Nine to each get $173K in FLDS discrimination case

Phoenix — Authorities have revealed how much money will be given to nine people in a settlement against two polygamous towns in Arizona and Utah that were found to have discriminated against nonbelievers.

The $1.6 million settlement was announced last month when a jury delivered verdicts against Colorado City, Ariz., and Hildale, Utah. But the amount of money to be given to people within the community wasn’t revealed at the time.

A court filing Monday now says nine people will each receive $173,000. The towns and their water utility also will each pay a $55,000 civil penalty.

The jury concluded the towns violated the constitutional rights of nonbelievers by denying them basic services such as police protection, building permits and water hookups.

Jurors found six people suffered emotional stress from the discrimination and should get damages.

The U.S. Justice Department decided to split the settlement proceeds between those six people and added three others as recipients. As part of the settlement, the agency was allowed to divvy up the funds as it saw fit.

Isaac Wyler, one of the three people added to the settlement, testified about how he suffered from vandalism and intimidation after he left the church.

Wyler said he complained to local authorities hundreds of times after his horse property was vandalized, including water lines and fences being cut, but the police did nothing because he was no longer a member of the church. He also described finding a dozen dead cats on his property after leaving the church.

A pretrial ruling barred the Justice Department from seeking damages at trial for Wyler.

The case’s judge will hold hearings later this year to determine how to remedy the civil rights violations.

Federal authorities haven’t specified the changes they’ll seek, but the judge has several options, including disbanding the towns’ shared police force.