Mounties to investigate FLDS child brides in Utah
Canadian Royal Mounted Police have a list of 30 girls who may have been abused or trafficked for sex by members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and plan to visit Utah and Texas to investigate.
The girls range in age from 12 to 17, said Cpl. Dan Moskaluk, a spokesman for the Mounties. The planned U.S. trips were not spurred by the trial of FLDS president and prophet Warren Jeffs, Moskaluk said.
Rather, the trips are related to an ongoing inquiry in British Columbia about polygamy there, Moskaluk said.
However, the Mounties have been cooperating with Texas law enforcement, which found marriage records inside the Yearning for Zion Ranch in Eldorado during a 2008 raid.
"We were provided with a list of 30 possible victims," Moskaluk said.
Moskaluk said the Mounties are not yet ready to name any suspects, but possible offenses include the sexual assault of girls on Canadian soil or transporting girls out of Canada for the purposes of sex elsewhere.
The FLDS has an enclave in Bountiful, British Columbia.
At Jeffs' trial, prosecutors said he married two 12-year-olds from Canada on the same day in December 2005.
Mounties have investigated allegations of FLDS sex abuse in the past, but victims have been reluctant to cooperate, Moskaluk said.
"Hopefully, these people realize we are just trying to assist," he added.
O Read more about Jeffs' alleged Canadian brides