Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Schleicher County Sheriff David Doran Discusses Raid On FLDS YFZ Ranch In Eldorado, Texas With The Deseret News

The Deseret News has published parts of a seven-page interview with Schleicher County Sheriff David Doran on June 3rd, 2008. Eldorado, Texas is the county seat of Schleicher County, where the FLDS YFZ Ranch is located. Click HERE to read full article. CNN is now reporting that the price tag for the entire FLDS operation is approaching $7 million, not inclusive of $500,000 local costs.

Sheriff Doran was one of the few outsiders whom the FLDS would initially allow onto the YFZ Ranch, and he cultivated a relationship with them. That relationship has been severely strained in the aftermath of the raid on the YFZ Ranch.

"I did not have the power to step in and stop this," Doran said. "The state of Texas had an investigation. They had a call, an outcry of a child they had to investigate and we are there to support that type of investigation. Where there is crimes that are being committed, and outcries being made, we're going to go in and investigate it."

In a lengthy and frank interview with the Deseret News on Tuesday June 3rd, Doran spoke about the raid on the YFZ Ranch and what happens next. "We will still attempt to cultivate that relationship the best that we can," he said. "I know there's a distrust there. I didn't bring that distrust on. I didn't change my way."

Doran defended the April 3rd raid that led to the removal of hundreds of children from the YFZ Ranch. He said no one knew going onto the YFZ Ranch how many children were there, or how many would be removed. He said FLDS leaders had maintained there were approximately 100 men, women and children on the ranch.

The raid was prompted by a phone call from a 16-year-old "Sarah," claiming she was pregnant and in an abusive, polygamous marriage to an older man. Even today, Doran remains unsure if Sarah really exists or is a hoax, although other sources have since confirmed that Rozita Swinton, who suffers from dissociative identity disorder, made the calls. But the criminal case is progressing, and he expects charges will likely be filed against FLDS members — including sect leader Warren Jeffs. Already, 18 indictments were returned by a newly-convened Schleicher County grand jury on June 2nd. However, a new KSL story reveals that none of the 18 indictments were related to the FLDS situation.

Highlights of the Interview:

- Sheriff Doran said it was not his decision to search the FLDS Temple itself. They were searching for a victim reportedly on the property. She has not been located yet, and the FLDS were moving children around the property and keeping them out of sight. Furthermore, the search warrant covered every building and all documents related to the crime. When a district judge issues a search warrant, a law enforcement professional will carry out that search to the letter. He also points out that the Texas Rangers were in charge of that aspect.

- Sheriff Doran denies that they knew in advance that Dale Barlow was in Arizona and that "Sarah" didn't exist. Upon initially approaching the YFZ gate with the Rangers, a phone call was made by the FLDS at the gate and they produced their phone to me stating, 'This gentleman is Dale Evans Barlow.' They never could get a full confirmation if indeed it was Dale Evans Barlow, or of his location. This left the victim "Sarah" in question. As far they knew, she was still in jeopardy, was still on the property and still in need of intervention. Sheriff Doran also points out that even though they were on the property looking for the victim, the the victim was still calling in on crisis hotlines not only in Texas but other locations. Even when women and children were removed from the property and they went to the shelters, this person who allegedly was the victim was still calling and giving descriptions of the location, 'It just rained,' 'They have these certain toys issued to the kids,' which was very accurate and credible information. So they had no choice to assume there was still a victim.

- Sheriff Doran would not say whether or not he believed the call was a hoax. They did uncover a Sarah Barlow who matched that description. Without the proof and evidence in front of him, he can't say that she does not exist. He is aware that a hoax caller is being investigated by law enforcement, and states that when it is sufficiently verified, there will be vigorous charges against her in the state of Texas.

- Sheriff Doran stated that he had no direct knowledge of any crimes being committed on the ranch, although he was fully aware of their polygmaous lifestyle and there was circumstantial evidence of underage marriages.

- Sheriff Doran admitted that several confidential informants were used, but they had no hand in the raid itself. During execution of the search warrants, the informant(s) was called upon to clarify some things, evidences that were uncovered and bring in some of the FLDS teachings that would match these particular evidences that were uncovered. Sheriff Doran described the informants as credible, with a very neutral viewpoint, but would not specify whether or not they were anti-FLDS.

What's also interesting is that Sheriff Doran is up for re-election, and the FLDS community in Eldorado has requested 300 voter cards. However, he doesn't believe it would be a problem, unless the FLDS decide to run one of their own people for sheriff. He admits the relationship between him and the FLDS has been damaged, but emphasizes that he was just doing his job. And the focus of FLDS ire has been mostly on Texas DFPS rather than law enforcement.

The entire interview can be read HERE.

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