Prosecutor Wants Bountiful Polygamous Probe Reopened:

by John McKiggan

The special prosecutor who has been asked to investigate the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints community in Bountiful, British Columbia plans to ask the RCMP to reopen their criminal investigation into the polygamous religious community.

The Globe and Mail reported that Vancouver lawyer, Terry Robertson says that:

“The law says it is an offence for a person in a position of authority over another to sexually touch someone if they are under 18,”

Women who have left the community of Bountiful have said that girls as young as 14 have been married to men more than 20 years older, who are elders in the religious community.

Robertson also intends to look at whether the law against polygamy breaches the freedom-of-religion provision of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

I posted almost a year ago that the BC government had decided not to lay criminal charges over the polygamy in Bountiful: B.C. will not charge Polygamists with Child Sexual Abuse

At that time the prosecutor refused to lay charges on the basis that the children had “consented” to the marriages and were therefore not sexual assaults under the law.

Given the control that some religious leaders can have over the members of their communities (and I am not just talking about the Church of Latter Day Saints) , isn’t it a bit naive to just assume that a child’s “consent” is genuine? Is it not possible that the “consent” was coerced?

What do you think?

One Response to “Prosecutor Wants Bountiful Polygamous Probe Reopened:”

June 25, 2008 at 12:02 am, Brian said:

Perhaps it’s not just kids who have been coerced into sex and marriage. If there’s that much of a power difference, even women’s consent to sex and marriage is suspect. The differences between adult sexual coercion and child sexual abuse in too many cases is age and legality, not morality and predatory instinct.

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