Sect's Ways Defended as Religious Expression

April 9, 2008


Source: Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Wire Service: AP

Lawyers for a polygamist sect that is the subject of a massive child-abuse investigation argued in court Wednesday that although its members' multiple marriages and cloistered ways may be unusual, they have a right to their faith and privacy.

Gerry Goldstein, a San Antonio lawyer representing the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, also told a judge that the search of the temple in the sect's West Texas compound is analogous to a law enforcement search of the Vatican or other holy places.

Goldstein asked the judge to throw out at least some of the search warrants as unconstitutional, but failing that urged authorities to handle any documents seized with respect.

Prosecutor Allison Palmer countered that the purpose in seizing the documents was to uncover evidence of criminal activity, not to malign a religion.