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Thread: Court finds Texas wrongly seized children of polygamist sect

  1. #1
    Elite Member Moongirl's Avatar
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    Default Court finds Texas wrongly seized children of polygamist sect

    Court: Texas wrongly seized sect children - FLDS hearings - MSNBC.com
    MSNBC.com


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Court: Texas wrongly seized sect children
    Appeals court ruling applies to 48 mothers from polygamist sect
    MSNBC News Services
    updated 11:14 a.m. PT, Thurs., May. 22, 2008
    SAN ANGELO, Texas - A state appellate court ruled Thursday that child welfare officials had no right to seize hundreds of children from a polygamist sect's ranch on April 3.

    It was unclear how many children were affected by the ruling. The state took 464 children into custody, but Thursday's ruling directly applied to the children of 48 sect mothers represented by the Texas Rio Grande Legal Aide, said Cynthia Martinez of the agency.

    The Third Court of Appeals in Austin ruled that the grounds for removing the children were "legally and factually insufficient" under Texas law. The ruling did not immediately order the return of the children.

    Child welfare officials removed the children on the grounds that the sect pushed underage girls into marriage and sex and trained boys to become future perpetrators.

    The appellate court ruled that a chaotic hearing held last month did not demonstrate the children were in any immediate danger, the only measure of taking children from their homes without court proceedings.

    Earlier Thursday, attorneys for Child Protective Services said 15 of the 31 mothers authorities put in foster care as children have now been declared adults. One is 27, they said.

    Another girl listed as an underage mother is 14, but the state has conceded she is not pregnant and does not have a child.

    The underage mothers had been cited as evidence that the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints committed widespread sexual abuse of girls.

    In Texas, girls who are younger than 17 generally cannot consent to sex with adult men.

    No one has been arrested or charged in the case.

    The FLDS, which teaches polygamy brings glorification in heaven, broke away from the mainline Mormon church, which disavowed polygamy more than a century ago.

    Sect leader Warren Jeffs, who is revered as a prophet, has been sentenced to prison in Utah for being an accomplice to rape in arranging a marriage of a 14-year-old follower to her 19-year-old cousin. He is awaiting trial in Arizona, where he is charged as an accomplice with four counts each of incest and sexual conduct.

    Jeffs' lawyers want the incest counts dropped, arguing that prosecutors in Mohave County cannot pursue those charges along with the sexual conduct counts. A judge is considering the request.

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.


    2008 MSNBC Interactive
    URL: Court: Texas wrongly seized sect children - FLDS hearings - MSNBC.com


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    Elite Member sputnik's Avatar
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    you've got to be fucking kidding.
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    Elite Member Sweetie's Avatar
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    This makes no sense whatsoever:

    "The Third Court of Appeals in Austin ruled that the grounds for removing the children were "legally and factually insufficient" under Texas law. The ruling did not immediately order the return of the children."


    Not that I want them returned but how can they not be if the law broke the law?

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    Elite Member *DIVA!'s Avatar
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    They had no legitimate reason for being there. Once they couldn't find the 'girl' who made the initial complaint...everything else was invalid!


    I don''t know if she really fucked the board though. Maybe just put the tip in. -Mrs. Dark

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    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    If you let your 13 year old daughter get raped by an old man....you have proven you're an unfit parent


    They hide their sick acts behind the cloak of religion....as if that makes child rape ok



    All of God's children are not beautiful. Most of God's children are, in fact, barely presentable.


    If I wanted the government in my womb I'd fuck a Senator

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    Elite Member *DIVA!'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by witchcurlgirl View Post
    If you let your 13 year old daughter get raped by an old man....you have proven you're an unfit parent


    They hide their sick acts behind the cloak of religion....as if that makes child rape ok
    Yes, there are wrong, and what they do is illegal, they should have went by the book!


    I don''t know if she really fucked the board though. Maybe just put the tip in. -Mrs. Dark

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    Elite Member Folieadeux's Avatar
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    Kind of glad to read this. Not all of the children would have been molested, not all of the children would have been married off, and not all of the children would have been pregnant.

    Large scale seizing of children like this without all parents knowing their charge, sets a dangerous precedent.

    I don't support the sect at all. But doing this on a large scale without sufficient evidence was wrong.
    ssabmud

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    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    A sad day for young girls....but a great day for filthy old rapists



    All of God's children are not beautiful. Most of God's children are, in fact, barely presentable.


    If I wanted the government in my womb I'd fuck a Senator

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    Elite Member Aella's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by witchcurlgirl View Post
    A sad day for young girls....but a great day for filthy old rapists
    Couldn't have said it better.

    Seriously, what the FUCK?
    "Remember to always be yourself. Unless you suck." - Joss Whedon

    "The only thing more expensive than education is ignorance." -Benjamin Franklin

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    Elite Member NicoleWasHere's Avatar
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    Just another way the 'legal system' has made my brain hurt. X_x

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    Elite Member aabbcc's Avatar
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    Sect parents cheer court ruling, await next step

    Members of a polygamist sect whose children were placed into foster care said Friday they were thrilled by an appellate court decision that upended the custody case and eagerly waiting to find out if and when their children will return home.

    "I just feel like I'm coming back to life," Nancy Dockstader, whose five children were among more than 440 seized last month during a raid on the sect's ranch, said Friday on NBC's "Today." "We can be a family again. It's just unreal."

    The Third Court of Appeals in Austin said Thursday that the state failed to show the youngsters were in any immediate danger, the only grounds under Texas law for taking children from their parents without court action.

    Texas District Judge Barbara Walther now has 10 days to release the youngsters from custody, but the state could appeal to the Texas Supreme Court and keep the children from immediately going back to their parents.

    "We're going to take it one day at a time," said Dockstader's husband, James. "We expect that they would go ahead and appeal it, but we are in full hope that" the children will return soon.

    The decision in one of the biggest child-custody cases in U.S. history was a humiliating defeat for the state Child Protective Services agency. It was hailed as vindication by members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, who claim they are being persecuted for their religious beliefs.

    The Dockstaders said the parents haven't decided yet if they will pursue legal action against the state. They are waiting to talk to their lawyers and to hear what they are required to do to get back their children.

    "If we need to move away from the ranch, we will," James Dockstader said. "We would like that to be our home. We feel it's the safest environment for our children."

    Every child at the Yearning For Zion Ranch in Eldorado was taken into custody more than six weeks ago after someone called a hot line claiming to be a pregnant, abused teenage wife. The girl has not been found and authorities are investigating whether the calls were a hoax.

    Child-protection officials argued that five girls at the ranch had become pregnant at 15 and 16 and that the sect pushed underage girls into marriage and sex with older men and groomed boys to enter into such unions when they grew up.

    But the appeals court said the state acted too hastily in sweeping up all the children and taking them away on an emergency basis without going to court first.

    "Even if one views the FLDS belief system as creating a danger of sexual abuse by grooming boys to be perpetrators of sexual abuse and raising girls to be victims of sexual abuse ... there is no evidence that this danger is 'immediate' or 'urgent,'" the court said.

    "Evidence that children raised in this particular environment may someday have their physical health and safety threatened is not evidence that the danger is imminent enough to warrant invoking the extreme measure of immediate removal," the court said.

    The court said the state failed to show that any more than five of the teenage girls were being sexually abused, and offered no evidence of sexual or physical abuse against the other children. Half the youngsters taken from the ranch were 5 or younger. Only a few dozen are teenage girls.

    The court also said the state was wrong to consider the entire ranch as a single household and to seize all the children because some parents in the home might be abusers.

    Child Protective Services spokesman Patrick Crimmins said department attorneys had not decided whether to appeal. "We are trying to assess the impact that this may have on our case," he said.

    The Department of Family and Protective Services issued a statement defending the raid, saying it removed the children "after finding a pervasive pattern of sexual abuse that puts every child at the ranch at risk."

    "Child Protective Services has one duty — to protect children. When we see evidence that children have been sexually abused and remain at risk of further abuse, we will act," the department said.

    The decision technically applies to only 38 of the roughly 200 parents who challenged the seizure. But Julie Balovich, a Legal Aid attorney for some of the parents, said she expected attorneys for all the other parents to seek to join the ruling.

    Balovich said the court "has stood up for the legal rights of these families and given these mothers hope that their families will be brought back together."

    Five judges in San Angelo, about 40 miles north of Eldorado, have been holding hearings on what the parents must do to regain custody. Those hearings, which began Monday, were suspended after the ruling Thursday.

    Of the 31 people the state initially said were underage mothers, at least 15 were reclassified as adults before the hearings were suspended. One mother is 27.

    The custody case has been chaotic from the beginning. During the first round of hearings, held two weeks after the April 3 raid, hundreds of lawyers crammed into a courtroom and nearby auditorium, queuing up to voice objections or ask questions on behalf of the mothers who were there in their trademark prairie dresses and braided hair.

    The state has struggled for weeks to establish the identities of the children and sort out their tangled family relationships. The youngsters are in foster homes all over the sprawling state, with some brothers or sisters separated by as much as 600 miles.

    Sect parents cheer court ruling, await next step - Yahoo! News

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    Elite Member RevellingInSane's Avatar
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    A complaint was made and they went to investigate. If someone were to see a woman under the age of consent who was the mother of a child, wouldn't that be probable cause?

    Texas is the next Utah. Protect the rights of those who were trampling the rights of children.



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    Elite Member lurkur's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CCkissesx View Post
    Kind of glad to read this. Not all of the children would have been molested, not all of the children would have been married off, and not all of the children would have been pregnant.

    Large scale seizing of children like this without all parents knowing their charge, sets a dangerous precedent.

    I don't support the sect at all. But doing this on a large scale without sufficient evidence was wrong.


    ITA. Children need protection, but cops shouldn't be given free license to do whatever they want just because they receive an anonymous phone call.

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    Elite Member southernbelle's Avatar
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    I'm currently reading a book about fundamentalist Mormons and the amount of child abuse (physical, emotional, and sexual) that goes on in these polygamist sects is appalling.

    The children are also threatened with abuse should they "betray" the cult (that's what this is), so many of them refuse to speak out against it and they even defend it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SSDiva View Post
    Yes, there are wrong, and what they do is illegal, they should have went by the book!
    You can't really blame them though. The authorities in that part of Texas have been eager to do something about that ranch almost as long as it has been there. Everyone knows what goes on there, it's no secret. Give them one little reason and they're in there guns blazing. I fully support that. Those FLDS people are NUTS.

    Perhaps now they'll realize they've worn out their welcome in Texas and they'll go back where they came from.

    Quote Originally Posted by RevellingInSane View Post
    A complaint was made and they went to investigate. If someone were to see a woman under the age of consent who was the mother of a child, wouldn't that be probable cause?

    Texas is the next Utah. Protect the rights of those who were trampling the rights of children.
    Horseshit. The court making that decision is packed with judges who take a very "tolerant" position towards these weirdos because Waco and the Branch Davidians are still prominent in their minds.

    The authorities in Eldorado have no fucking use for these freaks. They are pissed.
    Last edited by Tati; May 26th, 2008 at 09:31 AM.

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