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Topic: Culture & Communities     Department: Letters

A deep rot

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Judges James Shumate and Dee Benson both had access to the rape tape mentioned in this article, solid evidence of a culture of sexual abuse in the FLDS. If they had been kindergarten teachers, they would be required to report the abuse to authorities, who would then be required to follow up. Instead, Judge Shumate ruled the tape was "too inflammatory" to use in the Elissa Wall trial. The question of whether or not Jeffs intended the 14-year-old Walls to have sex with the adult he forced her to marry was key to the charge. The FLDS claimed that intimacy was not required until the girl was ready. The tape of Jeffs raping his own 12-year-old bride proved otherwise, but was inadmissible. Judge Benson kept the tape out of the hands of prosecutors in another case by agreeing with a defense motion that it was a "sacred religious document." The rot goes pretty deep.

Teri Patrick
Seattle, Washington

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