RCMP to investigate eight teen marriages tied to B.C. polygamist enclave

The Vancouver Sun/February 26, 2011

Vancouver - The RCMP is preparing to visit Bountiful, B.C., following disturbing evidence divulged in court Friday that eight young teenage girls from the polygamist Mormon community were taken to the U.S. to marry older men.

"Obviously, we can't discuss what we are doing in the context of the investigation but eventually we will have to attend (Bountiful.) But as it stands we are not there right now," RCMP Cpl. Annie Linteau said on Friday.

Linteau said investigators received the evidence last week and have launched a new criminal investigation.

"We're aware of the affidavits filed by the attorney general's office," she said. "We initiated an investigation into those allegations and the investigation is ongoing."

In 2008, Wendy Wiens, team leader for B.C.'s Ministry of Children and Family Development, received a fax from Angie Voss, a child protective services supervisor in Texas outlining how four years earlier a 13-year-old girl from Bountiful had been taken illegally to the United States by her parents and was married off to Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints leader Warren Jeffs.

At the time, Jeffs was 48, had other wives and was a fugitive running from charges related to having sex with minors.

The fax was sent five months after Texas authorities raided the FLDS's Yearning for Zion ranch and took into care close to 400 women and children.

Contacted Friday in Creston, B.C., the closest town to Bountiful, Wiens said she would not comment on anything to do with the case. Christine Ash, a spokeswoman for the ministry, wouldn't comment either, saying the case was before the courts.

"Whenever the ministry is made aware of a possible child protection issue, it will assess what that is and follows up accordingly as to whether there is a protection concern; however the Ministry has no jurisdiction outside of B.C's borders," said Ash.

The number of wives that Jeffs has is unknown, although some have estimated he is married to more than 80 women.

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