Ex-Jehovah’s Witness abuse survivor, Woman who escaped a polygamous cult – Warren Jeffs Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
October 17, 2018 Comments Off on Ex-Jehovah’s Witness abuse survivor, Woman who escaped a polygamous cult – Warren Jeffs Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
– Ex-Jehovah’s Witness, abuse survivor launches nonprofit
A woman who said she was repeatedly sexually assaulted throughout her childhood by a member of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Fortuna
– The woman who escaped a polygamous cult – and turned its HQ into a refuge
Briell Decker was 18 when she became the 65th wife of US cult leader Warren Jeffs.
Ex-Jehovah’s Witness, abuse survivor launches nonprofit
By Shomik Mukherjee October 11, 2018
A woman who said she was repeatedly sexually assaulted throughout her childhood by a member of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Fortuna, an experience she recounted in a televised documentary in May, has now launched a nonprofit organization to help fellow survivors of sexual abuse.
Romy Maple has registered SAFE 707 — which stands for Sexual Assault Fighters Elite — as an official nonprofit. She hopes to become a certified life coach in order to aid fellow survivors, especially those who have left behind religious organizations and are at risk, she said, of simply joining another one upon leaving.
“Once you leave a cult, you might walk away but you’re still not free,” she said. Leaving everything behind often leaves individuals without spiritual independence, she said, which further leads some to give into the same type of emotional blackmail elsewhere.
In May, Maple appeared prominently in an A&E documentary series, “Cults and Extreme Belief,” hosted by journalist Elizabeth Vargas.
A&E stated it contacted Jehovah’s Witnesses, which declined to comment on the allegations, but provided producers a copy of the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ position on child protection.
“Jehovah’s Witnesses abhor child abuse and view it as a crime. We recognize that the authorities are responsible for addressing such crimes,” the policy states. “The elders do not shield any perpetrator of child abuse from the authorities.”….
Shortly after the documentary episode focusing on Jehovah’s Witnesses aired on A&E, Maple shared her story with the Times-Standard.
She said she was drugged and raped for much of her childhood by an individual who, like her, was a member of the Jehovah’s Witnesses congregation in Fortuna. At the age of 11, she said, she tried alerting elders in the congregation to the repeated abuse, but all ignored her. For years afterward, she said, she struggled with suicidal thoughts and feelings of loneliness.
The alleged incidents happened far longer ago than the statute of limitations for rape. A few weeks ago, Maple said, she confronted her alleged abuser, offering him forgiveness and asking for an apology. She said she didn’t receive one.
Maple currently lives in Fortuna. The town still carries a culture of silence, she said. She often drives by the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses, she said, and wonders if children in there are still being abused….
Maple will soon embark on a days-long retreat, which she hopes will further help in her healing. Her ultimate goal, she said, is to help those who are in danger of “cult-hopping.”
“If you don’t have the training or education, you’re going to fall back into the same type of vibration,” she said. “That’s what you’re primed for.”….
The woman who escaped a polygamous cult – and turned its HQ into a refuge
Briell Decker was 18 when she became the 65th wife of US cult leader Warren Jeffs. Can she help heal the town his FLDS sect ruled for generations?
Alex Hannaford Sat 13 Oct 2018
Briell Decker carefully removed the screws from the corners of the window and began pounding on the glass until it started to come loose. Hearing the noise, her sister-in-law, who had been in the lounge area of their trailer home, came in and took the screwdriver away. But it was too late: Decker had already unscrewed one side of the pane; as soon as she was alone again, she opened the window, climbed out into the street and ran away. She was escaping her brother, his wife, and the fundamentalist Mormon cult they all belonged to. Decker had been forced to marry its leader, Warren Jeffs, aged 18.
Six years later, Decker sits on the back porch of the $1.2m mansion where she once lived with Jeffs. “I knew I wasn’t going to give up, whether I made it out or not,” she says of her escape. “Nothing was going to stop me.”
Everything has changed since then. Jeffs is seven years into a life sentence for sexual assault. Decker has made a life for herself, and recently remarried. The town in which she lives has started to open itself up to people outside the cult for the first time in 90 years, and to welcome back excommunicated members.
For three generations, the twin cities of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Arizona – collectively known as Short Creek – have been home to the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, better known as FLDS, a religious sect that split from the Mormon church in 1930; its members wanted to continue to practise polygamy. The church teaches that having multiple wives (each of whom is assigned to a man) is ordained by God. Women wear long-sleeved prairie dresses that stretch down to the ankles, and pin their hair in a bun.
Now the walls around Short Creek’s houses, real and figurative, are coming down. Decker has turned the 44-room mansion where Jeffs and his wives lived into a refuge for other women fleeing the same church. “Even though it was his house, it feels good,” she says.
Jeffs, a tall, slim man with dark eyes, has been president and prophet of FLDS since 2002, continuing to run the cult from his prison cell. Soon after he assumed the leadership, he began splitting families apart, taking young girls as his own brides, and excommunicating members, mainly young men, from the church. He banned socialising, as well as contact with the outside world. In 2011, he began a life sentence for sexually assaulting two girls aged 12 and 14, whom he described as his “spiritual wives”. Jeffs, now 62, has wed around 80 women and children over the years, though the state doesn’t recognise these marriages. Decker was wife number 65.
It has taken a long time for change to come to Short Creek, as the community starts to reckon with its leader’s legacy. There are still about 10,000 active members of the church in the region, most of them in Short Creek. But there are signs that others have moved on: last November, Hildale elected its first ever female, non-FLDS, mayor. A few months ago, a new police chief – an outsider with no ties to the community – was sworn in after a jury ruled that the previous force, made up entirely of church members, was guilty of religious discrimination…..
Church of England downplayed extent of child abuse allegations, ritual abuse, padeophile cults, multiple personalities, FLDS – Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
July 12, 2018 Comments Off on Church of England downplayed extent of child abuse allegations, ritual abuse, padeophile cults, multiple personalities, FLDS – Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
– Church of England downplayed extent of child abuse allegations to protect its reputation, report finds
– Paedophile cults, parenting and multiple personalities: A mother who’s experienced it all
– Havant sexual abuse survivor calls for more support: ‘There is life after abuse’
– Judge refuses to dismiss lawsuit accusing FLDS of sexually abusing young girls under guise of religion (Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints)
– Dissociative Identity Disorder: What it’s like to live with multiple personalities
Church of England downplayed extent of child abuse allegations to protect its reputation, report finds
Olivia Rudgard, Religious Affairs Correspondent
22 June 2018
The Church of England disregarded dozens of allegations in its inquiry into child sexual abuse and then downplayed the issue to protect its reputation, a critical report has found.
A report by former Barnardo’s chief executive Sir Roger Singleton found that close to 100 cases were whittled down to just a handful for a review released in 2010.
Inconsistent and overly specific criteria reduced the number of cases they reported for the Past Cases Review, leading it to conclude after examining 40,000 files that just 13 cases of alleged child sexual abuse merited formal action.
Sir Roger, who was commissioned to complete an inquiry into the review, said he believed the Church “downplayed” the issue in public statements to avoid reputational damage.
However, he also said he found “no evidence whatsoever of a deliberate attempt to mislead” or that anyone broke the law.
“In the public statement that it issued reporting on the review, [the Church] rather failed to give a comprehensive picture of the concerns that existed,” he said.
“It narrowed down the definitions of who had actually been responsible for abuse by limiting it to just new cases and cases where the Church took formal action. This had the impact of reducing the numbers from probably nearer 100 to just two which appeared in the public statements.”
Paedophile cults, parenting and multiple personalities: A mother who’s experienced it all
By Hattie Gladwell
Friday 22 Jun 2018
Karen*, a mother-of-three in her sixties, lives with dissociative identity disorder (DID), which used to be known as ‘multiple personality disorder’.
It was triggered during her childhood by enduring extreme ritual abuse, inflicted on her by a group of paedophiles. Starting even before she could speak, she underwent emotional, physical and sexual abuse of the most horrific kinds imaginable.
This ‘cult’ Karen describes as a paedophile ring caused Karen to start to disassociate to try and cope with the horrendous pain and trauma inflicted on her as a child.
It started when she was a one-year-old and carried on until she was 16. She now says that she has ‘many parts’.
When the abuse finally stopped after her childhood, the past was ‘barricaded safely away for over 20 years’ because of her ‘alters’ or ‘parts’, the terms used for alternate identities.
DID’s symptoms mean you experience severe changes in your identity, with your psyche creating various personalities to help you cope with traumatic events.
The identity states may come across as different ages and genders, and you may feel you have one ‘main’ part of your identity that feels most like ‘you’ – which some people call the host identity.
A person living with DID may not have control over the different parts when an identity takes over and they may even suffer from amnesia which means you don’t remember what happens when another part of your identity is in control….
The emotional, sexual and physical abuse took many forms, from emotional manipulation and controlling behaviour to rape and beatings.
Karen was abused by a pseudo-cult claiming to be of Christian religion as justification. Heartbreakingly, she also suffered abuse outside of the cult, from people within her family….
Havant sexual abuse survivor calls for more support: ‘There is life after abuse’
Tamara Siddiqui Wednesday 27 June 2018
A WOMAN who endured almost 20 years of emotional, sexual and physical abuse is raising awareness about the lack of help available for survivors of such terrible ordeals.
Pauline Sharp, 55, was abused by her parents at her childhood home in Stubbington, and now lives with a number of health issues including chronic post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)….
Pauline, who lives in Havant, said: ‘I’m a survivor of ritual abuse which started at the age of three and carried on until I was about 22. I got told I was chosen, there to serve, and I should be thankful.
‘The impact of child sexual abuse on me and all survivors is life-long.
‘Over the years I have abused my own body, because I was violated, raped, and indoctrinated for so long, told I was evil and worth nothing, so I believed it.
‘I would inflict pain on myself, self-harm and overeat, just so I could mask the pain inflicted on me. As well as chronic PTSD I have short-term memory loss caused by the trauma, anxiety, disassociation, flashbacks and nightmares.’….
After also being taken elsewhere so others could inflict abuse on her, Pauline escaped her parents’ control aged 22 for a job as a nanny in Canada.
She described using her once 24-stone weight as a disguise that kept her safe.
Pauline, who was hospitalised twice in 2007, added: ‘I only got the right help after my second breakdown and it took two years, but I’m lucky I got it because some places have it, some don’t.
‘Survivors of abuse have suffered so much as children and as adults their needs deserve to be met with specialist long-term trauma-based help.
‘Only if a survivor can access the right support can they even begin to recover.
‘I am silent no more and I want to raise awareness, much-needed funds, and show other survivors there is love, laughter and life after abuse….
Judge refuses to dismiss lawsuit accusing FLDS of sexually abusing young girls under guise of religion By Michael Rinker July 3, 2018
ST. GEORGE — A Utah judge last week denied a defendant’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit alleging ritualistic sex abuse of young girls by former leaders of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints….
The lawsuit accuses high-ranking FLDS leaders of carrying out a “calculated plan” of ritualistic sex abuse involving girls as young as 8 years old.
In addition to the UEP Trust, other defendants include former FLDS President Warren Jeffs, his brothers Lyle Jeffs and Seth Jeffs, former FLDS leader Wendell Nielsen and the FLDS church.
In 2005, a Utah judge appointed a special fiduciary to take over the UEP Trust in response to accusations that Warren Jeffs and other FLDS leaders mismanaged it.
The responsibility of the special fiduciary has since been reduced, and the trust is now largely run by a court-appointed board of trustees
Since the 2005 intervention, communal property once controlled by the church in Colorado City, Arizona, and Hildale has been subdivided and farms and other businesses have been claimed by the trust as taxes went unpaid. It has been overseeing distribution of the property.
As part of their FLDS beliefs, sex between underage girls and priesthood leaders took place, the lawsuit alleges. After President Rulon T. Jeffs suffered a stroke in August 1998, much of his power and authority was delegated to his son Warren Jeffs, who began a new practice involving ritualistic sexual intercourse with young girls in the FLDS temple and other FLDS properties.
“Sex with girls, ages eight to 14 years old, was initiated by Warren Jeffs,” the lawsuit alleges, “along with leadership of UEP Trust and the FLDS Church, including the Twelve Apostles of the Church engaging in and witnessing the sexual relations between Warren S. Jeffs, Lyle Jeffs, Seth Jeffs and Wendell LeRoy Nielsen and other John Does viewing, watching, taping, participating in and documenting these sexual encounters with underage girls.”….
“Warren S. Jeffs told (R.H.) that if she told anyone of these encounters, God would destroy her and her family immediately,” the lawsuit states. He also reportedly said that if she cried during the ritual, “God would punish her.”
The rituals reportedly occurred five to six times a week until R.H. turned 12. When she was 14 years old, the lawsuit alleges, she was required to witness and document other girls’ ritualistic abuse with church leaders…..
Dissociative Identity Disorder: What it’s like to live with multiple personalities
By Tracey Shelton 30 Jun 2018
Ms Tulloch has dissociative identity disorder (DID), also known as multiple personality disorder. She has more than 100 “parts”, each with their own ages, abilities, likes and characteristics.
Psychological studies and accounts of multiplicity have been around for centuries, and DID has been included in the official psychiatry manual since 1980. But it still remains controversial.
In almost every studied case, the cause can be traced back to extreme and ongoing trauma during childhood. For Ms Tulloch, it was repeated sexual abuse perpetrated by neighbours that began when she was three years old.
Psychiatrist Dr Warwick Middleton, one of Australia’s leading experts in dissociative disorders, describes it as “compartmentalisation” or a complex coping system that develops in a young mind unable to deal with the abuse inflicted on them by those they depend on for survival.
In her definitive book Trauma and Recovery, Judith Herman said the only weapon of survival for a child trapped in an abusive environment are “psychological defences” and this forces the development of “extraordinary capacities, both creative and destructive”.
“Repeated trauma in adult life erodes the structure of the personality already formed,” she writes, “but repeated trauma in childhood forms and deforms the personality.”….
On the outside, her family were devout Baptist Christians, but behind the scenes her memories include ritual abuse by groups of adults, and horrific sexual “punishments” at home, mostly at the hands of her grandfather, for crimes as small as “touching my grandmother’s special china plates”.
The abuse resulted in numerous medical issues that never seemed to raise an eyebrow at the doctor’s clinic.
Di — who went on to become a nurse, a mother and now a grandmother — is telling her story in the hopes of raising awareness not to ignore the signs that a child may be experiencing abuse at home, even in families that appear to be respected members of the community…..
Polygamist leaders used underage girls for sex as part of a religious ritual, YouTube’s Child-Abuse Problem Is Getting Worse
December 28, 2017 Comments Off on Polygamist leaders used underage girls for sex as part of a religious ritual, YouTube’s Child-Abuse Problem Is Getting Worse
After polygamist leaders used underage girls for sex, lawsuit says, one teen was forced to be a scribe for the rituals
Paighten Harkins December 27, 2017
Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints President Warren Jeffs, along with other officials in the church and its former land trust, is accused of carrying out a “calculated plan” to sexually abuse underage girls as part of a religious ritual, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday.
The lawsuit also cites for alleged wrongdoing the United Effort Plan Trust, Warren Jeffs’ brothers Lyle and Seth Jeffs, former FLDS President and convicted bigamist Wendell Nielsen, and the church.
The lawsuit filed in 3rd District Court alleges that as part of their FLDS beliefs, men have historically sexually abused and assaulted underage girls. However, under Warren Jeffs’ leadership, the lawsuit’s plaintiff — a 21-year-old woman identified as R.H. — says a new practice involving ritualistic sexual intercourse with young girls began.
Starting when she was 8 years old, the woman says, she would be taken from her home, wearing a bag over her head, to an unknown location — typically an FLDS temple in the Colorado City, Ariz., area or other church- or trust-owned properties — where she would be assigned a number for a religious ritual, according to the lawsuit.
There, she was reportedly sexually assaulted by the Jeffses, Nielsen or other church members and leaders. When the men weren’t assaulting her, she says, they watched.
The 21-year-old said Warren Jeffs warned her that if she told anyone about the abuse, according to the lawsuit, “God would destroy her and her family immediately.” He also reportedly said that if she cried during the ritual, “God would punish her.”
The rituals reportedly occurred five to six times a week until the woman turned 12. When she was 14 years old, the lawsuit alleges, she was forced to watch and document other girls’ ritualistic abuse with church leaders.
The woman’s attorneys cite evidence recovered from the FLDS Church’s temple in Eldorado, Texas — on the compound where Warren Jeffs lived before his arrest and conviction for sexually assaulting two girls — as proof of the abuse.
The woman says the abuse continued when she turned 16 and began taking part in “Ladies Class” to learn to be a good wife. During those classes, she says, Warren Jeffs would escort her out of class and into his sound-proof office, where he would sexually assault her “under the guise of further teachings” in the class.
The lawsuit says the church and its former land trust are liable because they hired the church leaders and, therefore, aided in the abuse.
The woman is requesting physical and emotional damages and has asked for jury trial, according to the lawsuit. Her attorneys — Michael Worel, Alan Mortensen and Lance Milne — also represented Elissa Wall, who filed a lawsuit against Warren Jeffs and many of the same defendants in 2005 over being forced to marry when she was 14 years old.
Wall’s case was resolved in September, when a judged ordered that Warren Jeffs pay Wall $16 million in damages.
The woman came to Worel, Mortensen and Milne because they represented Walls, Worel said. The 21-year-old wanted to file the lawsuit, he said, because she believes the alleged abuse is still happening in the church.
“The whole point of filing the lawsuit is she’s hoping to empower others to come forward and to speak out and to see if we can make this stop,” Worel said….
YouTube’s Child-Abuse Problem Is Getting Worse
By Paris Martineau December 27, 2017
In the wake of a viral Medium post calling attention to some very disturbing YouTube channels apparently aimed at children, YouTube has pledged its commitment to ensuring that its channels are safe, clean, and family-friendly. The problem is, well, it’s hard to clean up a site to which hundreds of hours of video are uploaded every minute — and there are videos that might be even worse than merely “creepy.”
A recent investigation by The Times found that pedophiles have been using the site as some sort of twisted “shop window” to show off abused children and reach out to other members of the “community.”….
April 6, 2016 Comments Off on Former members of polygamist sect led by Warren Jeffs reveal secrets in FBI documents
Former members of polygamist sect led by Warren Jeffs reveal secrets in FBI documents
April 5, 2016 by CNN
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — A decade after the arrest of polygamous prophet Warren Jeffs, insiders say his church has literally become a place of feast or famine, of haves and have-nots.
Prison has done little to loosen Jeffs’ hold on many of his followers, even if he is now a convicted child-sex offender serving a life sentence. They still await his revelations and follow his directives, both difficult and bizarre.
But some members are leaving the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints — and disobeying their prophet’s longstanding orders to avoid law enforcement and “answer them nothing.”
These FLDS outcasts are talking to the FBI.
They include the former cooks and drivers for the Jeffs family, as well as ex-wives and others who hovered close to the church leaders and their power center. Their words fill hundreds of pages of freshly filed federal court documents, bringing outsiders into the cloistered world of the FLDS like never before.
According to these breakaway members, the FLDS of 2016 has a pecking order: There are the elite church leaders and chosen followers, and everyone else….
The prophet — and there is little doubt Warren Jeffs is still the FLDS prophet — chooses who will be included in the United Order. His brothers, Lyle and Seth, serve as “bishops” and carry out the prophet’s wishes at FLDS compounds along the Utah-Arizona border and in the Black Hills of South Dakota.
The cook, Allene Jeffs Steed, told the FBI last year that while she prepared feasts of lobster and shrimp for the bishop, her own children “lived off toast.” She used duct tape to hold her kids’ shoes together. And hers wasn’t the only FLDS family to go without.
“We were literally starving,” Sheryl Barlow told the FBI in February. She lived in a house with 40 people and said they subsisted on noodles, brown rice, tomato juice and, when they were lucky, bread or a few containers of yogurt….
He was sentenced in August 2011 to life in prison in Texas, convicted of sexually assaulting two girls, 12 and 15, who he considered his “spiritual brides.” An audiotape of the prophet having sex with the 12-year-old was among the most damning evidence at his trial.
With establishment of the United Order, the old Phelps elementary school in Hildale, which closed in 2002 after the prophet ordered all FLDS children home-schooled, was rebranded as Jeffs Academy. Here, followers turned in all their wordly goods for “consecration” in the bishop’s storehouse across the street. They attended “trainings” to learn how to be worthy of eternal salvation and emerged rebaptized as members of the United Order…..
September 9, 2011 Comments Off on Is Sister Wives Hiding The Disturbing Truth About Polygamy?
Is ‘Sister Wives’ Hiding The Disturbing Truth About Polygamy?
9/7/11 – Sam Brower
Despite the recent well-publicized and deeply disturbing child molestation trial of self-proclaimed polygamist prophet Warren Jeffs, TV reality show polygamist Kody Brown and his trendy wives and family seem to be everywhere these days. Their TV show, “Sister Wives,” is a big hit….
For more than seven years, as a private investigator I have been investigating and researching similar polygamous societies, but mainly the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) and its outlaw prophet, Warren Jeffs, who is now serving a sentence of life plus twenty years in a Texas prison….
I can only hope and pray that the depravity of child abuse and the degradation of women and children to the status of chattel will never be thought of in such a callous manner as simply- unconventional yet relatable.
In my world, unconventional doesn’t mean four mommies showing up for back-to-school night; the FLDS do not send their kids to public schools. If they’re lucky, the children may receive the equivalent of an eighth grade education before being sent out to work on a construction job, or to become mothers themselves.
Admittance into the bride pool can begin within a few weeks after a child’s twelfth birthday. “Mother” is the person who raises and nurtures you as a “daughter in Zion” over the course of those short formative years. She then takes you by the hand and places it in the hand of a man decades older, in an arranged “spiritual sexual union,” alongside that man’s several or many other “sister wives.”
August 5, 2011 Comments Off on Warren Jeffs, Polygamist Leader, Convicted In Child Sexual Assault Case
Warren Jeffs, Polygamist Leader, Convicted In Child Sexual Assault Case
SAN ANGELO, Texas (AP) — A Texas jury convicted polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs of child sexual assault Thursday in a case stemming from two young followers he took as brides in what his church calls “spiritual marriages.”
The 55-year-old head of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints stood stone-faced as the verdict was read.
Jeffs, who acted as his own attorney, faces up to life in prison. The jury went immediately into sentencing proceedings. They had deliberated on a verdict for more than three hours.
Prosecutors used DNA evidence to show Jeffs fathered a child with a 15-year-old girl and played an audio recording of what they said was him sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl. They also played audio recordings in which Jeffs was heard instructing young women on how to please him sexually.
Jeffs has claimed he was the victim of religious persecution. The FLDS, which has at least 10,000 members nationwide, is a radical offshoot of mainstream Mormonism. The church believes polygamy brings exaltation in heaven and that Jeffs is God’s spokesman on earth.
Police had raided the group’s remote West Texas ranch in April 2008, finding women dressed in frontier-style dresses and hairdos from the 19th century as well as seeing underage girls who were clearly pregnant. The call to an abuse hotline that spurred the raid turned out to be a hoax, and more than 400 children who had been placed in protective custody were eventually returned to their families.
But authorities brought charges against several men from the group, with Jeffs by far the highest-profile defendant…..
Jeffs represented himself after firing seven attorneys in the six months leading to the trial. He broke his courtroom silence with an objection marked by a nearly hourlong speech defending polygamy, and twice threatened the judge and the court with warnings of punishment from God.
….Eleven other FLDS men were charged with crimes including sexual assault and bigamy. All seven of those who have been prosecuted were convicted, receiving prison sentences of between six and 75 years.