Mothers of Sect Children Forced to Leave
Google News ^ | 14 April 2008 | By JENNIFER DOBNER and MICHAEL GRACZYK

Posted on Monday, April 14, 2008 7:17:56 PM by BlackVeil

This raid on the FLDS compound in Texas was a thing that was a long time coming. In having read numerous accounts of the raid, what so struck me was that this Mormon sect’s proclivity towards underage marriage to the point of having sexual relations with small children has been so widely known and so widely reported (Even before the arrest of its prophet Warren Jeffs it seems impossible that raids of this sects compounds in Texas, Utah, Arizona, and in whatever places these people build their pedophile rat nests, that these have gone untouched since the 1930’s. So that at a time when for the last two decades that local state and federal law enforcement has used every means to track down child molesters, and pedophiles, and even to those on the internet that even view pictures of such acts, -- these animals in the FLDS have been allowed to apply their trade as child molesters and pedophiles with impunity. Somehow being officially protected and immune to such laws. Here now is a puff piece that is written somewhat sympathetic to the women and mothers involved in this sect that are the enablers that allow all of these things to happen to their SONS (Which is not widely reported) and to their DAUGHTERS.

We have also on this website chronicled articles on these same protected behaviors, among Hassidic Orthodox Jews, and among Fundamentalist Muslims. And we state here that in the United States that these evil and perverse practices can not be sanctioned in any group or religion despite their ethnicity or their traditional religious teachings.       

SAN ANGELO, Texas (AP) — Texas officials who took 416 children from a polygamist retreat into state custody sent many of their mothers away Monday, as a judge and lawyers struggled with a legal and logistical morass in one of the biggest child-custody cases in U.S. history.

Of the 139 women who voluntarily left the compound with their children since an April 3 raid, only those with children 4 or younger were allowed to continue staying with them, said Marissa Gonzales, spokewoman for the state Children's Protective Services agency. She did not know how many women stayed.

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

The women were given a choice: Return to the Eldorado ranch of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, a renegade Mormon sect, or go to another safe location. Some women chose the latter, Gonzales said. (Implying that the majority chose to stay- and will continue to drop babies into this child molesting environment – where in any other state would Child Protective Services allow mothers to stay in this kind of environment where their children will continue to be turned over to avowed abusers?  CPS in other states breaks up such marriages, sends the women into counseling, and I have read in some cases has ordered women to receive Norplant (Sp?) or to get their tubes tied to prevent any further possibility of them having children that can be sexually abused.)

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. (Right here the State is declaring that the numbers here represent a legal hurdle – that has them worried. They worry they have is that the FLDS from other locals will pool resources to fight this, and beat it back with an army of lawyers, and force the state to fight each case one at a time a prove that each women and each child we actually involved in such acts making these cases last for years and cost the state tens of millions to be able to prove, only to be blown out on technicalities. Whereas few individuals arrested for child molestation, and pedophilia have had these kind of resources to mount a legal defense, like Michael Jackson, or Charlie Chaplin.)

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

The mothers were taken away Monday after they and the children were taken by bus under heavy security out of historic Fort Concho, where they had been staying, to the San Angelo Coliseum, which holds nearly 5,000 people and is used for hockey games, rodeos and concerts. The polygamist retreat is about 45 miles south of San Angelo.

Some of the youngsters' mothers complained to Gov. Rick Perry that the children were getting sick in the crowded fort. About 20 children had a mild case of chickenpox, 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 the move to the coliseum had been in the works since last week, but couldn't be done sooner because the facility had been booked for another event and had to be cleaned and set up for the children.

CPS also said about two dozen teenage boys were moved to a facility outside San Angelo with the judge's permission. "We don't normally say where we place teens," Gonzales said when asked where they were sent.

Monday's courtroom conference was held to work out the ground rules for a court hearing beginning Thursday on the fate of the children.

The judge made no immediate decisions on how the hearing will be carried out. Among the questions left unanswered: Would a courtroom big enough to hold everyone be available at the Tom Green County Courthouse, or would some kind of video link be employed?

Texas bar officials said more than 350 lawyers from across the state have volunteered to represent the children free of charge. Moreover, the 139 mothers who voluntarily left the sect to be with their children will need lawyers, too, to help them fight for custody.

The sheer numbers left the judge perplexed as she considered suggestions from the lawyers for how to handle Thursday's hearing.

"It would seem inefficient to have a witness testify 416 times," the judge offered. "If I gave everybody five minutes, that would be 70 hours."

In an unintended illustration of the problem, Walther gave the lawyers 30 minutes to break into groups and report back to her with ideas. It took almost two hours for everyone to reassemble.

The raid followed a call to a domestic violence hot line from a 16-year-old girl who said she was beaten and raped by her 50-year-old husband.

In addition to becoming a monumental legal morass, the case is proving to be a public-relations headache for the state.

Over the weekend, some of the mothers went on the offensive, complaining the children are falling ill and are frightened and traumatized from living in cramped conditions at the fort, with cots, cribs and playpens lined up side by side.

The secretive nature of the sect — and the indoctrination children receive from birth to mistrust outsiders — have added to the confusion.

Randoll Stout, one of the lawyers who plan to represent some of the children, said the youngsters "seem to change their names. Adults change their names. Children are passed around." (This opens the door to DNA tests to prove which children belong to who, and if these are convicted to declare these children were put in others hands for safe keeping)

Betty Balli Torres, executive director of the Texas Access to Justice Foundation, said 10 women went into the San Angelo legal aid office last week seeking help and reported there were 100 more women who needed lawyers.

Attorneys began meeting with the women over the weekend. She said it was vital that the mothers be represented by lawyers. Otherwise, they could lose their children — "what we call kind of the death penalty of family law cases," she said.

A church lawyer, Rod Parker, said the 60 or so men remaining on the 1,700-acre ranch have offered to leave the compound if the state would allow the women and children to return to the place with child welfare monitors. But the state Children's Protective Services agency said it had not yet seen the offer and had no comment on it.

The sect practices polygamy in arranged marriages between underage girls and older men. The group has thousands of followers in two side-by-side towns in Arizona and Utah. (Not to mention in Montana Idaho and  Canada) The sect's prophet and spiritual leader, Warren Jeffs, is in prison for forcing an underage age into a marriage in Utah.

In Salt Lake City, dozens of polygamist wives with children in tow held a rally on the steps of City Hall to denounce the Texas raid. Rally organizers brought 475 wrapped care packages for the children in state custody. (Those in the Texas legal system have no doubt they are in for a long and expensive fight, as well as the possibility for costly lawsuits leveled against the State and local officials involved in the prosecution of this case. As the FLDS can ill afford to allow this case to stand. And we might add here; that regardless of what is said about the differences between mainstream Mormonism and the FLDS the threads of these practices run through both groups, and within mainstream Mormonism there are those that practice to one degree or another these same things. [There are numerous articles that have been published in Arizona and Utah to make this case.] So that in this fight members of the LDS will be sympathetic to those women and children in this FLDS raid.)

"Reunite these children with their families. Let them go home," said Kent Johnson, an 18-year-old in a pinstripe suit who choked up.

Associated Press reporter Kelley Shannon contributed to this story from Austin.