Brooke Adams, of the Salt Lake Tribune reports on still another affidavit, this one based on an anonymous informant, supporting the search warrant of the FLDS Temple near Eldorado, West Texas:
SAN ANGELO, Tex. – Adult FLDS men were having sex with underage brides inside the massive limestone temple at the polygamous sect’s Texas ranch, a confidential informant told authorities.
According to a request for a search warrant unsealed today by a Texas judge, Schliecher County Sheriff David Doran has been working with a confidential informant who has shared information about the ranch over several years. On Saturday, as a sweeping raid was underway at the YFZ Ranch, the informant spoke to Doran and made the allegation about the temple, the court filing said.
This warrant, was signed on Sunday, 4/6/08, and was supported in large measure by an affidavit even weaker than the one released earlier. As far as I can tell an actual pdf version of the affidavit has not been released, or at least published; however, the Tribune had access to it, or at least a part of it that had been unsealed by the court:
Affidavit for search and arrest warrant Filed in Schleicher County, Texas April 6, 2008
…On April 5, 2008, while conducting a search of the Suspected Place and Premises under authority of Search and Arrest Warrant number M-08-001-S, out of the 51st Judicial District of Texas for the county of Schleicher, a copy of which is attached hereto with accompanying affidavit as “Attachment A” for all purposes, Affiant made the following obervations; within a large building that Affiant heard the residents of Suspected Place and Premises refer to as a Temple, hereafter referred to as the “Temple,” Affiant observed multiple locked safes, locked desk drawers, locked vaults, as well as multiple computers and beds. On one of the beds within the Temple, Affiant observed that the bed linens were disturbed as if the bed had been used and Affiant observed a strand of hair believed to have come from the head of a female because the affiant has seen numerous male residents at the Suspected Place and Premises and all of the males observed by Affiant wear their hair shorter than the strand observed by Affiant…
…Affiant has been advised by Schleicher County Sheriff David Doran that Sheriff Doran has worked with residents at the Suspected Place and Premises over the past four years. Sheriff Doran advised Affiant that he has learned from the residents at the Suspected Place and Premises that the residents all belong to the religious group the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (hereafter referred to as FLDS). On April 6, 2008, Sheriff Doran advised Affiant that over the past four years, Sheriff Doran has worked with a confidential informant who is a former member of the FLDS; that the confidential informant has provided Sheriff Doran with information regarding the FLDS on more than twenty occasions over the past several years and that on each occasion, the information was proven to be reliable, true and correct; that the confidential informant has continued to provide Sheriff Doran reliable information as recently as April 5, 2008; that, on April 5, 2008, the confidential informant advised Sheriff Doran of the following: that adult male FLDS church members over the age of seventeen engage in the practice of marrying multiple wives at the initial time of the marriage, the bride is often under the age of sixteen years; and that the temple at the Suspected Place and Premises contains an area where there is a bed where males over the age of seventeen engage in sexual activity with female children under the age of seventeen…
1. This affidavit was signed by Texas Ranger Leslie Brooks Long. According to her sworn testimony she was personally at the compound and apparently inside the FLDS temple. She apparently saw
multiple locked safes, locked desk drawers, locked vaults, as well as multiple computers and beds.
On one of the beds she observed:
that the bed linens were disturbed as if the bed had been used and Affiant observed a strand of hair believed to have come from the head of a female . . .
OK, all we can conclude from Ranger Long’s affidavit is that she saw a bed, that looked like someone slept in it. The someone, must have been a female, because all the males have short hair at the compound, or at least the ones she had seen. There was no evidence, based on the sworn affidavit that this particular bed was used by anyone for anything other than sleeping or resting. It’s an incredible stretch to conclude the bed Ranger Long observed was used as a wedding bed between and adult male and an under aged female. And, that is not at all what Ranger Long claimed in her sworn affidavit. Yet, that hasn’t stopped the MSM from shouting from the roof tops that under aged female brides were sexually molested immediately after their spiritual marriages.
2. The second paragraph of the affidavit is the weakest part of the affidavit, which again is based on double hearsay. According to Ranger Long, Sheriff Doran told her, that an unnamed, and unidentified source had told him (the sheriff) that there was a bed somewhere on the premises where adult men engaged in sexual activities with under aged women.
The only thing we know about this unidentified informant is that the person is a “former member” of the FLDS Church. Of course, everything we have heard from such sources through each media report, has been a completely reliable and unbiased source of information. Odds are such an informant has an incredible axe to grind against her former church.
While this type of double hearsay may support the issuance of a search warrant, it is certainly not reliable enough to take it at face value for the truth of the matter asserted, i.e., that there is in fact under aged sexual activity taking place in the temple on a regular basis. We know nothing about this unidentified informant, other than he/she is a former FLDS member. We don’t know the circumstances surrounding their departure from the FLDS group. We have no idea what type of information the informant had provided over the last several years, and whether any of it included facts about what takes place in the temple.
The bottom line is that the allegations would never be admissible in a court of law. And, we should be very wary of taking them at face value, and passing them along as though they were the truth. They are what they are, and that is double hearsay, not subject to any type of cross examination.
Still almost every major media source has parroted the allegations and conclusions contained in the affidavit as though it were the gospel truth, just because it happened to be filed as court paperwork in this case.