investigation that led to an epic child custody battle, the largest in U.S. history. The Third Court of Appeals ruled that the removal of the children had been unwarranted, and a chastened DFPS returned the kids to the ranch, though the department continued to investigate the cases. Merrianne’s was the last to be settled.

Her mother, Barbara Jessop, and her new court-appointed guardian, Naomi Carlisle, who is also an FLDS member, seemed giddy as they looked at her. All three of them were confident that the Lord was on their side and that the state had had no right to intervene, never mind the mountains of evidence obtained during the investigation, some of which plainly showed that the FLDS had married young teenage girls to much older men. Never mind that the church’s prophet, Warren Steed Jeffs, was himself in prison for being an accomplice to the rape of a fourteen-year-old. Never mind that criminal charges, including sexual assault and bigamy, were still being brought against twelve men from the ranch. When asked about the upcoming trials, which start on October 26, Merrianne shrugged. 'The truth will prevail,' she said."
The Texas Monthly. There is this interesting allegation, for which I can find no basis in real evidence:
"A document that (Charles) Childress had not seen but was obtained by TEXAS MONTHLY appears to be instructions for the construction of a similar bed. It describes a bed 'covered with a sheet, but it will have a plastic cover to protect the mattress from what will happen on it.' It also described 'padded sides that can be pulled up that will hold me in place as the Lord does His work with me.' What in the world was going on here?"
I have never heard this allegation before, and if this document was found with the bed, why was it not entered into evidence? There is a serious matter implied here, and the even more serious question of why would evidence "obtained" by the Texas Monthly NOT be in the possession of the state?

There is this indictment of Governor Rick Perry:
"Childress wasn’t terribly impressed with the state leadership’s understanding of the situation. 'Going up to the governor, none of them had any idea what was going on,' he says. 'They had no clue.' As he worked through the cases, he says, all the department saw was numbers. ' "The department is losing two hundred some-odd cases!" That’s what was all in the news,' he says. Nonsuits were not 'losses,' a subtlety overlooked in most accounts. Having formed a clearer picture of family structures by way of DNA testing, the DFPS was identifying the individual circumstances of each family and coming up with specific tasks that needed to be done, such as psychological evaluations or parenting classes. By mid-September (last year), more than 250 children’s cases had been nonsuited."
The article seems to be written from the point of view of Mr. Childress. Charles also seems to reflect the attitude I have ascribed to Barbara Walther, and all those on the prosecution side of the issue. Just get this in front of a "West Texas Jury."
"As the months wore on, Childress went down to Austin to attend several meetings and explain his approach. One meeting included Albert Hawkins, the Health and Human Services commissioner; one included representatives from the attorney general’s and governor’s offices. Childress said he wanted to take some cases to trial. 'They’d ask, "Well, can you guarantee us it will win?" "No, there’s no such thing as a guarantee in a jury trial," I said, "but I’m pretty doggone certain that a West Texas jury hearing what all these people have been doing the last ten years is gonna be real reluctant to send these kids back to be raised by Warren Jeffs," ' Childress says. 'I didn’t get any feedback . . . I think they just frankly lacked the courage.'

And so, on October 23, Childress quit."
The article never touches on the evidence challenge. If it's lost, all the evidence Childress worries about is irrelevant from a legal standpoint and he has no cases. It sounds like Rick Perry seems to know that.

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Betty said...

"I have never heard this allegation before, and if this document was found with the bed, why was it not entered into evidence? "

Because they have not yet tried that case.

The Pharisee said...


This is potentially pretty serious stuff, not counting it's impact in a potential trial.

What's being said here is that Charles Childress DID NOT HAVE this information, but a month before the trials are to start, Texas is LEAKING again? Sensational and salacious details?

How is this "note" not in evidence? If it was so secret that Mr. Childress could not have it, why leak it to the press now?

The note could not have been "buried" in the stack of evidence, it would have been obtained from off of the bed during the raid of the Temple.

Either that, or it's no evidence at all.

yutthehay said...

The call was a lie. The raid was a lie. Everything about this case from the cps side and the state side has been one lie after another. How can you put any credence at all in this supposed evidence. It is a lie.

The Pharisee said...


Maybe I should be more blunt. Texas Monthly is claiming in a thinly veiled way that there was a sex bed and there is documentary evidence for it.

That is WRONG in my humble estimation.

If there was such a label on the bed, it would have come out almost a year and a half ago when Texas was leaking profusely any information it could find to denegrate the FLDS.

If someone handed that note to the Texas Monthly this summer, it's tainted, at best.

Toes said...

Interesting, the Texas Monthly article reinforces the widely held idea that there was indeed legislative religious persecution:

"At that time [2004], Texas’s age of legal consent for marriage was fourteen years old, with a parent’s permission. (The marriageable age was increased to sixteen in 2005 in response to the FLDS relocation"

The Pharisee said...

The article does go back and forth, but in my view, mostly back. There are a few gratifying concessions there so I guess I'll take it.

It does look like Walther has begun to "leak" again, this article being dated for their October 1st issue and the trial activity beginning the same month.

Toes said...

Can you say "Taint the jury pool"?

The Pharisee said...

Did I say that?

Betty said...

"How is this note not in evidence"

The note, as you can see on texasflds, says nothing much about it's intended use but goes on in detail and repetition about it's construction. By itself, I don't think it's anything that we did not get from seeing the picture of the bed months ago. I know you want this to be a big deal, but really, it's not.

The Pharisee said...

I read that Betty. The way the article at Texas Monthly spins it, it would seem that it was a bed constructed for sexual purposes.

Frankly what I read doesn't seem to indicate that, it would sound more like something a "Holy Roller" would make for themselves.

At least, that's the impression I got from reading the page presented at the blog.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I got nothing sexual out of that page. Additionally it would seem that page was not found with the bed.

Betty said...

I think it is obvious that part of the description is missing from the post on texasflds. The Texas Monthly article talked about the rails, and unless I'm mistaken, the bit that is posted says nothing about that. Maybe, like the Bishop's list, the part that is available to the public is not the whole story.

The Pharisee said...

None of this matters if the evidence is excluded, they're going down if it's not.

Betty said...

Dude. They can exclude the evidence from US, you know. That's how it works. You're too much.


The Pharisee said...

Eh? That's just a fact.

Betty said...

I'm fairly sure that the defense team has the evidence. That's why they are trying so hard to throw it out.

The Pharisee said...


Is this in dispute? Of course they're trying to get it thrown out, if it's not, they're going to jail, for a long time.

Unless of course the FLDS successfully pull of several "Jury Nullifications."

Jam Inn said...

Jury Nullifacation? After the first few convictions you're may have to be dealing with mob violence in and around the Courtroom, but nullification isn't a reality.
Jury pool predictably will need replenishment from the Tom Green County voter population if it goes according to historical precedents. Hugh you appreciate that these are charges of sexual assault in the first degree?

The Pharisee said...

No you crushingly pathetic idiot. I DID NOT KNOW THAT until YOU TOLD ME.