April 22, 2008

Polygamist ranch case far from over

Posted: 06:27 PM ET

NEW YORK – The DNA tests and upcoming custody hearings for more than 400 children seized from a polygamist sect's West Texas ranch are only the first chapters in what will likely be a lengthy and complex legal nightmare.

Convicted FLDS leader Warren Jeffs

The state obviously has a duty to protect children from abuse, but the debate will rage as to whether the constitutional rights concerning religious liberty and freedom from unreasonable search and seizure were upheld.

Now it seems the tip that led to police descending upon the Yearning for Zion compound with body armor, automatic weapons and an armored personnel carrier may have come from a Colorado woman who has a history of false reporting to authorities.

In court filings seeking the termination of parental rights, Child Protective Services officials say being born into the sect ensures child abuse, describing "a widespread pattern and practice ... in which young, minor female residents are conditioned to expect and accept sexual activity with adult men at the ranch upon being spiritually married to them."

We'll have to see what that evidence of abuse is. Sect lawyers say the searches of the 1,700-acre compound violated First and Fourth Amendment protections as well as the Texas Constitution.

Despite this, people arguing the government overreached its authority may have a difficult time making a case if allegations of abuse turn out to be true.

The government certainly hopes history is not repeating itself, with this ending up being another Short Creek, the 1953 raid at a compound on the Utah-Arizona border that seemed to strengthen FLDS leaders who were Warren Jeffs’ predecessors, drove a governor from office and possibly discouraged officials from taking action against the group for decades.

Times have changed. Jeffs is behind bars, sentenced to two consecutive five-year sentences to life in prison in Utah for being an accomplice to the rape of a 14-year-old girl who married her cousin in 2001.

But as child welfare officials in Texas move some 437 children to temporary foster care facilities before custody hearings in May, authorities have not seen the last of the FLDS, which has an estimated 10,000 members across the United States, Mexico and Canada.

Bob Regan, In Session senior executive producer

Filed under: FLDS

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holly   April 22nd, 2008 7:08 pm ET

Christ, stop with the sympathy. It's been proven in court that this group commits child abuse. They got a complaint. They got a warrant. They found teenaged girls with multiple children. It was a good bust.

C. Devine   April 22nd, 2008 7:18 pm ET

I feel that this was a flagrant disregard for constitutional law and for the sanctity of family. Though the notion of Polygamy is as foriegn to me as a norm as would be living on mars, to these people and the 400+ children snatched up, it is a way of life that has been handed down for generations.

None of the children looked malnourished, terrorized or abused. Abused children have a center carriage that has not been evident in these children as a whole. I would think it is far more of an abuse to remove them from the family and culture in which they have been raised.

There are unwed mothers who are thirteen years and younger, who with the help of their families, are raising babies. This is happening all over North America and, indeed, around the world. I don't see a massive rush by authorities to strip these young girls of their children.

These people have kept to themselves, harming nobody, asking for no outside help. They are, for the most part, self sustaining. Yet, they have given back, economically and charitably, to the community on who's outskirts they live. They are now watching as, from their point of view, history repeats itself and they as a whole are being targeted for their religious beliefs.

I just do not believe that our Constitution notr the Texas Constitution was designed to allow such an aggregious disregard. Personal and religious rights have been trampled upon, children are being subjected to things that will be a shock to their system and the hearts of parents are being shredded. All of this because of one woman's false reporting.

Thomas   April 22nd, 2008 7:20 pm ET

Pray for rhe children held hostage

Donna   April 23rd, 2008 3:18 am ET

In regards to the Polygamist Ranch. How would the woman and girls know what abuse or sexual abuse is when they grew up in the compound and only know what happens in their group and they are not aware of what happens outside of the compound?

Angela   April 23rd, 2008 5:25 am ET

The children who have been removed and placed in State Custody presently enjoy more rights and freedom than when they lived on the FLDS ranch. Look at the rights they enjoy now – freedom to express opinion on religion, the right to dignity and the right to protection from sexual and/or physical abuse, the right to be educated, independent counseling, etc. What rights did a young girl have living at the ranch?

Kathie   April 23rd, 2008 8:15 am ET

The adults in this cult weren't considering the constitutional rights
of the children who they abused. But, now they are whining that
their rights were abused.
The adults who abused these children had a choice about what
they were doing, the children had no choice in the matter.
How can they come on TV and deny no under age girls were
abused when there are several pregnant underage teens who
were removed from the ranch?
What difference does it make where the complaint that initiated
the raid came from? The important thing is these abuses
happened and the children have to be protected.
Something very wrong with society when the abusers right s have
more weight than the rights of the children .
Also, I've noticed it's the women who are on TV doing all the talking
and pleading to have the children back, while the male abusers
hide behind them in the shadows. But , then again that is typical
behaviour for a child molester and abuser .

keya Hall   April 23rd, 2008 8:47 am ET

I don't think that it should matter if the call that bought the authorities to the YFZ ranch turned out to be false. It still provided just cause. If a patrolman's speed clocker is defective and he pulls over a man carrying 10 lbs of cocaine in plain view, is the bust any less legitimate? I don't think so. Besides, there are way too many crimes here that can be prosecuted outside of the child abuse charge to begin with. Welfare fraud, tax evasion, and criminal non-support come to my mind initially. I would guess that it could be easily proved that the children are not being properly educated either. The bottom line is this: the government has waited way too long to prosecute these groups, with local law enforcement either turning a blind eye or giving their blessing to this sickness in favor of another term of office out in the middle of nowhere. Its time to end it once and for all.

Sue Mitchell   April 23rd, 2008 9:48 am ET

Our goverment has overstepped their bounds on this one.This is not a single household,it is a 1,700 ranch composed of many households.We let Satan religion,witches cults,and vampire cults conduct their beliefs,yet we go in like storm troopers and remove these children on a false phone call.Where was all this rage with the Catholic religion when thousands of innocents were being molested? Sue,Tx,

Debbie   April 23rd, 2008 10:27 am ET

I haven't heard anybody mention incest and the diseases (curses) that result from it. This should be added to the list of crimes committed toward these children.

Nicki Shosten   April 23rd, 2008 11:15 am ET

I have heard a lot of bad or nasty comments about this whole ordeal. People have forgotten that this is the way that these ppl have grown up. They know no other way. Those children have been raised to think that we (outsiders) are followers of Satan. Have we forgotten the innocence of children? I do not believe in they're practices, but I feel really bad for those children. I know that they are probably really scared.....all that they have ever known and lived has been taken away from them not to mention their mothers. Imagine how you would feel if aliens came and started poking and prodding would probably be a little bit scared. I am not comparing aliens to people....but it's the same kind of feeling that those kids are experiencing. When the public talks bad about those people, I want them to remember that we are all human beings and that we are supposed to love one another regardless of religion, race, political backgrounds or any other reasons.

Cecille   April 23rd, 2008 3:33 pm ET

God will reveal every thing that is not pleasing before Him.

deedee   April 23rd, 2008 3:46 pm ET

The FLDS are not self sufficient. These women are receiving welfare checks for all these children,

Lisa Ortiz   April 23rd, 2008 5:24 pm ET

YES! Having Sex and causing a child to go through child birth is CHILD ABUSE! No Matter how prepared a child is or mature she is physically. It does not matter what religion people follow or the way of life they live.
Anyone who has some kind of reasonable intelligence knows an adult man who wants a child for a wife and lover has a serious problem.
There seemed to be a number of adult women at that complex who would on their own choice, have children with the adult men who requested this.
Thank you TEXAS for saving the children.
A life with freedom of choice will be a better life then being raised like livestock!

Linda   April 23rd, 2008 5:30 pm ET

How could anyone think those girls were not abused? Yes 13 year old girls outside the compound get pregnant, but usually not by someone who is in their 50's. On the outside world of the compound, a 50 year old man that impregnated a 13 year old girl would go to prison. This is not a religion – it is a cult. The men are pedophiles. I am very happy that the compound was raided. No 13 year old I know is ready for marriage, especially to someone old enough to be their grandfather. I praise the Texas law enforcement! They did an excellent job in removing those children from sexual abuse! Those kids deserve a chance at a decent, moral life – free from abuse and having this cult life forced upon them.

trish   April 23rd, 2008 5:44 pm ET

Oh my goodness....This has nothing to do with their way of life being's against the law!!! It's against the law to have sexual relations with minors...PERIOD. I think pulling the children out of there was the right thing to do until this is all sorted out. So what if there are 300 unabused children residing in the compound, if this helps free even one child that was abused than it was worth it. I think this was the right thing to do.

Grandma Judy   April 23rd, 2008 5:46 pm ET

Should the women and children be left on the ranch and the men arrested? That would end the molestation. The mom's could see the kids and with all the bedrooms in that community, child welfare workers could have handled the DNA and the questioning at leisure and protected the kids at the same time.

Also if they arrested the men, they could take the DNA at the time and if they indeed hurt girls, they could be prosecuted.

What these men have done is not religion, it is perversion.

julie   April 23rd, 2008 5:53 pm ET

Maybe the woman can enjoy the freedom of normal underwear, hairstyle, short sleeve shirts, and a pair of shorts during the summer months. What a bunch of perverted old controlling cowards – the men.

Katrina   April 23rd, 2008 5:56 pm ET

When researching this topic, I found a saying "Bleeding The Beast." It is a concept used by the FLDS to dry up the government so that it can no longer support it's self. Has anyone considered the fact that Texas has just opened a large wound for FLDS to suckle? Pro bono lawyers for each child, state assisted foster care, months of legal fees which will be paid with government dollars, the actual cost of raiding the ranch, DNA testing, hundred of man hours to compose the family trees, not to mention the small everyday costs of 400+ family members.

vickie   April 23rd, 2008 6:02 pm ET

Someone mentioned that the children were probably not being very well educated. I'll bet they can read and write better than most children being taught in U.S. public schools today. Home schooled children are almost ALWAYS better educated, statistically speaking.

That is ILLEGAL in this country to have sex with anyone under 16...period. I don't agree with invading any group for their religion...but this is no religion. It's a CULT where these women and children are BRAINWASHED by horny men.

Ashley   April 23rd, 2008 6:18 pm ET

These are a bunch of pedophiles hiding behind a religion, plain and simple. As for C. Devine your comments humor me.

Tim   April 23rd, 2008 6:46 pm ET

Everywhere in America, in fact, everywhere in the world, children are limited by their parent's beliefs and traditions. No child who grows up with parents is free from the influences of those parents. Children are shaped by their parent's beliefs, whether they adhere to them or reject them, they are forced to live with them until they are adults, and frequently even afterwards. How are these children any different? They aren't. It is their culture we disagree with. In their own culture they are not being abused. It is our culture, a culture *they were not raised in* , that considers their upbringing abuse. We are persecuting them, we are rejecting their culture as illegitimate and wrong, and we are trying to end their very existence. We are saying that they are not free to practice their religion. The same people who go on and on about the importance of family and religion, and who lament the ever increasing divorce rate in this country, are there at the front removing children from their parents and breaking up marriages. This whole thing stinks of hypocracy. I admit I've looked down on the FLDS since I first heard about them, but what the State of Texas has done to them is nothing short of disgusting.

C. Devine   April 23rd, 2008 7:08 pm ET

So, if a law enforcement agent venturing into any small town, in the Appalachias, deep south, back reaches of the southwest, any where across North America, found a 14 year-old girl married to a twenty something year-old man, with two kids on the kitchen floor and one about to drop, would there be such an outrage? I don't think that there would be any of the hoopla and histronics at all. Yet, there are teens marrying adults all across the nation, having babies, and, a few years later, providing fodder for the T.V daytime talk shows.

There are 400+ children who for all of their young lives have grown-up at the compound. They have had little or no outside contact. They have had no exposure to any of the daily things that we accept as norm. They will now be bombarded by these societal "norms", television, fast food, violence, etc, which will cause them more stress. Children under the age of five will not understand why they are being taken from their homes and their safe place. Children between the ages of Five and twelve will be able to comprehend only a small portion of what is happening to them. The one thing that hey will understand is that the person(s) who have tucked them in every night, sang them a lullaby, read them a story, led them in bedtime prayers, is not there any more. They will be dealing with feelings of abandonment. They will suffer more psychological damage now, outside of the compound.

They have been taught to look askance at "outsiders" because of the mistrust others have of their way of life. I would say this debacle is an affirmation of those teachings. Who are we to judge their education, lifestyle, religious beliefs? All of the adults appear to be well-spoken and well educated. The children appeared to be cheerful, well mannered and at ease.

Ask yourselves, before climbing on your "holier than thou" soap box, what you would feel if your children were suddenly snatched from you because of your religious beliefs, convictions and standards.

As for me, I will continue to pray for a positive outcome for these families, torn apart. I would hope that they would do the same should I be in their situation.

Dan   April 23rd, 2008 7:13 pm ET

We have people crying 'think of the children'.. And that's a complex issue. Think of the children and the alleged abuse (abuse that has not been proven, not a single warrant has been issued, not even a John Doe. The men in the compound are free to come and go, some have even left the state.. The TX government doesn't seem to care. If they really had widespread abuse, where's the charges, where's even the image that TX is actually investigating or cares about abuse?) To the extent the children have been abused, that needs to be LEGALLY investigated.

Then there's the rights of the parents. The right of a parent to raise their child in the way of their chosing (within the law). The rights of the parents to be with their children.

What should keep us parents awake at night right now is that a woman with a known criminal history made a phone call from HER PHONE (she wasn't even being sneaky about it) alleging abuse. When the police came to investigate were told the truth (there was no girl there as they described), the police response was to take all of the kids. They allege they were being taught dangerous things. Who makes that determination, do you? They certainly didn't get to make that decision, what makes you think that you'll be so blessed as to not run afoul of these laws. Perhaps Intelligent Design will be ruled 'abuse' (some people would like that). Perhaps Evolution will (some others would like that). Or perhaps its corporal punishment, or maybe its your position on abortion, or your religious views.

That should keep all of us awake. That on the allegation of a known criminal with no PROOF (remember that presumption of innocence bit) no court case decided, children have been removed from their parents.

This isn't about the rights of the FLDS, this is about all of our rights and our dignity.

Gordie   April 23rd, 2008 8:02 pm ET

I am not familiar with FLDS except for what I have read recently, however I believe that this situation has been extremely poorly handled by "the authorities."

Was a heavily armed SWAT team really necessary?

Ought not the charges and the person making them be thoroughly vetted before forcibly removing (and traumatizing) 437 innocent children and innocent-until-proven-guilty parents?

It does not appear that there was sufficient probable cause for such hasty and drastic action.

Nor does it appear that proper procedures were followed in holding people incommunicado following a mass arrest.

The children have probably ben far more damaged by this cruel overreaching by the authorities than by any polygamous behavior engaged in by their parents.

Who really thinks that these children will be better off in "foster care" - a system rife with real abuse, sexual and otherwise than with their biological parents?

If any laws had been broken, the perpetrators ought to have been charged and tried individually.

I believe that any agency or individuals who took place in this raid ought not be immune from criminal charges themselves in this tragical travesty.

David Neumeier   April 23rd, 2008 9:34 pm ET

What has happened to these peaceful people of the FLDS church is un-American and clearly unconstitutional. I find it quite disturbing that the whole country is not appalled by the actions of the state of Texas. As I read the comments supporting the state of Texas I can only conclude that these opinions are rooted in prejudice and an ignorance of history and the facts.

The reference to the FLDS as a cult is miss-guided at best; the religion has been around for over one hundred and fifty years. I see not much different from these people than that of the Amish or Orthodox Jew. It is incorrect to view their marriages as "forced" rather they are pre-arranged and they are not the only people to have such practices.

The legal age of consent has steadily been increasing, the people of the FLDS church seem to still live in a time long forgotten, much like the Amish. In many states the marriage of teenagers is permitted with the consent of the parent, I am not sure if this is true in Texas but would be surprised if it was not the case. The fact that they practice polygamy seems to be the real problem as it has been since the founding of the religion, other Christians just can't seem to find acceptance of this practice. Yet, they will turn a blind eye to the snake-handlers in the south.

The society created by the FLDS church would seem a very wholesome environment free from many of the ills that are plaguing the rest of the nation, but it would seem that many fellow Americans are very quick to condemn these people and to deny them "due process".

Moments like these leave me feeling ashamed of what should be a great country and this event is much like all the other historical mistakes such as the taking of Indian children from their families, denying them their native dress, language, religion and culture, the internment of the Japanese during WWII, the McCarthy communist witch hunts, etc.

As Americans, it is important that we all seek to uphold the great concepts, which founded this country and not be so obliging as to allow our fellow citizens rights to be denied.

T   April 23rd, 2008 10:03 pm ET

How could these children possibly be ahead of children educated in a traditional setting. I doubt that they have been exposed to much literature. As a teacher, I can tell you that the writing curriculum requires students to come up with their own ideas, plan, organize, etc. With so few experiences to draw upon, I'm certain their writing skills could not compare. They cannot even make simple decisions let alone problem solve which is the most important element in schools today – not just being able to memorize.

Larry Pennington   April 23rd, 2008 10:28 pm ET

What has happen to the concept of "Innocent until proven guilty"?

Dan   April 23rd, 2008 11:33 pm ET

Grandma Judy, you are 100% correct. Arrest the men if you think they are abusing the children.

BUT, that just goes to further prove that's not what Texas is about. This is about attacking a religious community.

In fact, I have said to my friends since day one that if that's what they believed was going on.. do that. they could have moved 60 people instead of 500+. So the question you need to ask is why they didn't do that, what's the reason, what's the motivation.

John Attaberry   April 24th, 2008 8:59 am ET

The term "abuse" has been itself abused to mean anything that someone else does not like.

It all comes down to sex. Our Calvinist roots just cannot accept even the Bible, which says that Virgin Mary gave birth at the age of fourteen, or Shakespeare's Juliet who was sixteen. Even Texas allows marriage at the age of sixteen, I think, and the whole US did so in years past.

No, I would not want my daughter to get married at 16, and certainly not any younger either. But these are my standards and I do not impose them on others and I do not like others imposing their on me or my family.

I did not get the impression that these women and children were being victimized by vicious oppressors. The kids were being schooled at home -and I suspect doing better than our public school system- and I saw no tell-tale indicators of traumatized minds. In fact, the kids looked a lot better than the average bum in a slum.

The question is not "the law" but what is best for these kids. The law is to serve the kids, not the other way around. Are these kids going to be better off in foster homes with their documented sorry legacy, or to have been left alone?

As for the anonymous caller who started the whole thing, I wouldn't be surprised if that called was either instigated or invented by the cops or some goodie-goodie busybody.

Boris   April 24th, 2008 9:03 am ET

What is happening in America where the State is allowed on the basis of anonymous phone call to swoop in and carry away 400+ children from their parents without due process, no more 1st and 4th amendment rights? Shame on our Government.

Kim smith   April 24th, 2008 9:04 am ET

Here's what you do. Either 1) appoint a huge staff of judges and clerks this special purpose and get his done quicklyor 2) You have your DNA. Put ID bracletts on everyone (like in a hospital). Return the children to their mothers, and place agents on the compound for security (remember this is a whole town of people in this cult not just the ranch) and take the men away. Then deal with cases one by one as the evidence is available. They have offered to go – why not do the simple thing ? I'd be willing to bet they would cooperate.

Eric Melder   April 24th, 2008 9:16 am ET

From day one, this episode is one of the darkest in our nation's history, ranks right up there with gathering up Japanese Americans during WW II. There is not way this action by Texas is justified under the constitution. It's time for the U.S. Attorney General or the U.S. Supreme Court to weigh in. Family and parent rights are under assault.

Julie   April 24th, 2008 9:39 am ET

I think it is interesting that the men commenting tend to be more likely to take the stance of "innocent until proven guilty". If the boys were being ritualistically molested perhaps they would not be as likely to condone it as a cultural norm.

Laura Dyer   April 24th, 2008 9:40 am ET

Whether or not these children were victims of child abuse the State of Texas has the most utmost duty to protect these children from what is happening to them right now. I fear for the kids being thrown into out society and into foster homes! My God, some of these foster homes are unfit to have children. What the hell are the authorities thinking? At worst case scenerio keep these children with their mothers somewhere. This is not any different in a way than the 14 and 15 yr old girls that get pregnant in our society though out the United States. Is the goverment coming in and swoping up all the families children of pregnant 15 yr olds? I don't think so. What will be next, the Amish, the Mennonites.... any religious belief that is different than most. Go into any upper class neighborhood of 1000 and tell me how many pregnant teenagers are there. Are they going to take all the children from that neighborhood??? I am not an advocate of this by no means but what the State of Texas is doing to these children and families is wrong!
When are the people of the Uniteds States of America going to finally put their foot down and stop taking all the crap that is being dealt to them? Wake up America, take a look around at what is happening to us before it's too late.

Carol R Hill   April 24th, 2008 9:44 am ET

The sad thing is the children should have never been separated from their mothers at all. The mothers are just as victims as the children even more because they have lived this life even longer.
How would any child feel being pulled away from their mother just put yourself in their shoes and feel what they are feeling right now.
But the worse part the "parents" are refusing to take the DNA tests to prove who their children are and that is even worse. What do they have to hide?
Another problem you can see that the mothers are scared not for their children but themselves. They are so programed that they are afraid to speak of what was really happening to their children on the ranch for fear of their own lives and that is a fact.
This is lose lose situation no matter what you say or how you say it I think that Texas was wrong in separating the children from the parents. Texas had to do something but not this I do not agree separating the children from the mothers at all and that is a fact.

James   April 24th, 2008 10:06 am ET

This shouldn't be an arguable subject. There have been many more people who have physically died for our freedom. In my humble opinion, the bottom line is simple. These United States citizens, residing in their own country, experienced a blatant disregard of their rights.

Think about it in these terms...what if the local authorities came into your home, based on a call they had received from some person, and took your dog, your ice cream, your prescription pills, your television, your Oprah, your Dr. Phil, your cigarettes, your couch, your SUV, or anything else that you "deserve." Forget about the kids...they're just kids, but all of these material possessions, things we "deserve," now those are things that should hit home. What if that happened?

I understand, it's not possible to actually perceive this as a possibility, not in our country. Of course, that's what those ladies thought down there in Texas. I could go on and on, but I won't.

For those of you blindly condoning the actions of the State, I feel sorry for you. Unfortunately, I think that you may be the majority. That said, I should feel sorry for myself. If a majority is willing to relinquish my rights so easily, I haven't a chance.

I have learned not to argue with people who will not open his or her mind. My only hope is that, for those who strongly agree with the state, something similar hits closer to home before we have relinquished too many of the rights that our forefathers worked so hard to establish.

REH   April 24th, 2008 10:06 am ET

What ever happened to innocent until proven guilty? Most of the contributors to this blog are already convicting the entire group. You know nothing about them or their beliefs. Cult? Do you know what they believe? Our society has become a group that absolutely believes what they read without findng out. Most of the stuff written about this group is bogus. Just because they keep to themselves it is assumed they are doing bad stuff and, hence, we should get rid of them. This is a meek, industrious people that keep to themselves. If people bothered to understand their history they would understand. Their major difference is they happen to practice polygamy. When are we going to raid all the Catholic Priests because of allegations of child abuse? I can guarantee you that ain't happening. But they're in the mainstream & thats ok.

Read the reports. Even the authorities comment on how well mannered and polite these children are. Is that because of abuse, or a loving family? I think you will find, once the dust has settled, very little abuse has occured but these kids will be scarred for life because of this illegal raid.

Based on what I've read, we don't care about people's rights anymore. We've already held trial and convicted everyone without any due process. This is stuff that other countries do and then we cry human rights violations! Human rights are being violated in Texas!

Lexie   April 24th, 2008 10:07 am ET

Shut up, shut up about the "religion'! There is absolutely not related to "religion". It's about a 50+ years old men having sex with underage girls and getting them pregnant. The girls do NOT need to obey men and be their sex slave! That screams "ABUSE". The children doesn't know what's right or what's wrong... they are being brainwashed by men. Men control women and that is wrong, period!

I don't care what they are studying... everyone has different beliefs and we don't judge them- if a man who rapes over 10 women is a christian... which would you look at him as a christian or a rapist? We need to stop letting the "religion" and "beliefs" get in the way- we need to look at the way they treat underage girls... having sex without their consent, getting them pregnant.. and know what, girls do have a choice but they don't know that they do! I am so happy that the state of Texas put a stop to it... and took the children from these nasty, filty, abusing and disgusting parents! I hope these parents will never get their children back.... they deserve to burn in hell for doing this to preicous and loving children that doesn't know their rights of choosing the way of living... they were being forced!

Dee,TX   April 24th, 2008 10:11 am ET

Problem is: who is next? Someone doesn't like you and calls CPS with a bogus story and they raid your house with APCs and guns, take away your children, and remove all parental rights without once having a trial or hearing witnesses. Is that America? Why didn't they take out the men and leave the women caring for their children? Why not protect the children instead of throwing their innocence to the wolves in this side of the world of gangs, unhealthy living, and teen pregnancies? Evidence “collected” after the testimony of a false witness is OK in America now?

What is the state of Texas most after? So far two of the three under aged girls turned out to truly be 22 year olds. Two women (or two men) committed and in love and wanting to raise children is OK or not? Arranged marriages are rampant in Indian, Muslim and Pacific Rim cultures here in these United States is that OK or not? Home schooled children or children that are taught to dress modestly is OK or not? Children taught to believe a faith more than a government is or OK or not? Who is next?

Smiley   April 24th, 2008 10:17 am ET

All you people that take a stance either way, at this point, are clueless. You have no idea what was happening on that compound, you also have no idea if Texas followed the law regarding search and seizure. How about this: WE ensure that laws are followed on both sides and THEN determine the outcome. Idiots.

Peggy   April 24th, 2008 10:21 am ET

The children are the victims they should be with their mothers.

maddie   April 24th, 2008 10:22 am ET

I do not see anything "religious" in this community. It is a ranch where men (obviously perverted and losers) can freely have sex with anyone they choose. The women and young girls are victims of this kind of authority. I agree with an earlier comment that these men should be arrested for rape and child abuse.

pjt   April 24th, 2008 11:06 am ET

Texas officials had ABUSE PROOF as soon as they found the 18YR OLD GIRL with FOUR CHILDREN!!!! Can anyone do the math? Texas had JUST CAUSE as soon as they found her and 11 other young girls with children/pregnant. Girls who said they were 18 when found, and now HAVE CHANGED their stories and admitted to being underage. TEXAS HAS EVIDENCE and will show it – when it is time. And what about the 10, 11, 12 yr olds waiting in the wings to be raped. Not the best situation for anyone, but at least the kids will get out.

ed smith   April 26th, 2008 11:33 am ET

"Even Texas allows marriage at the age of sixteen, " WITH PARENTAL CONSENT.

ed smith   April 26th, 2008 12:00 pm ET

"18YR OLD GIRL with FOUR CHILDREN!!!! Can anyone do the math?"

YES. the gestational period of a human is 280 days
lemme see. even if she was 1 day from turning 19 (6934 days old) and 4th baby was 1 day old then.....
4th kid born 280 days ago at her age of 6654 days
3rd kid born 280 days before that her age 6374 days old
2nd kid born 280 days before that her age 6094 days old
1st kid born 280 days before that her age 5814 days old
1st child conceived 280 days before birth 5534 days
1st child conceived when she was 15 yrs 1 month and 28 days old

ed smith   April 26th, 2008 1:08 pm ET

"The mom’s could see the kids"

I hate to be the grammar/syntax/spelling police here but someone has to do it.

It should be " the moms could see the kids ". That makes " mom ' plural
as in more than one mom and not use an improper contraction which really reads " mom is "

mom singular moms plural
fish singular fishes plural
ox singular oxen plural

ed smith   April 26th, 2008 1:16 pm ET

" Was a heavily armed SWAT team really necessary? "

isn't that a bit redundant? Aren't SWAT teams by definition and their nature heavily armed???

SWAT is an acronym for "Special Weapons and Tactics"

How would it be a SWAT team if they had BB guns, slingshots and water balloons???

ed smith   April 26th, 2008 1:28 pm ET

how come we never hear of agnostic or atheist cults into some weird
stuff like this????

Jim   April 27th, 2008 11:32 pm ET

I agree strongly with the comment of having the men removed and the children reunited with their mothers until the matter is resolved. But do question the history of the whole process. Strongly believe that the authorities failed to follow a true due process procedure and acted on a false report from a woman in Colorado who never was part of the group. She has a reported history of making unsubstantiated reports. If there is sexual abuse proven. then prosecute to the fullest extent of the law. If not ,allow the families to be reunited.

Please remember the phrase "conservative social worker" is an oxymoron. Feel the social service agency with their value system is going to find the previous family relationship to be improper and detrimental. Just having the children separated from their mothers is a cruel form of imposing outside beliefs and the entire process is likely in my opinion to be held unconstitutional.

Kim   May 12th, 2008 7:28 pm ET

Just out of curiosity, but how many of you noted that of the children removed from the compound, that the ratio of boys to girls was roughly 50/50 for children under 11, but that the proportion of boys to girls dropped to about 25/75 for the ages 12-17? Where do you think all the boys went? I'm sorry, but this needs to be investigated thoroughly. I am not in favor of trampling anyone's right to practice their religion, but the laws of this nation clearly state that polygamy is not legal. In addition, compelling young girls to marry below the age of consent is illegal. Abandoning young boys to their fates in an outside world that they have been taught to fear is not only illegal, but evil, especially if it is done to prevent them from competing for brides. Statistics would tend to prove that the older men with multiple younger wives have had to eliminate competition in order to obtain those wives, because I can guarantee you that the number of young women who would voluntarily join this group isn't sufficient to provide the sheer quantity of "wives" present within the compound. The predicament of the FLDS "Lost Boys" has been reported on prior to the raid on the YFZ Ranch.

Noelle, TN   May 13th, 2008 10:37 am ET

Ed... Because agnostics and atheist, are the 'norm' now... they, ARE the scary weird ones, we're just accustomed to them... They invent things like grand theft auto (which broke how many video game sales records, recently?) and then play 'grand theft auto' the real version, gang banging in the streets and shooting children, or raping them as initiations. But hey, that's 'normal human behavior'... Living a life of discipline, with morals and being obedient to their God, that's wrong, and must be stopped! Living a life apart from gangs, drugs, and lose morals is obviously abuse, and the children must be saved so they can experience more things, like sex with 5 partners, before they graduate high school, and STD's. What a horrible thing it is, for people of faith to want their children to grow up without the fear of robbers, muggers, and automatic weapons: a simple life, like those led 100 years ago, when women got married at 15, and had families is just horrible, every woman and child, born before 1910 was abused because they married young, and lived happy and complete lives. Its anti-feminist, for a woman to want a home, with children, instead of a graduate degree and a high powered career as a C.E.O.!
Lives in a loving community, safe from the 'everyday' threats to life and sanity, SUCH HORRIBLE THINGS MUST BE STOPPED!

Jay   May 20th, 2008 9:40 am ET

I believe that to many people are blind to what is going on in these ranches. There is nothing religious about it. The state is fully within its right to go in and try to protect the children. The only major problem is going to be with the volume of children involved. SWAT was nessesary because other FLDS compounds have been heavily armed. Due Process is followed through the court system, the police just followed up on a report of abuse. People need to let the justice system play out. We Americans want things done so quickly that we are willing to let justice go. 90 percent of the time the system gets it right which is really good considering we are all human. People do need to realize that religious rights end when the law breaking beings.

Nicole   May 27th, 2008 5:14 pm ET

I'd like more information on how children of polygamous marriages turn out as adults. What I've read so far doesn't make it sound like a good approach to parenting. I just can't avoid the sense that when a child is just one of 80 siblings that it is really easy to get lost in the shuffle. How good can any father be in that situation?

I read once that Osama bin Laden is the child of a polygamous marriage. He was neglected by his father and bullied by his numerous elder siblings and his co-mothers. Does turning a blind eye to polygamy mean turning out more Osam bin Ladens?

kate   June 2nd, 2008 9:25 pm ET

i am a texan and finding out that kind of people are in our own back yard makes me mad i am glad the police fished those kids out mabe the FLDS will pick up and go now that the heats on them .

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