Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Goddard interview on Horizon - told Harry Reid he was "misinformed" in criticizing Goddard for ignoring child sex abuse

AG Terry Goddard was interviewed on Horizon last night about his failure to prosecute adults having sex with children within the FLDS polygamous cult in Colorado City. U.S. Senate Majority leader Harry Reid, a Democrat from Utah, recently denounced Arizona and Utah officials - namely Goddard and Utah's AG Mark Shurtleff, who have jurisdiction - for allowing the sex abuse of minors to continue for years.
"I am a cheerleader for what is going on in Texas," Reid, D-Nevada, said on KUER's RadioWest broadcast from a Washington hotel. "I think Texas is doing what Utah and Arizona should have done decades ago."
Reid added that the children in the Texas polygamous compound were better off in foster care than in their dormitories where he said there was apparent sexual abuse going on.
"To have what goes on in Arizona and in Utah go on year after year after year and people turn a blind eye to it, I think it is a travesty. I am embarrassed for the two states. . . . Utah politicians are afraid to do anything about it, and I think that's wrong."
On Horizon, Goddard tried to blame his lack of action on the feds, saying he's been asking for their help for years. Sounds just like his approach to illegal immigration, it's a federal problem, not our problem. In reality, we all know if Colorado City was in the jurisdiction of Sheriff Arpaio, he would have stopped the sexual abuse of children years ago, without making excuses. Goddard said that AZ law is different from Texas law, it says that families should be kept together, and the state has to prove "imminent harm" to the child before it can remove them. What about child sexual abuse doesn't fit the definition of "imminent harm?"

Goddard dug a hole deeper for himself when he said that in Texas, law enforcement is prohibited from entering the cult's compound, but here in Arizona they can. That gives him even less of an excuse why he hasn't been able to stop this. He said that Arizona received a similar cry for help from a young girl in the Colorado City compound when Texas received their call. He said he dismissed the complaint, because he couldn't validate it. His efforts to validate it consisted of going to a couple of houses in Colorado City where young women lived who fit the description of the woman who'd called in, and asking them if they were in trouble. Based on not finding anyone admitting this, he dismissed the complaint. Unbelievable. As if some girl who secretly calls the police is going to admit in front of her family to police that she reported them. I'm sure if an ex-member of the FLDS were asked about this, they would affirm this. I've been watching ex-FLDS members interviewed on the news frequently recently, and they have all indicated so.

Goddard justified his lack of inaction also on the presence of a "safety net" of helpful organizations that Arizona provides for cult victims, that Texas apparently doesn't provide. This is all nice, but a safety net is useless if the victims never escape out of the cult.

Goddard said he'd tried to investigate the FLDS polygamous cult through welfare and tax fraud investigations but had no success. Well duh, there's something much more serious occurring here than welfare and tax fraud!

Goddard said now that Reid has criticized him, it will "get the ball rolling." The implication being that if Reid hadn't criticized him, Goddard would have continued ignoring the sex abuse. Goddard said he telephoned Reid to confront him about the criticism, and told him he was "misinformed." This is really outrageous. How dare Goddard say that concern for the lack of prosecuting child sex abusers is "misinformed!" Child sex abuse can never be shrugged off nor defended. The most powerful member of the Senate is wrong to criticize lack of prosecution of child sex offenders? I don't think so. Goddard sounds more like a criminal defense attorney than a prosecutor.

Goddard said that no longer will the FLDS be able to get away with things just because they live in a remote area of the state. Basically admitting that he has let them get away with it until now.

He said he would apply the law equally to both Mesa and FLDS - indirectly slamming regular Mormons by comparing them to the FLDS, which was rather insulting.

Overall the interview was a disappointment and gave viewers no confidence that Goddard will prosecute certain crimes unless he's forced to. Who knows how many girls have been raped by older men over the years while Goddard has fretted about having no jurisdiction.

Goddard said he intends to co-host a townhall and "training session" on polygamy on May 8 with Utah's AG.

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