|Church and state|
|Church and state|
|Written by Mark Nichols|
According to a recent report from KUTV in Arizona, officials are once more calling for the police force in the polygamous towns along the Utah/Arizona border to be closed down. Several attempts by multiple officials last year failed to do just that.
A shared Marshal's Office provided law enforcement to Colorado City, Arizona and its twin city across the border — Hildale, Utah. The area is home to the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints which is run by imprisoned leader Warren Jeffs from his jail cell.
Jeffs, 56, is serving a life sentence in Texas after being convicted of sexually assaulting two underage girls.
It seems police outside of these towns have little use for the cops who work in them.
"They are corrupt," Mohave County Arizona Sheriff Tom Sheahan told reporters speaking about the towns’ police officers.
"They work only for Warren Jeffs and the FLDS and we need legislation badly to put them out of business."
Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne is leading the charge against the Colorado City/Hildale Marshal's Office. He says there’s no doubt that agency should be shut down. He also discussed disturbing allegations that the police force is acting in concert with the FLDS Church to keep women and children captive.
"It's the biggest injustice that I know of in the State of Arizona," Horne said. "Women who've wanted to escape have been forcibly held by the marshals against their will."
Horne and Sheriff Sheahan have asked the Arizona legislature to pass laws to shut down the towns' Marshal's Office. The announcement came during a press conference announcing that a mother of six had successfully escaped from the towns.
The woman, Ruby Jessop, 26, did not speak at the press conference. Her sister, Flora Jessop, who escaped polygamy over two decades ago, spoke on her behalf.
“If we would have had someone up there that was legitimate law enforcement, she wouldn't have been through 12 years in hell,” Flora Jessop said.
Jessop said her sister was forced to marry her brother-in-law when she was just 14 and that FLDS leaders and the Marshal's Office would not allow her to leave the church or the community.
“With that Marshal's Office they have been able to keep women locked away and take children from women and keep them trapped inside of the cult,” she noted.
But attorneys for the municipalities of Hildale and Colorado City say the charges are baseless.
“As of today, there's been no proof or evidence of any type of wrongdoing whatsoever,” said Jeff Matura, attorney for Colorado City.
“If the Attorney General's Office has evidence of wrongdoing they should arrest and prosecute as any law enforcement agency would; as opposed to simply making allegations without any evidence or proof,” he went on to say.
This is in fact one of the few things that Arizona lawmakers and the feds agree on.
The U.S. Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit against the towns alleging that FLDS leaders control the police force and utility departments.
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