Texas authorities have been stymied by their inability to find the elusive "Sarah," an alleged 16-year-old girl whose phone call initiated the FLDS fiasco. In an effort to find Sarah, girls from the ranch were physically and verbally examined. A witness described how one of the girl with a name similar to that of the girl in the search warrant was grilled for hours by investigators. "You are this girl," they insisted. "Why don't you want our help?" Refusing to accept her self-identification, and demanding compliance, they subjected the girl to the same treatment that opponents of the FLDS object to.
Followers of this case are aware that there is reason to suspect that the call came from an outsider, and that the young abused girl does not exist. Marleigh Meisner, spokeswoman with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, is scrambling to justify the raid and essentially the kidnapping of more than 400 FLDS children on the strength of this one phone call.
Meisner has now described Sarah as a metaphor.
"I do believe that Sarah exists," she says. "If you listen to the testimony, there were many Sarahs. We received information there were young Sarahs who were pregnant, Sarahs who were mothers. Just because perhaps someone else phoned that in really doesn't change the investigation."
If we are to consider Sarah a symbol of pregnant young girls, let us take a look at some statistics which Mark IV provided at the Messenger and Advocate:
Some background of teenage pregnancies in Texas:
The non-Hispanic white rate is 60 per 1,000, the black rate is 130 per 1,000 and the Hispanic rate is 145 per 1,000.
The rate at YFZ seems to be 45 per 1,000, 20 percent lower than the rate for other Texas girls in the polygamous girls’ demographic cohort and more than 60 percent lower than among Hispanic girls in Texas.
That seems to indicate that underage girls at YFZ are 20 percent less likely to have sex than other white girls across the state and 60 percent less likely to have sex than Hispanic girls across the state.
Further, the rate of teen pregnancy at YFZ is lower than the rate of teen pregnancy in more than three-quarters of Texas counties.
The best thing the state can do now is apologize. If they are sincere in wanting to protect teenaged women from getting pregnant, they ought to take lessons from YFZ, because they are doing a better job of it that the state as a whole.
Yes, Texas, there is a "Sarah."
She walks the halls of your local high school. She goes to the Baptist services. She grew up in the Texas foster-care system. Yes, we all need to search for Sarah, wherever she may be found. If there are girls who need and want our help on the YFZ compound, we should be there to help them. But let us not force our attentions upon those who have a better track record for caring for their own than the rest of the state.