Magazine article The Christian Century

Reid Proposes Federal Antipolygamy Task Force

Magazine article The Christian Century

Reid Proposes Federal Antipolygamy Task Force

Article excerpt

Law enforcement officials from three western states have urged the creation of a federal task force to combat polygamy--a proposal that members of a polygamous sect called an attack on religious freedom.

The task force proposal is included as part of the Victims of Polygamy Assistance Act of 2008, which was introduced JulY 23 by Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.), a Mormon and outspoken critic of polygamous groups.

The bill, which was before the Senate Judiciary Committee last month, aims to strengthen federal-state partnerships through sharing of information and tracking of criminal behavior of polygamist groups. The bill would also provide $2 million in grants to both. victims of polygamy and state investigation teams.

The proposal comes after a highly publicized raid at a polygamous compound in Texas in which more than 400 children were seized by state Officials amid allegations of abuse. Most of the children have since been returned to their parents.

Warren Jeffs, the imprisoned leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS), and four of his followers were indicted July 23 in Texas on charges of sexual assault of a child.

Reid and others have accused the insular polygamous groups of "organized crime" involving child abuse, welfare fraud and tax evasion. …

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