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Friday, June 17, 2005

Utah AG Urged to Prosecute Polygamists for Sex Crimes

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (AP) -- Rachael Strong said she was 18 and "too scared to resist" a marriage to a polygamist in his 60s who scheduled nights with his 17 wives on a calendar and ordered them to use birth control.  She eventually broke away from the polygamous sect and said she can provide evidence of rape and bigamy at The True and Living Church in Manti, Utah -- but claims authorities won't listen.  "Here I am," the 20-year-old Strong declared Wednesday at the Utah Capitol, in a lobby two floors under Attorney General Mark Shurtleff's office. "For over six months I've been willing to testify."  Strong made her appearance as an anti-polygamy group accused authorities of going after only the most visible polygamous leaders and ignoring the vast majority of cases of child abuse, incest and bigamy in the secret societies throughout Utah and Arizona.  Although polygamy is illegal, it's believed that tens of thousands of Mormon fundamentalists and others across the West continue the practice.  Tapestry Against Polygamy, which helps women escape polygamous homes with their children, said last week's felony indictment of Warren Jeffs, president of the Fundamental Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, underscored the gulf that leaves many other polygamy victims without the support of law enforcement."  Story . . . [Mark Godsey]

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