Friday, July 24, 2009

Utah Court Rejects Settlement In FLDS Trust Reform; Texas Custody Case Ends

In Salt Lake City, Utah on Wednesday, state court Judge Denise Lindberg rejected a settlement proposed last month by Utah's Attorney General in the complicated attempt to reform the FLDS United Effort Plan Trust. The trust holds land that the FLDS Church held and on which its members, many in polygamous relationships, lived. The communal relationship was mandated by FLDS tenets that called for a Holy United Order. In the lawsuit, the state seeks to remove the religious elements of the trust and to provide land both for current FLDS members and for those who have left, or were excommunicated from, the church. According to the Merced (CA) Sun-Star , the court concluded that Utah's proposal "decidedly favors the FLDS church and its adherents to the detriment of other potential trust beneficiaries." In so ruling, the court sided with Arizona's attorney general and special fiduciary Bruce Wisan who had opposed the settlement. (See prior posting.)

Meanwhile, in a separate case, the state of Texas ended state custody of the last of the 439 children who been taken by child welfare officials from the FLDS' Yearning for Zion Ranch in 2008. (See prior posting.) Yesterday's Salt Lake Tribune reports that the girl, now 15, was placed with her aunt, and the girl's mother, Barbara Jessop, was given the right to supervised visits. Allegedly the girl was spiritually married to former FLDS leader Warren Jeffs when she was 12.