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Texas Polygamist Sect


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Texas had no right to take polygamist sect kids: court

The state of Texas had no right to remove hundreds of children from a polygamist sect because it has not proven they were in imminent danger, an appeals court ruled Thursday.

Officials raided the sprawling compound of the reclusive sect on April 3 and took 250 girls and 213 boys into state custody amid allegations of systemic sexual and physical abuse.

Officials said girls were being "groomed" to accept sex with their middle-aged "spiritual husbands" as soon as they hit puberty and boys were being indoctrinated to perpetuate the cycle of abuse by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS).

But the Texas Court of Appeals ruled that the state's Child Protective Services agency overstepped its authority by removing children who were not in "immediate" danger of harm.

[text taken from link]

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I was glad to see the court make this decision. While I disagree with polygamy, I think that religions that believe in it should be able to practice it.

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I said this from the very beginning to my wife. It was a dangerous precident. They had no proof nor reason to do what they did. The State was clearly wrong. I hope this stands. I can see them doing the same to many different religions on flimsy reasons.

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>>It was a dangerous precident.<<

The precedents were already established with Waco, and for different reasons, Randy Weaver.

Re Waco: remember? we did it for the children.

Note of interest, perhaps: if your children are the issue under purview of a State-issued marriage license, it is recognized in law that the children belong to the State.

That said, there is a silver lining (one hopes), that it is once again demonstated that such dispicable acts committed by State turn upon no more than unsubstantiated and/or anonymous charges.

Take heed.

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If you read the book Stolen Innocence by one of the young ladies who have come out of this group, you might have a different view of things.

The state is right about the fact that underage children - girls in particular - are not treated right. The group is run by a prophet who tells all members who to marry and when. If the prophet suspects the head of the household is not controlling his wives and children, the prophet declares that the man has lost his priesthood and reassigns the wives and children to other men.

That said, the state claimed that the whole ranch was one household; hence, they could seize all the children without further investigation. That is what the appeals court and the state supreme court didn't like.

Warren Jeffs, the leader of this group, is in jail as an accomplice to rape (i.e. he pushed the girl who wrote the book into a marriage at age 14). Her "husband" (they don't believe in marriage licenses) is on trial for rape, according to the book.

Another aspect of this is that the federal Department of Labor is targeting Adventist boarding schools on their work-study programs because of the department's "mandate" to "protect" the children.

Just a few thoughts.

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I was glad to see the court make this decision. While I disagree with polygamy, I think that religions that believe in it should be able to practice it.

Practicing polygamy wasn't the reason the children were taken.

The Dept. of Children's Services was following up on a call regarding an underage girl being forced to marry an older man. Then they found all these teenage girls who were obviously pregnant.

Or that's the way I heard it.

Now the State will have to proceed on a case-by-case basis, investigating each minor child's situation, one child at a time.

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It has now been concluded that the initial call was bogus. It was a statutory rape issue. In Texas 14 year old can legally have sex if they are having sex with someone not more than three years older. The men in this case were much older than that. However in Texas girls can marry when they are 16 if they have their parents consent. 13 year-old girls and 14 year-old boys can marry if they have judicial approval. This is where we get into the issue of religious liberty.

If a religion believes in young, polygamist marriages and the parents of these young brides do not object, should the state have the right to interfere?

As it turns out there were only a handful of minors and not as many as first suspected. The state really messed this one up. I believe some heads are going to roll at Children Protection Services.

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