POLICE RAID ARIZONA
POLYGAMIST ENCLAVE RADIO ADDRESS: GOVERNOR HOWARD PYLE ON POLICE RAID
OF ARIZONA POLYGAMIST ENCLAVE
Before dawn today the State of Arizona began
and now has substantially concluded a momentous police action against
insurrection within her own borders.
Arizona has mobilized and used
its total police power to protect the lives and future of263 children. They are the product and the victims of the foulest
conspiracy you could possibly imagine.
More than 120 peace officers moved
into Short Creek, in MohaveCounty, at this morning. They have arrested almost the
entire population of a community dedicated to the production of white slaveswho are without hope of escaping this degrading slavery from the moment
of their birth.
Highly competent investigators have been unable
to find a single instance in the last decade of a girl child reaching the age
of 15 without having been forced into a shameful mockery of marriage.
THE STATE OF ARIZONA IS FULFILLING TODAY ONE OF EVERY
STATE'S DEEPEST OBLIGATIONS. . .TO PROTECT AND DEFEND
The State is moving at once to seek through the courts the custody of these 263 children, all under the age of 18.
They are the innocent chattels of a lawless commercial undertaking of wicked
design and ruthlessly exercised power. This in turn is the co-operative
enterprise of five or six coldly calculating men who direct all of the
operations and reap all of the profits, and are the evil heart of the
It is no surprise that some of these vicious conspirators are former convicts.
Warrants were carried into Short Creek
this morning for 35 men, many of
them related, who include not only a hard core of plotters but a wider circle
of fawning beneficiaries of this conspiracy that the State of Arizona is determined to end right now and completely.
As the highest authority in Arizona,
on whom is laid the Constitutional injunction to "take care that the laws
be faithfully executed," I have taken the ultimate responsibility for
setting into motion the actions that will end this insurrection.
It should be clearly understood at the same time that so complicated an
operation has required and has received the co-operation of many elements of
our government . . . and has been undertaken only as a last desperate resort.
In many situations of the last few years I have reminded the people of Arizonathar law enforcement is primarily a country
problem--UNTIL SUCH TIME AS COUNTIES THEMSELVES DECLARE OR BY THEIR ACTIONS
PROVE THAT THEY ARE ABLE NO LONGER TO FULFILL THEIR FUNCTIONS.
MOHAVECOUNTY APPEALED FOR STATE
INTERVENTION TO END THIS INSURRECTION. The county's plea came to your governor
from the Honorable
J.W. Faulkner, MohaveCounty's highest legal authority as judge of
the superior court there, in March of 1951, when I had been on duty only two
Judge Faulkner recited the almost incredible
details of this conspiracy . . . details almost revoltingly incomprehensible at
this mid-point of the 20th century. The sheer magnitude of the situation
demanded immediate action, but even more urgently required proof beyond any
Hence it is that 26 months have passed since Judge
Faulkner's first letter came to me. The investigation has been most
thorough. Two attorneys general have participated. Appalled successive
Legislatures have approved funds for every phase of the investigation . . . and
it has been from the very beginning a disturbing undertaking.
It has been, frankly, the one and only real sorrow of my administration,
intruding as it has on a hundred other problems of state, and occupying the
time and energy of scores of men and women. There had to be absolute certainty
that in the end the innocent should be
as securely protected as the guilty were severely punished.
Before a single complaint was drawn, or a single warrant prepared, or the first
preliminary order for today's action issued, we had to be certain beyond the
last shadow of doubt.
All doubt is erased when it is realized that in the evidence the State has
accumulated there are multiple instances of statutory rape, adultery,
bigamy, open and notorious cohabitation, contributingto
the delinquency of minors, marrying
the spouse of another, and an all-embracing conspiracy to commit
all of these crimes, along with various instances of income tax evasion, failure to
comply with Arizona's corporation laws, misappropriation of school funds,
improper use of school facilities and falsification of public records.
The leaders of this mass violation of so many of our laws have boasted directly
to Mohave County officers that their
operations have grown so great that the State
of Arizona was powerless to interfere.
They have been shielded, as you know, by the geographic circumstances of Arizona's
northernmost territory . . . the region beyond the Grand Canyon
that is best known as "The Strip."
This is a land of high plateaus, dense forests, great breaks and gorges,
rolling arid lands, and intense color . . . a land squeezed between the even
higher plateaus of Utah
and the Grand Canyon of Arizona.
The community of Short Creek is 400
miles by the shortest road from the MohaveCounty seat of Kingman. ShortCreek is unique among Arizona
communities in that some of its dwellings actually are in another state.
ALL OF THE RESIDENTS OF SHORT CREEK
WHO LIVE IN UTAH
HAVE BEEN CHARGED WITH THE CRIMES THEY HAVE COMMITTED IN ARIZONA. We
have neither enlisted nor encouraged the State
of Utah to take action simultaneously with or parallel to our own, for it
is a mass insurrection against the State
of Arizona that we seek to suppress.
To the best of our knowledge and information, there are only five residents of Short Creek who are in NO way involved
in this situation. They are Mr. and Mrs. JonreedLauritzen, Mr. and Mrs. Alfonso Nyborg,
They are old residents of a colorful part of Arizona who have found themselves surrounded
by this conspiracy, and have given invaluable help in the elimination we have
Massive cliffs rearing north of Short
Creek's little central street provide a natural rock barrier to the north.
To the east and west are the sweeping expanses of dry and almost barren
plateaus before the forests begin. To the south there is the Grand Canyon.
It is in this most isolated of all Arizona
communities that the foulest of conspiracies has flourished and expanded in a
terrifying geometric progression. HERE
HAS BEEN A COMMUNITY ENTIRELY DEDICATED TO THEWARPED PHILOSOPHY THAT A SMALL HANDFUL OF GREEDY AND LICENTIOUS MEN AND
SHOULD HAVE THE RIGHT AND THE POWER TO CONTROL THE DESTINY OF EVERY HUMAN SOULIN THE COMMUNITY.
HERE IS A COMMUNITY--MANY OF THE WOMEN, SADLY, RIGHT ALONG WITH THE
MEN--UNALTERABLY DEDICATED TO THE WICKED THEORY THAT EVERY MATURING GIRL CHILD SHOULD BE FORCED INTO THE BONDAGE OF MULTIPLE WIFEHOOD
WITH MEN OF ALL AGESFOR THE SOLE
PURPOSE OF PRODUCING MORE CHILDRENTO
BE REARED TO BECOME MORE CHATTELS OF THIS TOTALLY LAWLESS ENTERPRISE.
Some of the boys have escaped this dreadful and dreary life. But
the girls . . . no.
The very institutions such as the schools, upon which we all depend for the
cultivation of the ideals that have made the nation great and Arizona great,
have been perverted to the inculcation in our young of a devotion to this RANK AND FETID DISTORTION OF ALL OF OUR
BASIC RIGHTS AND IDEALS.
The very operation of this insurrectional conspiracy, with its complete
disregard of all decency and of all law, have served to expand the population
of Short Creek until it is probably
the second largest community in Mohave
Sixteen years ago it was nothing. You may recall at that time two individuals, who were almost all of
the male population of Short Creek,
were sent to the Arizona State Prison
to serve terms for flagrant violations of the state's moral laws.
They had half a dozen wives.
But their prison
terms ended . . . they returned to Short
Creek . . . and now the two have expanded to the 35 men named in warrants today . . . and their wives have increased from half a dozen to 85.
The criminally deadly part is that their children
under legal age now number the 263 we mentioned earlier.
It is easy to see from this rapid expansion that in another 10 years the
population of Short Creek would be
in the thousands, and an army would not be sufficient to end the greatest
insurrection and defiance of all that is right.
Of the 120 persons named in warrants
as being involved in this ever growing conspiracy, 83 have their principal homes in Arizona. The
rest base their operations in Utah, although a number of these have
additional homes in Arizona.
Not all of the men for whom warrants have been issued have been arrested, but
it is fully anticipated that they will be. Those who have crossed or
subsequently cross the state line into Arizona
during the course of the police operations will be jailed on the Arizona
warrants. THOSE WHO ELECT TO REMAIN IN UTAH WILL BE
SOUGHT ON WARRANTS OF EXTRADITION.
This may take days or weeks, but it WILL be done. It is regrettable that this
action had to be undertaken on a Sunday, but there were a number of vital
considerations. There has been a community entertainment the last day or two in
Short Creek that has attracted the
maximum number of those named in warrants. Today the maximum number
of police officers have been free from other duties. And the situation
they have moved against has been as godless as anything we have ever known.
It should be emphasized here that we have gone to almost unbelievable lengths
to insure that the rights of no one are violated or even jeopardized in this
Moving into Short Creek right behind
the officers with their warrants have been the courts. Superior Judge J. Smith Gibbons of ApacheCounty has been acting as committing
magistrate and has observed every legal propriety in
holding the principal defendants to answer for trial in superior court as he
also ordered these principal defendants to jail in Kingman, the county seat.
The defendants are being transported right now to Kingman to await release on bail for those who are able to provide
it or who have it provided for them. These are the men and some of the more
ardently involved women.
In the case of the unwilling wives and the children, the action has been
parallel but entirely different. Juvenile judges have gone along with the other
superior court judges.
Lockwood of Maricopa County,
whose understanding in juvenile matters is widely recognized, and Judge Faulkner
himself, have started and for some time will continue a series of juvenile
court actions through which the State of
Arizona expects to be able to provide protection for the 263 children.
This protection is very inclusive. It is calculated, under Arizona's
laws, to give these children every possible garment of secrecy so that in years
to come, the action in which they are now involved cannot appear anywhere as a
matter of public record.
Right along with the courts have gone trained social workers.
A full staff from the state department
of public welfare has gone along with the officers and the courts to take
immediate custody of those children the courts decide should be brought under
the protection of the State of Arizona.
There hasn't been and there won't be any hardship in all of this. Facilities,
equipment, and supplies have been sent into the area to be prepared to feed
every defendant and every innocent victim, and every officer and participating
state official, as long as may be necessary.
There is a medical staff to guard against any health contingency, and
facilities are provided to care for everyone. There has been and there will be
NO invasion of homes or quarters, for our people have with them a complete
miniature tent city which by now has been erected in unused community space,
and will house the state's personnel for as long as such housing is necessary.
Representing the state department of law in the filing of complaints, the
issuance of warrants, and the general direction of all legal phases of this
operation, is the attorney general himself, Ross Jones.
He has with him two of his assistants, Paul LaPrade and Kent Blake. LaPrade and Blake are the men who have conducted the preparation of
all the cases designed to shatter for all time this insurrection and the
conspiracy that supports it.
To climax their work and beginning the conclusive phase of this operation, I
signed an official proclamation on July first, declaring a state of insurrection
to exist in MohaveCounty and in the community of Short Creek.
State Wesley Bolin and State Auditor Jewell Jordan have co-operated fully
in handling the transfer of funds, especially appropriated to the Governor's
office for this purpose, to the office of the attorney general . . . and in the
proper and orderly expenditures of sums from that appropriation.
As your governor, I have been at my desk since early this morning, ready to
issue any order or authorization to meet changing plans or unforeseen
circumstances. I have been in complete and almost instantaneous contact with
the operation from its beginning, through my administrative assistant who is at
To the eternal credit of the press and radio of Arizona, none of this complex operation has been publicized in
advance in any way, ALTHOUGH REPRESENTATIVE OF ALL MEDIA HAVE BEEN FULLY
APPRISED OF EVERY DEVELOPMENT DURING THE ENTIRE 26 MONTHS OF PREPARATION. The
whole purpose of this operation would have been destroyed had any part of it
been known generally in advance.
Now this most necessary cloak of secrecy is removed.
From here on out and no doubt for some time to come you will be hearing
directly from press and radio correspondents whose names you know well and in
whom you have implicit faith.
They have gone right along with the officers and the courts, to observe and
While we leave the rest of the details of this fantastic insurrection and its
ending in their hands, it must be reiterated that THE STATE OF ARIZONA IS UNALTERABLY PLEDGED AND DETERMINED TO STOP THIS
MONSTROUS AND EVIL GROWTH BEFORE IT BECOMES A CANCER OF A SORT THAT IS BEYOND
HOPE OF HUMAN REPAIR.
EVEN IF THE LETTER OF THE LAW DIDN'T
EXIST AS IT DOES. . .COMMON DECENCY DEMANDS THIS.
THESE CHILDREN HAVE THE RIGHTS OF ALL NATIVE-BORN AMERICANS--THE RIGHTS THAT
WERE WRITTEN INTO THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE. . . .
THE RIGHT TO LIFE, LIBERTY, AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS. . .AND AS HAS
SO OFTEN BEEN EMPHASIZED SINCE, HAPPINESS OF THEIR OWN CHOOSING. . . .
THE STATE OF ARIZONA IS DETERMINED TO INSURE THAT THEY HAVE
THOSE RIGHTS FOR THE REMAINDER OF THEIR LIVES.