Bountiful: investigation of polygamous community nearly completed

The RCMP investigation into activities at the polygamous commune at Bountiful in the B.C. Interior should wrap up in the next week, says Attorney General Wally Oppal.

That renewed investigation has been going on for nearly two years, focusing on allegations of abuse of women and children in the small fundamentalist community – where older men take multiple, younger wives.

“I met with the RCMP two weeks ago, and they tell me something will be coming down one way or the other within a few weeks,” said the attorney general.

Oppal said he’s sympathetic to the RCMP investigators who have found it difficult to find witnesses willing to testify.

He said it will be up to the Crown to decide if the police have gathered enough evidence to warrant charges.

The Crown was prepared to lay charges after an earlier investigation back in 1992. But the NDP attorney general at the time was concerned that polygamous activities were protected by the constitution.

Only after considerable pressure from anti-polygamy activists did the investigation resume in 2004.

Earlier this year, CBC News obtained documents showing the rate of teen pregnancy in the community – with a population of more than 1,000 – was several times the provincial average.

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CBC News, Canada
May 3, 2006

Religion News Blog posted this on Thursday May 4, 2006.
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