Judge In Polygamous Child Labor Case Orders $200k Payment

Dec 9, 2016

A CNN video shows young members of the FLDS Church working at the Southern Utah Pecan Ranch in Hurricane, Utah.
Credit CNN

A federal judge is ordering a contracting company with ties to a polygamous group to pay at least $200,000 in back wages to children who prosecutors say worked long hours picking pecans without pay.

U.S. District Judge Tena Campbell handed down the order after deciding that Paragon Contractors sent kids as young as 6 to work in the cold in 2012.

She also ordered the company to be monitored by an independent overseer for five years.

Paragon attorneys have said kids volunteered to go to the harvest and the punishments are overreaching. Lawyers for the company didn't immediately return calls seeking comment Thursday.

Prosecutors say the company has deep connections to the sect led by Warren Jeffs and was under pressure to make money for its leaders when it sent kids to the fields.