Warren Jeffs: Innocent Until Proven Guilty

Want Greta's blog delivered directly to your e-mail box? Click here to sign up!

Add viewerservices
to your Address Book to ensure that you receive the GretaWire in your Inbox. Click here if you are unable to see images in the e-mail.

From the e-mails I have received, it is apparent that many viewers are confused as to what the legal panel has said about Warren Jeffs. Let me summarize it: Jeffs needs to be arrested because there is a warrant outstanding. That is step No. 1 and important.

Despite the fact that the panel believes that he needs to be arrested, there is question in the minds of the panelists as to why he is placed on the 10 Most Wanted Fugitives List by the FBI. Having questions about his placement on the list is not meant to minimize the seriousness of the crimes alleged. The need to arrest Jeffs and the question about why he is on the list is not inconsistent or incompatible.

The panel also — as in every investigation — wants to remind the viewers that an accused is presumed innocent. That is not something the panel made up — that is part of our Constitution. Sometimes accused persons are guilty and sometimes an accused is the subject of false accusations and even a vendetta. Accusations are not legal evidence — you need more in court. When someone might appear strange to another, it is easier to be seduced by accusations and believe them to be true without evidence or fact. Bottom line: evidence is needed. If Warren Jeffs sexually molested anyone, he needs to be in prison for a long time.

Once again, let me emphasize: There is a warrant outstanding for him and he should surrender and a complete and fair investigation of the alleged crimes should be done. If he has raped, the community needs immediate protection (prison) and he needs to be punished (prison). It is that simple.

By the way, I keep forgetting to ask one other question about Mr. Jeffs. With all the children he has supposedly fathered, is he taking care of them? Is he paying child support for any child that is not living with him? His father — also a polygamist — supposedly had about 60 children. Who supported those children?

Thanks to the many viewers/readers of this blog who helped me with my new Sony camera. I was having trouble downloading it to my Apple computer and I finally opted for another Sony camera. I got the other Sony camera and it works perfectly with my Apple computer (and it is a better camera than the original one I bought.) As soon as I master it, I promise behind the scenes video on this blog.

Now for some of your e-mails:

E-mail No. 1

I actually do not dislike you Greta, but I do hate the way you question your guests. You tend to ask questions as a lawyer would because in court you would not want to be surprised by the answer. Be a little spontaneous! If you ask open-ended questions that do not require a yes or no answer, your interviews may be more interesting.
We like FOX otherwise. Help us out a little so we may actually come back to watching your show too.
Respectful regards,
Rebecca Mendiola

ANSWER: Open-ended questions do not call for yes or no answers. They are open-ended and thus call for the person to provide as much information as necessary to answer the question. You have confused open-ended questions with leading questions. Leading questions call for a yes or no answer. I often ask leading questions to set up the story because unfortunately our show segments are limited in time.

E-mail No. 2

I think putting this loser on the FBI's top 10 Wanted List is the thing to do, because how else would they ever locate this guy? It's much larger than a one state issue.
Please tell Ted his colorful shirt and tie are very flattering!
Patty Mathews
Claremore, OK

E-mail No. 3

Thank you Greta for asking not only the right but also tough questions. It really irks me to hear these lawyers who are bringing civil law suits to smugly say, we are not suing for any money value, but only to show him for what he is. B.S. If they aren't suing for money, they wouldn't have taken the case. I hate for people in the justice system whom you would expect to be honest to lie. They are criminals themselves. I would have more respect for them it they would just be honest and say, yes we are suing for the money.
Joyce Owens
Cincinnati, OH

E-mail No. 4

Hey Greta, I am impressed with this "Peter Hobson." I hope you have him back though I love it when all of the "boys" are on together — Bernie, Ted, Jeffrey and Jim.
I hope he will be your "go to guy" when all of the boys can't be together. Just a thought.
Keeping the faith here in TX.
Nancy Hostetler

E-mail No. 5

Polygamy is illegal in every state. Polygamy is illegal in Utah. The only way to enforce the U.S. law against a major polygamist organization is to bring in the FBI. Somehow the local law enforcement is unable to enforce the law. Your panel needs to read the U.S. Constitution.
Bob Wood
Elko, NV

E-mail No. 6

This is just gossip about the FLDS.
The police officer and the judge out there were also FLDS.
I heard from people in St. George that they kick out their boy teenagers out of their church to keep the young girls for themselves.
I heard that they all are on Utah Welfare and that they might be in Arizona Welfare because the welfare system is not connected.
Like I said, all this I heard from my mother-in-law, she also lies a lot.
But check it out.

Note: I eliminated your name after reading the last sentence in your e-mail to me. I am not so sure that you "need" your name on this e-mail — your mother-in-law is a liar?

E-mail No. 7

Is not it strange that Warren Jeffs is on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted List? I know that polygamy is against the law, but I also consider it a state matter and not that of the federal government.
Lodrick Price
Baton Rouge, LA

E-mail No. 8

Hey Greta,
You seem to be going out of your way to give Warren Jeffs the benefit of the doubt. You say that some of his accusers may be disgruntled former members. If you were sexually abused by this man you would be a "disgruntled former member" too!
Deborah Deel

E-mail No. 9

I'm with you guys! He is a criminal, but to make the 10 Most Wanted List?! He must have really pissed off the wrong person somewhere down the line, who has a lot of clout!
The Mormons have some powerful people in high places, they just don't flaunt it.
I'm a lapsed Mormon (convert)... I'm actually a MethOlicOrman!
My mother's Methodist (and I was baptized as a baby), my father is Catholic, (I converted in 6th grade (after 4 years of Parochial school), and my husband is Mormon, (converted 6 months before meeting him in their "Singles Ward"). I tell my parents if I ever realize my pipe dream and become a stand-up comedian, I'll convert to Judaism.
Love the show and the panel!
Fondly FOXFAN,
Marjo Turner

E-mail No. 10

I just had to write you. I was reading your blog (as I do every day). Email No. 5 — where the person talks about Bernie — it was so weird. Just the last night my husband and I watching the TV show "24" and we both kept saying that the guy must be Bernie's sib or so. This guy is bald. But he is identical. Even the sound of his voice. His facial movements.
One question though: why such the uproar on the lacrosse case? There are so many women who get raped. And will not report it because it seems always to be the women's fault. I can say this, because I was raped and when I went to the ER, I was insulted by the police. They looked at one another and snickered. This was in the late 70s. Maybe things have changed. Take care of yourself and love your show.

E-mail No. 11

The actor is Paul McCrane. He plays Graham on "24". He's been on only a few episodes recently. You can go to www.imdb.com to get the scoop on him. He used to be on "ER" too. There's a picture of Paul on imdb site.
Would be great to have them together one night.
Love your show,

E-mail No. 12

Hey Greta,
Folks are talking about the bad guy Graham on "24." He was formerly Dr. Romano on "ER." This was the doctor with the bad attitude on "ER" who had had his left arm cut off by the helicopter, then in some ironic justice, a helicopter fell on him the following season and killed him.
There is a resemblance to Bernie and Graham/Dr. Romano if you shave Bernie’s head.
Hope that helps,
Calicia Landry

E-mail No. 13

Greta, here we go again — another child molester (Warren Jeffs). Everyone says we should string him up (I agree), but the female teachers molesting boys go free and people think it is okay! I don't get it.

E-mail No. 14

Maybe I missed something. Ted said "Black African American." Are we to assume all Africans are black, so that is the slip? Actually, I know a man named Kim Clement. He's from South Africa, but is now an American. He's white.
Jan Queen
Flat Rock, MI

E-mail No. 15

I was watching that segment and it went right over my head. Regarding Ted's blunder, if a white man is born in Africa and moved to the U.S. would he not be a white African American? I would suggest a black man could be a black African American and Ted was correct.
David C. Malcolm

E-mail No. 16

Most of you got it wrong about the polygamist being on the 10 Most Wanted List. He has committed heinous human rights abuses in the USA and should be caught and punished as quickly as possible. Those abused girls and women would agree with me.
Jane Bobo
Tucson, AZ

E-mail No. 17

Greta, here is why he is on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted List. He supposedly has 10K followers. I don't know if that number includes children of the adult followers or not, but with this kind of society there are many more children than adults by virtue of the large families each union traditionally produces. Jeffs has already victimized numerous children or been a party to their victimization. He belongs on the top 10 list, because he will, (not he can), he will victimize all the rest. It's only a matter of time. When you have a child rapist living among you, there are odds whether your child will be victimized or not. With Jeffs, it is going to happen, because that is the way. And there are no adults these particular future victims can go to for protection, because the whole society stands by and condones it. The children of his followers do not stand a chance in hell of not being victimized. They do not go to public school so they cannot go to a teacher. They don't participate in city run sports programs, so they can't go to a coach. They don't have family and friends outside the compound they can go to. There is no contact with any adult who doesn't condone their victimization. I think you have to stop and think how imprisoned these children are. It's not a question of whether they will be victimized, it's only a question of when. He very much deserves to be on the FBI's ten most wanted list!
Deirdre Sargent
Olympia, WA

E-mail No. 18

Dear Greta,
I'm surprised that you and your panelists know so little about Warren Jeffs and the iron hand with which he controls — and allegedly abuses — his followers. "Where are the victims?" one panelist asked.
ABC's John Quinones visited Colorado City two years ago to investigate reports of forced child marriages and the virtual enslavement of women and children. Deborah Norville did a series of interviews with people who had fled the sect in fear of their lives. (Some of them are still trying to rescue their children.) Jeffs has also been the subject of segments on "Larry King" and recently "America's Most Wanted."
One of your panelists naively suggested that teachers might be consulted as to whether any children had reported or shown signs of abuse. FLDS children are home-schooled in accordance with orders from Rulon Jeffs, Warren's father, which this gentleman would have known had he done his homework before appearing on your show.
Tapes and transcripts of Mr. Jeff's "sermons" are easily accessible on the Web, as well as reports from Quinones and other reputable journalists. Please do more research on Warren Jeffs before having further panel discussions, and stop your guests from speculating that, "he must have made the wrong person mad."
Peggy Plunkett

ANSWER: Peggy, I love television and Larry King and Deborah Norville are my friends. But don't kid yourself, television is no substitute for the presentation of evidence and the cross examination in the courtroom. Let me repeat to you, Peggy: Yes, the crimes alleged are very, very serious. Yes, he should surrender on the warrant or be arrested. But, once arrested, we all need to "put on the brakes" and make sure that there is actual proof and not simply allegations by those who don't like him. If he is guilty, "throw the book" at him. If he is just odd, and not a law violator, then we need to make sure he does not get falsely convicted.

E-mail No. 19

Greta, your guests don't seem well informed on this man. They obviously have not seen the research Dr. Phil has done and some of the other programs. Not only does he lead a significant number of people who practice marrying young girls to old men, they also kick out and discard young boys. They are called "The Lost Boys" You should hear what some of these young girls say. It is so tragic and this man is their leader and director. They also use child abuse tactics to keep children quiet during religious services such as putting the child's head underwater so extended times to punish them for talking, etc. Please read up on this man. He is vile. I have wondered for years why someone doesn't do something about this man and his followers. It is not the polygamy that is so bothersome it is the child abuse issues. Also, in one article I read they (Jeffs' followers) use school money and taxes to fly all over the place. They also believe in blood atonement, which is killing someone because you determine they have offended the Lord. Sexual abuse is just the beginning with this man. Perhaps if they got him some of his followers would disband or they might just get another leader. You need to talk to Dr. Phil before you all decide to look the other way. I am so disappointed on how poorly your panel has been informed about him. Educate yourself and them please. I watch you often. Don't let this one do you in.
Cheryl Kelley

E-mail No. 20

First, I want to let you know that I thoroughly enjoy your show. If I am not watching it, I have it on TiVo. I think you and your panel are great to watch. I know that there will always be a great debate between them. While I do respect opinions even if I do not agree, I was astonished to hear Ted asking why this guy is on the list. Over the last few years, we have seen increasing numbers of children being victimized. The population of sexual predators is out of control and the restraints on these individuals is not strong enough in my opinion. I think we have to take these things seriously no matter the situation. I am an attorney so I too have a tendency to ask many questions before making an opinion; however, I do not take issue with this most wanted fugitive classification. I am happy that we are trying hard to catch these child predators. One more off the street, is one less person left out there to cause our children harm.
I have not e-mailed before, but I felt like this issue warranted a response from me. I will wrap this one up by saying that your show is so addictive and I just cannot miss an episode. You always highlight the most interesting stories happening — either on the show or in your blog. Regardless of my feelings on the topic of Warren Jeffs, I think your show and panel is fair and balanced. I look forward to the next show!
Sarah L. Dudley

ANSWER: Sarah, as a lawyer, you will understand this. No one on our panel said that child molesters should be on the street. Everyone said he should surrender or be arrested. There is a warrant outstanding for him and that is the law. What the panel wondered is why this man, instead of the thousands and thousands others — including murderers — made the list and not one of them. That's all and that is a legitimate question. Perhaps the FBI will tell the panel and the panel will then agree.

Watch "On the Record" weeknights at 10 p.m. ET