Texas seizure of polygamist-sect kids thrown out


What the state of Texas did with the families and the children living in the FLDS compound regardless of their religious beliefs and or what the group officially taught was illegal, unconstitutional, and simply could not be allowed to stand. Here by fiat of a state agency they determined without any evidence that every parent was “a sexual abuser” every parent was having their 12, 13, 14, 15, and 16 year old underage daughters were being given in spiritual marriages to 30, 40 and 50 year old men when again there was no evidence of this when they went in to raid the place. Further child custody services knew full well that they had a phony phone call that was from the state of Colorado from a woman that had repeatedly made fake phone calls when they conducted this illegal raid. I suspect that the state will now be on the hook for hundreds of millions of dollars for the illegal raid and the damages to the parents and the children.


The actions of the state of Texas child custody services posed a great risk to all Christian families as it would have set a precedence for the removal of children for religious beliefs, second guessing peoples thoughts, and bible teaching.  Understand that home schooling parents  were in danger here in California and in other states. Parents that teach conservative ideals and faith in God rejecting evolution, rejecting homosexuality, lesbianism, as sick and perverted were in danger of the action taking place in Texas – for this was a two edged sword that some may have cheered today, but it would indeed opened the door against much, much more than one would ever believe possible or understand.


Also another very troubling event related with all this is that the age of consent in Texas had been 14 years old and the state arbitrarily raised the age of consent to 16 in effect setting up a trap specifically to make those in the FLDS compound law breakers – This has been reported in a number of news articles – and reported that it was done specifically towards the presence of the FLDS compound.


Once the raid was done they reported that a small number women there had In times past had children before they were 18 years of age – which threw up a lot of dust as Texas had raised the law to 16, and that shortly before that it had been 14. 


Thought the state has the right to change the law regarding the age of consent – it seems that it is illegal to have altered the law so that they might entrap FLDS members – and to retroactively entrap them after the fact that they had originally been in compliance what was law and more than likely were obeying the new law – but they had in times past not been incompliance to the new law before it was ever made.


What should have been done? Instead of a raid state officials should have met with FLDS members talked with them about these laws, and that any practice of underage marriage within the borders of Texas would not be tolerated. They could have allowed health workers to examine all children in the compound and demand annual check ups and thus if there was anything going on they would have been privy to it. They could have demanded that all pregnant women and or girls if there were any receive regular health care and report for check ups and all births and deaths were to be reported.          


As it was after the raid health care workers examined all the women and  children and no sexual abuse was found and all were found to be healthy and happy and this evidence was used to reverse all that was done by child care services in the raid.


SAN ANGELO, Texas - In a ruling that could torpedo the case against the West Texas polygamist sect, a state appeals court Thursday said authorities had no right to seize more than 440 children in a raid on the splinter group's compound last month.

The Third Court of Appeals in Austin said the state failed to show the youngsters were in any immediate danger, the only grounds in Texas law for taking children from their parents without court action.

It was not clear when the children — now scattered in foster homes across the state — might be returned to their parents. The ruling gave a lower-court judge 10 days to release the youngsters from custody, but the state could appeal to the Texas Supreme Court and block that.

The decision in one of the biggest child-custody cases in U.S. history was a humiliating defeat for the state Child Protective Services agency. It was hailed as vindication by members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, who claimed they were being persecuted for their religious beliefs.

"It's a great day for Texas justice. This was the right decision," said Julie Balovich, a Legal Aid attorney for some of the parents. She was joined by several smiling mothers who declined to comment at a news conference outside the courthouse.

Sect elder Willie Jessop said the parents were elated, but added: "There will be no celebrations until some little children are getting hugs from their parents." He said his faith in the legal system will be restored "when I see the schoolyard full of children."

Every child at the Yearning For Zion Ranch in Eldorado was taken into custody more than six weeks ago after someone called a hot line claiming to be a pregnant, abused teenage wife. The girl has not been found and authorities are investigating whether the calls were a hoax.

Child-protection officials argued that five girls at the ranch had become pregnant at 15 and 16 and that the sect pushed underage girls into marriage and sex with older men and groomed boys to enter into such unions when they grew up.

But the appeals court said the state acted too hastily in sweeping up all the children and taking them away on an emergency basis without going to court first.

"Even if one views the FLDS belief system as creating a danger of sexual abuse by grooming boys to be perpetrators of sexual abuse and raising girls to be victims of sexual abuse ... there is no evidence that this danger is 'immediate' or 'urgent'," the court said.

"Evidence that children raised in this particular environment may someday have their physical health and safety threatened is not evidence that the danger is imminent enough to warrant invoking the extreme measure of immediate removal."

The court said the state failed to show that any more than five of the teenage girls were being sexually abused, and offered no evidence of sexual or physical abuse against the other children. Half the youngsters taken from the ranch were 5 or younger. Only a few dozen are teenage girls.

The court also said the state was wrong to consider the entire ranch as a single household and to seize all the children on the grounds that some parents in the home might be abusers.

CPS spokesman Patrick Crimmins said department attorneys had not decided whether to appeal. "We are trying to assess the impact that this may have on our case," he said.

CPS's umbrella agency, the Department of Family and Protective Services, issued a statement defending the raid, saying it removed the children "after finding a pervasive pattern of sexual abuse that puts every child at the ranch at risk."

"Child Protective Services has one duty — to protect children. When we see evidence that children have been sexually abused and remain at risk of further abuse, we will act," the department said.

The decision technically applies to only 38 of the roughly 200 parents who challenged the seizure. But Balovich said she expected attorneys for all the other parents to seek to join the ruling.

Balovich said the court "has stood up for the legal rights of these families and given these mothers hope that their families will be brought back together."

Of the 31 people the state initially said were underage mothers, 15 have been reclassified as adults, and one is 27.

Five judges in San Angelo, about 40 miles north of Eldorado, have been holding hearings on what the parents must do to regain custody. Those hearings, which began Monday, were suspended after the ruling Thursday.

The custody case has been chaotic from the beginning. During the first round of hearings, held two weeks after the April 3 raid, hundreds of lawyers crammed into a courtroom and nearby auditorium, queuing up to voice objections or ask questions on behalf of the mothers who were there in their trademark prairie dresses and braided hair.

CPS has struggled for weeks to establish the identities of the children and sort out their tangled family relationships. The youngsters are in foster homes all over the sprawling state, with some brothers or sisters separated by as much as 600 miles.