The April 3 police raid of a polygamist compound in West Texas, which has mushroomed into the largest child abuse investigation in the nation's history, has unnerved polygamists in Canada, where authorities have long wanted to halt the rituals of plural marriages and underage sex in Bountiful, British Columbia.
Wally Oppal, the province's attorney general, said Candian authorities for 25 years have wanted to move against illegal activities among the 3,000 residents of Bountiful, which is situated near the American border and the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. "We hear of events that are said to be taking place that involves the scenario of 55-year-old men marrying 15-year-old girls," he said.
But authorities have hit roadblocks over the years because of the refusal of Bountiful girls to accuse the older men of any wrongdoing. In fact, Oppal said, the girls nearly always claim to be the aggressors, or "pursuers," of romantic relationships with the men.
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