DOCUMENT: Crime

Compound Horrors

Official describes sex abuse, forced marriage at Texas polygamy sect

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Compound Horrors

APRIL 8--Forced marriage and sexual abuse were 'pervasive' inside the Texas compound of a polygamist sect raided last week by investigators, according to child welfare officials seeking custody of more than 400 children removed from the religious group's sprawling YFZ Ranch.

In a harrowing District Court affidavit, a Child Protective Services investigator charged that the children were placed in risk of 'emotional, physical and/or sexual abuse' at the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints facility, where female children were groomed to 'accept spiritual marriages to adult male members of the YFZ Ranch resulting in them being sexually abused.'

Similarly, investigator Lynn McFadden noted, young men on the YFZ Ranch were 'spiritually married to minor female children,' with whom they engaged in sexual relationships, becoming, in the process, sexual 'perpetrators.' The McFadden affidavit, which was filed today in court, was provided to TSG by the San Angelo Standard-Times. A copy of the document can be found here.

The government raid on the compound was triggered after a 16-year-old mother called a family violence center and reported that she had been abused by her 50-year-old husband and was seeking help in departing the property, according to the affidavit. The girl, who has yet to be located, identified her abuser as Dale Barlow, a 50-year-old registered sex offender who pleaded no contest last year to conspiring to have sex with a minor. (6 pages)