FLDS doctor denies abuse at YFZ Ranch

Eldorado, USA - The physician who cares for the polygamous community now in the national spotlight - and who has treated its prophet in a Utah jail - is described by his mentor as "very kind, very sensitive, very concerned."

Lloyd H. Barlow, a member of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, graduated from the University of Utah's School of Medicine in 1995.

He completed a one-year internship in internal medicine in 1996, and then did a family medicine residency at the U. that ended in 1999.

Barlow oversees a health clinic in Hildale, the sect's traditional home base, and its Texas clinic at its YFZ Ranch. Texas authorities allege there is a pattern of sexual abuse of underage girls at the ranch; and on Wednesday an official said at least 41 children there have had broken bones. He also said young boys may have been sexually abused.

Barlow flatly denies that any child abuse occurred at the ranch.

"There is not," Barlow said. "The parents are very loving and caring parents, as I believe [Texas child welfare officials] could attest given the stresses put on them over the past three weeks and observing them. The parents are very much interested in the care and well-being of their children."

He added: "It is part of our belief system that the way to teach and train children is to deal with them and train them in kindness."

Physicians are legally required to report cases of suspected child abuse - something Barlow said he would have done if he found such evidence.

Texas authorities would not comment Wednesday on whether investigations include whether anyone failed to report abuse of children at the ranch. Barlow said children with serious illnesses or injuries were treated at health care facilities outside the ranch, and police found receipts for such care, court records show.

There have been no public complaints against Barlow or discipline by licensors in Utah or Texas.

Physician Marc E. Babitz was Barlow's faculty supervisor during his residency program and worked with him at a now-closed family practice clinic in Salt Lake City.

"He was really a very fine student and a very fine resident. He put the welfare of his patients as his top priority," said Babitz, who once visited Barlow at the Hildale clinic. He said he was once introduced to one of Barlow's wives.

Until Barlow completed his medical degree, Hildale and the adjoining FLDS town of Colorado City, Ariz., had a single nurse practitioner to rely on.

"He made a huge difference to health care in this area," said Joanne Yarrish, a certified nurse midwife in nearby Centennial Park.

Barlow repeatedly visited then-ailing sect leader Warren S. Jeffs in the Washington County jail in the spring of 2007. Jeffs was awaiting trial and was later convicted of two first-degree felony counts of rape as an accomplice for his role in a 2001 spiritual marriage between a 14-year-old follower and her 19-year-old cousin.