Apr 7, 2008

401 children from FLDS compound now in protective custody

Brooke Adams
Salt Lake Tribune,
April 7, 2008

The Texas Child Protective Service now has taken temporary legal custody of 401 children from an FLDS compound near Eldorado, a spokeswoman said today.

The children are accompanied by 133 women, and authorities are nearly done clearing the ranch, said spokeswoman MarleighMeisner.

The agency will file affidavits in court this afternoon that will explain more about why the state should have temporary legal custody, she said.

An April 17 court hearing has been set on the children's status.

Officials are now seeking additional shelters in other parts of the state to house the women and children, members of the polygamous Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Some 200 social workers from across the state are working on the case in a state already experiencing a critical shortage of foster families, Meisner said.

Meisner said she still could not confirm whether workers have found or spoken to the girl who sparked the investigation. A 16-year-old girl called for help on Monday, alleging she had been abused.

The girl's report led authorities last week to raid the 1,691-acre ranch, beginning on Thursday night.

When asked if the state planned to take the children away from their parents, Meisner said: "It's absolutely too soon to make that decision."

Each one of the children will get their own attorney to represent their interests in court, she said.

Meisner could not confirm how many men are at the ranch, but confirmed they are not allowed to leave it.
Tela Mange, spokesperson for the Texas Department of Public Safety, said there was one arrest today -- a man charged with a class B misdemeanor for interfering with the duties of a public servant.

http://www.sltrib.com/Faith/ci_8839610
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