SAN ANGELO, Texas â€” Teenage girls, often younger than 16, were required to have sex in the soaring white temple after they were married in sect-recognized unions at a polygamist compound in West Texas, according to court documents unsealed Wednesday.
The temple “contains an area where there is a bed where males over the age of 17 engage in sexual activity with female children under the age of 17,” said an affidavit quoting a confidential informant who left the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
Agents found a bed in the temple with disturbed linens and what appeared to be a female hair, said the affadavit signed by Texas Ranger Leslie Brooks Long. The Rangers are the state’s investigative law enforcement arm.
The temple also contained multiple locked safes, vaults and desk drawers that authorities sought access to as they searched for records showing alleged marriages of underage girls to older men and births among the teens. The affidavit unsealed Wednesday mentions a 16-year-old girl who has four children.
Texas Department of Public Safety troopers completed a weeklong search of the 1,700-acre grounds on Wednesday, said spokeswoman Tela Mange.
Lawyers for the sect had wanted to cut off the wide-ranging search as it dragged on but agreed in court Wednesday to the appointment of a special master who will vet what is expected to be hundreds of boxes of records, computers and even family Bibles for records that should not become evidence for legal or religious reasons.
At Mikey Weinstein’s home in the suburbs of Albuquerque, the picture window in the living room has been twice shot out. Sometimes Weinstein opens his front door to find dead animals on his porch, feces smeared on his walls, or slashes in his tires. Men have called to threaten his daughter, women to chant rhymes about shooting him in the head, small children to inform him that he will burn in hell. To his critics, he says, “Take a number, pack a picnic lunch, and stand in line.” He’s not going anywhere, and neither is his 5’6″ ex-Marine security guard, Shorty.
Weinstein is the middle rung in three generations of soldiers. A former Air Force JAG and White House attorney for Ronald Reagan, he has adopted a shock-and-awe approach to battling efforts by the military to impress Christianity upon American soldiers. “We have the Christian Taliban and the Christian Al Qaeda inside our military,” says Weinstein, the founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, “and they really have WMD, unlike Saddam.”
An amateur pugilist with shoulders like a butcher block and a head like a cannonball, he several times challenged evangelical minister Ted Haggard to a boxing match. (Haggard declined.) His adversaries call him, to his great delight, “The Field General of the Godless Armies of Satan,” though his friends prefer nicknames like “Ticktock” and “Motor Mouth.” During one of his trademark rapid-fire, profanity-laced diatribes, he proclaimed, “Our job here is to kick ass, take names, and leave sucking chest wounds on the people who are trying to engage the machinery of the state to push their biblical worldview.” To allies who suggest that perhaps Weinstein should appoint someone more diplomatic to lead the foundation, he offers, “First they will have to prove to me that what we are engaged in is a polite exchange of views” with right-wing Christians, “instead of a bloody battle that only ends with the last person standing.”