Polygamous sect members move into small state town

Associated Press/July 20, 2014

Boise City -- A family who says they were excommunicated from Warren Jeffs’ polygamous sect has moved to a small city located in the Oklahoma Panhandle, raising concerns among some residents.

George Barlow served as mayor of Colorado City, Arizona, from 2011 to 2013, where many of the residents are members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Jeffs, who is the sect’s leader, is serving a life sentence in a Texas prison for sexually assaulting two of his child brides.

Barlow worked remotely in the role from North Dakota before resigning from the position and moving to Boise City, a small city about 330 miles northwest of Oklahoma City and in the westernmost county of the state. He told The Oklahoman he was excommunicated from the church. Several of Barlow’s brothers have also moved to the area.

About 300 people recently gathered into the local banquet hall to discuss their concerns about the new residents.

Jennifer Adee, 33, and the mother of a 3-year-old, made no secret of her distrust of the newcomers, especially one man whose name was mentioned several times during the meeting.

“I’m not judging him on his religion . If he wants to practice the way he practices, that’s fine. But I’m not going to let my child be a victim, and I’m not going to let anybody else’s child be a victim.”

George Barlow, 52, and his wife, Virgina, 48, said they came to Oklahoma for the work.

“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see this place needed some help,” George Barlow said.

Most of the new men in town are finding jobs as electricians, carpenters and installing drywall. George Barlow works as a mechanic. He and his wife also volunteer at the Cimarron Heritage Center Museum.

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