52 Girls from Ages 6 months to 17 years Removed from From Polygamist Sect Leader Warren Jeff’s Compound After Alleged Abuse
52 girls ranging in age from 6 months to 17 years old have been removed from a West Texas religious compound built by polygamist leader Warren Jeffs. Warren Jeffs was previously convicted of rape-related charges for marrying off a 14-year-old girl.
In November, Jeffs was sentenced to two consecutive sentences of five years to life in prison in Utah. He was convicted of being an accomplice to the rape of the 14-year-old, who wed her cousin in an arranged marriage in 2001. (USA Today)
This aerial view shows the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints compound under construction near Eldorado, Texas, in this March 2, 2005 file photo.
The investigation into the religious retreat began with a call Monday alleging physical abuse of a 16-year-old girl living there. There is a special place in hell reserved for those that shield such heinous acts against children under the veil of religion.
Caseworkers went to the ranch on Friday afternoon after receiving a complaint. They took 52 girls, ranging from six months to 17 years, out on buses.
After talking to them, they placed 18 of the girls in state custody.
Officials escort two buses, April 4, 2008 from the retreat built by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, located near El Dorado, Texas. Child welfare officials and state troopers removed at least one busload of children from the secretive West Texas religious retreat built by polygamist leader Warren Jeffs following a complaint to state authorities. (AP Photo/Harry Cabluck)
Child Welfare Officials Remove Girls From Polygamist Sect Leader Warren Jeff’s Compound
Child welfare officials are scrambling to find foster homes for dozens of girls removed from a secretive West Texas religious retreat built by polygamist leader Warren Jeffs after a 16-year-old living there complained of physical abuse.
Officials from Texas Child Protective Services, escorted by state troopers, took 52 girls, ages 6 months to 17 years, from the remote retreat on Friday afternoon.
By the end of the day, 18 were put legally into state custody, and CPS spokeswoman Marleigh Meisner said interviews would continue Saturday. A warrant has been issued for at least one individual.
The girls put in state custody were believed to be in danger, Meisner said. “Those are the ones we believe have been abused or they are in imminent risk of harm, and it would not be safe for those children to remain in the compound,” she said. (Fox News)
Busload Of Girls Leaves Polygamist Ranch: Police Remove Children From Fundamentalist Mormon Compound After Complaint Was Made
UPDATE I: Conflict Escalates at Polygamist Retreat
ELDORADO, Texas (AP) – Law enforcement manned a roadblock miles from a polygamist temple where sect leaders refused to let authorities enter to search for a teenager whose report of abuse initiated a raid on the West Texas compound.
Authorities provided no details early Sunday about the standoff.
Allison Palmer, a prosecutor in Tom Green County, told the San Angelo Standard-Times that medical workers were sent to the compound “in case this were to a go in a way that no one wants.” She had said authorities will forcibly remove the sect’s followers “as peaceably as possible” if no agreement could be reached.
UPDATE II: BREAKING NEWS UPDATE: Authorities enter Eldorado-area temple
The incursion into the temple caps the three-day saga of the state’s Child Protective Services agency removing at least 183 women and children from the YFZ Ranch since Friday afternoon. Eighteen girls have been placed in state custody since a 16-year-old told authorities she was married to a 50-year-old man and had given birth to his child.
Saturday evening, ambulances were brought in, said Allison Palmer, who as first assistant 51st District attorney, would prosecute any felony crimes uncovered as part of the investigation inside the compound.
“In preparing for entry to the temple, law enforcement is preparing for the worst,” Palmer said Saturday evening. They want to have “medical personnel on hand in case this were to go in a way that no one wants.”
ELDORADO, Texas (AP) – More than 400 children, mostly girls in pioneer dresses, were swept into state custody from a polygamist sect in what authorities described Monday as the largest child-welfare operation in Texas history.
The dayslong raid on the sprawling compound built by now-jailed polygamist leader Warren Jeffs was sparked by a 16-year-old girl’s call to authorities that she was being abused and that girls as young as 14 and 15 were being forced into marriages with much older men.