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Man living in polygamous town talks about harassment

Published January 30, 2014 8:47 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Isaac Wyler's testimony in the Cooke lawsuit took up most Wednesday afternoon and produced a lot of information, some of which wouldn't fit into the main story. Among other things, Wyler said that he has seen and experienced significant harassment in the community. The harassment increased against Wyler after he started working for Bruce Wisan, who manages the UEP trust, he said.

The reason this came up was because, Wyler said, the police were involved in the harassment. Wyler said he reported the incidents to local police but received no help.

Here is a list of things he testified Wednesday that he has seen or experienced:

• His tires have been slashed repeatedly. The "record" was 28 times in one month.

• He began finding dead animals around his home.

• Someone cut the wires on his horse enclosures, allowing them to escape and run onto the highway. When Wyler reported the incident to the local law enforcement, they threatened to cite him for having animals at large. The fees amounted to $25,000, which Wyler said forced him to begin storing his horses outside of town.

• Someone damaged a fence releasing more than 30 cows into the community.

• Men from the FLDS Church were once plowing down a field of wheat planted by a non-FLDS family. Wyler said the county sheriff had to come to stop it.

• Wyler said he caught a man "red-handed" taking down a baseball backstop at a UEP-owned school, but the police wouldn't do anything about it.

During cross examination, Hildale city attorney Blake Hamilton noted that despite his supposed dislike for the local police, Wyler has called them more than 300 times in the last five years.

Hamilton also pointed out that Wyler has received his utilities — and in one case even got a waiver for them — despite being a vocal critic of the FLDS religion. That experience stands in contrast to the Cookes' issues with their own utilities, which attorneys for the city say resulted from non-compliance with policy and a design to sue.

— Jim Dalrymple II

Twitter: @jimmycdii