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Posted by: Maricopa Lawyers on Jan 26, 2013

A 26-year-old Arizona woman who fled a polygamous church in Colorado City is seeking a legal divorce from her husband with the help of Arizona prosecutors at the attorney general’s office.

Ruby Jessop Barlow filed for divorce and child custody on December 19th in Kingman, Arizona. The initial filing alleges that she was 14 years old when she was assigned to be married to John H Barlow, then 32, in an April 2001 “celestial marriage” supported by the fundamentalist church of latter day saints. The two were legally married in Nevada when Barlow turned 16 in 2002.

Arizona prosecutors aired their concerns about these legal proceedings earlier this month stating that they are reviving Arizona state legislation that would allow a Mohave County Sheriff’s Office takeover of law enforcement responsibilities and the dissolution of Colorado City Marshal’s Office.

However, an attorney who represents the Arizona-Utah border community of Colorado City says that the facts of the case are being misrepresented and is curious if there is even any proof of criminal misconduct and law breaking.

Barlow alleges that she endured years of sexual abuse while participating in the church and that she unsuccessfully attempted to leave the organization multiple times before her defection in late 2012.

Jeff Matura, the Phoenix lawyer representing Colorado City, says that there is very little substantial proof of these allegations. “It’s headlines, but where’s the evidence? It’s like the old TV commercial. ‘Where’s the beef?’ If there is evidence out there, OK, there are laws on the books already to deal with this, and these people should be prosecuted and arrested if in fact that is actually what is going on.”

The divorce paperwork indicates that Barlow and her estranged husband share six children between the ages of 2 and 10. Ruby Barlow asked for full custody of all children alleging she had denied access to them for more than a month after leaving her husband.

An attempt to serve John Barlow with divorce and child custody paperwork was thwarted when church security guards and Town Marshal Hyrum Roundy detained process server Sam Brower without probable cause.