Former polygamist sect 'wife' talks to 11 News

KHOU News, Houston/May 31, 2008

Houston - The state of Texas must decide how they are going to return hundreds of children to their parents after the Supreme Court ruled the raid on the polygamous ranch in Eldorado was illegal.

Members of the polygamous group flocked to Texas five years ago, but one girl could have prompted the move to Texas.

You've probably never heard of Ruth Stubbs. Four years ago, the one-time child bride sat down with Belo news reporter Mike Watkiss.

In 2002, the pregnant mother of two fled from the polygamous compound along the Utah-Arizona border led by Warren Jeffs.

"I was scared when I came out to the outside world," Stubbs said. "I was scared, and I was watching my back, and I was wondering who was going to hurt me? And who was going to hurt my kids."

Ruth said at age 16, she was forced to marry Colorado City, Ariz., law enforcement officer Rodney Holm.

At the time she said he had two wives and 20 children.

"I think it's wrong," a then-19-year-old Stubbs said. "I wish I wouldn't have gotten married when I was 16. I'm too young to have three kids; I'm 19."

Many girls told a similiar story, and some say for decades, law enforcement ignored the alleged abuse until this young mother did something few had done before.

It is said she rocked the secretive world of the polygamist community along the Utah-Arizona border.

Prosecutors brought a case against her husband. He was convicted of bigamy and having sex with an underage girl.

The man behind it all: Warren Jeffs.

At one time, Jeffs headed the FLDS, but Holm's conviction scared him.

"He knew that he married a 16-year-old girl, and he's been doing it a lot," Sutbbs said. "He did it a lot before me, so he knew he was in for it."

Jeffs went into hiding after Holm's conviction.

Soon after, members bought a tract of land near Eldorado and started building the temple and massive compound.

Some observers believe the Holm conviction had the FLDS members looking for a new place to go.

"A police officer from a Colorado City was convicted, and I think it may have influenced the thinking of some of this group's leaders and made them start looking around for a place to go," one man said.

The conviction also forced Jeffs underground.

"I think he is an evil man," Stubbs said. "I don't think any man of God would destroy people's lives and take people's families away and marry them to other men like he's doing."

One-time fugitive Jeffs is now in prison.

Last year, a jury found him guilty of forcing a 14-year-old to marry and have sex with her 19-year-old cousin against her will.

He's facing other charges in Arizona.

Stubbs has remarried, and her husband also fled the polygamous sect. Now they're trying to life a normal life in the outside world and put the past behind them.

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