Thursday, May 22, 2008

Court Rips Seizure Of Polygamist Sect Kids

No Legal, Factual Reasons For Removing Children, Court Rules

SAN ANGELO, Texas -- An appeals court ruled Thursday that the state of Texas had no right to seize hundreds of children from a polygamous sect.

The Third Court of Appeals in Austin, Texas, ruled that the grounds for removing the children were "legally and factually insufficient" under Texas law.

Child welfare officials removed the children on the grounds that the sect pushed underage girls into marriage and sex and trained boys to be grown-up predators.

The appellate court ruled the chaotic hearing held last month did not demonstrate the children were in any immediate danger, which is the only reason that can be given for taking children from their homes without court proceedings.

The ruling comes the same day as authorities learned that half the mothers in the sect that Texas child welfare authorities put in foster care as children have now been declared adults.

Attorneys for Child Protective Services say 15 of the 31 mothers are adults. One is actually 27.

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.

State officials raided a ranch run by a polygamist sect in west Texas. Their contention that abuse was widespread led to the removal of more than 460 children.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press.

All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Court Rips Seizure Of Polygamist Sect Kids - Family News Story - WNBC New York

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