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Women from polygamist sect say officials misled them
Houston Chronicle/AP ^ | 4-15-08 | JENNIFER DOBNER and MICHAEL GRACZYK

Posted on 04/15/2008 10:27:22 AM PDT by Snickering Hound

ELDORADO — Mothers separated from their children as part of a wide-ranging abuse investigation within a polygamist retreat accuse state officials of misleading them before taking their offspring into custody.

Authorities raided the sect's ranch more than a week ago in response to allegations that underage girls were forced to marry older men. Women and children from the secretive community were taken to a West Texas fort-turned-museum and a rodeo pavilion, but on Monday officials began separating women and some of their offspring without warning, members of the sect said.

While some women and children were taken from the shelters to the nearby San Angelo Coliseum, other women were allowed to return to the ranch — but only those who were childless or had children under the age of 5.

About three dozen of the women who returned to the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints ranch spoke out Monday, after 11 days in temporary shelters. They said in interviews that police surrounded them Monday and gave them a choice between returning home, or relocating to a women's shelter.

"It just feels like someone is trying to hurt us," said Paula, 38, who like other members of the sect declined to give her full name. "I do not understand how they can do this when they don't have a for sure knowledge that anyone has abused these children."

Marissa Gonzales, a spokeswoman for the Department of Family and Protective Services, said the move was a typical procedure taken by the agency.

"It is not the normal practice to allow parents to accompany the child when an abuse allegation is made," Gonzales said.

Brenda, a 37-year-old mother of two teenage boys, said the women were threatened with arrest if they resisted the court order. Previously, the women had been told they would stay with the children at least until Thursday, when a custody hearing is scheduled, she said.

A call to CPS for comment late Monday on the women's claims was not immediately returned.

CPS's closing of the shelters came a day after three mothers from the ranch petitioned Gov. Rick Perry to inspect the shelters to see firsthand how families were being treated. The women said the living conditions were cramped and that some of the children had become sick.

About 20 children were recovering from a mild case of chicken pox, said Dr. Sandra Guerra-Cantu with the state Health Department.

Perry spokesman Robert Black said the governor did not believe the children were being housed in poor conditions at the West Texas fort.

"Let's be honest here, this is not the Ritz," Black said. But he called the accommodations "clean and neat."

CPS said officials have been planning the move for a week but that the coliseum was unavailable earlier. About two dozen teenage boys were moved to a facility outside San Angelo with the judge's permission, CPS said. The location was not released.

The state is accusing the sect of physically and sexually abusing the youngsters and wants to strip their parents of custody and place the children in foster care or put them up for adoption. The sheer size of the case was an obstacle.

"Quite frankly, I'm not sure what we're going to do," state District Judge Barbara Walther said after a conference that included three to four dozen attorneys either representing or hoping to represent youngsters.

Brenda and others were critical of CPS, saying the agency misled them as to what was to happen Monday, weren't told why the children were removed from the compound and given inaccurate messages about opportunities to meet attorneys.

"We got to where we said, 'We cannot believe a word you say. We cannot trust you,'" she said.

Officials said the investigation began with a call from a young girl who has yet to be located by CPS. The women in the sect said they suspect she may be a bitter ex-member of the church.

The FLDS practice polygamy in arranged marriages, sometimes between underage girls and older men. The group has thousands of followers in two side-by-side towns in Arizona and Utah.

The church has repeatedly fought because of its lifestyle before. Men, women and children have been swept up in raids that took place in 1935, 1944 and 1953.

"It's been all through history, " said Brenda, the mother of two. "We were just here trying to live a peaceful, happy, sweet life. We don't understand why we can't do this freely."

TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Government; US: Texas
KEYWORDS: allyourkidsare; belongtogovernment; churchandstate; cps; flds; guiltyuntildisproven; jeffs; lds; mormons; parentalrights
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Well, at least they weren't burned alive this time
1 posted on 04/15/2008 10:27:22 AM PDT by Snickering Hound
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Comment #2 Removed by Moderator

To: Snickering Hound

When will the law go after Muslim polygamists/child abusers?

3 posted on 04/15/2008 10:33:16 AM PDT by Lexington Green (The Rev. Jeremiah Wright = Grand Wizard of the Klan-With-A-Tan)
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To: Snickering Hound
What I do not understand is why any of these women given the choice would leave their children with authorities. Seems really strange to be itching about authorities and then walk away from their own children to be left with the authorities.

On another point why were the women and children loaded up and removed??? Why not remove all men instead???

4 posted on 04/15/2008 10:33:33 AM PDT by Just mythoughts (Isa.3:4 And I will give children to be their princes, and babes shall rule over them.)
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To: Snickering Hound

Boy, I sure feel safer now. Don’t you?

5 posted on 04/15/2008 10:34:29 AM PDT by Nachum
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To: puffer

Just a simple thing I’ve noticed....but they haven’t “fronted” a single girl who said she married at 13 or 14 or 15 or 16. So I think this may turn into a large mess for the prosecutors to clean up later.

6 posted on 04/15/2008 10:35:14 AM PDT by pepsionice
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To: Snickering Hound
Poor babies.

"I was just trying to get my eleven year old ready to be raped by her new husband, my great-uncle, and those Gentile police told me I could either stay with my child or go back to the ranch! Waaaahhhhh!"

Karla Faye Tucker tears from these filthy b*****s.

7 posted on 04/15/2008 10:36:56 AM PDT by wideawake (Why is it that those who call themselves Constitutionalists know the least about the Constitution?)
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To: Snickering Hound

First they came for the Branch Davidians, and I didn’t say anything because I wasn’t a Branch Davidian.

Then they came for the Mormon polygamists, and I didn’t say anything because I wasn’t a Mormon polygamist.

Then they came for the...

8 posted on 04/15/2008 10:39:49 AM PDT by GourmetDan (Eccl 10:2 - The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left.)
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To: GourmetDan pedophiles but I didn’t say anything...

9 posted on 04/15/2008 10:40:51 AM PDT by bonfire
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To: bonfire

They are not Mormons, and you know it. Either they were never members of the Mormon church, or they have been excommunicated for joining a polygamist group.

10 posted on 04/15/2008 10:42:41 AM PDT by lady lawyer
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To: puffer
Yeah, either way you sleice it- this is a mess.

Pretty much. Either the authorities allow what is essentially a pedophile ring to continue existing or they break it up, disrupting the lives of the brainwashed women and children who were taught to believe that there is nothing wrong with this practice.

11 posted on 04/15/2008 10:44:42 AM PDT by Drew68
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To: Lexington Green

Muslims who keep SLAVES in America are caught and essentially made to cough up YEARS of “back pay” at minimum wage.

12 posted on 04/15/2008 10:45:20 AM PDT by weegee (Religion is the opiate of the masses MARX1843 They get bitter, they cling to...religion OBAMA2008)
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To: bonfire
I marriage between queers is considered acceptable, what is the medias problem with polygamy? Seems like a double standard.
13 posted on 04/15/2008 10:45:46 AM PDT by We Dare Defend Our Rights
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To: GourmetDan

Then they came for the pederasts, and I didn’t say anything because I wasn’t a pederast.


14 posted on 04/15/2008 10:47:47 AM PDT by Lord_Calvinus
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To: Snickering Hound

We’re from the government and we’re here to help you.

15 posted on 04/15/2008 10:48:51 AM PDT by JLS
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To: Snickering Hound

Police are allowed to lie in order to obtain a conviction. (at least a confession) The USSC says so.

16 posted on 04/15/2008 10:49:35 AM PDT by longtermmemmory (VOTE! and
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To: We Dare Defend Our Rights

It’s illegal. They are having sex with underage CHILDREN.

Did you know they have beds in their temple just for that purpose??

Read the various threads here. Lots of information.

17 posted on 04/15/2008 10:51:26 AM PDT by bonfire
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To: Snickering Hound

I fear I have missed some important info from the beginning on this case, but it has troubled me. Is it really possible that just by labelling an area of land a “compound” (the pics I saw depicted what looked like a town to me btw) and the residents “cultists,” does that really mean that the police can take an entire community’s children? I am not claiming these people aren’t actually crazy cultists, but does that mean that they are presumed guilty because they live near an alleged abuser and go to his church? If my neighbor is accused of abuse, and happens to go to my church, does that mean that they will take my kids too?

So far all I hear about is one allegation of abuse by one child. How does that mean that 416 were allegedly abused? Isn’t that a massive leap? Why should we accept this kind of thing just because it involves a “cult” and a “compound?” Are there no legal qualifications to be met in this kind of thing?

18 posted on 04/15/2008 10:52:24 AM PDT by cothrige (Freedom and whisky gang thegither. -- Robert Burns)
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To: cothrige
I read somewhere last weekend that Warren Jeffords or whatever the cult leader's name is had gone to the other cult places before the move to Texas and taken children under 6yrs old and brought them to the complex without their parents. Now, I wonder why he did that and now it makes sense why none of the children seem to know their names or their parents!
19 posted on 04/15/2008 11:01:47 AM PDT by NativeTxn
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To: lady lawyer

Yes they ARE Mormons. They are Fundamentalists MORMONS. Just as there are Shia and Sunni Moslems, there are fundamentalist and mainstream Mormons.

Get used to it dear, you are bound to see this often.

20 posted on 04/15/2008 11:05:12 AM PDT by colorcountry (To anger a conservative, lie to him. To anger a liberal, tell him the truth.)
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