Calhoun: Wake-Up Call

The Mormon Chronicles

Lee Steed, a senior aide to Mormon polygamist leader Warren S. Jeffs, has purchased $2 million worth of property in five spots in the Sangre De Cristo mountains for the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, according to Hatewatch, the online publication of the Southern Poverty Law Center.

In an item posted today by former Westword staff writer David Holthouse, Hatewatch reported that members of the FLDS are living on at least three of the properties -- and causing plenty of consternation in Custer County and nearby Fremont County.

“We are concerned because of the various reports that we have received and the media exposure we have seen about this group in the last few months,” county commissioner David Downey told Hatewatch. Many of those reports focused on the raid of a Texas church ranch run by this breakway sect of the Mormon church, which resulted in hundreds of children being placed in foster care.

In 2005, the Southern Poverty Law Center added the FLDS to its hate group list. Last year, FLDS leader Jeffs was convicted as an accomplice to the rape of a young girl who was forced to marry her cousin. Before that, he'd been on the run for two years -- and Steed reportedly helped him hide out from the law. -- Patricia Calhoun

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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun