We noted in our immediately preceding blog post that child sexual abuse "can seem almost fictional in its horror and cruelty." And we stressed further in our June 27 entry that shocking stories "regularly emerge to underscore the global challenge" of that scourge.
Following is one such tale.
They called themselves the Knights of the Crystal Blade, a title that sounds innocuous enough and could easily apply to a social club or party game.
Its essence and core teaching stressed something altogether different and sinister, though, namely the marrying of male members with girls as young as four years old. In fact, both of the group's founders secretly married two girls each.
And they then sexually abused them in horrific ways from what a recent media report called their "makeshift compound made out of shipping containers in the southern Utah desert."
One of those men pleaded guilty recently to child rape, and could spend the rest of his life in prison. The other is currently in court facing sodomy and child bigamy charges.
There is now a California nexus to what a Utah prosecutor calls "pedophiles cloaking themselves in the robes of religious freedom." Earlier this month, authorities charged a state resident who traveled to Utah last year to join the group and also took a child bride (a girl of just 5) with sodomy. The child was given to the man as a so-called "spiritual wife."
The story is immeasurably sad, of course, but not singular or particularly far-fetched in a universe where manipulative adult pedophiles sexually prey upon the youngest and most vulnerable of all demographics.
Unsurprisingly, the judge overseeing the men's cases called their conduct "highly disturbing."