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Friday, April 04, 2008

Children Removed from Warren Jeff's Polygamist Retreat in Texas: UPDATE& Bumped- 52 children

4/18/08 Update- Judge Orders FLDS Children To Stay in Texas State Custody.

New information about the standoff on a new thread here.

The number of children removed, depending on which report you read, is now up to 132 to 137 and more are being sought.

[Update below]

After a complaint was filed with authorities, police started investigating that complaint at the compound inhabited by the Polygamist group that used to be headed up by Warren Jeff, who was recently convicted of rape-related charges for marrying off a 14-year-old girl, in November and was sentenced to two consecutive sentences of five years to life in prison in Utah.

The compound is a 1,900-acre Yearn for Zion Ranch outside Eldorado, about 160 miles northwest of San Antonio.

The compound, built by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, consists of about 150 buildings and features an 80-foot-tall white temple. It occupies a former exotic-game ranch. Known as the FLDS, the congregation broke with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City after the Mormons renounced polygamy nearly 120 years ago.

Police surrounded the compound last night and search and arrest warrants were served today, resulting in a bus load of children, mostly young girls, being taken from the retreat.

A spokesperson for Child Protective Services, Marleigh Meisner, confirmed the removal of the children, the bus accompanied by police.

[Update] NYT reports that it was 52 girls removed from the compound and the original complaint was from a 16 year old girl claiming sexual abuse.

All were girls. Eighteen of the children, ages 6 months to 17 years, were believed to have been abused or at risk of abuse and were placed in foster care by Child Protective Services, said Darrell Azar, communications manager for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. Thirty-four were taken to a nearby civic center for questioning, Mr. Azar said.

Perhaps they will now have a chance at a normal life without sexual abuse.