Bountiful men implicated in human smuggling scheme to send child brides to United States

Thirty-one Canadian girls aged 12 to 17 are alleged to have been victims of the scheme involving marriages to older men in Texas

Vancouver Sun, Canada/March 28, 2011

Warren Jeffs, head of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, is at the centre of a probe in Canada and the United States of cross-border smuggling of child brides.

The RCMP is trying to verify a list of 31 girls aged 12 to 17, who over a 10-year period are alleged to have been transported by their fathers and brothers between Canada and the United States for religious marriages to older men.

If the list is verified and charges laid, it would be one of Canada's largest cases of crossborder smuggling of humans.

The list is based on documents seized by Texas authorities in a 2008 raid on the Yearning for Zion Ranch in search of girls sexually exploited by male members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

It's a who's who of North American polygamy including FLDS prophet Warren Jeffs and his most trusted American lieutenants as well as Canada's two most prominent polygamists, James Oler and Winston Blackmore, and their relatives from Bountiful.

The documents, which include church marriage records and Jeffs's diary, have already been used by Texas courts to convict seven FLDS men of child sexrelated charges.

In the diaries, Jeffs detailed how Bountiful men were to sneak their often unsuspecting daughters and sisters into the United States for arranged marriages and how many of the men returned with teenage American brides without any consideration of either country's immigration laws.

That information could well be used against Jeffs when goes to trial later this year charged with two counts of sexual abuse involving two 12-yearold girls and one count of bigamy. Before the trial begins, it's likely Texas will add more charges against Jeffs since the B.C. attorney-general's ministry has already confirmed that a 13-year-old girl and two 12-year-olds from Bountiful became Jeffs's brides after their fathers -Brandon Blackmore, MacRae Blackmore and Spencer Blackmore -delivered them to him in 2004 and 2005.

Those three girls are among nine girls whose birth dates and marriage details were entered as evidence of polygamy's harm in a constitutional reference case to determine whether Canada's polygamy law is valid.

According to documents filed by the B.C. attorney-general, James Oler allegedly delivered his two under-aged sisters to Jeffs in 2004 and, in 2005, minutes after witnessing the marriage of his 15-year-old daughter in Nevada, the 41-year-old Oler collected a 15-year-old bride of his own and took her home to Bountiful.

If the documents are accurate, Oler's actions contrast starkly with an affidavit he filed as part of the reference case.

"[In] instances where members of the community have been suspected of criminal offences ... reports have been made to the police."

Oler, a party to the reference, later withdrew his affidavit.

Since then, Oler has been replaced as bishop by his halfbrother, Kendall Oler, who is also alleged to have married a 16-year-old American girl when he was 41.

Other Olers alleged to have taken child brides between 1996 and 2006 are Ty Rulon and Terrel Ray.

Jeffs's diary notes that Terrel's 16-year-old bride-tobe refused to meet with the prophet before the ceremony "so he [Terrel] needs to pray harder and we will see what the Lord does for them."

Another bride balked at the altar, according to Jeffs's diary.

"She was surprised and has already been leaning toward Winston Blackmore's followers. That is a dangerous wedding to perform when they are not faithful."

Blackmore was the bishop until his excommunication in 2002. But before that -in 1998 and 2000 -he's listed as having taken his two under-aged daughters to their weddings in the United States and in 1999 as the husband of a 16-year-old following a ceremony in Utah.

Blackmore has admitted to having taken "several" young girls as brides and when he was charged in 2008 with one count of polygamy along with James Oler -charges which were subsequently stayed -an RCMP affidavit stated that four of Blackmore's brides were 15, two were 16 and three were 17.

The documents show that, in addition to Blackmore, his older brothers, MacRae and Brandon, and MacRae's son, Spencer, other Bountiful men alleged to have married child brides and brought them back to Canada are Brandon's sons, Brandon Seth and Zane Blackmore, and Justin Andrew Palmer.

But Jeffs's cold-blooded manipulation of people like chess pawns apparently doesn't stop at girls and young women.

His diary alleges that on Christmas Day 2003, he ordered a follower to steal a baby boy from his mother and take him to Jeffs "out of reach of the government and of his mother until his mother can prove that she can maintain the sweet spirit."

Jeffs ends the diary entry: "If she turns traitor and goes and tells anyone ... the Lord will handle her."

To see more documents/articles regarding this group/organization/subject click here.