Polygamists Probed

The Utah AG's office vows aggressive prosecution of fundamentalist Mormons who "marry" young girls

Peterson says this is the third time CPS has failed to take action when notified about possible sexual abuse of teenage girls by Black. She says she complained repeatedly in 1995 and again in 1997 to CPS investigator Steve Terry when she learned that first Roberta, and then Beth, had moved into his home.

"Nothing happened," Peterson says. "If they had done their job then on Roberta and Beth, we wouldn't have five felony charges now pending against William."

(Subsequently, Terry was promoted to a supervisory position by CPS.)

Washington County (Utah) sheriff's deputies at Orson William Black's house.
Courtesy of KTVK-TV Channel 3
Washington County (Utah) sheriff's deputies at Orson William Black's house.
Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff: "They want to get them pregnant when they are still kids."
Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff: "They want to get them pregnant when they are still kids."

CPS spokeswoman Liz Barker declined to talk about the case, citing state confidentiality laws.

If Sally Beth had a child with Black, she likely had sexual relations with him when she was about 13 or 14 years old -- which is a more serious felony than the charges Black already faces. Peterson fears that something terrible might happen to Sally Beth and her baby, who are presumed also to be in Mexico with Black.

"I want CPS to be held responsible," Peterson says. "I'm sick of it. We've lost two girls, and now here we go again and lose another one."

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