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April 18th, 2008
04:33 PM ET

Dispatch from the FLDS hearing: 'Blessing to have multiple children'

Katherine Wojtecki
CNN Producer

On the stand, Dr. Bruce Perry, child psychiatrist for the State of Texas, specializes in child maltreatment & child development, he has had some experience dealing with FLDS members.

Questions for Perry:
Are you saying as the state it's time for a change as to underage marriage and sex?

Haven't you said in writing and your research that a child develops 90 percent of his brain in his first 3 years?

In your writings, you've said words such as "hope" are extremely important for children? What about the hope of being home for these children? Perry replied, I wouldn't doubt that.

You are the expert who has said there are some problems here and parents are saying they want their kids back.

Perry: What would help me is if a parent came forward and said, 'I don't believe young women should not marry until they are 18.' To not be afraid of outside world. Needs to be transparent boundaries with outside world. Parents need to say we aren't perfect but let's figure out how to create a healthy environment for these kids.

Met with three 17 year-olds for 15-20 minutes out of the 416 children. Also spent time with children and families.

He testified that these families believe that it is a blessing to have multiple children. Environment is very similar to all those children and they are at same risk as those living in same household as those married before 18.

Judge asks lawyers to organize themselves in color coding groups with one representative.

Attorney tells judge they are trying to coordinate themselves but many have left town and have co-council so they will get together at break to meet with each other and get organized.


Filed under: FLDS court hearing • Polygamy
soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. KarenD

    Harry,

    There are no federal laws against polygamy. In some states it is technically permissable to be a polygamist.

    Three aspects to marriage: Legal, social, and religious.

    Multiple legal marriages constitutes bigamy under the law and is illegal.

    Multiple religious or social marriages is OK in some states, not OK in others.

    April 18, 2008 at 10:12 pm |
  2. Harry

    I think that Polygamy and child molestation are wrong, but a couple of things trouble me about this whole mess.

    First...I guess I struggle with some or all of what is going on.
    To be legally married, a signed marriage license has to be in place. To be a polygamist, by law, multiple licenses must be in effect.
    Is that the case here?? If having sex with multiple partners constitutes polygamy, then it would seem that a current and former governor of N.Y. should be in jail along with every other unfaithful person. It seems to be a slippery slope, that charges into subjective territory.

    Second.. the whole basis of this search warrant. Was there a 16 year old calling for help or was this a hoax. It would seem that anyone could call, pretending to be any teenager in the U.S. and the government can arbitrarily come into that house, then search until they found evidence of a crime. I do not claim to be a constitutional scholar, but even I can see that the basis of this search must meet constitional guideline or it will be challenged and reversed. With it goes the entire case and then the whole system of aiding actual children in harm, via these means.

    Harry
    Ky.

    April 18, 2008 at 5:49 pm |
  3. Annie Kate

    This court trial sounds like one big mess; I wonder if out of all this chaos the best interests of the children will be lost. Multiple children can be a blessing for some people but that is a decision that each person should be able to make for themselves without religious indoctrination from birth framing that decision.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    April 18, 2008 at 5:41 pm |
  4. Rhonda

    So when they give these children back and they decide they are scorned from the "outsiders" and the whole camp drinks kool aide and dies then are we going to get what this is really about? Why aren't they interviewing past survivors? Why aren't they seeking them out for the "answers" that no one in the world wants to believe. People want to think this is about culture/religion...but at the end of the day its about abuse and us as a country looking the other way for YEARS.

    April 18, 2008 at 5:19 pm |
  5. P. Krause

    I am outraged at the fact that these people are collecting welfare dollars to support this child abuse and insanity!!! I wonder how many dollars they have collected from the taxpayers to support this nonsense and the men who lead these people. Also, how many doillars will have to be spent to heal these kids, if they can be helped at all.

    April 18, 2008 at 4:48 pm |