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Community Members Celebrate Guilty Verdict In FLDS-Discrimination Lawsuit

Michael Chow/The Republic

A federal jury has found Colorado City, Arizona and Hildale, Utah guilty of religious discrimination. As Arizona Public Radio’s Aaron Granillo reports, some residents of the polygamous communities are celebrating the legal victory. 

Yesterday’s verdict came after weeks of testimony from the community, which unveiled abuses that have been happening there for decades. It showed the towns denied basic services, like police protection and utilities, to people who are not members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Isaac Wyler is a former church member who testified for the US Justice Department.

“We’ve been wanting to get this out to the public for years, and get these wrongs righted. It’s just taken forever," Wyler says. "Now, everybody in the world knows what was going on.”

The towns have been ordered to pay more than $1.5 million to victims who’ve suffered emotional distress. In addition, a judge will likely order sweeping changes to remedy the discrimination. That could include disbanding the local marshal’s office. Defense attorneys say town leaders plan to follow any of the court’s orders, though they continue to deny the accusations.

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