Justice officials study report on B.C. polygamist group

A lawyer appointed to look into allegations of sexual abuse among members of a polygamist sect in Bountiful, B.C. has completed his report.

Vancouver lawyer Richard Peck has given his findings to the provincial attorney general’s Criminal Justice Branch, and branch spokesman Neil MacKenzie says justice officials are studying it.

He says no public statements will be made at this time.

Last fall, the RCMP gave the Crown its recommendations about possible charges after investigating allegations that men had been marrying multiple women and committing possible sexual offences in Bountiful, in southeast B.C.

That report was reviewed by four senior Crown lawyers before going to Attorney General Wally Oppal, who in turn asked for Peck to review the file.

At the time, Oppal said he was concerned that criminal charges might not hold up against constitutional challenges.

The people of Bountiful are members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who believe men must marry as many wives as possible in order to get into heaven.

Some women who have left the community claim that young women are forced into arranged marriages and then forced to have children with much older men.

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Religion News Blog posted this on Wednesday August 1, 2007.
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