These sentences are a disgrace.
Far from having any deterrent effect, they are more likely to embolden others and not just those within the fundamentalist Mormon tradition.
If there is a chilling effect at all, it will be on those who left this abusive and dysfunctional community and bravely testified against friends and family.
Vancouver Sun columnist Daphne Bramham has covered the polygamist Fundamentalist Mormon sect in Bountiful BC for decades. Her comments are in reaction to news yesterday that Winston Blackmore and James Oler were sentenced to house arrest after being convicted of polygamy. Blackmore received six months for marrying 24 wives while Oler received three months for his five wives.
The record shows both men had wives under the age of 18.
After their house arrest, both men will be on probation for a year.
Ian Bushfield, Executive Director of the BC Humanist Association:
Bountiful is Handmaid’s Tale in our own backyard: Girls as young as 15 are forced into marriage and boys are exiled. For a judge to call Blackmore a hardworking and respected member of the community is a slap in the face to the rights of these children and those women who’ve escaped.
This sentence is a tragedy for all of the activists who’ve been working for decades to get the government to step in and protect the children of Bountiful.
There have been plenty of arguments against Canada’s polygamy law but perhaps the newest one is its utter toothlessness.
Watch Bramham’s full comments: