Shocking allegations point to child smuggling by Bountiful polygamists

Chris Parry has made a new post at Think Tank

Posted for Daphne Bramham: 

Documents filed in BC Supreme Court Friday indicate that on three separate occasions in 2004 and 2005, parents from the fundamentalist Mormon community of Bountiful, B.C. took their daughters to the United States to marry Warren Jeffs, the prophet of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

What’s shocking is that two of the girls were only 12 and one was 13. One of the 12-year-olds mothers accompanied her daughter. The 13-year-old’s mother and father participated in the religious wedding ceremony.

At the time of their “celestial marriages” to the prophet for “time and eternity,” Jeffs was in his late 40s. Jeffs, who is shown below with another of his child brides in a photo filed in a Texas court, is in jail in Texas jail awaiting trial on two counts of sexual assault of minors and one count of bigamy. It’s not clear whether the charges are related to the Canadian girls. However, what triggered Friday’s filing was Texas authorities were seeking more information from the B.C. government about the girls’ ages.

Lawyers for the B.C. government filed an application Friday asking Chief Justice Robert Bauman to waive an earlier ruling and allow new evidence to be considered in the ongoing constitutional reference case. The application also asks that the evidence that includes the names of the parents, the girls’ names and birth dates and the FLDS marriage records be sealed.

Regardless of whether the chief justice allows the evidence to be heard, the more important question is what are police and the criminal justice officials going to do with the new information? Because there’s no doubt that what’s alleged in the application, if true, is criminal.

It’s a crime in Canada to have sex with children. It’s called sexual exploitation if the perpetrators are in a position of power or authority.

Human trafficking is also a crime, although that law was only enacted in November 2005, which may mean that it can’t be applied in these cases.

But there are two other offenses that might apply if the information filed Friday is true. Section 170 of the Criminal Code makes it illegal for parents to  procure a child for sexual activity with another person. Section 171 makes it a crime for a householder to knowingly permit anyone under 18 to engage in illegal sexual activity.

All of those crimes are serious and the punishment can be a lengthy jail sentence.

It’s amoral for parents to do what these supposedly devoutly religious parents are alleged to have done. Police and justice officials need to review the evidence, track down these fathers and mothers and charge them.

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Originally posted at http://communities.canada.com/vancouversun/blogs/thinktank/archive/2011/02/18/shocking-allegations-point-to-child-smuggling-by-bountiful-polygamists.aspx

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