Sex and Colorado City

Letters from the week of October 10, 2002

The Problem With Polygamy

The view from within: Your writer John Dougherty outdid himself this time. "Cover-up" in your October 3rd issue is based upon a bogus document purported to be an internal investigative document from this office. Indeed, the Arizona Department of Public Safety is now conducting a criminal investigation as to the source of the fraud.

Dougherty was informed that the document was fraudulent before you printed his article, but he didn't care about the truth. He also cites extensively from an alleged affidavit of an individual who has never been in contact with this office and from a letter, purportedly from that same individual, which was never received by this office.

Unfortunately, this deals with a very serious matter. The Office of the Attorney General is well aware of allegations that young women not of legal age are being sexually abused within the context of illegal marriages in Colorado City, Arizona, and a Utah border city. Indeed, the Attorney General herself traveled with a team of investigators and prosecutors to the State of Utah to meet with the Utah Attorney General to discuss the possibility that young women are being abused in both Arizona and Utah. This office and its counterpart in Utah regularly exchange information relative to these allegations in an effort to identify the perpetrators and to bring appropriate charges.

We can handle being criticized; we can handle being yelled at by reporters; we can handle a lot of adversity. What we can't handle, and what your readers should not tolerate, is your paper knowingly publicizing fraudulent information as the truth.

For the record, please inform Mr. Dougherty that before his next article (although forewarning him with the truth doesn't seem to get in his way) that Janet was 7 years old and not in Dallas when JFK was shot; she has never been to Loch Ness, Scotland; she doesn't know where Capone's vault is located; and she grew up in Albuquerque, not Roswell, New Mexico.

Dennis K. Burke
Chief Deputy Arizona Attorney General

Editor's note: As he does again here, Dennis Burke confirmed to John Dougherty prior to publication the memo's details regarding rape, incest, child abuse, welfare fraud and weapons stockpiling in Colorado City. Elected officials also confirmed that, despite their urging, the attorney general has been reluctant to take action, another issue raised in the memo. To date, no information has come to light that the memo did not come from within the Attorney General's Office.

Spreading the blame around: I read your article. Chilling. As you have demonstrated in the past, you write without fear. These people are not nice at all when it comes to their reactions to "outsider" opinions.

As bad as the situation up there is, pinning this on Janet Napolitano is only half true. You could just as easily besmirch the Utah governor or the feds for not breaking up an international child-trading ring, as you allege, not to mention the weapons violations. It would only be a good thing for the FBI/ATF crews to dust off their sniper rifles and go back into the spotlight.

Great article. Keep in mind that if Napolitano falls too far out of favor because of it, though, Arizona will be saddled with Matt Salmon, an LDS member, I believe. Law of unintended consequences.

Paul Heller
Via e-mail

Suspicious circumstances: Is it not a coincidence that the Arizona Republic runs an article based on an "anonymous" report one day before your "Cover-up" story? I think not.

The AG's office is not to be trusted -- it's called "CYA" for Napolitano, who by all accounts would not investigate these crimes because, as Jane Hull says, "That brought down Governor Pyle." When he rounded up the polygamists, that ended his career.

In the last two years of "investigations," she has been running for governor! Napolitano is not about to ruin her political career by going after child molesters. Let the next AG do it, if he has the guts.

R.M. Washburn
Phoenix

Political motivations: I read with interest your cover story. Do you really think the readers believe you care about women and children being abused, when it is so clear you wanted to slam our AG? The unflattering picture of Ms. Napolitano was uncalled for.

One more question. How much did the Republican Party pay you for this article and the timing of it? This is the last New Times I will bother to read.

Bonita L. Swan
Tempe

Shoot Out

Armed but not dangerous: My thanks for attending the "media" shoot ("Gun Nut," Spiked, October 3). I wasn't there, but after reading your article, I'm glad that you were. I hope that this is only the beginning of your return to shooting on a regular basis. It's fun, isn't it?

Tom Kampert
Surprise

Animal House

The real story: I would like to set the record straight on COMPAS' giving in the community the last fiscal year and in years prior. In an article about the Scratch and Sniff Awards ("The Big Stink," Amy Silverman, September 26), COMPAS was listed as distributing 44 percent of its revenue to the community this past fiscal year. In fact, we distributed almost $375,000, 73 percent of our gross revenue. The percentage of our giving over the past several years has been near this percentage, one exception being a year when we experienced an economic slowdown and rainout of an outdoor event.

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