Friday, December 3, 2010

Mormon Polygamy on Trial: Day 7 Notes from the Courtroom

Courtroom notes: (READER BEWARE: This is not an authorized transcript and I am not a court stenographer. Many of the statements are paraphrased and while I have made my best efforts to represent the events, it is certainly possible that I have made mistakes in this record)

Justice Bauman spoke with witness Ruth Lane via a telephone conversation. Ruth affirmed to tell the truth regarding her evidence concerning her desire to uphold a publication ban on her video evidence. She indicated that she knew that her video testimony would be used in a courtroom setting, however, she is very cautious that the media tends to use information to fit their purposes and will take segments out of context. She was not aware that the media was going to broadcast an edited segment of her testimony via the internet and when this was done, it caused her sister - who still lives in the community - to be very upset. While much of the actual information was already public, she stated that she would not have shared so much of her personal story if she had known that the media was going to edit the testimony and broadcast it.

Lawyer for the media, Mr. Burnett, argued that the information in the edited video was already public. Mr. Jones, AG BC, referred to a recent legal precedent in this area from Ontario.

Justice Bauman will consider the request - no immediate decision was announced.

First Witness for AG BC: Dr. Lawrence Dalton Beall

Dr. Beall has submitted two affidavits to the court. Lawyer for the AG BC, Karen Horsman, relied primarily to the first affidavit. There was no objection to his qualifications an expert witness. Dr. Beall has a Bsc in Psychology, Msc in education and PhD from Brigham Young University in clinical psychology. He has practiced as a professional psychologist since 1984. His work is involved in the area of diagnosing psychological problems. He has worked with victims of psychological trauma, victims of domestic abuse, veterans, torture, etc. His Salt Lake clinic treats patients who are attempting to return to a useful role in society.

He set up a satellite trauma clinic at a homeless shelter because many homeless people suffer from psychological trauma. Overall, his clinics have treated about 5600 trauma patients, 400 of which were children. They are a state approved treatment center for victims of domestic violence. He has developed manuals to assist in treatment of women coming out of domestic violence. Many had come out of situations were they did not have the necessary life skills to live in the outside world.

He became involved in treatment of victims of polygamous communities in 2004?. He has done some work with victims of polygamy - both women and young men, that were referred through work force services, Tapestry against polygamy and Diversity. In the first referral, from work place services, they had already diagnosed a polygamy victim as a victim of post traumatic stress. Prior to this first referral, he did not have any experience with the polygamous communities in the United States.

His patients have included 14 women and 15 men. Eight of the women came from the non-FLDS Mormon Polygamous groups. They came from Kingston and Harmston groups, he thought. They have chief elements in common with LDS groups - including the doctrinal core of being saved through polygamous marriage. The FLDS patients appeared to be more indoctrinated and a tighter network of control, including from the prophet, priesthood leaders, parents, etc. He believes that his statements will apply generally across the polygamous LDS groups.

In respect to 11 clients referred by Diversity, he supervised treatment directly. Another clinician did direct treatment. He supervised. Treatment generally lasts 12 to 16 sessions for women and 6 to 10 sessions for young men. He has authored a paper on the effects of modern day polygamy on women and children. This will be published in a psych journal that will be dedicated to polygamy.

He has developed the opinion, from his experience, that people from a polygamous background display a unique set of symptoms. He has served as an expert witness on the YFZ Texas case and interviewed 6 women in Hilldale (2 have left the community).

He further stated that he examined information from the YFZ case archive.

Mr. Wickett (Lawyer for the FLDS) objected that Ms. Horsman was now moving beyond information in the affidavit.

Justice Bauman indicated that wide latitude was given to Dr. Campbell, so he allowed the questioning.

These records included birth records, priesthood records, letters to leaders, teachings, etc.

He compared this information against the literature to see if it agreed.

He has been an expert witness in about 40 cases. In the Texas YFZ case, he has been qualified as an expert witness in 5 prosecutions. He summarized his role in 5 criminal convictions in the YFZ case. He spoke of how the women were not aware of the consequences of their decision to marry, sex issues, specific information about the men that they married, etc.

Presented an affidavit relating to an affidavit from a Dr. Matthew Davies who was a witness in Texas on the FLDS case.

Before treating patients from these communities, he had no specific experience regarding Mormon Polygamous communities. During this practice, he learned about Bountiful from patients who were from Short Creek but had been trafficked between there and Bountiful.

Young men had been expelled from Community. In one case, fathers had been expelled and they did not want another father. In other cases, they were expelled for “rebelliousness” .

Dr. Beall characterized a typical diagnosis for a woman from a polygamous community. It uses a 5 point axis that was developed - characterizes symptoms presented, personality disorders, medical problems (esp those that link to mental), stressors and level of functioning. Axis 1 is a PST disorder. Many of his patients had psychologically traumatic events that impacted them seriously. This becomes intrusive experience, ie flashbacks and nightmares. PSTD is the only disorder that is based upon an event where memories from the event intrude on present functioning. Post Trauma was common in his FLDS patients. This was more common in women but also present in men.

Referring to a point of divergence between himself and Dr. Matthew Davies. Dr. Davies believes that the patients are mis-diagnosed as PTSD and were really experiencing cognitive disannince. He states that cognitive disonance is not a psych disorder. He believes the disorders he has seen far exceeds the emotional trauma from Cognitive disonance. Dr. Davies also beleives that adjustment disorder is a part of the FLDS survivor experience. Dr. Beal believes that PTSD is much more severe in the impact of stressors and there is very likely he can be mistaken.

In his experience, the women tended to internalize their abusive experiences - including shame, robotic symptoms, shut down emotions, would not show anger, etc.

Young men tended to act out their symptoms, got angry etc. They felt they were second class citizens because they did not merit a wife. They were forced into the outside world which they had been taught was evil, etc. In their community, they could not compete with the older and more established men for wives. They had been told if they were good and faithful that they would be given a wife, and when this did not happen, they felt cheated. Men were reluctant to seek treatment because this was seen as a weakness in their community and it took time to build trust that the treatment was only to help them overcome specific obstacles.

Adolescents is a time of identity formation. It is very important to ask questions during this time of their life because asking questions is seen as rebellious. They are taught if they think and feel something other than what the prophet says then they are wrong. This teaches them to lose trust in what they think and feel as an individual.

Because the adolescent brain is not fully formed, it is difficult to exercise judgement, plan, project into the future, etc Since these young people had a specific controlling environment, it was more difficult to develop these skills in these individuals.

From scans of pre-frontal cortex, which controls higher executive function, is not fully formed until late 20s. This makes it unfair for a young person to make long term decisions, like who they are going to marry. They do not have the physical capacity. They are emotionally and intellectually unprepared to make these decisions so they become a passive element. Similar problems happen for the young men, however, they often have mechanical or construction skills which make it easier to get by in outside world if they leave.

He refers to sexual grooming - the manner in which relationships are built gradually, in terms of increasing trust and dependance in a relationship that is considered as unique and special. This includes separating her from her support system.

Because of the affection and closeness that develops and the victim craves, when the relationship turns sexual, the woman believes that she has given consent and internalizes fear, shame and guilt.

When the older man is a church leader, for her, disobeying him becomes analogous to disobeying God. If she does not feel good about the relationship, she is told to repent of her sins and align her thinking with the priesthood leaders. The FLDS seems particularly strong in the degree of sexual grooming.

There is much overlap between polygamy victims and PTSD survivors. There is a greater need for feelings of safety (in some cases women are pursued), attachment issues are severe because they were taught that the outside world is evil life skills training is lacking and because of the degree of indoctrination it is very difficult to develop new ways of thinking.

Leaving the polygamous community is done in stages. The first step is one of geography - is it possible for her to slip away and get out. She also needs a place to go - some kind of support system until she finds a way to survive.

Then needs to find a way to survive in the new community - which she has been taught to fear. financial issues, etc.

Then there are legal issues, custody etc. and she does not have money while he does.

The main difference between women and men is the presence of children with the women. It is easier for men, especially if they have a place to stay while they get their feet on the ground.

In some cases, fathers are determined by the church leader as not being worthy to have a family. His family is taken from him and given to another man and he is then expelled from the community.

Dr. Davies has accused Dr. Beall of being biased, not taking cultural and religious sensitivities into account and breaking APA professional guidelines.

Dr. Beal had not been aware of FLDS practices and teachings prior to seeing these patients from the polygamous communities in his practice. Therefore he just treated them as patients who needed help. Dr. Davies accuses Beall of bias with the term “polygamy survivor”. He uses this term because their situations are unique because in opposition to incredible indoctrination, pressure, conditioning, etc. they still leave the community. Most importantly, they are taught will lose their salvation if they leave. Nothing is more important than that.

It was significant that affidavits that Dr. Beal has read that are before this court are consistent with this past experience with polygamy survivors.

Cross-ex by Robert Wickett, Attorney for the FLDS

What is your definition of polygamy?
More than one wife with one man. Polygyny. He has used other terms, like plural marriage, etc. in working with the FLDS patients but tends to use polygamy because it is most commonly understood.

Are you familiar with health insurance portability act in the US (HIPA)? HIPA federal statute that in part provides for privacy and confidentially rights of patients that go to doctors and psychologists. Absent of a detailed authorization form, he cannot disclose psychotherapy symptoms or notes.

His work includes the records of 32 people, 8 of these came from other Mormon fundamentalist groups. His work primarily comes from the records from 16 men and 8 women from FLDS. There was some additional people from other fundamentalist groups who had been treated prior to his 2005 paper.

From his observations of these people, he formed the basis of his opinion. In preparing the two affidavits and opinion for this court, did he rely upon his clinical notes from these patients? No.

Did you obtain consent from these people to use their information - No, and it was not directly used.

From the information that you reported, did it not come from the notes from these cases?

No, because of the repetition of themes, he has developed his own ideas about what goes on in these groups.

While he cannot refer to the notes, due to confidentiality and legal concerns, he has provided statements in his work that ultimately came from his clinical notes. For example, in his affidavit, he states that about 30% of the women he treated were married before 17. Wicket further asked about the statement that Dr. Beall had used that indicated that women had fled polygamy to save their children, he argued that the women were actually fleeing abuse rather than fleeing polygamy per se.

Beall argued that this would be too narrow, because the environment itself; including being watched by sister wives, religious leaders, etc. and being ostracized for speaking out.

W: The only way to determine the accuracy of what you have said, or of your synthesis of information, is to gain access to the original statements which we do not have. Further, because of the fact that there are only 6 women from the FLDS group, it may be possible to determine who these women might be.

Did he consider that these notes might be requested by the courts? Did he know that there was a risk that the records might be ordered by the courts?

Dr Beall stated that the women who came to him for help felt that this was a matter of life or death. If they were tracked down, they could be killed. He stated that he would never release this information to the court because of his obligation to protect them.

Mr Wicket: In your conclusions you have made generalizations about the FLDS community. Why have not more women left?

B: The FLDS system is a caste system. There is an inner circle who enjoy the advantages and many others who suffer. There are in reality two communities.

Mr. Wickett: Are the 22 people who came to you for treatment, were they from the outer circle of the community?

W: How many of the young men came from the diversity foundation?
B: all but 2.

W: Diversity Foundation is headed by a Mr Fisher. Were you aware that he is involved in several major litigations against the FLDS in the US?
B: No.

W: How many people came through referrals from Tapestry?
B: None of the males and some of the females.

W: Did the Diversity Foundation pay for the treatment for some of the young men?
B: Diversity Foundation paid for the treatment of some patients, Yes.

W: How much funding did you receive from the Diversity Foundation for these treatments?
B: Don’t recall.

W: From Texas Transcripts, where you recently testified in another case, you stated that Diversity paid $19K for treatment. Is this correct?
B: yes

W: Have you performed any evaluations from people who are still in the FLDS?
B: No

W: Since all of these people had left the FLDS, is there any chance that this testimony is biased?
B: Yes - and this has been noted. Their experience obviously is not reflective of the people who are happy within the FLDS (especially in terms of those who form the elite).

W: You treated 16 young men you came to you, 11 of them were given a diagnosis of PTSD.
B: How did you come up with that number?

W: From a series of transcripts (which were then submitted to Justice Bauman). Going to a transcript from March 2010 in a case called State of Texas v (Merrill Jessop?). References referring to are on page 14,

Mr. Hudson: What are the effect on men in that community.
A. It was the same as the women except the men exhibited more anger.
Q. How many of the 16 men exhibited symptoms of PTSD?
A. 11 of the 16 men were diagnosed with symptoms of PTSD.”

W: Do you remember giving those answers?
B: No

W: Do you think you gave those answers at that time?
B: I think this is true. I had appeared in 5 cases and it is difficult to remember specific questions from specific cases.

W: Is if fair to say that all or part of the men had been physically abused?
B: No

B: In PTSD, there is usually a significant identifiable assult or incident. In FLDS, there is not a specific event, but rather a general climate that one is not safe. It is necessary to push under consciousness difficult events because it is not appropriate to show emotions. All of these people explained a climate that was conducive to PSTD. WItnesses are aware of violence against others, even if they do not experience this directly, it has a similar effect as violence against self. etc.

W: To my specific question - return to manuscript pg. 15, Read from manuscript and do you recall these questions and answers? Reading from transcript - B had answered that 11 of the 16 who had PSTD had suffered physical or sexual abuse.

B: On hearing manuscript, remembered making these statements.

W; Relating to the women how many suffered abuse (physical and sexual)
B: This is difficult to answer because unwanted sex can feel like physical abuse even though the courts do not define it that way. In my experience, many of these women experienced unwanted sex and these were very intrusive experiences.

W: Of the 6 women who exhibited PTSD and said that they were abused - you would ask them their history etc.

B: I would ask them some sentence that would seem non threatening at first and the rest was a check-list.

W: Did you use hypnosis on any of these patients. For example, do you consider it questionable to use hypnosis for recovered memories?
B: I don;t consider it questionable, I consider it unethical

W; Are you familiar with the book by Brent Jeffs? Are you familiar with what is written there? I trust that you cannot comment on this because of the confidentiality of your patient.

B: No, this is not my answer, he was not my patient

W: Then you won’t mind if I read from this book that is submitted as evidence in this case. (He submitted book by Jeffs to Judge Bauman). He then read 2 passages in the book where Jeffs stated that he had been treated twice by Dr. Beal using hypnosis. Would you like to see this book?
B: No - I believe your reading is correct but this is not my recollection.

W: You have said that adolescents are not able to make informed decisions because of the formation of their brains.
W: Do you believe the adults in the FLDS have the ability to make informed decisions?
B: Yes, but they are affected by their strong conditioning and some are more or less able to make decisions.

W; In all major faiths, religious leaders make statements that cannot be proven empirically. Is this not true?
B: Yes:
W: For example, in the LDS faith - you are LDS are you not?
B: yes
W: There are many common beliefs between the LDS and FLDS Faiths, are there not?
W: Including a belief in a Prophet who receives revelations directly from God, etc?
B: yes, however, in the FLDS faith the revelations are much more centralized to the Prophet. There is more room for personal revelation in the LDS church. In the LDS church, the prophet receives revelations for the entire church, not individual members.
W; But the Prophet is the only one authorized to receive revelations for the entire body of the church (reads from the previous trial transcript where Dr. Beall had stated this).
B: (generally seemed to reluctantly agree )

W: Between 1830 and 1900, the LDS Church and its’ members were threatened, persecuted, attacked by armies and mobs, driven from state to state, disenfranchised and legally prosecuted for the practice of Polygamy. Over a thousand men, along with many women, were arrested and their leaders were pursued and forced into hiding. This did not stop until the LDS Church was dissolved and its’ assets were seized - and then the Prophet called for an end to the practice to save the church. Are you aware of this?
B: Yes

W: Since the LDS church officially ended polygamy, more than 100 years ago, the fundamentalist Mormons have continued the practice of polygamy in the face of increasingly harsh criminalization, persecution, raids, legal prosecutions, arrests, imprisonment and seizure of assets. Are you aware of this?
B: Yes

W: Do you believe that continued criminal prohibition will ever be effective in ending the practice of Mormon polygamy?
B: I don’t know

W: Women from the FLDS church have a more difficult time in getting necessary support from outside agencies and have more difficulties escaping from from abuse because polygamous women are often more isolated, separated from the outside world, have less access to resources, less money, more difficulty with custody, etc. Do you agree?
B: confirms

W: Would it not be easier for them if polygamy were de-criminalized?
B: No opinion on this.

W: ends questioning

Court adjourns for lunch.

BCCLA (BC Civil Liberties - Monique ?)

M: Your opinion is based primarily on clinical experience?
B: Correct.

Information comes from his experience in working with people who had left the community. Some of the information came from interviews with people in Colorado city, who had not left the community, but this did not form the basis of his work.

In talking with women, three conversations were with women who were together and three others were separate.

When you testified in texas, this evidence was based on child sex abuse. This was not to do with consenting adults.
B: Correct

M: With respect to the multi-axial diagnosis, is the principle diagnosis PTSD?
B: This is principle but not primary

M: Would you say that you are very familiar with PS?4.?
B: In stress disorders.

M: Would you agree that primary diagnosis in under axis 1, which is PSDM is this not primary?
B: correct.

M: PTSD is a result of extreme stressors, such a re-experiencing and intrusive memories that exist for a period of time. Identification of the significant events is important for treatment.
B: Does not agree entirely

M: Would you say the event is primary to the symptom
B: There are often more than one event- in complex cases

M: Once events are identified, will this have a direct impact on treatment?
B: In some cases, people have sommatic systems where they do not know the event that triggered the symptom. This is why not to use hypnosis to try and recover the memory because it simply may not be remembered. Better to treat the symptoms.

M: Did some of the patients come to you who had been threatened with violence, or loved ones had been threatened with violence.
B: Yes

M: Have you treated any teenage girls who were victims of abuse. Are they part of the sample population?
B: I did not treat them directly, but they are part of my awareness because my colleagues treated them. They had bearing on my cases because they were children of the people I was treating.

BCTF: (BC Teachers Federation) Cross-examine relative to education.

BCTF: Have you experienced any of the FLDS private schools?
B: Yes, I have visited the FLDS Alta Academy in Salt Lake City.
BCTF: From what you observed, how would you compare education in this school to education available in public schools?
B: Education in polygamous community is inferior due to restrictions on the educational material and lack of qualifications among the teachers. Does the teachers experience come from education in public school, or private school, etc. In his experience comes from Alta, FLDS school in Salt Lake. There was one hour per day that related to priesthood history, etc. During the remainder of the day, there was more subtle re-enforcement of religion.

Do you have a Masters in Education?
B: yes

Are you aware of the need for critical thinking training in education?
B: yes

Do you feel that the people you met from FLDS background had been sufficiently trained in critical thinking to make important decisions?

B: No, I do not believe so.

(2:20 PM) - No more witnesses

Schedule moved to arranging schedules for the remainder of the hearing.

AG Canada requests 4 weeks to prepare closing submissions to be able to incorporate all the evidence - especially relating to testimony that is only being heard now. Quite frankly to start the middle of February with closing submissions will be a significant burden.

Spring break becomes a major scheduling problem if time goes later?

No one booked for Monday: Tuesday Dr. Woo.
Wednesday: Mr. Kendall
Thursday/Friday: Dr. Heinrich

Court adjourned until Tuesday, December 7


MPB said...

Thank you for your daily accounts, particularly for those of us who are unable to attend and watch for ourselves.

keith said...

You are very welcome. Having read a lot of the classics (like the Reed Smoot hearing, supreme court decisions on Reynolds and Edmunds, etc) it is incredible to see this case unfold. If you have any questions or anything, please don't hesitate to let me know.

Anonymous said...

I have been following the flds situation since the texas raid

thanks for the blow by blow account