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"Help the Child Brides" Challenges Senator Orrin Hatch's statements about polygamists

On April 17, 2003 at a public meeting in Saint George UT, Senator Hatch responded to a question from HTCB by saying he had many friends in the polygamous enclave of Hildale UT and that he didn't believe anything wrong was going on there. This story was picked up by the press, including an
a article in the Salt Lake Tribune.

We at Help the Child Brides take exception to Senator Hatch's remarks. In fact we find his ignorance of the Child Brides issues appalling. We are particularly distressed because Senator Hatch is the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which has oversight of Federal Law Enforcement efforts. Troy Bowles expressed our feelings in a letter to the Editor of the Salt Lake Tribune.

We have sent Senator Hatch a challenge to demonstrate the good faith of his polygamous friends by bringing Ruby Jessop away from her home in Hildale Utah to be examined by child abuse experts. Here is the letter we sent to Senator Hatch

April 27, 2003

Dear Senator Hatch:

I am one of the Directors of "Help the Child Brides". In Saint George you stated that you have many upstanding polygamous friends and if it can be demonstrated that child abuse is occurring you would be happy to address it. We applaud your efforts on behalf of abused children, in particular the passage of the recent child protection legislation. However, we would like to give you a challenge in regard to your polygamist friends of Hildale Utah.

No doubt one of your friends in Hildale Utah is Bishop Fred Jessop, a long time leader in that community. We would challenge you to go out to Mr. Jessop's home and ask to speak with Ruby Jessop Barlow, legal wife of Haven Barlow. We are quite certain she is living in Fred's home with her husband. If you look at our website ( http://helpthechildbrides.com ) you will see that one of our primary allegations is that Ruby Jessop was forced into that union at the age of 14 against her will (though with the consent of her polygamous mother).

Ruby made an unusual and very brave attempt to free herself from that relationship, but was tricked into returning and then subjected to some heavy brainwashing, not unlike what was inflicted on Elizabeth Smart. A Marriage license was registered between Haven and Ruby as soon as she was 16. At about that time she became pregnant and has since become a mother.

We would challenge you to go to Fred Jessop's home and ask Ruby to bring her baby along and come with you to St. George and talk to Child Protection workers along with representatives of the Utah AG in private, away from any intimidating influence. We would ask that you stipulate that the workers who interview her be female, since she's been raised in an environment where males are intimidating influences. They should be experienced caseworkers who are familiar with the nature of brainwashing. We'd also ask that she be allowed to speak first with some ladies who have left that community. Specifically We'd like to have her speak with "Aunt" Jennie Larsen of St George and with her sister, Flora Jessop.

Now, if Ruby is a free individual who has entered into this union of her own free will, as the polygamists allege, none of this should be any problem for her. If I were being accused of forcing my wife to have a sexual union with me, I'd be very glad to have my wife go talk to any authorities and clear up the misunderstanding. I'm sure you'd do the same. So if these polygamous gentlemen are as wholesome as you maintain, then I'm sure they'd support Ruby in allowing her an opportunity to come in and speak with those who have the mistaken impression that she's been kidnapped and raped and reassure them she is living the life she's chosen for herself. You have spoken clearly about what kind of people you think these polygamists are. Now we'd like you to put some action behind your words.

Jim Ashurst