In a story that continues to twist and turn like a badly written novel, the more information that comes out about the life of the children on the Yearning for Zion Ranch, which is a Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) compound, the more bizarre the largest custody case in America gets.
463 children were removed from the FLDS compound in Texas and custody was awarded to the state of Texas pending further investigation of alleged sexual abuses to the female children. New reports show the abuse, might not have been limited to females.
Long story short so I can get to the point of this post, a phone call led Texas Child Protective Services to the FLDS compound, the phone was later thought to have been a hoax, but investigators after going to the Ranch to investigate the claims, witnessed what they described as evidence of abuse, via young girls, under legal age, being pregnant and/or already having children.
CPS officials along with law enforcement then obtained a warrant based on their observations, which led to the removal of what was believed to be 416 children, but later they discovered it was 463 children as some of the teen mothers had first claimed to be 18 or older and officials determined they were not.
After the removal, Judge Barbara Walther conducted a mass hearing and awarded 60 day temporary custody of all 463 children to the state of Texas, pending further investigation and DNA testing to determine family relationships.
It was later reported that 31 out of the 53 young girls in custody were either pregnant or had already bore children and yesterday, one of the young girls gave birth to a bouncing baby boy.
Which brings us to the news being reported today, which is that state officials told legislators today that they are investigating the possible sexual abuse of some young boys taken from a polygamist sect's ranch .
These are the first reports regarding abuse to the boys of the compound, other than the cases of the "Lost Boys", who are often put out on the street as young as 13 years old.
In written and oral testimony provided to lawmakers Wednesday, officials with the state Department of Family and Protective Services said interviews and journal entries suggested that boys may have been sexually abused.
Furthermore, testimony has also been given that at least 41 children from the compound has suffered broken bones at young ages, which could or could not be from simply being young and careless. Many people break bones when they are children, so that in and of itself is not conclusive of any abuse.
Although Cockerell did not elaborate on the broken bones, a report by his department's Child Protective Services division said medical exams and interviews indicated "that at least 41 children have had broken bones in the past."
"We do not have X-rays or complete medical information on many children so it is too early to draw any conclusions based on this information, but it is cause for concern and something we'll continue to examine," the CPS report said.
FLDS sect members deny that any abuses were regularly occurring on the ranch, and an FLDS spokesperson, Rod Parker, says that the testimony given today was, "a deliberate effort to mislead the public."
The first set of hearings to determine whether the children from the FLDS compound stay in state custody or if some, any or all are allowed to return to the YFZ ranch, are set for May 19, 2008.
FLDS Teenager In State Custody Has a Baby Boy
31 out of 53 teenage FLDS girls pregnant or already had babies
FLDS Children Moved, Samples Sent, Senate Leader Speaks and FLDS Men On The Run?
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More FLDS Children In Texas State Care Than Thought, Some Canadian Children
As DNA Testing Begins For FLDS Members, Questions of Lineage, Disease, and Law Arise
Polygamist Group, FLDS Children To Be Placed In Foster Homes This Week
Judge Orders Polygamist, FLDS Children To Stay in Texas State Custody
Update On The FLDS Custody Hearing Regarding the Children of the YFZ Ranch- Day Two Begins--All Day Updates
Custody Hearing for the Children of the Polygamist FLDS Sect Starts
The Forgotten Children of the FLDS Polygamist Group, The Lost Boys
The Children From the Polygamist YFZ Ranch
Update on Polygamist Compound Raid-Documents Unsealed And Beds In The Temple
Documents Detail Abuse at YFZ Ranch
Now 400 Children In Custody from Polygamist Compound- Updated, Second Person Arrested
Standoff at Polygamist Compound-Updated
Children Removed from Warren Jeff's Polygamist Retreat in Texas
Polygamist Sect Leader Warren Jeffs Found Guilty In Utah