British Columbia has decided not to lay criminal charges of child sexual abuse against polygamists who are members of a Fundamentalist Mormon colony in Bountiful, B.C.
Several women who have escaped from the colony allege that uneducated, underage girls are pressured to marry much older men already married to other women.
Stat Guy has posted an article containing number of links documenting the history of the investigation and the Attorney General’s decision not to pursue criminal charges.
Richard Peck, the special prosecutor assigned to investigate the matter determined that Canada’s Criminal Code provisions prohibiting polygamy do NOT violate the Charter of Rights guarantee of Religious Freedom.
However, he did feel that the law needed clarification, and recommended a reference to the Supreme Court of Canada.
It appears that the basis for his recommendation not to pursue criminal charges as based on the fact that the children who were allegedly forced into the marriages all claimed to have consented to the marriages.
“The real issue here is that the number of so-called complainants that we have have all told us that they consented to the act that took place…
At the time the incidents are alleged to have taken place, the age of consent was 14, though it’s now been raised to 16.
“We really have no case as far as sex assaults are concerned…”
Given the control that some religious organizations exercise over their members one has to ask: How legitimate the consent of a child can be when the request is made by the leader of the child’s church?