Polygamy town gets outside aid

Amanda J. Crawford
The Arizona Republic
Aug. 10, 2004 12:00 AM

The outside is unassuming: a plain gray, modular building surrounded by red dirt.

It is what the building represents that is important: the first independent outside presence in the community of Colorado City, headquarters of the nation's largest polygamist community.

On Monday, the Mohave County/State of Arizona Multi-Use Facility opened in the community, which is dominated by members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The building will be used by Child Protective Services, the Arizona Attorney General's Office, the Mohave County Sheriff's Office and the County Attorney's Office.

Andrea Esquer, spokeswoman for the Arizona Attorney General's Office, said the office will be a resource for victims who want to come forward to report abuse.

"It is important in this area because if you are a victim and you don't have a place to turn to, it becomes very frustrating," she said. Ron Walker, Mohave County manager, said the state will pay rent to use space in the building, which cost the county just under $200,000.

DES will have one full-time employee at the office to work with the developmentally disabled and serve as a liaison for other department programs, like food stamps and welfare. Two CPS workers based out of Page will spend at least two days a week at the facility.

Esquer said the Attorney General's Office will use the Colorado City space as needed. The Mohave County Sheriff's Office will rotate officers into the facility.

Walker said the Mohave County Attorney's Office plans to place an investigator and a victim's advocate in the office as well.