In 45 years in broadcasting, I've seen some horrific images .. video / photos.
Now, I have seen some pictures that are disturbing to the point of making me disgusted .. angry.
These are photos of polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs ... kissing and hugging young girls. Reportedly, one of the girls is only 12 years old .. and apparantly, she was a "bride" for Jeffs.
The images from July 2006 and January 2005 ... are part of the evidence Texas Child Protective Services entered in the trial against Jeffs. He is accused of creating a culture abusing children .. forcing young girls to become brides.
Texas investigators say the pictures show Jeffs kissing these children ... as "a husband kisses a wife".
I agree with that description. He is holding the girls close to him ... kissing them on the lips .. in a passionate manner. That is not how a grown man should treat a child.
Still, his attorney said: I do not consider a girl kissing a man ... sex abuse. Really?
One of Jeffs' supporters claims .. the pictures were just a "publicity" stunt. Again, really?
In Utah, Jeffs has been convicted as an accomplice for performing a "marriage" between a 14 year old girl and her 19 year old husband. He is facing similiar charges in Arizona.
I have heard some audio where Jeffs is instructing young girls how they are to prepare themselves for marriage. These are 10-13 year old girls.
Jeffs leads the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints ... and claims to be a "prophet" ... that hears directly from God about numerous things. One of those "messages" is .. that Jeffs will decide which young girl will marry .. when .. and to whom. Sometimes, he claims that God told him to take the child as a bride; other times, he says God directs him to give the child to someone else.
Jeffs also claims to have the authority to take a wife (and children) away from her husband .. and give the wife to someone else. In those cases ... except for the children caught in the middle ... he's dealing with adults that have given up their own independence and thinking.
But with the child brides ... even if they don't like it ...know it's wrong ... they have no power to fight, to resist; they might even fear punishment from God. Some might think .. this is the way the whole world lives.
There's no doubt these children have to be protected from Jeffs ... especially if their parents are willing to accept what the "prophet" says.