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church of wells custom cut lumberOn a humid July afternoon, two investigators from the Texas Workforce Commission’s Child Labor Law Unit pulled into the red-dirt parking lot of Custom Cut Lumber, a sawmill located in Alto, amid the Piney Woods about an hour south of Tyler. They walked onto the seventeen-acre property strewn with milled planks, piles of sawdust, and unhewn logs, and headed toward the main building. Richard Gordon Trudeau, a stocky man with an auburn beard and a soft, raspy voice, came to greet them in the sawmill’s pine-paneled office. Samples of wooden trim hung on the wall. Card stock religious tracts and CDs sat propped on a shelf, and affixed to the window was a photocopied Bible verse, Romans 8:24: “For we are saved by hope, but…

The post A Fundamentalist East Texas Church Bought a Sawmill. Injuries and Child Labor Violations Began to Pile Up. appeared first on Texas Monthly.

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