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April 28, 2012

Wikinews interviews Fred Karger, U.S. Republican Party presidential candidate

Wikinews interviews Fred Karger, U.S. Republican Party presidential candidate

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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Fred Karger in 2010.
Image: IowaPolitics.com.

United States political consultant and gay rights (LGBT) activist Fred Karger of California took some time to discuss his Republican Party presidential campaign with Wikinews reporter William Saturn. Karger holds the distinction as the first openly gay person to seek the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party.

Before entering electoral politics, Karger worked as an adviser for such prominent Republicans and former U.S. Presidents Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush. Since retiring as an adviser in 2004, he has been involved in LGBT issues: opposing California Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage in the state; and leading investigations of such same-sex marriage opponents as the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (The Mormon Church).

In 2010, Karger first announced his intentions to seek the Republican presidential nomination, but did not officially announce until March 2011. One of his early campaign goals was to participate in a GOP presidential debate, but was never invited due to polling thresholds. However, Karger argued that he did meet the requirement for an August debate, but was still excluded after the organizers deemed polls he cited as inadequate.

So far, Karger has appeared on four Republican primary ballots including Puerto Rico, where he was able to top Congressman Ron Paul, who, at the time was one of the four major candidates in the race. Karger will next appear on the ballots in California on June 5, and in Utah on June 26.

Karger brands himself as “a different kind of Republican” that wants to open the party to outsiders. He backs gay marriage, is pro-choice on abortion, and wants to lower the voting age. However, he also holds some traditional Republican views: he favors a strengthening of the private sector and believes the U.S. should be steadfast in its support for the nation of Israel.

In talking to Wikinews, Karger discusses his personal political background and activism, the 2012 presidential election and his GOP campaign, as well as his political views on both domestic and foreign affairs.

Background

Wikinews waves Left.pngWilliam S. SaturnWikinews waves Right.pngI’m going to start with the background. What are some of your proudest accomplishments?

Karger with former President George H. W. Bush in 2006.
Image: Fred Karger.

Fred Karger: Well, I have been involved in politics for 55 years. I am very proud that I first began working on campaigns, and then evolved into a profession. I got to work with some of the great leaders in the country: George H.W. Bush, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan. I got to involve myself in a lot of the issues of the time; involved in initiatives, elections all over the country; and then, most recently was a direct activist in discovering a lot of illicit activities by the Mormon Church, involving itself in many of the anti-Gay marriage campaigns from 1995 in Hawaii to our current election going on now; and then also taking on the National Organization for Marriage, and then investigated in Maine, which resulted in a treasure trove of documents disclosing their illicit activities. So I would think those are certainly some of my highlights in my 62 years, but I got all the fight left in me.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngWhat did you learn from Ronald Reagan?

Fred Karger: Well, I learned about his great optimism and his ability to get along with Democrats and Republicans, conservatives [and] liberals. He had an innate ability to work with people of all stripes and get along with them. Good with speaking the language of the time, building alliances to get a lot of things done in the best interest of the country, unlike President Obama and the Congress today. Ronald Reagan never took himself too seriously…

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngI read on your Facebook profile that you supported Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton during the 2008 primaries. Why did you support her?

Fred Karger: The Republican Party has moved too far to the right for my liking. And that was not the Republican Party that I grew up with. I think there’s room in the party for a broad coalition of thought…
I was very disenchanted with the Republicans running four years ago, and I liked Hillary Clinton. I liked her husband. I thought he was a good centrist and a good president. And I wanted to help out and support her. I didn’t work for her, but I did max out. I gave $2300 over a period of time in 2008 to her. And I just thought she would have been a very good president.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngWho did you support during the general election?

Fred Karger: During the general in 2008, I didn’t support either candidate. I had helped George W. Bush in 2000. We were working an independent expenditure committee that I helped with a gentleman named Charles Francis that was a Gay-Straight alliance that supported George W. Bush, but then he let us down with his vocal support for a federal Constitutional amendment banning gay marriage and other anti-gay activities that campaign and he were involved with in 2004. So I did not help him. I did not vote for him in 2004. I voted for a third party candidate because then I was not too convinced that Barack Obama was the right man for the job. So I was a Ralph Nader voter. I didn’t do anything with his campaign or more, but I did end up voting for him.
Cquote1.svg The public doesn’t know enough about the Mormon Church, so I wanted to help make them aware because there are some very interesting parts of that religion that I think it’s certainly open for discussion with Mitt Romney as the likely Republican nominee Cquote2.svg

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngYou have been very critical of the Mormon Church for its support of Proposition 8, and you created a website titled, “the Top Ten Craziest Mormon beliefs”. Some of your followers on Facebook wrote comments that this went too far. What is your response to them?

Fred Karger: Well, the Mormon Church as I discovered by documents that were given to me, official Mormon Chuch documents going back to 1995, has led the way on all the anti-Gay initiatives, constitutional amendments in the country. All thirty one that have been successful, the Mormon Church was instrumental in efforts. So I have announced. I don’t do things secretly like they do. I’ve been very up front about it. I signed my name to everything.
And I am determined to try and get them to reconsider their vehement opposition, not just to gay marriage, but the way they treat gay and lesbian members of the Mormon faith. And there’s a wonderful new video out with a dozen students from BYU talking about that and how difficult it is to be gay and Mormon. And this church, which is on the cusp of having a President of the United States, is cruel [through] activities that have been done to LGBT members and followers and as well as all of us non-members, who have been critical of their activism.
I think it is the wrong direction and I will continue to shadow that and keep them honest in politics, which they have not been as we found in California. And I think as their public affairs director had invited, which is why I put that website up, the public doesn’t know enough about the Mormon Church, so I wanted to help make them aware because there are some very interesting parts of that religion that I think it’s certainly open for discussion with Mitt Romney as the likely Republican nominee.

2012 presidential campaign

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngLet’s talk about the campaign. I’ve seen from your photos that while campaigning, you’ve encountered such candidates as Jon Huntsman, Jr. and Michele Bachmann. Do they recognize you and/or acknowledge the historical significance of your campaign?

Fred Karger: I’ve met every single candidate running and have general pictures with all. The only one [exception] I think is Ron Paul, who I did meet with in his office in Washington. He was the one, who actually set up a formal meeting with me in January of 2011. We had a wonderful meeting. He had not made up his mind yet.

Karger with Jon Huntsman, Jr. in 2011.
Image: Fred Karger.

But yes, Rick Santorum knew me well. We would run in to each other all the time. Everyone was very courteous to me. Some I became more friendly with: Gary Johnson or Jon Huntsman, very, very cordial to me. I would actually say that Gary Johnson and me became friends. We would see each other all the time, went to meals together.
So I had asked all the Republican candidates running to have lunch, dinner, coffee with me. I thought it would be a good opportunity for the other Republicans running, and in a friendly manner to meet, to get to know an openly gay candidate for president, which no one has done before. But I think it was just my olive branch. As I was saying earlier, what Ronald Reagan did and what he taught me, which was to reach out to everybody. And certainly there’s some Republicans, who have said some very bad things about my community and I want to help them based on that and come up with the areas we have in common as opposed to the areas where we disagree.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngYou previously said that one of your goals in your campaign was to participate in a GOP presidential debate, now that no more debates have been scheduled, what are you hoping to achieve by continuing your campaign?

Fred Karger: Well that had been my primary goal to get in a presidential debate. A big feat for someone who has never run for office before and doesn’t have tens of millions of dollars to spend on his campaign. I came very close. I did qualify. I met the criteria for the Fox News debate last August in Ames, Iowa, but they changed the rules and prohibited me from participating. So I am holding out hope that there still may be another debate. There’s talk of a Texas debate. Governor Romney might not do anymore but there may be a situation where there’s just a handful of candidates. There’s only four of us now that are still actively running that are on state ballots like California and Utah. So I still have hope that there might be a debate. But short of that I will be campaigning vigorously in California. That’s the next ballot I am on.
Cquote1.svg The numbers obviously don’t add up for me to be the nominee, but I can certainly be a factor and that is one of my goals. Cquote2.svg
We are shooting our first California commercial on Saturday. It’s an elaborate production, and I’m hoping we’ll be running it on television in California. Hopefully it will catch on in a viral manner like some of our commercials have and maybe be kind of an introduction to California about my campaign years. So I’m going to be spending the next almost eight weeks all up and down my home state. I’m the only Californian on the ballot. And on our California ballot, it doesn’t list occupation. It just lists hometown and state. So I will have Laguna Beach, California as my ballot designation, which none of the other three remaining candidates, of course, are from here. So that’s an advantage. And we’ve got a lot of volunteers. A lot up and down the state. And I hope to register here. I’m going to be targeting three congressional districts, because the delegates are awarded by congressional district here. So I’m hopeful that I can pull out some delegates and be more of a factor in this race. The numbers obviously don’t add up for me to be the nominee, but I can certainly be a factor and that is one of my goals.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngAs you’ve said, it seems very likely that Mitt Romney will win the Republican nomination. Might you support him in the general election?

Fred Karger: Well, I said that I’m very uncomfortable with anyone who signed this marriage pledge of the National Organization for Marriage. I asked him specifically to disavow that pledge. They just endorsed his candidacy yesterday. This is a very shady organization that is under investigation for money laundering in Maine. It has just been revealed by four unsealed documents by a federal judge that were subpoenaed from NOM of their devious and illegal activities. We now know that there have been illegal activities that have taken place by them. And I am uncomfortable with Mitt Romney as long as he is willing to connect with this very very questionable organization. And so I’m going to weigh the field. I am not going to make any decisions if he were to be our nominee as the Republican Party. I liked his dad a lot. I’m not quite there with Mitt Romney, but I’ll have to wait and see how things develop.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngYour best showing in the Republican primaries so far came in Puerto Rico last month. In terms of campaigning, what did you learn from that experience?

Fred Karger: Well, Puerto Rico has an open primary as did Michigan. I tend to do better in states with an open primary because Republicans that are voting in a primary tend to be far more conservative. So if they have heard of me and know that I’m an openly gay candidate that of course could eliminate a potential vote. So I like that. I like the fact that I got an enormous amount of attention down there.

Karger campaigning in Puerto Rico in March.
Image: Fred Karger.

Cquote1.svg The [Puerto Rican] media was very interested. I was endorsed by the number one radio talk show host in San Juan, Carmen Jovet, who had interviewed me on her show. Cquote2.svg

Puerto Rico is way behind the states in its support for gay civil rights. There’s a gay and lesbian center that’s only been open for one year, as opposed to the states where gay centers have been open for 25 or 30 years or more. So they are very much behind the times. But they are coming around. They are very grateful for my presence there. I got a lot of speaking engagements. The media was very interested. I was endorsed by the number one radio talk show host in San Juan, Carmen Jovet, who had interviewed me on her show. And she’s a very prominent media personality. And when there was a hurricane there, they got her to chair the foundation. We just spoke, having fun with it. I didn’t know that after that she would endorse me and that had a lot to do with it.

And we did things in Puerto Rico well: we campaigned in the big towns that were competitive right before the election; did a lot of speaking; a lot of meeting the voters; colleges that we’d go to all over. So we did a blitz there in six days that was successful and I was proud to beat Ron Paul. And of course, what Romney did, and what Santorum didn’t do was to listen to the voters and listen to the citizens of Puerto Rico, which you have to have respect for their heritage. And to come in and say this whole territory must learn English in order to be eligible for statehood is just not smart, spin politics. So I listened. I do. And I respect their heritage especially years of Spanish speaking that can’t expect to transform that as a bargain, a negotiating bargain for statehood. So I just had regard for the culture and the people, and responded to what I think was a good fit for Puerto Rico. But I also, along with statehood, which is still a mixed issue down there, a lot of the younger people want independence than even want statehood, but I’m open to whatever that would be and to whatever the Puerto Ricans really would like to be for themselves.

Political views

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngLet’s get into policy. You proposed that the voting age be reduced. How might you convince Republicans to support this when polls suggest that the youth generally support Democrats?

Fred Karger: Well, it’s something that I’ve not advocated as a particular constitutional amendment. I suggested that we should hold a discussion for lowering the voting age to 16 or 17. And that’s one of the things I’ve been doing for our campaign. And in regards to your question, the Republican Party is doing everything it can to drive away this younger generation. Candidates like Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, or Mitt Romney are doing and saying things that are so anathema to younger voters. Ron Paul is doing the opposite. That’s why he gets 6400 people at UCLA. He gets thousands of students coming out. And I applaud him because he’s the only one who has the foresight to realize there’s a future to this Republican Party beyond November.

Karger speaking with youth in Puerto Rico.
Image: Fred Karger.

So one of the things I’ve tried to do, I’ve tried to reach out to students in high school and college. I’ve spoken at a lot of high schools. There are 18 year old voters there. And I’m looking to the future of the Republican Party. And I think we need to do and say things and put the policies that will appeal to young voters. Currently jobs is the number one issue and I talk about that. That’s a concern of younger voters in high school, college, wherever they are. So we just need to be a little more aware of that generation, so if there are 16 or 17 year old voters someday, they will be split, and that we will have welcomed them as Ronald Reagan did. There’s a 70 year old man that just completely brought back a younger generation to the Republican Party that they had been driven away by Watergate. I know because I was a younger voter then who was working with then-Republicans to bring younger voters into the Republican Party. And if they think it’s tough now, it was ten times tougher then.
We need to be much more aware. Think out all of the ways to do it: to speak the language; to offer them the opportunity to participate; to teach them voting at a younger age in high school so that they get in more of a habit once out of high school and off to college or in workforce, and are less likely to become advantageous voters. I think we need to teach voting in high school. Bring candidates like myself, Congressional candidates, their own candidates from city race, into the high school and I think that’ll help people become better voters. And I also think it’ll also help a certain percentage stay in high school that may not ordinarily, cause we’re of course, losing a million high school students a year dropping out, and the 2 or 3 percent love politics and they’re learning from politicians. They may be less likely to drop out. It’s helping to then lessen that crisis.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngConsidering the Tenth amendment, should same sex marriage be a state issue?

Fred Karger: I am a strong advocate of states’ rights, but not on a civil rights issue like gay marriage. And had we left interracial marriage to the states, we know that would have been a long time and coming, and the Supreme Court interceded and made that the law of the land. And I think on this issue that the court will ultimately decide that this issue should not be left to the voters. That is a gigantic mistake. A legislature are better. Some have more courage. But it’s too hot a political issue. It should be a legal issue. And I’m looking forward to the Nevada case for that to work its way up to federal courts and then for the California Perry case. I think those two will be very important in making all the different people equal.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngHow can high energy costs be reduced?

Karger during the 2012 presidential election.
Image: Gage Skidmore.
Theodore Roosevelt during the 1912 presidential election.
Fred Karger: Well, that’s a very complex issue. Talking about certainly making America energy independent is number one. Conservation, which no one else is talking about, and that I am beating my chest about is so important. There’s so much energy that is wasted in this country. Not just driving, but in our public buildings and homes, where you go into a movie theater in the summer and it’s freezing or the airports. There’s so many public places where we should not have government mandates, but certainly building owners and managers to take responsibility to really make it comfortable, and to set thermostats at a comfortable temperature. And personal responsibility, there’s so many light-timers that go all night. I grew up with parents who were children of the depression and World War II. So I couldn’t leave my room without turning the light off. And I think we need to instill those values. We got to stop releasing so much energy. That will be a big contribution toward keeping costs down.
Cquote1.svg I’m more like a Theodore Roosevelt, who took on a lot of corporations and was controversial at those acts he did Cquote2.svg
But the oil companies need, and I know there’s many factors in the high gas prices, but it’s no coincidence that ExxonMobil makes record profits when gas prices at the pump go up. You can parallel those two. I’ve taking on ExxonMobil. I’m not afraid to do that. I’m more like a Theodore Roosevelt, who took on a lot of corporations and was controversial at those acts he did, very different of course a hundred years ago, monopolies and things like that. But I have no problems with going after big oil, and fine companies that have made a trillion dollars of profit off of the consumers, who are struggling right now with of course the trickle effect of high gasoline prices [which] affects the entire economy, not just at the pump. So there’s a lot of ways. I’ve got some on my website, the issues tab. I talk about ways to bring this down. But those are two areas certainly where we need to pick it up: conservation and making America energy independent.

Wikinews waves Left.pngWSSWikinews waves Right.pngThis is my last question. On your website you say that “Israel must be defended at all costs.” Does this apply to other nations as well, and if not, why should one nation be given preferential treatment over others?

Fred Karger: Well, Israel is our number one ally. Israel’s enemies are our enemies. We have Syria and Iran, and Palestinians for now, Hezbollah. We have a common way of government. We should defend them. They’re a smaller country that’s in a very unstable part of the world. Our mutual interests are at stake. But all of our great allies, most of which are stronger because they’ve been around longer, but when we have friends, just as we do in life, you look out for your friends and you defend your friends and help your friends out. And we have members all over the world and I think we need to always look out for those allies. Israel just happens to be in a more dangerous spot than Australia or Great Britain, or the other allies we have of like minded democracies around the world.



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November 13, 2008

Protesters demonstrate in front of Latter-day Saint temple in L.A.

Protesters demonstrate in front of Latter-day Saint temple in L.A.

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

More than 1,000 protesters showed up to demonstrate in front of the Los Angeles temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Friday, November 7, to protest the church’s involvement with the passing of Proposition 8. The proposition passed with 52% support, and would amend the California constitution to ban gay marriage, which was recently made legal by court order. The temple is located in Los Angeles, California.

According to a member of the Los Angeles Police Department, the Temple grounds were vandalized by protesters, and a group of apparently non-LDS Hispanic women attempting to remove critical signs from temple grounds were attacked and beaten before police stepped in and arrested those involved.

A breakdown of support for Proposition 8 in California

Protesters have claimed that the church’s institution made small cash donations to the Proposition 8 campaign, though no evidence has yet surfaced to corroborate the claims. It appears that many members of the church (also known as Mormons) donated to the “Yes on 8” campaign.

Jeff Flint, a strategist for Yes on 8, has criticized the protest and related negative media placed on those Latter-day Saints who supported Proposition 8: “I am appalled at the level of Mormon-bashing that went on during the Proposition 8 campaign and continues to this day. If this activity were directed against any other church, if someone put up a website that targeted Jews or Catholics in a similar fashion for the mere act of participating in a political campaign, it would be widely and rightfully condemned.”

In addition to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the proposition was supported by other Christian groups, the Hispanic population of California by a slight majority, and overwhelmingly by California’s African-American population. Protests have targeted these communities as well. F. Damion Barela, who had obtained a gay marriage to his husband five months ago, said, “I’m disappointed in the Californians who voted for this.” In particular, he was bothered that some ethnic groups supported the ban: “To them I say, ‘Shame on you because you should know what this feels like.'”

Protests of up to 20,000 people were held in other cities throughout the country in opposition to Proposition 8, and some Latter-day Saints have left the church over the matter. Several other churches have been vandalized by protesters since its passage.

Similar constitutional provisions were passed in Florida and Arizona during the election, and such provisions already exist in 27 other states, with a further 15 featuring statutory bans on same sex marriages.



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  • “Gay marriage banned in three states; other ballot measures decided” — Wikinews, November 8, 2008

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June 20, 2008

Mormon Church warns Wikileaks over documents

Mormon Church warns Wikileaks over documents

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Friday, June 20, 2008

Wikimedia-logo.svg This article mentions the Wikimedia Foundation, one of its projects, or people related to it. Wikinews is a project of the Wikimedia Foundation.

Church Office Building in Salt Lake City, Utah, worldwide headquarters for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Image: Ricardo630.

Wikileaks, a website which hosts copies of restricted documents, recently received a claim of copyright infringement from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS). This development follows a similar letter being sent to the Wikimedia Foundation, owners of Wikinews, regarding a link to the Wikileaks document.

Wikileaks logo
Image: Wikileaks Media Kit.

The letter sent to Wikileaks demands that Wikileaks take down the document immediately. In an exclusive statement given to Wikinews, however, Wikileaks said that “WikiLeaks will not remove the handbooks, which are of substantial interest to current and former Mormons. WikiLeaks will remain a place where people from around the world can safely reveal the truth.”

In another exclusive statement given to Wikinews, before the LDS incident, Wikileaks did say that if there was a substantial danger, Wikileaks would remove the documents from the site. “If aliens parked in orbit and said that they would obliterate the world if Wikileaks did not remove some document exposing them, would Wikileaks’ distributed file server operators remove the document in question? Of course, even though there is no mechanism to do this, everyone involved would work out how to .”

The letter notifying Wikileaks of the copyright infringement was sent by Berne S. Broadbent, president of Intellectual Reserve, which controls the intellectual property of the Mormon Church.

On May 5, the Wikimedia Foundation received a copyright infringement claim from Intellectual Reserve. The infringement claim was addressed to Jimmy Wales, the designated agent of the Wikimedia Foundation, and requested that access to the link to Wikileaks be removed. Wikinews acted differently to Wikileaks after receiving the notice, as Wikinews took down the link soon after being made aware of the claim.



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June 2, 2008

All FLDS children returning to parents

Filed under: Mormonism,Religion — admin @ 5:00 am

All FLDS children returning to parents – Wikinews, the free news source

All FLDS children returning to parents

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Monday, June 2, 2008

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A Texas court has announced that all children taken from the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS) compound in Texas are being returned to their parents. Beginning today, parents have been allowed to collect their children, all of whom were in state custody before the announcement.

The more than 460 allegedly abused children were taken into state custody last month after officials say they received a call from a distressed 16-year old girl. The children were found in a 1700-acre compound belonging to the FLDS. It is now believed that the original phone call was actually a hoax.

YFZ Ranch near Eldorado, Texas, owned by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
Image: Randy Mankin of the Eldorado Success.

The decision follows an appeals court ruling that Texas Child Protective Services (CPS) should not have taken the children from the FLDS.

Recently the CPS in Texas filed papers on this issue, saying that the families may choose to flee Texas if they are reunited per the appeals courts ruling. If the families were to do that, they would then be outside the court’s jurisdiction, putting the children at risk of abuse.

The CPS in Texas released a statement regarding the court ruling: “We are disappointed, but we understand and respect the court’s decision and will take immediate steps to comply. Child Protective Services has one purpose in this case – to protect the children. Our goal is to reunite families whenever we can do so and make sure the children will be safe. We will continue to prepare for the prompt and orderly reunification of these children with their families. We also will work with the district court to ensure the safety of the children and that all of our actions conform with the decision of the Texas Supreme Court.”



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June 1, 2008

Texas authorities obtain DNA from jailed FLDS leader Warren Jeffs

Texas authorities obtain DNA from jailed FLDS leader Warren Jeffs

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Sunday, June 1, 2008

Texas authorities obtained DNA samples from jailed Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) leader Warren Jeffs on Friday, as part of an ongoing criminal investigation into charges of abuse. Jerry Strickland of the Texas Attorney General’s office told the Associated Press that the samples were taken from Jeffs while he awaits trial in an Arizona jail. According to the AP, the DNA search warrant alleges that Jeffs had “spiritual” marriages with four girls, ages 12 to 15.

The search warrant was filed in Mohave County Superior Court in Kingman, Arizona. Jeffs is alleged to have sexually assaulted one of the 12-year-old girls after their July 2006 “spiritual” marriage, and is also alleged to have married a 14-year-old girl in January 2004 who gave birth to a child in October 2005. Police say the girl was believed to be about 15 at the time of conception by Jeffs.

Cquote1.svg Based on all of the above, affiant believes that Warren Jeffs has committed the felony offense of sexual assault of a child. Cquote2.svg

—Quote from the DNA search warrant, per Deseret News

Texas officials are investigating Jeffs for crimes of sexual assault of a child, aggravated sexual assault and prohibited sexual assault. The search warrant alleges: “Warren Jeffs sexually assaulted a 12-year-old child … on or about July 27, 2006, in Schleicher County, Texas,” according to a copy of the warrant obtained by the Deseret News. “Based on all of the above, affiant believes that Warren Jeffs has committed the felony offense of sexual assault of a child,” wrote Kingman, Arizona police officer Dennis Gilbert in the search warrant. Law enforcement officials say that another marriage took place on April 16, 2005 between Jeffs and a 12-year-old girl.

YFZ Ranch near Eldorado, Texas, owned by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
Image: Randy Mankin of the Eldorado Success.

Jeffs is alleged to have “married” the children at the FLDS compound in Eldorado, Texas. Marital records known in the FLDS as “bishop’s records” allegedly document a January 18, 2004 marriage between Jeffs and a 14-year-old girl. The documents were obtained when Texas authorities conducted a search of the FLDS compound in Texas, the Yearning for Zion Ranch, on April 3. According to the Fort Worth Star Telegram the warrant also alleges that Jeffs married a 14-year-old girl at the YFZ compound on July 22, 2004.

According to the Las Vegas Review, the DNA samples were taken from Jeffs on Thursday afternoon via a cotton swab of the mouth. Kingman police detectives took the sample after Texas authorities asked for help in their investigation of Jeffs. Kingman police executed the search warrant and affidavit of probable cause, and authorities from the Texas Attorney General’s office left Thursday with the samples.

Cquote1.svg Our investigator was out there yesterday collecting the DNA sample after getting the search warrant signed. Cquote2.svg

—Jerry Strickland, Texas Attorney General’s office

“Our investigator was out there yesterday collecting the DNA sample after getting the search warrant signed,” said Texas Attorney General’s office spokesman Jerry Strickland in a statement Friday to the AP.

In a statement Saturday in the Deseret News, Rod Parker, a Salt Lake City, Utah attorney and FLDS spokesman questioned what evidence law enforcement possessed which could show possible criminal actions by Jeffs. “The question is, do they have any evidence of sexual activity with minors and Warren Jeffs? I don’t know if they do or not. I don’t see how DNA, by itself, proves that one way or another.”

Cquote1.svg The question is, do they have any evidence of sexual activity with minors and Warren Jeffs? … I don’t see how DNA, by itself, proves that one way or another. Cquote2.svg

—Rod Parker, FLDS spokesman

Photos of Jeffs pictured with underage child brides were shown in court last week in an FLDS custody case in Texas. The photos show Warren Jeffs kissing and hugging young girls, and attorneys for Texas Child Protective Services claim that one of the girls shown in the photos is a 12-year-old “bride”. The photos are dated from July 2006 and January 2005.

Jeffs is seen in one set of photos from January 26, 2005 labeled “First anniversary” with a girl called “Loretta”. In another set dated July 27, 2005, Jeffs is shown with a girl referred to as “Merrianne”. Child Protective Services officials said that they have evidence that “Merrianne” was 12 years old when she was married to Jeffs at the YFZ compound. The Vancouver Sun reported that, per a family member, “Loretta” was no older than 12 when she was married.

The investigation into alleged abuses committed by Jeffs is separate from the custody case involving the FLDS in Texas. Texas Supreme Court upheld the decision of the appellate court to overturn a lower court ruling which led to the removal of over 400 children from the FLDS compound by Texas authorities in early April. The appellate court had said that Child Protective Services did not show that the children faced an immediate danger if they were not removed.

Attorneys for CPS had asserted that DNA tests required to confirm parentage were still pending and that parents could take their children back from Texas jurisdiction if they regained custody. The appellate court justices stated that child welfare officials can take other actions to protect the children if necessary, and that the district judge in the case could still place restrictions on the parents and children to assure that they would not flee the state. Texas District Judge Barbara ruled Friday that the 38 mothers involved in the legal complaint which went to the appellate court must first sign an agreement drafted by child welfare officials and the FLDS attorneys before their children are returned to them.

Warren Jeffs was convicted in September 2007 of two counts of being an accomplice to rape related to a 2001 wedding he arranged between a 14-year old girl and her 19-year old cousin. He was sentenced to two consecutive five-year prison sentences in Utah, and faces an impending trial in Arizona on eight charges including sexual conduct with a minor, incest and conspiracy. After his convictions in Utah he was turned over to Arizona authorities to await trial there. He faces charges in Arizona of five counts of sexual conduct with a minor, four counts of incest and one count of conspiracy to commit sexual conduct with a minor.

The FLDS group has approximately 10,000 members total, and was founded in the 1930s. It split from the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) after the LDS Church abandoned the practice of polygamy in 1890.



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May 29, 2008

Court photos show FLDS leader Warren Jeffs with child brides

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Court photos show FLDS leader Warren Jeffs with child brides

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Thursday, May 29, 2008

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Photos showing Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) leader Warren Jeffs with child brides were entered into evidence Friday in a Texas court case involving children seized from the Yearning For Zion (YFZ) Ranch by State authorities in April. Texas officials removed over 400 children from the Eldorado, Texas YFZ Ranch in early April on suspicion of widespread child abuse.

The photos were entered into evidence as part of the case in Tom Green County District Court. Officials claim there is a “pervasive pattern” of underage girls forced into marriage with older men. The photos show Warren Jeffs kissing and hugging young girls, and attorneys for Texas Child Protective Services claim that one of the girls shown in the photos is a 12-year old “bride”. The photos are dated from July 2006 and January 2005.

Cquote1.svg I do not consider a girl kissing a man sex abuse. Cquote2.svg

—Dan Jessop

The State of Texas is seeking custody of a baby boy born to Louisa Bradshaw and her “husband” Dan Jessop. According to the Deseret News, Jessop was asked if he thought the photos of Jeffs and the girls was evidence of sexual abuse, to which he responded, “I do not consider a girl kissing a man sex abuse.” Child Protective Services lawyers told the court that the photos show Jeffs kissing the girls similar to “how a husband kisses a wife”.

YFZ Ranch near Eldorado, Texas, owned by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
Image: Randy Mankin of the Eldorado Success.

Deseret News reported that Protective Services lawyers did not say how the images of Jeffs were obtained, but said that the photos illustrate a culture of abuse at the compound. According to CNN, information revealed in court shows that one of the girls in the photos is an aunt to the children involved in the Texas custody hearing and lived on the YFZ Ranch. CNN reports that the girl’s birth date was given as July 1994 and she is 13 years old. She was taken into state custody by Texas officials along with other children in April.

ABC News reported that an alleged child bride shown in the photographs was set to give testimony in court, but state attorneys and FLDS representatives came to a resolution and agreed that Protective Services would retain custody of Louisa Bradshaw’s baby. The baby was born in Texas state custody. Bradshaw was initially taken into custody as well because authorities thought she was under age, but it has since been revealed that she is over the age of 18. According to ABC News Bradshaw will remain with her baby in a shelter. Protective Services said that Bradshaw and Jessop lived in the same building as the 12-year old girl shown in the photographs with Jeffs.

Jeffs is seen in one set of photos from January 26, 2005 labeled “First anniversary” with a girl called “Loretta”. In another set dated July 27, 2005, Jeffs is shown with a girl referred to as “Merrianne”. Child Protective Services officials said that they have evidence that “Merrianne” was 12 years old when she was married to Jeffs at the YFZ compound. The Vancouver Sun reported that, per a family member, “Loretta” was no older than 12 when she was married. Portions from the set of photos were displayed at media sites including Radar Online, CNN, FOX News, National Nine News and ABC News, and the website The Smoking Gun made three of the court exhibits available for viewing.

Cquote1.svg …these photos have no ties to this particular family in a way that’s relevant to these proceedings. Cquote2.svg

—Rod Parker, spokesman for FLDS families

In a statement made Tuesday to CNN, Salt Lake City, Utah attorney and spokesman for FLDS families Rod Parker said the photos were an effort by Child Protective Services to “get publicity” and “paint everybody with the same brush”. “What I’m saying is, that isn’t fair, and each parent of each family is entitled to stand on its own. And these photos have no ties to this particular family in a way that’s relevant to these proceedings,” said Parker.

Cquote1.svg Everyone who saw those photos did a complete gasp. I think they’re shocking. Cquote2.svg

—Paul Murphy, Utah Attorney General’s Office

“I’m sure law enforcement in several states will take a look to see what more can be done,” said Utah Attorney General’s Office Paul Murphy in a statement to ABC News. Murphy said that investigators may look further into the photographs to determine if evidence shows the girls were abused, and if so where, before charges could be brought. “Everyone who saw those photos did a complete gasp. I think they’re shocking,” he said.

In a ruling made last week in a case involving 38 FLDS mothers and 124 children, the Texas 3rd District Court of Appeals said that the state did not have the right to remove those children from the compound. The appeals court said that Child Protective Services was unable to prove that the children in the compound were at risk of immediate physical harm. Texas law states that “a danger to the physical health or safety of the child which was caused by an act or failure to act of the person entitled to possession and for the child to remain in the home is contrary to the welfare of the child” must be shown in order to remove that child from the home.

Texas Department of Family and Protective Services filed court papers Wednesday asserting that FLDS families may flee the state if they are reunited with their children after the Texas appeals court ruling. Protective Services officials are worried that if the families leave the court’s jurisdiction, children could be at risk of abuse. In response, attorneys for mothers of the children in custody filed a counter-motion. The mothers claim that the children are under “continuing, irreparable harm every day that they are separated from their parents”.

Warren Jeffs was convicted in September 2007 of two counts of being an accomplice to rape related to a 2001 wedding he arranged between a 14-year old girl and her 19-year old cousin. He was sentenced to two consecutive five-year prison sentences in Utah, and faces an impending trial in Arizona on eight charges including sexual conduct with a minor, incest and conspiracy.

The FLDS group has approximately 10,000 members total, and was founded in the 1930s. It split from the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) after the LDS Church abandoned the practice of polygamy in 1890.



Related news

  • “FLDS couple reunited with child, Texas fear families will flee justice” — Wikinews, May 28, 2008
  • “Court rules against Texas officials in FLDS case” — Wikinews, May 24, 2008
  • 401 children from Texas sect compound taken into custody” — Wikinews, April 7, 2008
  • “FBI most-wanted fugitive, polygamist Warren Jeffs, arrested” — Wikinews, August 31, 2006

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Wikipedia Learn more about Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and Warren Jeffs on Wikipedia.
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May 28, 2008

FLDS couple reunited with child, Texas fear families will flee justice

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FLDS couple reunited with child, Texas fear families will flee justice

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

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One of the children, who on April 6 was removed from the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS) compound in Texas, has been reunited with his/her parents after a deal was struck between the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services and the parents.

Although the Texas authorities retain legal control over the child, the parents have been given the temporary right to look after their child. Dan Jessop, one of the parents, commented on the development. “It’s one step closer to my family being together.”

YFZ Ranch near Eldorado, Texas, owned by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
Image: Randy Mankin of the Eldorado Success.

401 allegedly abused children were taken into state custody last month after officials received a call from a distressed 16-year-old girl. The children were found in a 1700-acre compound belonging to the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It is now believed that the original phone call was actually a hoax.

The agreement follows an appeals court-ruling that Texas Child Protective Services (CPS) should not have taken the children from the FLDS.

Meanwhile, CPS filed court papers today, saying that the families may choose to flee Texas if they are reunited per the appeals courts ruling. If they did that, they would suddenly be outside the court’s jurisdiction, putting them at risk of abuse.

Lawyers for the mothers of the children, filed a counter-motion, stating that the children face “continuing, irreparable harm every day that they are separated from their parents.”

Police were monitoring the compound ever since it was bought by the group one year ago. According to Texas law there must have been “a danger to the physical health or safety of the child which was caused by an act or failure to act of the person entitled to possession and for the child to remain in the home is contrary to the welfare of the child”.

In addition to the above there must also be “the urgent need for protection required the immediate removal of the child and reasonable efforts, consistent with the circumstances and providing for the safety of the child, were made to eliminate or prevent the child’s removal”

Aerial view of the FLDS ranch.
Image: Canadaolympic989.

Finally, for state custody to be allowed there must also have been “reasonable efforts have been made to enable the child to return home”. A lower court was given 10 days to make a decision on whether the above requirements are met. Although originally the mothers were allowed to stay with the children, they are not required to be separate unless the parents are aged under eighteen or the children are very young. The FLDS said in an open letter the Governor of Texas that a “critical crisis” was unfolding due to these recent incidents.

In addition to Texas, the group has compounds in Hildale and many other locations. The church has around 10,000 members in total, and was founded in the 1930s. The church split from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints due to the fact that it abandoned polygamy.

The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is led by Warren Jeffs – jailed last year for the rape and forced marriage of a 14 year old girl – is a breakaway branch of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which abandoned the practice of polygamy in 1890.



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Wikipedia Learn more about Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and YFZ Ranch on Wikipedia.
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May 24, 2008

President Bush to meet with LDS Church leaders in Utah

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President Bush to meet with LDS Church leaders in Utah

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Saturday, May 24, 2008

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United States President George W. Bush is set to meet with leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints next week in Utah. President Bush’s primary purpose in visiting Utah is to raise money for Republican presidential candidate John McCain’s general election campaign. The Deseret News and The Salt Lake Tribune have reported that the meeting is scheduled for May 29.

George W. Bush (right) meets with the First Presidency in August 2006.
Image: Eric Draper, Director of the White House Photo Office.

According to spokesmen for the church, also called the Mormon Church or LDS Church, President Bush will meet with the three-member First Presidency which includes the new president Thomas S. Monson. Monson became the 16th president of the Mormon Church in early February after the death of the previous president, Gordon B. Hinckley.

This is President Bush’s first visit with the new First Presidency leadership since the death of former president Hinckley. Bush last met with the three Mormon Church leaders when he was in Utah for a speech at the American Legion convention in August 2006.

According to Deseret News President Bush will attend a US$70,100-a-couple fundraiser and reception at the Deer Valley home of Mitt Romney, and may potentially stay overnight at Romney’s vacation home. Money from the reception will go into a joint fund-raising account called McCain Victory 2008.

“Romney had a very powerful fundraising operation with a lot of donations coming out of this area, and of course now he can leverage that to help McCain,” said Brigham Young University political science professor Quin Monson in a statement in The Salt Lake Tribune.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports that statements from McCain’s campaign show he raised $502,650 from Utah donors through the end of April. Romney had raised $5.5 million before dropping out of the Republican primary for the presidential nomination and subsequently endorsed McCain. Romney is the former governor of Massachusetts, and headed the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Utah.



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Court rules against Texas officials in FLDS case

Court rules against Texas officials in FLDS case

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Saturday, May 24, 2008

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An appeals court in Texas has ruled that Texas Child Protective Services should not have taken the children from the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS) compound as they were unable to prove that the children in the compound were at risk of immediate physical harm.

401 allegedly abused children were taken into state custody last month after officials received a call from a distressed 16-year-old girl. The children were found in a 1700-acre compound belonging to the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It is now believed that the original phone call was actually a hoax.

YFZ Ranch near Eldorado, Texas, owned by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
Image: Randy Mankin of the Eldorado Success.

Police were monitoring the compound ever since it was bought by the group one year ago. According to Texas law there must have been “a danger to the physical health or safety of the child which was caused by an act or failure to act of the person entitled to possession and for the child to remain in the home is contrary to the welfare of the child”.

In addition to the above there must also be “the urgent need for protection required the immediate removal of the child and reasonable efforts, consistent with the circumstances and providing for the safety of the child, were made to eliminate or prevent the child’s removal”

Finally, for state custody to be allowed there must also have been “reasonable efforts have been made to enable the child to return home”. A lower court was given 10 days to make a decision on whether the above requirements are met. Although originally the mothers were allowed to stay with the children, they are not required to be separate unless the parents are aged under eighteen or the children are very young. The FLDS said in an open letter to the Governor of Texas that a “critical crisis” was unfolding due to these recent incidents.

The Texas courts system released documents on its website regarding the recent decision. It said that: “the only danger to the male children or the female children who had not reached puberty identified by the Department was the Department’s assertion that the pervasive belief system of the FLDS community groomed the males to be perpetrators of sexual abuse later in life and taught the girls to submit to sexual abuse after reaching puberty.”

The document also noted that: “There was no evidence that the male children, or the female children who had not reached puberty, were victims of sexual or other physical abuse or in danger of being victims of sexual or other physical abuse.” The website reported that: “While there was evidence that twenty females had become pregnant between the ages of thirteen and seventeen, there was no evidence regarding the marital status of these girls when they became pregnant or the circumstances under which they became pregnant other than the general allegation that the girls were living in an FLDS community with a belief system that condoned underage marriage and sex.”

The report claimed there were five possible cases of abuse, “There was no evidence that any of the female children other than the five identified as having become pregnant between the ages of fifteen and seventeen were victims or potential victims of sexual or other physical abuse”.

In addition to Texas, the group has compounds in Hildale, Mancos and many other locations. The church has around 10,000 members in total, and was founded in the 1930s. The church split from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints due to the fact that it abandoned polygamy.

The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is led by Warren Jeffs – jailed last year for the rape and forced marriage of a 14 year old girl – is a breakaway branch of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which abandoned the practice of polygamy in 1890.



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Wikipedia Learn more about Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and YFZ Ranch on Wikipedia.
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May 14, 2008

Community forum held after attacks on Mormon teens in Arizona

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Community forum held after attacks on Mormon teens in Arizona

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

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A community forum was held Monday in Mesa, Arizona, to discuss a recent attack on two Mormon teenagers which took place May 2 at a park in Gilbert. Local representatives from the NAACP and the Phoenix Anti-Defamation League attended the meeting, where local police met with area residents and concerned citizens to discuss the incident. Approximately 60 residents of Mesa attended the forum, which was hosted by the Mesa Police Department and held at the Mesa Public Safety Training Facility.

Local police investigated the attack, and arrested two teenagers. According to the police the two suspects ages 15 and 16 have carved swastikas into their skin on the inside of their wrists, and allegedly beat the Mormon teenagers and attacked them using pellet guns. According to a police report, one of the teens sustained golf-ball-size swelling and cuts to his face. One of the victims of the attack was transported to the hospital. Police said that the suspects made anti-Mormon statements during the attack.

Terrea Arnwine, vice president of the East Valley NAACP, discussed the history of hate crimes and related the origins of his organization. “I immediately spoke up when I heard about the incident with LDS,” said Mesa police Chief George Gascón. LDS refers to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also called the Mormon Church or LDS Church.

Cquote1.svg This is America; this isn’t supposed to happen here. This is the legacy we have been left with — unfortunately it is oftentimes not true. Cquote2.svg

—Bill Strauss, Phoenix Anti-Defamation League

“This is America; this isn’t supposed to happen here. This is the legacy we have been left with — unfortunately it is oftentimes not true,” said Anti-Defamation League representative Bill Strauss. According to the Arizona Department of Public Safety, 254 incidents were reported in 2003 involving hate crimes, though Strauss said that the actual number of incidents could be higher due to underreporting.

The Gilbert Human Relations Commission also discussed the incident in a meeting Wednesday. “It’s an abysmal, and abominable occurrence, and yet it’s extremely rare, and I think that speaks volumes of our community,” said Patricia Krueger of the Human Relations Commission.

Detective Terry Burchett of the Gilbert Police Department conducted interviews with 20 to 30 individuals as part of the investigation into the attack. According to police, a conflict arose between two groups of teenagers at a park in Gilbert, and some teenagers were asked by others if any in their group were Mormon. The victims later told police that they were attacked because they are Mormon.

According to The Arizona Republic, police are not yet certain that the attack should be considered a hate crime. Both teenagers have been charged with underage drinking, disorderly conduct and aggravated assault, and were booked into the Maricopa County Juvenile Detention Facility. According to KNXV-TV one of the suspects is a football player at Mesquite High School in Gilbert.

Cquote1.svg I broke down, I just, I couldn’t believe the way he looked. Cquote2.svg

—Mother of one of the victims

The parents of the victims spoke with KNXV-TV reporter Christina Boomer. The victims are ages 15 and 17. The parents of one of the victims said that their son’s face was pushed into the gravel and that he sustained a fractured collarbone, and the father of the other victim said his son has a broken nose and fractured cheekbone from the attack, in addition to facial lacerations.

One of the teens’ mothers stated: “I broke down, I just, I couldn’t believe the way he looked.” “No parents should see their kids in that kind of situation … I don’t believe that anybody should be persecuted for their beliefs or their faith,” said the father of the same teenager.



Sources

Wikipedia Learn more about Anti-Mormonism and Mormonism and violence on Wikipedia.
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