The U.S. Justice Department filed a lawsuit against two towns dominated by a polygamous sect on Thursday, accusing officials of failing to protect nonmembers and enforcing the edicts of leader Warren Jeffs above the law.Read the rest here.
The complaint filed in Arizona’s U.S. District Court accuses the twin towns of Colorado City, Ariz., and Hildale, Utah, of "operating as an arm of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints," for at least 20 years. It marks a departure for the federal government, which has until now steered clear of filing cases against FLDS members.
There are nearly two dozen allegations in the lawsuit, many involving the police agency the towns share. The earliest incident dates back to 2000, when attorneys say Colorado City town marshals confronted a sect member in an attempt to return an underage bride to her husband’s home after she fled.
Other accusations include police helping euthanize the town’s dogs at Jeffs’ order, keeping a woman in jail overnight on an inaccurate underage alcohol charge and threatening arrest of non-FLDS children if they continued to play at a city park.
The lawsuit also accuses town water and power utilities of refusing to provide housing permits and utility hookups to nonmembers or to allow them to move into homes.