Mayor of polygamous town may have married 15-year-old
Did the sitting mayor of a polygamous town on the Utah-Arizona border marry a teenage girl?
That's the unsettling allegation about Colorado City Mayor Joseph Allred revealed in a batch of court documents filed earlier this year. The documents are part of a Department of Justice case against Colorado City, Ariz., and Hildale, Utah neighboring towns dominated by The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The case alleges many of the same things that came up in the recently wrapped Cooke family lawsuit, namely that the towns discriminate against outsiders and are controlled by the FLDS Church.
The DOJ case was on hold while the Cooke case moved through the court. However, recent court filings portray past and present town officials as misbehaving obstructionists who actively sought to withhold information, including Allred's alleged underage marriage.
Marrying a 15-year-old • The most serious allegation in the documents is that Allred wed a 15-year-old girl. The topic came up during a deposition with Chief Marshal Helaman Barlow; federal attorneys asked Barlow if he knew about and investigated the marriage, but Barlow refused to answer.
Details about the union are scarce and The Salt Lake Tribune does not identify alleged victims of sex crimes but the documents indicate that federal attorneys have access to FLDS marriage records. Attorneys also have access to driver licences for Allred and the girl, and asked Barlow if he ever saw them at an FLDS meetinghouse. The question seemed to indicate that at least someone has publicly seen Allred with the girl.
The girl's date of birth has been redacted from the documents and her current age is not mentioned. However, federal attorneys later said she had a child when she was 17 years old and asked Barlow if he was "concerned at all when a 17-year-old girl gives birth in your town?"
"No," Barlow replied, according to the documents.
Allred is the current mayor of Colorado City, but last month during the Cooke trial refused to answer any questions when he was called as a witness. Attorneys asked him about his religion and its role in the towns, among an array of other topics. After each question, he invoked his Fifth Amendment rights.
Allred's attorney did not return calls seeking comment.
The federal attorneys on the case and a lawyer representing Colorado City declined to comment.
A foot chase with a former cop •Other documents in the case recount an episode in which Colorado City's former police chief ran away literally from a court agent and hid in a Wal-Mart.
The incident happened last year on Christmas Eve when Sam Brower, a private investigator, was trying to serve a subpoena to Fred Barlow, the former town marshal of Colorado City. Barlow lost his police certification in 2007 for writing letters to FLDS leader and then-fugitive Warren Jeffs.
Barlow began running away from Brower at a Home Depot in Washington, Utah. Brower had a tip that Barlow was at the store, but when the two men saw each other, the former cop "abandoned his purchases and ran from the building," court documents state.
Brower then learned that Barlow had fled to a nearby Wal-Mart. Brower searched the store, but after failing to find Barlow, he contacted security and began looking at the surveillance footage.
Court documents describe several surveillance clips that show Barlow sneaking around the Wal-Mart, "actively evading service of a subpoena." In one clip, he can be seen "moving furtively through the store, pausing at the exit, and then running" away from Brower. Other clips show Barlow peering around store aisles and running in and out of different store entrances. Overall, Barlow "went to great lengths to evade personal service," the documents add.
Barlow eventually succeeded in evading Brower; the court documents were filed because federal attorneys want permission to simply mail him the subpoena. Those attorneys also believe Barlow's testimony will be integral for their case.
Other allegations •The allegations mentioned in the documents are not limited to Allred's marriage and Fred Barlow's fleeing. Others include the following:
• Alleged letters that Allred wrote to Jeffs while the FLDS president was on the run from police;
• Colorado City Vice Mayor Kimball Barlow's refusal to discuss FLDS properties that received water during an alleged water shortage;
• Training provided by the town marshals to the FLDS security forces, which Kimball Barlow refused to talk about;
• The possibility that government officials were ordered to "repent from afar," which Allred refused to discuss.
Ultimately, a judge granted federal attorneys' request to require Allred, Helaman Barlow and Kimball Barlow to answer questions about the various allegations.