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Girls Removed From Polygamist Leader Compound


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Child welfare officials following up on an abuse complaint took custody of 18 girls Friday who lived at a secretive West Texas religious retreat built by polygamist leader Warren Jeffs.


A total of 52 girls, ages 6 months to 17 years, were bused away on Friday to be interviewed, but only 18 were immediately taken into state custody, said Texas Child Protective Services spokeswoman Marleigh Meisner. No arrests had been made.


Meisner said welfare officials were looking for foster homes for the girls, most of whom have rarely been outside the insular world of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. They were being housed for now at a civic center, she said.


"We're dealing with children that aren't accustomed to the outside world, so we're trying to be very sensitive to their needs," Meisner said.


Authorities had interviewed about half the girls since arriving Thursday evening at the remote compound with law enforcers, she said. Interviews were expected to continue over the weekend.


The investigation began with a call alleging physical abuse of a 16-year-old girl living there, Meisner said.


On Friday afternoon, the Department of Public Safety officials began executing a search warrant.


The warrant seeks records dealing with the birth of children to a 16-year-old and any records listing a marriage between a 50-year-old man and the girl, according to the San Angelo Standard-Times, which cited court records released late Friday in Tom Green County. Prosecutors in Tom Green, a larger county north of Eldorado, were handling the case.


An arrest warrant was issued, but the individual that public safety officials are looking for had not been located Friday evening, said spokeswoman Tela Mange. She said she could not reveal whose name was on the warrant.


"We have been working very closely with the adults at the ranch, and they have been assisting us in our search," she said.


The ranch covers roughly 1,700 acres. It is north of this two stoplight town, down a narrow paved road. Authorities blocked access to the compound's gate, keeping onlookers miles away.


Only the compound's 80-foot-tall, gleaming white temple is visible on the wind-swept desert horizon.


State officials said they did not know how many people lived at the retreat, but local officials in 2006 put the number at about 150, as members of the reclusive church moved from a community on the Arizona-Utah line.


The congregation, known as FLDS, and has been led by Jeffs since his father's death in 2002. It is one of several groups that split from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, based in Salt Lake City, decades after it renounced polygamy in 1890.


In November, Jeffs was sentenced to two consecutive sentences of five years to life in prison in Utah for being an accomplice to the rape of a 14-year-old girl who wed her cousin in an arranged marriage in 2001.


In Arizona, Jeffs is charged as an accomplice with four counts each of incest and sexual conduct with a minor stemming from two arranged marriages between teenage girls and their older male relatives. He is jailed in Kingman, Ariz., awaiting trial.


The group's retreat, about 160 miles northwest of San Antonio, is on a former exotic game ranch. The group bought the property in 2004 for $700,000 and began an ambitious construction program anchored by the temple.





This is very sad indeed. Children brainwashed and never seeing the outside world. Come on a 16 year old married to a 50 year old. You can't say that the 16 year old truly wanted this. This gives religion a bad name. As well as the human race in general. I say the ones responsible should be crucified like in the old days.



Source HERE

Edited by Jitway
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IEUWW...This kind of crap is even better nightmare material then the Grudge dvd box.. I can get very sad when I think about the girls who grow up there....

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  • 2 weeks later...

Bit of a update on this....


Texas polygamist sect is accused of indoctrinating girls. Girls in the west Texas polygamous sect enter into underage marriages without resistance because they are ruthlessly indoctrinated from birth to believe disobedience will lead to their damnation, experts for the state testified Friday at a custody hearing for 416 youngsters.


The renegade Mormon sect's belief system "is abusive. The culture is very authoritarian," said Dr. Bruce Perry, a psychiatrist and an authority on children in cults.


But under questioning from defense lawyers who lined up in the courtroom aisles to have a turn at each witness, the state's experts acknowledged that the sect mothers are loving parents and that there were no signs of abuse among younger girls and any of the boys.


The testimony came on Day 2 of an extraordinary mass hearing over an attempt by the state of Texas to strip the parents of custody and place the children in foster homes away from the compound inhabited by members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.


A witness for the parents who was presented by defense lawyers as an expert on the FLDS disputed the state's contention that a bed in the retreat's gleaming white temple was never used to consummate the marriages of underage girls to much older men.


Instead, W. John Walsh testified, it is used for naps during the sect's long worship services.


"There is no sexual activity in the temple," Walsh said.


The children were seized this month in a raid on the desert compound because of evidence of physical and sexual abuse, including the forcing of underage girls into marriage and childbearing.


Texas District Judge Barbara Walther boiled it down this way: "The issue before the court is: Can I give them back?"


Attorneys for the children and the parents appeared to be trying to show in cross-examination that their children were fine and that the state was trying to tear families apart on the mere possibility that the girls might be abused when they reach puberty several years from now.


Only a few of the children are teenage girls. Roughly a third are younger than 4 and more than two dozen are teenage boys. But about 20 women or more gave birth when they were minors, some as young as 13, authorities say.


The judge controlled the hundreds of lawyers with a steelier hand Friday than she did the day before.


Under cross-examination, state child-welfare investigator Angie Voss conceded there have been no allegations of abuse against babies, prepubescent girls or any boys.


But her agency, Child Protective Services, contends that the teachings of the FLDS — to marry shortly after puberty, have as many children as possible and obey their fathers or their prophet, imprisoned leader Warren Jeffs — amount to abuse.


"This is a population of women who appear to have a problem making a decision on their own," Voss said.


In response, the FLDS women, dressed in long, pioneer-style dresses with their hair swept up in braids, groaned in chorus with their dark-suited attorneys.


Walsh disputed that young girls have no say in who they marry.


"Basically, they're into match-making," he said of the sect, adding that girls who have refused matches have not been expelled.


"I believe the girls are given a real choice. Girls have successfully said, 'No, this is not a good match for me,' and they remained in good standing," he said.


Perry testified that the girls he interviewed said they freely chose to marry young. But he said those choices were based on lessons drilled into them from birth.


"Obedience is a very important element of their belief system," he said. "Compliance is being godly; it's part of their honoring God."


Perry acknowledged that many of the adults at the ranch are loving parents and that the boys seemed emotionally healthy when he played with them. When asked whether the belief system really endangered the older boys or young children, Perry said, "I have lost sleep over that question."


Under questioning, Perry also conceded the children would suffer if placed in traditional foster care.


"If these children are kept in the custody of the state, there would have to be exceptional and innovative programmatic elements for these children and their families," he said. "The traditional foster care system would be destructive for these children."


At that, dozens of FLDS parents applauded.


Eugene Volokh, a UCLA law professor, said courts have generally held that a parent's belief system cannot, in itself, justify a child's removal. He said, for example, that a parent might teach his child that smoking marijuana is acceptable, but only when he helps the child buy pot does he cross the line.


"The general view of the legal system is until there is an imminent risk of harm or actual harm, you can't" take the children, Volokh said.


The raid was prompted by a call from someone identifying herself as a 16-year-old girl with the sect. She claimed her husband, a 50-year-old member of the sect, beat and raped her. Investigators have yet to identify her among the children seized.


Jeffs is in prison for being an accomplice to rape. He was convicted in Utah last year of forcing a 14-year-old into marrying an older man.


Walsh testified that the renegade Mormon sect did not promote underage marriages until imprisoned leader Warren Jeffs took over as the sect's "prophet."


"He encourages marriage," Walsh said. "In some ways, he's indifferent to their age."





So they teach them at a early age that to disobey a elder will lead to damnation or hell in other words. Hmmm I find this very sad indeed. This perverted adults just teach the child and more or less brainwash any right to choice right out of their minds. All who partook in this should be hung.


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