Polygamists Probed

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"I just happened to notice what looked like a nursing bra," Donglinger says on the tape. "It was just lucky. She was staying so close to that baby, it was a little confusing."

Donglinger was apparently confused because another of Black's wives had also had a baby recently -- although Peterson says that baby is older than the infant observed with Sally Beth.

Despite evidence that Sally Beth was the mother of a baby and that Black was a fugitive on charges of sexual misconduct with minors, CPS failed to act quickly and remove the children from the home, much less see that medical examinations were conducted.

Peterson continued to lodge complaints with CPS officials about the slow pace of Donglinger's investigation. Peterson, who lives in Phoenix, says her contacts in Colorado City told her on April 7 that Black's wives and children were preparing to leave.

Peterson says she immediately began calling all of her CPS contacts, including Donglinger and her supervisor, Carol Quasula, warning that the group was preparing to flee.

Late on the afternoon of April 8, CPS sent investigator Vince Vincent to the house. But Vincent did not have a court order and his effort to remove Sally Beth was rebuffed. Vincent, according to a Donglinger's taped phone call with Peterson, saw several men helping to pack vehicles parked at the house that afternoon.

A CPS investigator returned the next day with a court order, Peterson says. But by that time, Black's brood of wives and more than a dozen children -- including 15-year-old Sally Beth -- were gone. Also fleeing the country were the two victims in Arizona's case against Black -- Roberta and Beth Stubbs.

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.)

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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John Dougherty
Contact: John Dougherty