Eldorado, Texas case of FLDS Sect

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Postby Marina » Wed Jun 04, 2008 4:08 am

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http://deseretnews.com/article/1,5143,700231682,00.html

'I didn't bring this on FLDS,' sheriff says

By Ben Winslow
Deseret News
Published: Wednesday, June 4, 2008 12:13 a.m. MDT

ELDORADO, Texas — He was the man at the gates with the white cowboy hat and the folksy southern drawl.
Schleicher County Sheriff David Doran was one of the few outsiders whom the FLDS would initially allow onto the YFZ Ranch, and he cultivated a relationship with them. That relationship has been severely strained in the aftermath of the raid on the ranch.

In excerpts from a lengthy and frank interview Tuesday with the Deseret News, Doran spoke about the raid and what happens next:

DN: Looking back on this, what do you think? It's certainly taken many twists and turns.

Doran: It has ... and the twists and turns are not over with yet. I feel good about it. The criminal investigation side is proceeding forward nicely. The (Texas) Rangers are the lead on that. This deal with Child Protective Services ... the thing is there were victims that were definitely found on the ranch and they were removed. The ones that are being returned, that was CPS's goal from the get-go is to find out who were the victims when they were removed.

DN: Should CPS have done what it did? Is there enough evidence to justify removing 460-plus children?


Story continues below
Doran: I can't comment on what CPS should or should not do. I do know what CPS was up against when they were out there. They were the ones conducting the interviews. They were the ones making the determinations and giving those results over to the district judge, which caused the mass removal of the children.
DN: There was such a huge response with sheriffs from numerous counties, an armored personnel carrier, snipers. Was there ever a contingency plan in place for the eventuality of going out on the ranch?

Doran: The call came in, the plan was formulated immediately how to logistically go in there and do it in the most calm and low-profile manner that we could. What's being portrayed is an armored personnel carrier, snipers, SWAT teams. In all actuality, all those were called in in case we needed them. They were never used for the initial entry when we, myself, two Texas Rangers, a handful of officers went to the gate that night with CPS and served a search warrant ... the extra officers that were there were basically there in the perimeter.

DN: The FLDS have said they cooperated from the beginning. From the gate, everything. That they provided everyone that was asked to talk to.

Doran: There was a level of accommodation, but I can't say there was a full level of cooperation. They met us at the gate, we laid out what we had going on. We were held up at the gate for about two to three hours. When the leader of the group showed up, that's when the Texas Ranger ... presented him with the search warrant ... and that's when we took CPS in.


Page: 2

They set us up at the school ... (CPS) put in a request to see so many girls, but that request was not carried out. It was in small increments through the night and not as requested by CPS.
DN: When did it get to be more of a law enforcement investigation?

Doran: CPS conducted interviews all through the night, I mean through the full night and up to the day. Law enforcement started getting involved and stepping it up and brought the perimeter in ... by noon the next day. (That's when) a new plan was formulated.

Even then, because not all of the children that were requested to be brought forward was brought forward to CPS. They were not satisfied that these people were fully cooperating like they requested they do. So it was requested to do a residential to residential search.

That was conducted by CPS. That was conducted by law enforcement, and there was a representative of the FLDS with each search team. It was still done in a manner that was calm. It was still done in a manner that was respecting their culture, and we were still doing a low-key operation at that point. Keep in mind, I didn't cultivate this relationship over four years for this plan to unfold the way I did. I'm not the mastermind behind it, we were simply cooperating with CPS. ... There I was still mediating between law enforcement, the FLDS, talking to the leadership there and trying to keep things as calm and orderly as possible.


DN: But then it got to the point where search warrants started being executed and evidence started being rounded up.
Doran: Phase two, that's really what I can't talk about. The second search warrant was by the Texas Rangers based on evidence that was located on the property during the initial assistance with Child Protective Services. That's when further evidence of crimes were seen in plain sight by law enforcement.

DN: What types of crimes?

Doran: Teenage girls, underage girls that were pregnant or had children. That's when that whole thing started surfacing.

DN: What did you think about the decision to search the temple?

Doran: Not my decision.

We were searching for a victim on the property. She has not been located yet. So the scope of the first search warrant was still under way, and the fact that they were moving children around the property and keeping them out of sight. Basically, they were avoiding CPS and a lot of those were underage pregnant girls.

In the search warrant, it covers every building and documents related to the crime. ... As a law enforcement professional, when you're executing a search warrant issued by a district judge, you're going to carry out that search warrant. If that search warrant names every building on the property, then every building on the property will be searched.


Page: 3

DN: Do you believe the call (triggering the raid) was a hoax?
Doran: Hard to say. We uncovered a "Sarah" Barlow that matched that description, and based on their fear of talking to law enforcement, who's to say? I don't have the proof and evidence in front of me to say that she does not exist. I do know there's a hoax caller, and that is being investigated by law enforcement. When that investigation is complete and that person is found to be at fault, there will be vigorous charges against her in the state of Texas.

DN: Do you believe that crimes were being committed out there? Before this started?

Doran: We know polygamy's going on. It's just uncovering the evidence of that. No, I had no knowledge of any particular crimes going on.

All I know is in the four years of my knowledge of this group, the four years of contacts I have developed, both in the law enforcement field and outside the law enforcement field, we do know there's evidence of underage marriage within this group. We know it's a problem within the group. It's something we were aware of when they moved down here and learned about the group. Something we proclaimed to them, up to giving them a Texas penal code and pointing out, "This will not be tolerated in Texas."


DN: You also had a confidential informant. What was this informant telling you?
Doran: Confidential informant is plural. This is a person, or persons that I have relied on the last four years to educate me on this group. This confidential informant had no part of (the raid). During the search warrants, this person — persons, actually — was called upon to clarify some things, evidences that were uncovered and bring in some of the FLDS teachings that would match these particular evidences that were uncovered.

DN: Are (these informants) anti-FLDS?

Doran: These confidential informants are very credible and have a very neutral point of view on both sides. ... I'll leave that.

DN:Do you think it was a good decision to bus all of the children off the ranch?

Doran: I feel like they (CPS) had to get them to a location where they could interview them in an area without a lot of influences. There was an ongoing law enforcement operation out there. Yes, if CPS was going to perform their duties, they were going to have to do it in a manner that was most conducive to their investigation. If they felt it was the best decision at the time, so be it. Again, it was acting on an order from a district judge.

DN: You've spent years cultivating a relationship with the FLDS and the people on the YFZ Ranch. How do you think your relationship is going to be now?


Page: 4

Doran: I did not bring this on them. The call came in to assist Child Protective Services. ... I guess being the sheriff of Schleicher County, and this is where their home is, and this is where the operation took place — naturally, I guess, I'm going to get the blame.
You know, that's a false blame. My relationship with them is I've always been up front with them for the past four years. I've had a good working relationship with them. At the same time, if they are committing crimes out there ... and it is being investigated, then that is their problem.

DN: How do you think your relationship with them is going to be from here on out?

Doran: We still have a dialogue with them, believe it or not. They have a lot of anger towards me, and I guess I can appreciate that because they don't want to accept the facts of the situation. But we do still have communication, through my chief deputy.

DN: The FLDS have requested 300 voter cards. You're up for re-election. How do you think that's going to factor into it?

Doran: I don't think it will be a big role in our local politics. Now, different scenarios could play out if they decide to run one of theirs as a write-in.


The community has always stood behind me during my last 12 years in office ... so I've always done well. After this operation, the citizens still stand behind me. The community during this operation, and there was a time for need, we called for that help the community came out in droves and brought love, volunteerism, monetary donations, shelter. The whole community came out and supported law enforcement and supported the women and children out here.
DN:Is there concern (the criminal case) will be thrown out, the fruit of the poisonous tree?

Doran: Law enforcement went in there at the request of CPS, they acted on good faith.

DN: What do you make of the marriage statement (pledging to no longer perform underage marriages) the FLDS put out?

Doran: All I can say is I hope that they're being honest about it and I hope that if Texas did not accomplish anything, at least we know underage children will be protected. Let's just hope they follow through with it and they're being honest about it. Time will tell.

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Postby Marina » Sat Jun 07, 2008 7:37 am

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http://deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,5143,700232571,00.html

FLDS couple to battle Texas conditions of custody agreement

By Brian West
Deseret News
Published: Friday, June 6, 2008 6:49 p.m. MDT

SAN ANGELO, Texas — Attorneys for an FLDS couple are frustrated over a breakdown of negotiations involving their custody case.
Joseph and Lori Jessop will be back in court Monday to ask a judge to give them "full possessory rights" to their three children. They're fighting to separate themselves from the massive Texas Child Protective Services case involving nearly 450 children from the Fundamentalist LDS Church.

"This couple, and two other families — they are on a little different legal footing" than the others, said Teresa Kelly, a spokeswoman for the Jessops' attorney.

The Jessops won a temporary restraining order from a San Antonio court on May 13, preventing Texas CPS from separating their infant son from his mother when he turned 1 year old. CPS had only allowed mothers of children younger than 1 to remain with their children in foster facilities.

The court later granted the parents temporary custody of their three children until a June 9 hearing. Since then, the Texas Supreme Court ruled last week that CPS had improperly removed the children from their homes on the YFZ Ranch and all children have since been returned.

Now, the couple wants to be free of the conditions CPS has placed on all the families while the department continues to investigate allegations of sexual and physical abuse. But CPS attorneys won't negotiate with them for "full possessory rights," said attorney Rene Haas, who represents the Jessops.


"That means that no one from CPS has the right to come in on a daily basis and disrupt the family, or take the children to an unnamed place where unnamed personnel, for an unnamed period of time, can perform psychological or psychiatric evaluations, nor can law enforcement personnel take these children to an unnamed place for an unnamed period of time to question them without their parents being present," Haas said.
When all the children were returned to their parents earlier this week, Judge Barbara Walther in San Angelo imposed conditions on the release. One of those conditions requires parents to allow CPS access to their homes for unannounced visits between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Child welfare officials may conduct medical, psychological or psychiatric examinations either inside the home or at "any other reasonable location," the order states.

Kelly argues there's no evidence against the Jessops of any abuse. Joseph Jessop has no other wife and the couple is monogamous. Some conditions were placed on the Jessops when their children were returned May 23, but Kelly says the new conditions will result in more trauma and are not reasonable for them.

"Give me a break! Their children are 4, 2 and 1. They've been physically examined six ways from Sunday!" she told the Deseret News.


Page: 2

Haas, a former judge, expressed anger last month, accusing CPS attorneys of being dishonest and uncooperative. After both sides reached an agreement, Kelly said a "two-hour struggle" followed before Haas went back to the judge to complain that CPS was not following the court's order to return the children.
Now, in declining to negotiate, Kelly said CPS attorneys are "going out of their way to be uncooperative, to put it mildly."

CPS spokeswoman Marleigh Meisner declined to comment on the allegations.

Because the Jessop children were in foster facilities near San Antonio, Haas' legal strategy was to make a case for the family before a judge there. That led to the restraining order and a temporary custody agreement. She is hoping a judge there will continue to agree with her arguments.

"The court has a broad range of power in the situation. It can remove the children from any state authority, including all restrictions placed on other families by a San Angelo district court judge, or it can send the case back to the San Angelo court," Kelly said.

Whether the San Antonio decisions set any precedents for the other FLDS families remains to be seen.


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Postby Marina » Sat Jun 07, 2008 7:59 am

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http://deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,5143,700232582,00.html

With FLDS families reunited, Texas officials shift investigation to criminal phase

By Brian West
Deseret News
Published: Friday, June 6, 2008 7:30 p.m. MDT

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Postby Marina » Tue Jun 10, 2008 4:49 pm

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http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/stateg ... 99a1c.html

FLDS couple get a ruling against state

Web Posted: 06/10/2008 01:48 AM CDT

By Elizabeth Allen
Express-News

A couple from a polygamous West Texas sect won a small victory Monday, even as their custody hearing was put on hold.


Judge Martha Tanner of the 166th District Court granted Lori and Joseph Jessop Sr. a temporary restraining order against the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, along with the temporary custody they had already gained of their three children.

Meanwhile, lawyers for parents in a separate custody case filed in Bexar County dropped their lawsuit to regain full custody of nine children for two families, saying they'll use a different strategy.

“We do not intend to let it go at this point, and we'll be in the process of seeking review through the district court in San Angelo,” said Gerald Goldstein, representing Rulon Keate and LeLand Keate.

A district court in Bexar County ruled May 23 that the Jessops and Keates, members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, should be temporarily reunited with their children, 12 in all, after they and about 460 others were taken by the state in a raid in early April.


Investigators entered the FLDS' Yearning For Zion Ranch on a telephone tip about abuse; that tip has since been discredited as a hoax. While there, they saw what they said were numerous underage girls who were pregnant or had children.

The Texas Supreme Court late last month upheld a 3rd Court of Appeals ruling that the state didn't have enough evidence to order into foster care every child who lived at the YFZ Ranch. But the court allowed restrictions to be placed on the families' living arrangements and the continuing of a criminal investigation into alleged abuse.

The Jessops, by pursuing legal claims in a Bexar County court after one of their children was moved here, have gained more freedom from those restrictions. All three families in the Bexar County cases have maintained that they're monogamous couples.


The Jessops and their lawyers were squaring off against lawyers from the state attorney general's office Monday when the state's lawyer, Frank King, filed a plea arguing that the case should be heard in the West Texas court where it originated.

Tanner ruled that the plea was actually a motion to dismiss and denied it, a move the state was ready for.

After dispatching another lawyer out of the courtroom, King stood to say his office was filing an appeal, putting a stop to the hearing until the 4th Court of Appeals rules on it.

Tanner agreed to the stay, but issued the restraining order, which for now keeps Child Protective Services investigators from continuing their investigation.

“I am not going to allow CPS or any other agency to interfere with parents in this state,” the judge said.

Attorney general's office spokesman Jerry Strickland said, “We respect the court; however, our office will file an amended petition including this issue to be addressed by the 4th Court of Appeals.”

David Perry, a lawyer for the Jessops, argued that the state had already tried to move the case back to West Texas and was denied by the 4th Court in a May 22 ruling.

...

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Postby Marina » Tue Jun 10, 2008 4:55 pm

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http://conchovalleyhomepage.com/content ... /?cid=6150

FLDS Update: Kristen Clark Speaks With CPS Workers Who Entered The RanchReported by: KLST News
Tuesday, Jun 10, 2008 @06:38pm CST

Ruby - We Did Some Research We Did Ground Work We Became Aquainted With The Patterns Of Their Societal Norms Were.
from The Beginning Cps Investigator Ruby Gutierrez Along With Her Coworkers Tried To Prepare Themselves For Their First Visit To The Y-F-Z Ranch...But The Fear Of The What - At That Time Was Unknown -Put Each Of Them On Edge...
while The Female Investigators Were Allowed Onto The Ranch The First Night, Their Male Counterparts Were Forced To Wait Outside The Gate...
paul Dyer, Special Investigator For Cps" That Dirt Road Is Long - Everybody Has Seen It -And They Disappear Into The Darkness And It Is Very Dark Out There And I Was Very Very Very Uncomfortable With That. Because We Have No Idea Where They're At, What They Are Doing, We Don't Know If They Are Safe - We Had No Clue.

for The Female Investigators On The Inside, The Fear Of The Unknown Created A Tense Situation...

tina Martinez, Cps Investigator, "The Men Would Really Just Watch Us And Watch As We Walked They Were Lined Up, As We Were Doing The Interviews They Were There...As We Were Staffing They Would Not Move...It Was Almost Intimidating."

ruby Gutierrez, Cps Investigator, "I Felt I Was Being Scrutinized. I Felt They Were Judging Me As To My External Appearance. I Felt Uncomfortable Because I Was Not In Control Of The Situation. Because It Was Very Apparent We Were Not In Control"

kelly Walker, Cps Investigator, " Now It Doesn't Make Sense We Were Perfectly Safe Everyone Was Very Polite Very Nice, But At The Time We Didn't Know What Was Going To Happen And It Was The Scariest Thing I've Ever Done."

investigator Tina Martinez Has Four Children Of Her Own, And As The Interviews With The Children At The Ranch Continued Throughout That First Night....Tina Says Her Own Children Were Always On Her Mind.

tina Martinez, Cps Investigator "I Could Just Think Of My Children And Think That I Didn't Ever Want Them To Be In A Situation Similar To This Situation With The Victims.....
and So When You Go And Your Are Looking At These Children On The Ranch And You Know What's Going On There You Just Want To Hug Your Kids And Say I'm Going To Keep You Safe."

while Emotions Were Running High During The First Few Days Of The Investigation - It Was Nothing To Compared To What Each Cps Worker Says They Felt When The Supreme Court Ultimately Ruled That The State Should Not Have Been Granted Custody.

tina Martinez, Cps Investigator, "I Can Fight And Fight And Go Without Sleep But Knowing That Those Kids Were Going To Return Wore Me Out Completely."

ruby Gutierrez, Cps Investigator "That's How I Felt ...They Don't Understand They Haven't Seen These Children..
are They Safe I Go To Bed At Night Thinking Are They Safe Could I Haven't Done Enough To Protect Them What Else Can I Do."

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Postby Marina » Tue Jun 10, 2008 4:58 pm

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http://www.sltrib.com/polygamy/ci_9537072?source=rss

Public overwhelmingly wanted FLDS children back with parents

Thousands of pages of documents also show problems Texas officials had housing 450 kids

By Brooke Adams
The Salt Lake Tribune
Article Last Updated: 06/10/2008 12:58:15 AM MDT


As a district judge heard the state's case for keeping children from a polygamous sect in custody, hundreds of electronic and telephone messages were pouring into Texas Gov. Rick Perry's office.
They came from around the country - including Utah - and most made the same point: Send the children home to their mothers.
By April 17, three days after separating mothers from their children, the office had received 449 messages opposed to the removal of the children and just 32 from people who supported it.
"If you do nothing to protect these rights, you can be assured that you will not have my vote now or ever in the future," one Texan wrote.
"Do something!!!" said another.
Yet, Perry kept his distance from events unfolding in west Texas. Through his staff, Perry said only that he was in full support of the Department of Family and Protective Services - a position he reiterated last week in an interview with a Texas newspaper.
The public response to the removal of about 450 children from the Yearning for Zion Ranch in Eldorado is included in nearly 3,000 pages of documents acquired by the sect through a records request and provided to The Salt Lake Tribune.
The documents show that in late March, Texas Rangers and Child Protective Services were independently contacted about an abused girl at the YFZ Ranch and had begun
separate investigations.
As CPS prepared to visit the ranch, Texas Rangers asked the agency to hold off until it readied its own response. That helps explain why four days lapsed between the call - now known to be a hoax - and the raid, initiated on April 3.
The documents show high-level state officials received hourly updates as law officers entered the ranch and began removing children, taking them first to Eldorado and then to a fort in San Angelo.
The inadequate shelter conditions at Fort Concho were quickly apparent. An April 7 e-mail states: "We have reached the saturation point in San Angelo and some of the buildings do not have air conditioning, which is a problem."
That led the state to look for another shelter and within a day it had settled on a Salvation Army facility in Midlothian. As part of the move, it planned to separate adult mothers from children. But there was a snag, according to an April 8 e-mail: The Salvation Army wanted no part of the conflict and asked that the separation occur elsewhere.
But the move to another county was nixed and the state devised a new plan, relocation to the San Angelo Coliseum - a move that again included the "highly complicated and risky operation" of separating out adult women.
The women were to be told only that they were moving to the coliseum, the e-mails show.
Officials feared that some women were planning to escape, so they increased the number of staff and law officers. They also took steps to remove three "first" wives - older women, apparently - who seemed to hold sway over other women.
State officials kept tabs on media reports from across the country and circulated talking points to ensure public comments stayed consistent and on target.
Kathy Walt, Perry's deputy chief of staff, said in an April 18 e-mail that if media were "overlooking" testimony about alleged abuse, the staff should give reporters court documents and "talk the issues over with them."

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Postby Marina » Wed Jun 11, 2008 4:25 pm

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http://www.star-telegram.com/news/story/694908.html

Wednesday, Jun 11, 2008

Posted on Wed, Jun. 11, 2008

Most FLDS kids taken from compound aren't with parents yet

By BILL [email protected]


A week after 440 children from a polygamist sect were reunited with their parents, a majority still haven’t returned to the Yearning for Zion Ranch in West Texas.

Child Protective Services spokesman Patrick Crimmins said 178 children are living in 33 households in the San Antonio area and 143 children are living in 30 households at the YFZ Ranch near Eldorado.

The remaining 19 children are scattered across Texas, but Crimmins said CPS officials are not providing more details about their whereabouts to protect their privacy.

Under the court order signed last week by District Judge Barbara Walther, families cannot change their address without first giving CPS a one-week advance notice, cannot travel more than 100 miles without giving a 48-hour notice and cannot leave Texas.

Rod Parker, an FLDS attorney based in Salt Lake City, said Tuesday that many mothers have opted to stay away from the Eldorado compound on the advice of their lawyers.

Crimmins also said CPS will be evaluating information from DNA tests that are still being returned to a San Angelo court.

“When we get the results, we’re going to review them to see if they will help us in any ongoing abuse and neglect investigations,” Crimmins.

He also repeated that CPS officials reserve the right to interview children, parents or other individuals if necessary.

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Postby Frustrated » Tue Jun 17, 2008 3:50 pm

ALL FLDS Children are reunited with their parents according to this newspaper article, the last one was reunited but with certain conditions.

http://www.sltrib.com/Polygamy/ci_9485607
It is easy to steal from poor people. But don't do it. And don't take advantage of those poor people in court. The Lord is on their side. He supports them and he will take things away from any person that takes from them.~ Proverbs 22:22

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Postby Marina » Wed Jun 18, 2008 10:34 am

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http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent ... 0.html?npc

CPS actions in polygamist sect puzzle some child welfare experts

12:00 AM CDT on Wednesday, June 18, 2008
By ROBERT T. GARRETT / The Dallas Morning News
[email protected]

AUSTIN – Some lawyers and child welfare experts say they're puzzled that the Texas child protection system has taken special steps to protect only one teenage girl from a polygamist sect, when state officials said several are pregnant or already mothers.

"I am surprised there was not more than one child that had special restrictions," Southern Methodist University child welfare expert Jessica Dixon said Tuesday.

Ms. Dixon, a lawyer who runs the W.W. Caruth Jr. Child Advocacy Clinic at SMU, said Child Protective Services officials were rebuked by two courts and "are probably walking on eggshells at this point as far as imposing more restrictions."

This month, CPS released all of the 440 sect children in its custody after securing a blanket court order directing the parents to take parenting classes and not leave the state with the children.

The 16-year-old daughter of jailed sect prophet Warren Jeffs, though, was released under a more restrictive order. It bars the girl's mother from letting her have any contact with Mr. Jeffs and a 38-year-old male in the sect. It also restricts travel by the girl beyond her and her mother's home in the San Antonio area.

Other teenage girls who until April 3 lived at the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints' Yearning for Zion ranch in Eldorado also could be at risk, said Natalie Malonis of Flower Mound, attorney for Mr. Jeffs' daughter, and Susan Hays of Dallas, also a court-appointed lawyer in the massive child protection case.

"My client is not by any means the only one in that situation," Ms. Malonis said. "And coming up, I think you will see more restrictions and more action – either by [court-appointed lawyers and special advocates for FLDS children] or CPS."

Ms. Hays said any court-appointed lawyer "who has reason to believe her client is being sexually abused, which includes underage marriages, should be taking steps to protect her client – investigating it further, discussing it with their clients."

Sect spokesman Willie Jessop said the demands for more restrictions reflect religious prejudice and are unwarranted.

"Unless the state says the ranch has done something wrong, why should she be restricted," he said of Mr. Jeffs' daughter.

Last week, the girl, accompanied by her mother and Ms. Malonis, visited the ranch briefly to collect belongings and see friends. Attorneys in the case agreed to the visit.

Mr. Jessop said Ms. Malonis "clearly has not had the best interests of her client at heart" and "is a biased attorney." He said there is no evidence the 38-year-old male sect member had abused the girl.

Ms. Malonis, though, called the girl a sexual abuse victim.

"I'm not going to get into specifics, but there is evidence that the order is warranted and necessary," Ms. Malonis said. "Her mother signed the order. This was not a snap decision. A lot went into it."

Still, lawyer Andrea Sloan of Austin, who represents several FLDS teen girls, said a May 29 ruling against CPS by the Texas Supreme Court returned to sect parents the right to decide where they and their children will live and with whom they'll associate.

"It starts getting into a real ethical gray area when you start getting court orders that are against your client when they're 15, 16, 17 years old," Ms. Sloan said.

Former Dallas County family court judge Jeff Coen said that state District Court Judge Barbara Walther of San Angelo had little choice but to issue her one-size-fits-all release order on June 2.

Though the Supreme Court demanded the children be released, scores of lawyers for the youngsters couldn't agree on terms, Mr. Coen recalled.

"From purely a theoretical basis, sure, it would have been nice to have reviewed each one of those cases individually," he said. "But was that possible under the circumstances? Probably not."

CPS spokesman Patrick Crimmins said his agency did what it could to protect teenage girls after the Supreme Court's decision. He said CPS obtained an assurance in the blanket order that it could continue to check on the children in their homes, and a warning against interference.

"We are proceeding with the investigation as quickly as possible, always with the safety and security of the children as our first priority," Mr. Crimmins said.

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Postby Marina » Thu Jun 19, 2008 7:09 pm

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http://www.sltrib.com/news/ci_9637417?source=rss

Texas grand jury to begin hearing evidence involving polygamous sect

By Brooke Adams
The Salt Lake Tribune
Article Last Updated: 06/19/2008 03:47:20 PM MDT



Posted: 2:36 PM- A grand jury will meet next week in Eldorado to hear testimony that could lead to indictments of members of a polygamous sect.
A Schleicher County clerk confirmed the grand jury has been called in but would not say why or when it would meet. But The Salt Lake Tribune has learned the hearings are related to the investigation of residents of the YFZ Ranch, all members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
Expected to be subpoenaed as witnesses are mothers who conceived or gave birth when they were minors.
Texas authorities raided the ranch on April 3 after receiving a call for help later deemed a hoax. Authorities removed about 460 women and children from the ranch; the children and some mothers remained in state custody for two months.
The Texas Supreme Court then upheld an appeals court finding that there was insufficient evidence of abuse to keep all the children in custody. Tom Green County Judge Barbara Walther signed an order returning them to their parents on June 2, while Child Protective Services continues to look into abuse allegations.
About 143 children and their parents have returned to the ranch, while the rest have set up homes in San Antonio and other locales. CPS has begun interviewing some mothers, several attorneys said.
During the
investigation at the ranch, Texas Rangers seized thousands of documents that are being culled for evidence in a criminal case likely focused on underage marriages. The Texas Attorney General's Office is leading the criminal investigation.
The state also has collected DNA samples from about 600 FLDS members in order to match parents and children - evidence also potentially useful in determining whether older men fathered children with underage girls.

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Postby Marina » Thu Jun 19, 2008 7:11 pm

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http://deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,5143,700235829,00.html

Grand jury could consider FLDS case next week
Published: Wednesday, June 18, 2008 3:54 p.m. MDT

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Marina
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Postby Marina » Thu Jun 19, 2008 7:16 pm

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http://www.sltrib.com/news/ci_9625046?source=rss

Utah birth records sought in probe of FLDS couples' ages
By Brooke Adams
The Salt Lake Tribune
Article Last Updated: 06/19/2008 06:15:02 AM MDT


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Marina
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Postby Marina » Sat Jun 28, 2008 4:18 pm

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http://www.sltrib.com/polygamy/ci_9697255?source=rss

FLDS hearing before grand jury a 'slow grind'
Seven women spent 40 minutes each before jury; panel will meet again on July 22 as probe continues

By Brooke Adams
The Salt Lake Tribune
Article Last Updated: 06/26/2008 12:59:42 AM MDT

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Marina
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Postby Marina » Sat Jun 28, 2008 4:21 pm

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http://deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,5143,700238411,00.html

FLDS girl's lawyer refuses to testify
By Ben Winslow
Deseret News
Published: Friday, June 27, 2008 12:07 a.m. MDT

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Marina
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Postby Marina » Tue Jul 01, 2008 5:37 am

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http://deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,5143,700239410,00.html

Judge never signed FLDS search warrant — and here's why

Published: Monday, June 30, 2008 5:39 p.m. MDT

Texas county seeks protection from bills over FLDS raid

ELDORADO, Texas — Bloggers have been alternatively praising and condemning Schleicher County Judge Johnny Griffin for refusing to sign the original search warrant that prompted the raid on the Fundamentalist LDS Church's YFZ Ranch.
But Griffin never got those search warrants, he told the Deseret News on Monday.

"I did not sign it because it was never presented to me," said Griffin. "It went directly to the district."

Griffin's title as a county judge is that of a chief administrator for Schleicher County. He is not a lawyer, and says he is only authorized to hear certain types of cases, such as a misdemeanor or a civil lawsuit up to $10,000. Any other types of cases are handled by the 51st District Court, which encompasses Schleicher County. The warrants were signed by 51st District Judge Barbara Walther.

"I wouldn't have signed it anyway," Griffin said. "Because anything of that magnitude goes to district court."

The FLDS Church first posted a report about Griffin on one of its Web sites, and it got a life of its own on various blogs chronicling the raid. In passing a resolution supporting Schleicher County's request to get Texas to pay its bill, Kerr County Commissioners also made mention of it. (A tip of the hat, though, to the blogger who tipped off the Deseret News.)

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Marina
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Postby Marina » Tue Jul 01, 2008 5:42 am

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http://deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,5143,700239409,00.html

Texas county seeks protection from bills over FLDS raid
By Ben Winslow
Deseret News
Published: Monday, June 30, 2008 5:37 p.m. MDT

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Marina
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Postby Marina » Tue Jul 08, 2008 7:04 pm

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http://gosanangelo.com/news/2008/jul/07 ... _headlines

Parenting tutors to learn sect ways
By Jayna Boyle (Contact)
Monday, July 7, 2008


The instructors who deliver court-ordered parenting classes for members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints will be given training to be culturally sensitive to the polygamist group, a Child Protective Services spokeswoman said.

Marleigh Meisner, a CPS spokeswoman, said the classes will be given in two 4-hour sessions. CPS will hire several agencies that ordinarily do contract work for the state to teach the parenting courses.

The parenting classes are standard ones that CPS uses with any clients and do not cost participants money. Meisner said the agency has looked into adding information regarding Texas laws about marriage and bigamy, but it was unclear Monday whether that curriculum will be added.

Meisner said the agency would not release any specific details about the cultural sensitivity training for the instructors, and she did not know whether the courses will be available in all the communities statewide where sect members are now living.

CPS and state law enforcement raided the sect's ranch northeast of Eldorado in Schleicher County for a week beginning April 3, alleging a "pervasive pattern and practice" of sexual abuse and forced marriage of underage girls, taking some 440 children into state custody. The sect, which split decades ago from the Mormon Church, practices a form of plural marriage that, when conducted between consenting adults, is legal.

The Texas Third Court of Appeals later ruled in an opinion upheld by the state Supreme Court that the children should be returned to their homes, but four investigations into the group and its activities are ongoing.

Some families returned to the YFZ Ranch, but others are living in San Antonio and elsewhere in Texas.

Sect spokesman Rod Parker and sect elder Willie Jessop said Monday that parents are expected to fully comply with the court order to take parenting classes. Parker said parents don't feel like they need parenting classes, but they will do whatever is necessary to keep their children.

"It's a frustrating situation," said Jessop, who compared the classes to making people who have never had a drink attend Alcoholics Anonymous. "They haven't even been found guilty, but they're having to pay the consequences."

Speaking from San Antonio, Jessop said the sect families are under a "Texas-sized house arrest."

One condition the court placed on parents reunited with their children is that parents must give seven days' notice for any change of address and 48 hours' notice for any trip more than 100 miles from the child's designated residence.

The regulation makes it difficult for many families to visit relatives in other parts of the state or to attend organized services, Jessop said. Some sect members hope to have adjustments made to that regulation, he said.

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Michael
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FIVE Fathrs indited on criminal charges

Postby Michael » Sat Aug 02, 2008 7:43 pm

Five of the fathersw have been arrested on criminal charges. I see that the media has not publicized this like they did the childrens removal to foster care. I hope that no additional sexual abuse took place since the court returned the children to the fathers.

Marina
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Postby Marina » Sun Aug 03, 2008 5:50 am

If you do a yahoo news search for FLDS, there are quite a few links. Here are the UPI and AP links.

http://www.upi.com/Top_News/2008/07/29/ ... 217328979/

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080730/ap_ ... _retreat_6

Marina
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Postby Marina » Sun Aug 03, 2008 5:59 am

http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local_ ... mbers.html

Web Posted: 08/03/2008 12:00 CDT

Prosecutors face detours, pitfalls on road to convict FLDS members


Terri Langford - Houston Chronicle

HOUSTON — Indicting members of a polygamist sect on child sexual assault is one thing. But convicting anyone on child sexual assault charges is a much different, and tougher, thing to accomplish, according to legal experts.

Even if Texas Child Protective Services comes back with a finding that sexual abuse happened at the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints' Yearning for Zion Ranch in West Texas, the standard for a child sexual assault conviction is much higher, explained Professor Ellen Marrus, who heads the University of Houston's Center for Children, Law and Policy.

“The problem isn't so much proving the issue that there had been sexual contact,” Marrus said. “The bigger issue is proving who did it. So unless the child testifies that she had sex with a Mr. A or Mr. B, you don't have any proof who did it.”

On July 22, FLDS leader Warren Jeffs, 52, and four of his followers — Raymond Merrill Jessop, 36; Allan Eugene Keate, 56; Michael George Emack, 57; and Merrill Leroy Jessop, 33 — were indicted on sexual assault of a child charges. A sixth man, Dr. Lloyd Hammon Barlow, 38, was charged with three counts of failure to report child abuse.

Jeffs is in custody in Arizona where he is accused of arranging underage marriages. The other five surrendered to authorities last week.

Under Texas law, sexual assault of a child occurs when an adult has sexual contact with someone younger than 17. From the beginning, the 4-month investigation into whether FLDS members forced underage girls to have sex with adult men through so-called spiritual marriages has been an uphill climb, one fraught with detours down forensic rabbit trails caused by very similar DNA and a well-funded defense.

Confusing relationships

What started with a March 28 complaint that at least one girl was being physically and sexually abused by a man decades her senior — a call now considered a hoax — quickly escalated into the largest, and arguably one of the most complex, child custody cases in the United States after CPS and law enforcement officers reached the remote 1,700-acre YFZ Ranch that sits northeast of the tiny town of Eldorado.

There, they found a virtual hamlet about a third the size of Eldorado that included nearly 500 children, many of them born in the past four years.

After interviewing more than a dozen teen girls inside one of the sect's 19 lodge-like homes on the night of April 3, CPS investigators found evidence that not only were underage girls married, some became mothers before turning 18.

Concerns about younger girls and boys being raised in an environment where girls could be made wives once they menstruated, CPS and law enforcement huddled with state District Judge Barbara Walther, who ordered all children to be removed.

But from the start, the sect's own demographic makeup and culture of providing little information to outsiders, particularly after a 1953 raid on their homes by Arizona officials, has made this case difficult to say the least.

CPS investigators said they were given different names by both children and parents, muddying the effort to determine family groups. FLDS members have insisted they were not misleading but clarifying for CPS names they got wrong from the state.

The confusing tangle of family relationships within a sect where a handful of families have intermarried for more than 100 years and often use the same names has been a major hurdle for both CPS and the Texas Attorney General's office now prosecuting the case.

According to one state source close to the investigation who asked not to be identified, at least five percent of DNA samples taken from children and parents was so similar when compared, it could not be determined in those cases which child belonged to which parent.

Also, investigators have complained of inconsistent stories from young women about whether they were married to adult men.

However, despite the silence or varying versions about who is related or married to whom, investigators have been aided by an unlikely source: the sect's penchant for writing journals and recording family trees together with the women's scrapbooks of their lives as a road map of their actions.

This practice appears to be one adopted by many members, including the young girls who write about their hopes to be united in marriage to a worthy FLDS man, an act considered their legacy and duty to their faith. The FLDS is not affiliated with mainstream Mormonism, which denounced polygamy more than a century ago.

Journal entries

In a Dec. 27, 2006 entry submitted recently to Walther's court, a teenage daughter of FLDS leader Warren Jeffs wrote “The Lord blessed me to go forward in marriage July 27, 2006, the day after I turned 15 years old.” The girl also kept scrapbooks that included pictures of her passionately kissing her new husband, 34-year-old Raymond Jessop. In another picture she is seen seated closely to her husband on a couch.

Her journal is not the only one among more than 1,000 boxes of documents pulled from the ranch by the Texas Department of Public Safety. Key among those documents are Warren Jeffs' dictated daily pages, a section of which was included in a court-appointed guardian's report on the well-being of one of the now 16-year-old teen daughter believed to be Jessop's wife.

“I was shown that I should perform three marriage sealings tonight,” states a journal entry dictated by Warren Jeffs in which he describes marrying his daughter and two others on Thursday, July 27, 2006.

“I did gather my daughter and her mother Annette in this afternoon and gave her a training on how to be a heavenly wife and to get close to her husband,” Jeffs stated. The girl's own diary, excerpted and attached in the court filing, confirmed that series of events.

“Father said the Lord would like you to get married tonight, now what do you think of that? Are you willing?” the teen recalled in her diary.

But Rod Parker, a Salt Lake attorney and spokesman for the group says the excerpt proves nothing about a sexual relationship, revealing what could be a strong legal defense to allegations of sexual abuse.

“I don't know if there's a marriage,” Parker said, meaning one that included sexual relations, “or (something) short of a marriage.”

That opinion was echoed by Willie Jessop, Jeffs' former bodyguard and a spokesman for the group in Eldorado.

“We told them the day (of the indictments) we were going to face that thing,” Jessop said. “The people are honorable. We don't believe we're criminals.”

Parker also noted, correctly, that the level of evidence needed to indict someone is far lower than the type of evidence needed to convict someone “beyond a reasonable doubt.” And to convict, prosecutors will need much more than is required by CPS to confirm child sexual abuse occurred.

CPS investigators determine if there is “reason to believe” abuse has occurred. While there may be enough evidence for CPS to confirm the abuse there may not be enough evidence to convict an abuser.

In a CPS investigation, caseworkers only have to find “clear and convincing evidence” that abuse occurred to remove a child permanently from the home and move to sever parents' rights to the child.

“All this is much less than beyond a reasonable doubt,” Marrus said.

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Postby Marina » Sun Aug 03, 2008 6:08 am

http://deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,5143,700247186,00.html

FLDS classes to focus on 'core strengths'

By Pat Reavy
Deseret News
Published: Thursday, July 31, 2008 12:06 a.m. MDT

Promising to teach tolerance, awareness and respect of others, the court-ordered parenting classes for members of the Fundamentalist LDS Church are scheduled to finally begin later this week.

The Deseret News has obtained a copy of the programs' curricula that parents from the YFZ Ranch in Eldorado, Texas, must complete as per the June custody agreement.

The classes, which take a total of eight hours to complete, were drawn up to specifically address the parenting situation as it pertains to the FLDS culture. The curricula are titled "The Six Core Strengths for Healthy Childhood Development" but actually include seven programs.

Program One is called "Developing Potential." It's billed as an introductory program to provide a child with "the framework for a life rich in family, friends and personal growth. Teaching children these core strengths will allow children to learn to live and prosper together with people of all kinds."

The other programs scheduled to be taught have titles such as, "Attachment," "Self-Regulation," "Affiliation," "Attunement," "Tolerance" and "Respect." Instructors are given 12 handouts with exercises and a 55-slide PowerPoint presentation to complement the programs.



The descriptions for the various classes say the children will be taught how to "form and maintain healthy emotional bonds with another person," "control primary urges," and become aware and tolerant of different races and cultures.
"With positive modeling, caregivers can insure and build on children's tolerance. The tolerant child is more flexible and adaptive," the curriculum says.

Under the title of "Affiliation," children are taught that the family is the child's most important group. "Most other groups they will join are based on circumstance or common interests," according to the curriculum.

...


Under the terms of the agreement for the children's return, 51st District Judge Barbara Walther ordered the parents of the group to take "standard parenting classes." ...

Michael
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Update on CPS and families

Postby Michael » Wed Aug 06, 2008 3:38 am

Marleigh Meisner
Public Information Officer
(325) 200-1301

Patrick Crimmins
Public Information Officer
(512) 787-5090 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, August 5, 2008



Child Protective Services (CPS) is asking a judge to place eight children into foster care because their mothers have refused to limit the children’s contact with men involved in underage marriages.

The action comes as CPS completes the first investigations involving children removed in April from the Yearning for Zion (YFZ) Ranch in Eldorado. The children were returned to their families in June after a Supreme Court ruling while the CPS investigation continued. CPS expects to complete more related investigations in the coming weeks.

CPS has reviewed thousands of documents seized from the ranch, including marriage records and other information that shows a pervasive pattern of spiritual marriages between older men and girls aged 12 to 17. Investigators also have interviewed children, mothers and fathers if known, although most refused to provide information.

CPS is asking the mothers of girls ages 10-17 to sign safety plans to protect their children from sexual abuse. For children who lived in a home with a man who married underage girls or agreed to an arranged marriage of an underage daughter, the safety plans include a requirement to keep the children away from that man.

In the cases of the eight children listed in today’s court filing, the mothers have refused to sign the safety plans. The children in these cases include six girls and two boys who range in age from 5 to 17 years old. CPS is asking 51st District Judge Barbara Walther to set hearings on the removals.

CPS has set a goal of family reunification for all the Eldorado cases, and caseworkers are working with parents – primarily the mothers – to ensure that the children can remain in their homes and be protected from sexual abuse. In the cases of more than half of the YFZ children, no match was found among the 26 fathers who provided DNA samples.

CPS also filed papers with the court today to end the cases of 32 children where there is no evidence of underage marriages in the family or the families have agreed to take appropriate actions to protect the children.

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Postby Marina » Fri Aug 15, 2008 7:37 pm

http://deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,5143,700248628,00.html

Removal is sought of 8 FLDS kids again

By Ben Winslow
Deseret News
Published: Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2008 12:08 a.m. MDT

Texas child welfare authorities have filed court papers asking a judge to put eight children from the Fundamentalist LDS Church's YFZ Ranch back into foster care.
Child Protective Services claims it is because the mothers have refused to limit the children's contact with men involved in underage marriages, suggesting the families are being uncooperative.

"We are concerned about the welfare of these eight children," said Marleigh Meisner, a CPS spokeswoman. "We have found in these particular cases, these children do not have a protective parent who is willing to ensure their safety."

The six girls and two boys, ages 5 to 17, will not be removed from their homes immediately. A judge in San Angelo has set a Sept. 25 court hearing to consider the request.

In affidavits filed with the motions, child welfare workers don't explicitly state that any of the children have been sexually abused. One of the children, a 14-year-old girl, was married at age 12 to FLDS leader Warren Jeffs. The girl said in an interview that "it isn't what CPS is making it to be."

"She said that the marriages are pure," CPS caseworker Ruby Gutierrez wrote in an affidavit. "Further, (the girl) stated that this can't be a crime because Heavenly Father is the one that tells Warren when a girl is ready to get married and that he is only following the word of Heavenly Father."



Texas child welfare authorities have claimed that children on the Yearning for Zion Ranch are at risk of abuse, with girls becoming child brides and boys growing up to become sexual perpetrators. As part of the massive custody battle, CPS asked parents to sign service plans to protect their children — including a requirement that the children be kept away from men who may have been involved in underage marriages.
In these cases, the parents refused to sign.

Amy Johnson, the mother of a 13-year-old girl, is accused of allowing her 15-year-old daughter to be married to an older man in 2005.

"Ms. Young refused to take any of those options stating it would be 'an insult to common sense,"' CPS caseworker Kerrie Blair wrote in an affidavit asking the state to take custody of Ellen Grace Young's two daughters, ages 9 and 10.

Young, CPS claims, "abandoned" her children for three years while working in Nevada, not knowing who they were living with on the YFZ Ranch. The agency alleges she also lied to a CPS caseworker about being married, first to a man named Nephi Barlow (the father of the children), and then to Merril Jessop, the ranch's leader, in a 2004 ceremony in a Cedar City motel room.

The whereabouts of some of the parents named in the court papers, including Jessop, are unknown.

Jessop and another of his wives, Barbara Steed Jessop, make up another case involving three of their children. The parents are accused of witnessing underage marriages — including their 12-year-old daughter's spiritual marriage to Jeffs.


Page: 2

Two of Jessop's sons, Raymond Merril Jessop and Merril Leroy Jessop, were indicted by a Schleicher County grand jury last month on sexual assault charges, alongside FLDS leader Warren Jeffs. Merril Leroy Jessop is also charged with bigamy.
Dr. Lloyd Barlow, who was indicted on charges of failure to report child abuse, is also named in Tuesday's court filings. CPS investigators seek to take custody of his 5- and 13-year-old daughters, claiming that Barlow was involved in a marriage to a then-16-year-old girl back in 2001.

In an interview with CPS, Barlow said that if a young woman who was a victim of domestic violence sought recourse, "Dr. Barlow stated that the church elders would handle the situation first."

"Dr. Barlow was asked if he had ever delivered children to girls under the age of 18 on the Ranch, and he said many times both on this Ranch and in other places," CPS investigator Paul Dyer wrote in an affidavit.

"Due to the fact that Dr. Lloyd Barlow himself was involved in a marriage with an underage female and that Dr. Lloyd Barlow had delivered children to underage females, the Department believes Dr. Barlow is not a safe and appropriate caregiver," Dyer said.



Attorneys for some of the parents did not return calls seeking comment on Tuesday. An FLDS spokesman also did not immediately have any response to the court action.
The filings are a new salvo in the nation's biggest custody case that began in April, when child welfare workers and law enforcement raided the YFZ Ranch on a call from someone claiming to be a pregnant 16-year-old in an abusive marriage to an older man. The girl was never found and the call is believed to be a hoax, but once on the ranch Texas authorities claim they saw other signs of abuse that prompted a judge to order all of the children removed.

The 440 children were ultimately returned after two Texas courts ruled the state acted improperly in removing all of the children and that they were not in imminent danger. Child welfare and criminal investigations are ongoing.

CPS also filed court papers asking a judge to "non-suit" 32 children where there was no evidence of any underage marriages or their parents agreed to take the appropriate steps to protect their children.

"We moved to non-suit a case when we decide we no longer need court oversight to ensure the child's safety," Meisner said.

Dallas attorney Laura Shockley said one of her clients was believed to be among the 32.

"My little guy was just a baby," she said Tuesday. "There was no reason for them to be in the system."

She would not say if any other court actions are planned to either remove more children or end court oversight of them.

"We are still in the midst of our investigation and we are trying to conduct this investigation as was recommended by the supreme court," Meisner said. "We're looking at these cases on an individual basis."

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Postby Marina » Sat Aug 16, 2008 2:59 pm

http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent ... f.html?npc

Texas child welfare officials want custody of 8 children from polygamist group

10:56 PM CDT on Tuesday, August 5, 2008
By ROBERT T. GARRETT / The Dallas Morning News
[email protected]

SAN ANGELO – Child Protective Services, forced by courts last spring to return hundreds of children to their parents in a polygamist sect, jumped back into Texas' tussle with the sect Tuesday.

The state agency asked a judge to put eight of the children of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints back into state custody.

...

CPS said all eight youngsters are likely to be harmed if a court doesn't let the state intervene because the four mothers refuse to sign "safety plans" in which they voluntarily pledge to keep children away from certain men.

"The department has not been able to work sufficiently with the parents," said CPS lawyer Charles Childress moments after filing the motions. "Mostly, it's about failure to cooperate."

Mr. Childress, asked if the eight children are in danger, said, "That's what the judge is being asked to decide."

...

Safety plans are common in cases in which CPS thinks children are at risk of maltreatment. But the eight children's mothers have refused to agree to plans proposed by CPS.

...

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Postby Marina » Sat Aug 23, 2008 7:19 pm

http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent ... 8.html?npc

Texas officials drop custody cases involving 34 kids from polygamist sect

05:49 PM CDT on Friday, August 15, 2008
Staff and wire reports

SAN ANTONIO — Custody cases involving 34 children taken from a polygamist sect’s West Texas ranch were dropped this week because child welfare authorities no longer believe court oversight is needed, an agency spokeswoman said Friday.

The action brings to 66 the number of cases dismissed of the approximately 440 children that the state had taken from the sect in a raid this year, then was forced by courts to return.

Child Protective Services investigators have continued reviewing the cases since the return of the children. Last week, officials convinced the district court in San Angelo to dismiss 32 cases and on Thursday asked, and got, the court to dismiss 34 more.

The remaining cases are still under review. In addition, CPS is seeking the return to state custody of eight children whose mothers have refused to limit their children’s contact with men accused of being involved in underage marriages.

Hearings in those cases are scheduled to begin in San Angelo on Monday.

CPS officials said dismissal of the cases does not necessarily end the agency’s involvement with the families but means officials believe the children can be kept safe without court intervention.


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