Tuesday, April 22, 2008

BTW Judge, we found an extra 21 kids: now CPS says 437 FLDS youngsters in custody

Until yesterday, Texas Child Protective Services thought it had seized 21 fewer kids from a West Texas polygamist compound than were actually in its custody. The new total of seized children is 437. In other words, CPS lost these children for the last two weeks, and only just now figured out they were in custody.

So there were no "lost boys" associated with the YFZ polygamist ranch, according to court testimony, but CPS lost some of them after they were taken away.

This ridiculous news raises several questions: First, would it be accurate to assume that these 21 children have not received their mandatory 14 day hearing which the other 416 got (in minimalist, perfunctory fashion) last week? Since the judge refused to give individual hearings and grouped everyone together, maybe she'll say it won't matter. But CPS is now holding more kids than the court gave it permission to seize last week.

Second was enough food, clothing, medical supplies and other necessities being delivered if you didn't know how many kids you'd taken?

Obviously, the failure to know how many kids are in your custody raises a general competency issue; CPS increasingly appears simply not to know what it's doing. The Local Crank, a Texas family lawyer, opined in the comments to a Mormon lawyer's blog that normally:
CPS would’ve removed the alleged perpetrators (the husbands) and left the women and children in place to receive services. For another, if CPS does a removal, they NEVER allow a parent to just “ride along” since, by definition, if a parent is safe to be around a child, there’s no need for removal in the first place.
From that account and other conversations, I believe the Judge, CPS and law enforcement bungled this from the start. Now, as commenters have been lamenting, they're even removing infants from their adult mothers who are still breast-feeding, even though no one believes children that young were in danger. Reports the San Angelo paper:

While acknowledging that infants are best served by receiving breast milk from their mothers, Walther highlighted CPS' position that the mothers had placed their children at risk for abuse in the FLDS setting.

"The court has ruled the conditions those children were in were not safe for the children," she said. "I did not make the facts that got this case into the courts."

Excuse me, Judge? You issued a sweeping, house to house search warrant based on a highly questionable anonymous call that turned out to be phony. You refused to allow individual hearings for children, grouping them together like cattle. You accepted the testimony of an expert on "cults" who only learned about FLDS from media accounts over an academic who'd studied them professionally for 18 years. You've ruled the existence of five girls between 16-19 who were pregnant or had children was evidence of systematic abuse, even though in Texas 16 year olds can marry with parental consent. You've ruled young toddlers are in "immediate" danger because of their parents' beliefs or what might happen 15 years from now, not because anyone abuses them.

If you ask me, Judge Walther, I'd say you've done as much to "make the facts" in this case as anybody. I think you oughtta just own it, but I suspect we'll see a lot more buck passing before this fiasco is done.

BLOGVERSATION: More good stuff from Messenger and Advocate, and The Common Room. Kuff discusses "The Polygamist PR Campaign," pointing out a new site sponsored by FLDS aptly named "CaptiveFLDSChildren.org." Meanwhile, Feminist Mormon Housewives has a poll up asking what should happen with FLDS kids. Go offer your opinion.

And from the MSM: The Dallas News editorializes that the judge "was right to rule that, as difficult as it may be for the state of Texas and these families, that the children must remain in the state's care for now." From the Houston Chronicle, "Polygamist sect unleashes PR campaign." And Jim Harrington of the Texas Civil Rights Project had this column in the El Paso Times yesterday which included the observation, "It is becoming increasing apparent that either officials were duped into obtaining a false warrant or obtained a warrant for which they knew there was no reasonable factual basis."

74 comments:

Jerri Lynn Ward said...

Walther said this about the breastfeeding infants:

"Walther acknowledged the nutritional and bonding benefits of breast-feeding. “But every day in this country, we have mothers who go back to work after six weeks of maternity leave,” she said.
“The court has made a determination that the environment those children were in was not safe,” said Walther, adding that there is a shortage of suitable placements for infants in Texas."

From the "cattle call" to decisions about the breast-feeding infants, this has not been about the best interests of the children. It is about the convenience and raw power of the government.

Anonymous said...

I've been trying *really* hard to stay open about this... to see the CPS side of this... but one word keeps popping up into my head repeatedly...

PRE-CRIME.

Ron in Houston said...

Ah, to err is human to really screw it up is to work for CPS.

You're right there was no testimony about lost boys in the hearing; however, that does not mean that they don't exist.

To me, it's a simple matter of mathematics. With 105 boys being born to every 100 girls, polygamy is simply not sustainable without kicking out the younger more virile male competitors.

Anonymous said...

ron, i trust you are not foolish enough to think that every single FLDS household is polygamous...

Ron in Houston said...

anon 9:13

Even assuming what you say is true (which I don't know at this time), the simple mathematical fact is that you're going to run out of woman and have an oversupply of males.

So, yes I believe the stories of the lost boys of FLDS. It simply makes logical sense.

Jerri Lynn Ward said...

Ron,

From what I've read, 300 of the children are below the age of five. I'd like to know how many teenagers below the age of 18 total there are, and what percentage of those are boys.

I don't disbelieve the stories of the lost boys either, but I haven't seen any evidence that this particular community was throwing them out. Given the fact that the local newspaper was churning out story after story about the FLDS woes in other states, I would think that the editor would have been prepared to pounce on any such goings-on at the ranch.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

FWIW, 8:49, from what I've seen, this article gave the best account of pre-raid coordination, who talked to who, etc. There's still a lot we don't know. I agree it's a BIG question mark - how much pre-planning was there, and did it begin before the fake call came in? If there was planning before the fake call, how involved was the religious community in that pre-planning?

Ron, given that CPS flung every allegation it had against the wall to see if anything would stick, I think if they'd had the remotest inkling there was any such case at the YFZ Ranch they'd have raised it. Maybe they're holding something back, though I can't imagine a motive. The only discussion of "lost boys" in court was in the FLDS experts' testimony, recorded here.

The phrase "lost boys" has great resonance, and to the extent it's happening it could and should be prosecuted as child abandonment. But your simple mathematics goes asunder if it's true that most of the kids at YFZ are under five or that many boys leave of their own accord. I've seen an estimate from a former member that half of all FLDS kids, girls as well as boys, leave the group when they grow up. "In all honesty, there aren't a lot of 16-year-old boys that want to spend all day praying," said the academic expert brought in by the parents. That's a notion I don't find particularly hard to give credence.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

And btw, I don't disbelieve the "lost boys" stories, either. I just would like to see allegations substantiated in this case, for once, instead of blaming these parents as a group for the bad acts of others.

doran williams said...

It may become important to know if the presiding Judge met with any State or local officials during the trial. That is, did Her Honor have ex parte communications with representatives of a Party, the State of Texas, concerning the substance of the case, while the case was pending in her Court.

Travel vouchers and reports by CPS and DPS officials, as well as any by local and State politicians, are probably available through the open records procedure.

If any reporters or others strolled around the Courthouse taking photos of or making notes about License Plate numbers, I hope they are putting those numbers together with ownership records.

public servant for utah said...

Ok I believe the number of children grew as the number of mothers below age 18 became known. Also many of the young girls were sent by their parents from the Utah and Arizonia poligamy community for their spiritual marriages. The Lost Boys in Salt Lake of late have stated they were brought back to the border community to be inteviewed by the prophet aka Jeffs or his rep. and then dropped on the city streets and told they could no longer communicate with their families. I work with a non profit that tries to help these boys. I understand some of the boys from YFZ ranch are now in the Texas panhandle at Cal Farleys boys ranch. I hope for them this becomes a home. They will be better prepared for their future in the real world. This is just my humble opinion. Thank You .

Anonymous said...

I don't doubt for a moment there was a lot of pre-planning for this raid.

I also firmly believe Texas CPS is not capable of caring for these children. They can't even get the count right for ......sake!

As for the judicial system being able to come to a fair and just conclusion, I'd be amazed if these children ever see the YFZ Ranch again.

Bottom line - this is grandstanding by the State of Texas and it is a big mistake. Ex post facto laws will probable nullify any potential case CPS had.

The whole thing makes me sick because my rights are being usurped as surely as the rights of the FLDS are being ignored.

Headmistress, zookeeper said...

Not only do mothers who go back to work at 6 weeks have a choice, but their infants are not stopped from breastfeeding cold turkey.

not every infant takes to the bottle or to formula, so mothers who know they won't be breastfeeding longer than 6 weeks supplement so that the babies dont' suffer from a diet cold-turkey diet change- unlike the FLDS babies.

This judge is woefully out of touch with reality.

John said...

Well, I've been holding off asking my question, but now, here goes...

In Saturday's NY Times article on this case, the reporters said towards the end of the article that they were unable to reach Rozita Swinton, the one who made the phony call.

That struck me as odd. Granted the NY Times is on a tighter budget these days, but it is resourceful in tracking people down.

So, my question...
Is it possible that Ms. Swinton is being held incommunicado? And by whom? Colorado police, Texas police?

Jeff said...

As a long time reader of this blog, it bothers me a great deal at the assumptions made by Grits involving this case, since its the first time he's posted about something I know about.

As to the kids, they didn't just "pop up" in the warehouse, like they were hiding in the bathroom or something. Verifying the ages of a good deal of of people ages 14-25 has been close to impossible. Every child answers with the age of "18" or "20".

These "new kdis" are simply kids that originally lied to investigators and told them they were overaged.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

"These "new kdis" are simply kids that originally lied to investigators and told them they were overaged."

How can that be the case, Jeff? The number of older women in custody increased also, according to the story: "The number of adult women believed to be willingly staying with their young children also has risen, from 82 to 95." That wouldn't be true if the increase in kids was because those women were reclassified.

Also, authorities didn't claim what you say. They told the judge it was "hard" to count them and DNA would help.

Anonymous said...

Alright, here's annother add on to what I just posted.

Now we have a situation where the kids are either right at the age of 18 or babies. Moms have routinely and repeatedly lied on multiple times to multiple investigators about any involving their children, even lying as to whether or not they had kids. Babies were being passed back and forth between women like a bong at a college party.

Also of note: the idea that taking kids away from their "breast feeding" mothers is wonderfully one-sided, for the reason that so many children do not know who their biological mother is, and they are not raised by the biological mom since having a child is a status symbol.

Jeff said...

Grits -

the post above by anonymous is mine.

Add on the fact that some FLDS members have come from far flung compounds to offer their "support", and that's why you have an increase of both adult females and babies.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Bottom line it for me, Jeff. Do you still maintain that the number of kids increased because they were reclassified from the older women? It sounds like you're changing your story, and you're definitely changing the subject (babies as bongs, etc.).

I also don't understand why you think those who came from elsewhere to offer their support would add to the number in custody. Are you really saying that 34 extra people (21 kids and 13 women) snuck into CPS custody? For what purpose? Is there anything besides speculation to back up such a claim?

Doran Williams said...

Jeff, or anonymous. Why do you think these mothers should have done anything other than lie to the CPS? For goodness sake, these "investigators" showed up with 700 armed, uniformed soldiers (I think of them as terrorists), kicked-in doors, ransacked living spaces, and god knows what else. They were there for the express purpose of taking children away from mothers. Why should the Moms have done anything else than lie, short of resorting to guns and knives? Do you think they had some sort of civic duty to assist in the destruction of their families, home and church?

Question for you: How does what happened in Eldorado differ in substance from the first, forced emptying of the Warsaw ghetto by armed men?

Jerri Lynn Ward said...

"the idea that taking kids away from their "breast feeding" mothers is wonderfully one-sided, for the reason that so many children do not know who their biological mother is, and they are not raised by the biological mom since having a child is a status symbol."

The above is beyond absurd. Are you saying that the mothers are not nursing their own babies? If so, what is your proof?

It is beyond me that there are those who support sacrificing these children to government power and face-saving and will utilize any logical contortion to do so.

The fires of Moloch still burn brightly.

Jeff said...

My comments about "babies as bongs" stems from an attempt to explain why a good deal number of babies "appeared" when they began DNA testing.

As to sneaking into a CPS compound, do you think CPS keeps these children and their mothers under armed guard inside of a prison? Women were free to come and go to see their children before the judge starting resrticing access. Even then, if a mother asked that another female be allowed in with her, it was granted. CPS has gone to some rather absurd lengths to help the mothers that stayed.

As to Doran, I'm not going to engage in a discussion with anyone that claims what happened in El Dorado and what happened in the Warsaw ghetto is the same thing. FLDS women are not deprived of their homes, FLDS members have not had their assets siezed, FLDS members are allowed to roam anywhere in the country. Give me a break.

As to where I get my information, take it or leave it. I could be a random asshole, I could be heavily involved in the investigation, I might be related to someone who is. I'm not posting such a link online.

Jeff said...

jerri lynn -

A majority of mothers are not breast feeding their own children. Yes, I'm saying that is true.

A common practice for CPS whenever an abuse case happens in a home with multiple families (meaning more than on parental figure living in the home) is to induce stress in a young child (make it uncomfortable, prick its finger, wait for it to be changed, etc), and then place the adults in the vacinity of the child to gauge which adult the child seeks help from. If you have between 1 and about 5 dominant parental figures, the child will actively seek out one of those adults.

In El Dorado, women that claimed to be mothers failed such a test. Many, many, many, MANY times. There is not "dominant" mother in most family structures on the compound; its one of the primary reasons for the widespread seizure of children.

As to my above post stating where I got my information, I will go ahead and qualify it and say I do not work for the state of Texas.

Dave In Texas said...

Question for you: How does what happened in Eldorado differ in substance from the first, forced emptying of the Warsaw ghetto by armed men?

My nominee for the "Blown W-A-A-Y Out of Proportion Comparison" Award.

Outside the odious comparison of the El Dorado raid to Nazi extermination of the Jews, I'm pretty sure the Warsaw Jews weren't practicing polygamy or parceling out the adolescent girls to the old guys.

While there are certainly some troubling Constitutional issues involved in this case that weigh the interests of the state's duty to protect children against the rights of the individual, can we at least scale back a bit on the jack-booted thug comparisons?

Frankly, the publicly known facts don't warrant the alarmist rants.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

So that's a yes, you think 34 people snuck INTO CPS custody. No offense, Jeff, but that makes no sense. Why would they do that, especially the underage ones?

My opinion: Occam's Razor says go with the simplest explanation. I think they just got the original count wrong, like they told the judge.

Jerri Lynn Ward said...

Jeff,

What is your proof? Even if true, ripping a baby from its nursing mother or wet nurse is beyond cruel.

Also, I think that the State needs more information on the beliefs about family among both the FLDS and the LDS. From my conversations with Mormons recently, there are explanations about why these children see additional adults as "parents", which have nothing to do with the children being considered "bongs" or abused. I don't pretend to understand what I was told, but I perceived that it had nothing to do with abuse or parental egoism--and I can't see that it justifies taking the children from their home to be with wholly unrelated and paid providers of foster care.

And--if what you are telling me about CPS "inducing stress" in children for their own purposes is true--in this instance that seems to be the only act of emotional or physical abuse which has been proven to have occurred to these children.

Jeff said...

Grits -

Well, the ironic response would be that the birth mothers are underage, so sneaking into see their babies got them busted, but that's unfounded and something I don't know so I'll leave it be.
(even if I think that's how a few of it actually happened, but that's an opinion).

Let me set a stage for you. Individual CPS workers are not monitoring every child, in many cases women from the compound were monitoring a good portion of the children. You try to keep track of the kids, but how do you do it? Tag them? Can't, the mom's remove the tags because to ID such a kid would be akin to labling the kid "666". Make them wear specific clothing? Can't, moms force the kids the change. Tattoo them? That's an idea.

At least half of these missing kids were babies/young; moms were literally passing kids around (the bong analogy from earlier) while in CPS custody to keep them from being interviewed.

Also, please get rid of the "snuck in" portion, like these women went Batman on us to sneak into a fortified compound. Try, "so, these women walked up with a woman known to investigators, and were allowed on sight?" That's much better.

I still wouldn't be suprised if their are kids still on the compound. During the main warrant serve, men armed with machine guns stationed in guard towers barred the way for 5 hours until the "armored tank" came in and knocked the gate down. For 5 hours authorities watch women running off into the woods to hide chidlren; state troopers mounted 4 wheelers to find kids in the woods.

As to jerri lynn, if getting your finger pricked or having to wait 30 seconds to be changed is that emotionally scarring, then I don't really know what to write.

Doran Williams said...

Jeff and Dave need to look into the history of the initial emptying of the Warsaw ghetto. The similarities I see are that the Warsaw ghetto was emptied in order to destroy the Jewish presence in Warsaw. The FLDS church/ranch/compound/etc. is being emptied in order to destroy the presence of the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints in Schleicher County.

No, we aren't going to put anyone in concentration camps or gas them. Being civilized, we are taking kids away from their families and putting them into the CPS Archipelago. One of my first comments on one of these sites was to express thanks that the State of Texas, unlike the feds with the Branch Davidians, did not set the place on fire and kill most of the kids.

But the basic urge, to run the members of a different religion and culture out of town, so to speak, is the same in both cases. And the methods used by DPS and CPS are pretty much the same: Armed men, armored cars, kicked doors, forced removal. Like it or not, the exercise looked a whole like like a Nazi Training Day.

By the way, I like the admission that CPS experiments on babies by causing them pain. Oh. My. God.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Jeff, you're going to find a way to convince yourself no matter what, so you're welcome to your theory. My theory is that these folks don't want to be in CPS custody, not that they're flocking there for the accommodations and cuisine.

I've heard nothing but your guesswork that remotely suggests 34 people voluntarily joined the original group. Certainly, contrary to your original comments, you're making a lot more "assumptions" about the announced increase than I am. CPS admitted to the judge the kids were hard to count. Why can't you?

Anonymous said...

Induce stress as if it is some scientific proof? Can't be. But maybe it is true. Google found the "Strange Situation Procedure" that appears to accepted fact.

Jeff said...

Grits -

I meant to say that the kids are very difficult to count . . . the whole "passing babies" around thing.

Its a tough group to handle, I don't want to give that impression, I'm sorry if I did.

As to whether I'm making assumptions . . . I'm not, but you can either believe it or not, I don't really care either way.

I've always wondered how the media seems to know so much. After this incident, I'm amazed at the lack of knowledge the media seems to show.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Jeff, your original statement was that the reason for the increase was that older women were recategorized. On its face that does not explain the numbers.

So rather than admit you were wrong, you began to make up possible justifications that even CPS hasn't suggested. You were confronted with the fact that the number of women increased too, so you changed your story to claim that there were women and children who WANTED to be in CPS custody who weren't originally caught up in the raid. That's just ridiculous.

Since you say I can believe you or not, I don't.

Now Doran, I must admit my former boss back at the Daily Texan, Mike Godwin, might have something to say about your Warsaw analogy, which even I thought was a bit over the top. ;) best,

Headmistress, zookeeper said...

Jeff, if you can't see what's psychologically twisted and warped about grown up strangers who have forced their way into a home, made the adults frightened and scared, taking a tiny kid aside and pricking its finger or otherwise causing the child pain- on your representation 'Many, many, many, MANY times- just to watch and see what happens, then you have no business working with children and families. You are unfit to judge.

You also tell wildly conflicting and contradictory stories. These 21 extra kids are, by your accounting, because of:
1. older girls who lied about their ages and have now been found to be children

(problem with this one- that's not what CPS represents to the judge, and, in fact, CPS counted those women as children, and the only news we have on this issue is that an undisclosed number of the women CPS said were minor children have now been shown to be, in fact, adults- and you obviously did not realize when you said this that there were also more women then they'd known about).

2. Somehow, it's all because the mothers and older girls themselves lied, confusing CPS about how many people they were housing, clothing, and feeding. Because obviously, CPS and law enforcement could not simply do something as obvious as COUNT people as they got on and then off the buses.

3. Babies were being passed back and forth between women like a bong at a college party.

And: many children do not know who their biological mother is, and they are not raised by the biological mom since having a child is a status symbol.

Problems: Well, besides the fact that is a completely different assertion than your first one, again, CPS and law enforcement could have and should have counted people as they put them on and off the bus in the initial pick up. IT's incompetent that they didn't.
The babies as bongs statement is just stupid on the face of it, and unsupported by any evidence as well.
And biological moms not raising their own kids? Even Carolyn Jessop never made that claim.

4. some FLDS members have come from far flung compounds to offer their "support", and that's why you have an increase of both adult females and babies.

Problems: again, completely different from your first accusation. Mothers also were not allowed to come and go at will- that's one of the problems mentioned in court- they were told they would not be allowed to return to the area if they left, even for attorney's meetings.
They could, I suppose, visit the children (although all the accounts I have seen have them separated completely from the boys)- but that's back and forth within the refugee camps CPS set up- not on and off the fort itself. No civilians were even allowed near the outside fence for fear a reporter might speak with a woman or a child.

5. "At least half of these missing kids were babies/young; moms were literally passing kids around (the bong analogy from earlier) while in CPS custody to keep them from being interviewed."
So now not only were they passing the babies around, but you know why. It was to keep the nursing infants from being interviewed by CPS. Because everybody knows how chatty nursing infants are. They might say anything. You also know the precise ages of the 21 extra children.
Notice how your first claim (at 11:50) was that they were all older girls who had claimed to be adults and were now shown to be children? Can you see how that contradicts the claim you made just two hours later that at least half of them were infants? Did the infants tell investigators they were 19 years old?
You don't make much sense.

You say
"As to where I get my information, take it or leave it. I could be a random asshole, I could be heavily involved in the investigation, I might be related to someone who is. I'm not posting such a link online."

I vote for number one- because the biggest problem with all of your scenarios (besides the outrageous way they contradict each other) is that they make you to be more of an 'insider' than the CPS workers who report to the judge or to the news. They said it was their fault because they never had everybody all in one place at one time.
At best, you might work with or for one of the Baptist church groups, and I've already seen a couple of interviews with these people where they clearly were jumping to conclusions and making assertions they couldn't possibly have had the facts to support.

Dave In Texas said...

I've already seen a couple of interviews with these people where they clearly were jumping to conclusions and making assertions they couldn't possibly have had the facts to support.

That's pretty much what all of us here have done. At best, some take the pittance of available facts and attempt to extrapolate logical possibilities.

At worst, there are leaps of judgment and fantasy, peopled by cruel CPS officers, jack-booted deputies and saintly polygamists engaged in old-timey family values.

And let's don't forget El Dorado as the Warsaw ghetto.

Who knew conjecture could be so much fun.

W. W Woodward said...

U.S. Constitution

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;…”

“All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States;…”

Texas Constitution - Article 1 - Bill of Rights - Section 6

“All men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences. No man shall be compelled to attend, erect or support any place of worship, or to maintain any ministry against his consent. No human authority ought, in any case whatever, to control or interfere with the rights of conscience in matters of religion, and no preference shall ever be given by law to any religious society or mode of worship. But it shall be the duty of the Legislature to pass such laws as may be necessary to protect equally every religious denomination in the peaceable enjoyment of its own mode of public worship.”

I do not agree with all the tenants of the FLDS nor with all the tenants and doctrines of any other religious organization, however I do agree with the above excerpts from the constitutions of the State of Texas and the united States of America.

What parts of these phrases from these constitutions do the State of Texas’ legislators and acronymic bureaucracies have problems understanding? Do they not mean what they say? Or, do they mean only what the current “cradle to grave” academia want them to mean? In my opinion child abuse as well as adult abuse; sexual, physical, or psychological is reprehensible whether committed as parent, teacher, spouse, religious leader, or a representative of state or federal government.

It appears to me (without passing judgment) there is a possibility that the FLDS children may have been merely swapped from one set of abusive adults to another. The sad thing is that both sets of possible abusers interpret what they have done and are doing as “what is best for the children”.

Many years ago (do some research on the history of marriage in the “western world”) males usually married shortly after their 30th birthday to females around fifteen years of age and neither the church nor the state had any say in the matter. Marriage was a family concern and it was not unusual for the bride and groom to have never seen one another prior to the date of the wedding. Marriages to family members was not unusual. “What was best for the children” had nothing to do with it. These practices went on for over four thousand years. Of course, we as individuals, the church, and the state, are more enlightened today.

As Doran Williams has declared, it’s a good thing the feds weren’t in charge of the El Dorado operation. Because, the problem very well could have been finding enough burial sites rather than feeding and caring for the FLDS folks and their children.ixie1965

Jeff said...

I don't work for any agency that is involved with this operation. If you choose not to believe what I've stated, then go ahead, I don't really care.

The orginal statement about kids being too old that were now counted as children was an incomplete description. I made a phone call; I posted my addition.

Basically all of the 21 kids are either very young(infants, young toddlers) are older (almost 18). My statement about underage moms coming back was merely an opinion.

The fact that the number of women increased shouldn't suprise anyone at all.

As to "counting" who gets on busses, it makes me laugh. If you can't read the previous statement I wrote regarding the actual situation where these kids were housed, then you're "unfit" to post on blog.

Speaking of unfit to deal with kids, you're basically writing that the entire CPS organizatin that ran this operation is unfit to deal with children.

As to civilians being allowd near the "compound" where the children were kept, you're right . . . with the exception of anyone a female member of the church requested to be allowed in with them. They came and went freely.

You're right, the boys were separated from the girls. That's also the reason this case went from 9 to 30 to north of 400 . . . the boys made the case, because the girls won't talk like the boys will.

Grits - I never wrote that these kids/adults WANTED to be in CPS custody. They were just there when the DNA tests approached.

Debbie said...

Scott, this entry prompted me to compose a list of the key problems with Eldorado - trying to focus on the legality/constitutionality concerns. I steal heavily from your postings, as I'm apt to do :)

Interested can read at:
http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog&pop=1

k said...

first they came for the branch davidians, but i was not a branch davidian, so i did not speak up.

then they came for the FLDS, but i was not an FLDS member, so i did not speak up.

etc.

Jerri Lynn Ward said...

"Speaking of unfit to deal with kids, you're basically writing that the entire CPS organizatin that ran this operation is unfit to deal with children."

I will heartily concur with the above sentiment. And the evidence bears that out.

kbp said...

There was a report I saw, some point soon after the state took custody, that mentioned the difficulty in counting the children and identifying them.

This report mentioned that they were to use bracelets, similar to those you have as a patient in a hospital, to assign numbers for identification.

Not sure if they did or not, but I find it hard to believe they didn't take some step to put in place a more permanent means to identify the children.

If CPS didn't, they look even more foolish after whining so much about the problems of kids changing names all the time (it was also brought it up at the hearing).

kbp said...

Found the link below reading Brooke Adam's blog @ SLTrib:

"Nicole Hoff of Texas immediately put together a blog site to rally support for the FLDS mothers. And other women helped spread the word. I got an email about Hoff's Web site from Ruth Bell."

That's at least three blogs so far that popped up as a result of this case.

Headmistress, zookeeper said...

We have pictures of the state loading people onto the buses from the FyZ ranch. You have given no reason it would have been impossible for CPS and law enforcement not to have counted these people as they got on the bus to take them from the ranch. This would have given them a solid total regardless of any women nursing other people's babies or girls lying about their ages.

Your excuses for how all these extra people 'sneaked' into the coliseum after the fact are utterly unsupported (not even by your imaginary friend on the phone).


"Speaking of unfit to deal with kids, you're basically writing that the entire CPS organizatin that ran this operation is unfit to deal with children."

If the shoe fits.

"As to civilians being allowd near the "compound" where the children were kept, you're right . . . with the exception of anyone a female member of the church requested to be allowed in with them. They came and went freely."

Which is exactly the opposite of what reporters standing outside observed, the opposite of what was testified to in court, the opposite of what Meisner herself said, the opposite of what attorneys said- pretty much, you are the only person making this claim, and your contradictory claims earlier in the thread make it clear that you're not very reliable:

11:50- "These "new kdis" are simply kids that originally lied to investigators and told them they were overaged."

1:20- "At least half of these missing kids were babies/young; moms were literally passing kids around (the bong analogy from earlier) while in CPS custody to keep them from being interviewed."

3:07- "The orginal statement about kids being too old that were now counted as children was an incomplete description. I made a phone call; I posted my addition."

Translation: I didn't know what I was talking about.

The women whom the state deemed 'adult' were free to leave. They were not free to come back. There's not a judge, not a CPS agent, not a state law enforcement officer, not a reporter, not a single witness contradicting this- except you. And you can see why your testimony isn't very reliable.

Or maybe you can't.

Jeff said...

Congrats Headmistress.

You're right, I'm wrong.

Congrats. Imaginary or not, friend or not, again I don't care. If you don't want to read what I'm writing, don't.

I shouldn't have posted in the first place. I already admitted I wasn't completely informed, but that gets glossed over.

So, congrats on the win.

kbp said...

While looking in my notes to find any articles on numbering of the children, a question for the wiser minds (ALL!) came up;

In the public notice of the suits, children are identified with suit numbers 2779 through 2903, for a total of 124.

Is there a reason the rest of the 416 (# when published 4/14) were not included in that notice?

The Local Crank said...

'My nominee for the "Blown W-A-A-Y Out of Proportion Comparison" Award'

Yeah, that's pretty much Godwin's Law in action. Dropping the "Just like Nazi Germany" bomb is both ludicrous and unhelpful to the discussion.
As for how CPS has handled, I am telling y'all that after nearly 10 years of these cases, I can tell you this ain't how CPS normally does it. The worst caseworker I've ever know would've done a better job of it. Plus, CPS does NOT by any stretch of the imagination, have the pull to call in hundreds of armed troops and ARMORED PERSONNEL CARRIERS just to do a removal. It seems to me that the likelier explanation is that this was a law enforcement operation; maybe they were expecting a weapons cache. Who knows? And CPS, as usual, was pulled in and are now overwhelmed. And even though the REMOVAL was absolutely bizarre and violated any number of CPS procedures and guidelines, the hearing itself (other than the size) was pretty much par for the course: overbroad, unsupported generalizations; little to no actual evidence; parents not even knowing what they are accused of until they hear it in court; and a judge that errs on the side of caution (i.e., the State). That's very typical of how these things usually go. It's just that now, the rest of Texas and the rest of the country are seeing what some of us experience damn near every day.

Ron in Houston said...

Damn Grits - you mean to tell us that you personally know the Godwin of Godwin's law?

I never knew you had such esteemed connections.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Ron, when Mike Godwin was editor in chief at The Daily Texan he hired me to run the editorial page for a semester. Another in that Godwin-era Texan crew was Robert Wilonsky (then a bitter enemy of Godwin's) who now is a feature writer and blogger for The Dallas Observer; there are a few other reprobates still floating around from that era. ;)

doran williams said...

I vote for Jeff being an insider, a friend of mine who formerly worked for the State, but no longer does so, who has other friends in the CPS to whom he can place calls to get clarification of things. If it is him, we all need to know that the Jeff I know in that position is a truly fine individual, a great father, a reasonable person, someone who cares about kids, but also someone who had a lot of time, energy and emotion invested in a job with an agency which has done him wrong on a very basic, philosophical level. He is conflicted and defensive. If that is you Jeff, good luck in your new job. The Rose and White wines are chilled, the beer is cold, and there are vodka, Padron, and tonic water in the cabinet. Come on over.

As for the Warsaw gambit, I admit it was over the top, but that is something one can do to try to get people to see things in a different light.

I think it is reasonable to conclude that the primary purpose of this assault on the Eldorado Kids was to close down the FLDS operation in Schliechter County, in light of the following: 1) the ground-laying work that went on in the immediate past session of the Legislature; 2) The use by the local Sheriff over the past three or so years of an inside confidential informant; 3) the amazingingly timely and fortuitous, but totally bogus, outcry telephone call that gave the State the excuse to initiate a child abuse investigation; 4) the wonderful piece of fiction written by a Texas Ranger in the form of an affidavit in support of an application for a search warrant, which led to; 5) the armed assault on the Ranch, which will eventually result in 6) the closure and sale of the Ranch or 7) the State of Texas, acting through CPS and its program plans for parents, determining the content of the religious dogma that can be preached to children at the FLDS church; 8) the apparent willingness to inflict emotional trauma on 417+ children for no apparent good reason; and 9) a willing and compliant and equally culpable judge to make everything seem legal and ok.

Let me emphasize No. 7. Assuming that some of the kids are returned to the parents, and that those parent want to continue to live at the Ranch, CPS will put together Plans, I think they are called service plans, to which the parents will be required to affix their signatures in agreement, identifying the things that can and cannot be done with the children. It is almost 100% certain that those plans will prohibit the parents from teaching the kids, and from allowing others to teach kids, a religious dogma which includes God Approved plural marriage and God Approved marriages at age 16. Thus, the State of Texas will be deeply interfering in religious freedom, and crossing that line between Church and State. I do not expect CPS to even so much as blink as they cross it. I do expect that such plans will be so repugnant to FLDS people that they will live somewhere else, and that the Ranch, as an FLDS church, will wither and die. Q.E.D.

Anonymous said...

Obviously the answer is that these people breed like jackrabbits. Wait another couple of weeks and there might be 35 more!

Don said...

To Anonymous 5:48: You are quite a comedian, aren't you. That was neither funny nor cute. It was totally idiotic. This blog is inhabited by intelligent folks. You might want to consider one more to attuned to your sick sense of humor.

Anonymous said...

Another question ... Lawyers were assigned to individual kids and families. Did the "extra" kids have lawyers for the mass hearing if CPS didn't even know they were there?

kbp said...

Local Crank
"...CPS does NOT by any stretch of the imagination, have the pull to call in hundreds of armed troops and ARMORED PERSONNEL CARRIERS just to do a removal."

Many times I've posted that the CPS is the fall guy. The law did not jump on a Search Warrant, they jumped on CPS's SW days later.

The "Sarah" calls that came on 3/29 & 30, which created this earth shaking emergency, saw the SW for a 700 man rescue army on 4/3.

West Texas CYA?
"... "But there again, this is the United States. We are going to respect them. We're not going to violate their civil rights until we get an outcry."
Sheriff David Doran 4/10/08

You gotta love moments like that!

A.D. said...

As I was reading this it occurred to me that the argument that a particular action is justified because it is being done "to protect the children" or "to keep the children safe" has a very similar rhetorical effect to the classic Nazi comparison. It is intended to silence opposition and muddy the waters surrounding the merits of the decision. CPS has repeatedly made used the "protect the children" line to justify its actions against the FLDS.

A second thought: this case makes strange bed fellows. Apparently the ACLU condemns the actions by CPS but so do a lot of very conservative/right leaning people/groups. At the same time, many left leaning people/groups seem to support the CPS action along with some right leaning groups. What is the unifying factor between the way these groups come? What is it that makes people come out the way they do? I suspect this is a lot of the reason the MSM has been fairly quiet on this--people who usually agree have a hard time reaching consensus on this issue.

Headmistress, zookeeper said...

"What is the unifying factor between the way these groups come? What is it that makes people come out the way they do?"

I've wondered this, too, and my conclusion is that there are those of us on all sides of the political spectrum who have a principled respect for Constitutional liberties and protections.

Anonymous said...

From the San Antonio Express News:

""What matters is what we found there. We found a number of children as young as 13 who were being married and were giving birth to children and who were sexually abused, and the judge agreed," said Darrel Azar, Child Protective Services spokesman."

"Some law school professors agree with Azar, saying they believe the state should prevail. But some lawyers believe any criminal charges of child sexual abuse would face tough legal scrutiny if the calls turn out to be phony."

Grits, do you think the CPS spokesman is making a bold-faced lie?

Do Grits and people who agree with him also think the law school professors who believe the state is acting within its legal rights to investigate child abuse are all anti-religious, genocidal residents of Schleicher County who are determined to rid the earth of the FLDS?

Everyone who keeps focusing on religious freedom in this case are the ones who are mentally confining the situation to a religious, rather than a child and sexual rights issue, so then they assume the judge and state authorities are engaging in religious persecution because that is the stage they've set in their own minds.

Think about this situation in terms of secular law, which we are ALL bound by. Again, would Grits and FLDS sympathizers by rallying behind them if a group of people with a like-minded philosophy were raising boys to have sex with men and women older than them and guided them into entering illegal group marriages with women or men? And nobody ever responded to my example of genital mutilation as a religious practice that we have legislated against. People can continue to try to make excuses for the exploitation of girls by using ideas of "tradition," but there are lots of traditions that don't hold up in a country where we're all supposed to be created and protected equally, traditions like slavery and racial discrimination. You want to talk about Constitutional rights, well, what about the right to be free some enslavement and servitude? What else do you call systematically impregnating girls and forcing upon them the responsibility of child-rearing and dependence on a man? The natural order of things?

Anyone who thinks this is just post-feminist propaganda is oversimplifying the issue. Nobody is saying women should not be allowed to grow up and choose to raise children and run households. That is an option for women that may provide much happiness for those who CHOOSE that lifestyle. Yes, many girls and boys may choose to leave the FLDS on their own and pursue their own lifestyles, but people raised in cults suffer a lot of pain and maladjustment once they try to enter society at large, and leaving doesn't mean that the abuse and thought control they experienced in the cult is swept away. Inordinate numbers of people who escape from cults suffer depression, suicide attempts, substance abuse, abusive relationships, employment in the sex trade, lack of formal education, and estrangement from the family they knew as well as from members of general society. It's not like they just pick up and move to a college town and get on with their lives.

Texas has many criminal statutes that may apply to the FLDS, including bigamy, prohibited sexual conduct with relatives (given the TIME Magazine report with quotes from a doctor who says the FLDS have a custom of allowing first cousins to marry), and sexual assault under Penal Code 22.011:

(a) A person commits an offense if the person:

(1) intentionally or knowingly:
(A) causes the penetration of the anus or sexual organ of another person by any means, without that person's consent;
(B) causes the penetration of the mouth of another person by the sexual organ of the actor, without that person's consent; or
(C) causes the sexual organ of another person, without that person's consent, to contact or penetrate the mouth, anus, or sexual organ of another person, including the actor; or

(2) intentionally or knowingly:
(A) causes the penetration of the anus or sexual organ of a child by any means;
(B) causes the penetration of the mouth of a child by the sexual organ of the
actor;
(C) causes the sexual organ of a child to contact or penetrate the mouth, anus, or sexual organ of another person, including the actor;
(D) causes the anus of a child to contact the mouth, anus, or sexual organ of another person, including the actor; or
(E) causes the mouth of a child to contact the anus or sexual organ of another person, including the actor.

(b) A sexual assault under Subsection (a)(1) is without the consent of the other person if:
(10): the actor is a clergyman who causes the other person to submit or participate by exploiting the other person's emotional dependency on the clergyman in the clergyman's professional character as spiritual adviser;

With clergyman being understood to mean:
"minister, priest, rabbi, accredited Christian Science Practitioner, or other similar functionary of a religious organization or an individual reasonably believed so to be by the person consulting him."

So if you want to use religious freedom as an impervious shield to investigating sexual assault, that won't hold up. If a person in religious authority uses that authority to coerce others into sexual activity, that is sexual assault. The same religious rights Grits wants to hold up as a cloak of immunity also makes those in religious authority especially culpable for abusing that authority for sexual gratification and control of themselves or of others.

There is a possibility of defense to prosecution if the teenager is joined to the older actor in a marriage that is NOT POLYGAMOUS:
e) It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under Subsection (a)(2) that:

(1) the actor was not more than three years older than the victim and at the time of the offense: (this is where DA discretion can come in)
(A) was not required under Chapter 62, Code of Criminal Procedure, to register for life as a sex offender; or (don't know if this applies to the FLDS men or women)
(B) was not a person who under Chapter 62, Code of Criminal Procedure, had a reportable conviction or adjudication for an offense under this section; (don't know about this, either) and

(2) the victim:
(A) was a child of 14 years of age or older; AND
(B) was NOT a person whom the actor was prohibited from marrying or purporting to marry or with whom the actor was prohibited from living under the appearance of being married under Section 25.01. (Grits keeps arguing that the pregnant girls he counts at 5 are 16 years old, old enough to marry with parental consent, but if they are joined to a man who has other wives, marriage is not a defense to the sexual activity! And if the marriage is not defensible, and the men the girls were married to were greater than three years older than the pregnant girls, they have no defense, and the DA could prosecute them if there were less than a 3-year age gap, anyway.)
(f) An offense under this section is a felony of the second degree, except that an offense under this section is a felony of the first degree if the victim was a person whom the actor was prohibited from marrying or purporting to marry or with whom the actor was prohibited from living under the appearance of being married under Section 25.01.

§ 25.01. BIGAMY.
(a) An individual commits an offense if:

(1) he is legally married and he:
(A) purports to marry or does marry a person other than his spouse in this state, or any other state or foreign country, under circumstances that would, but for the actor's prior marriage, constitute a marriage; or
(B) lives with a person other than his spouse in this state under the appearance of being married (maybe "spiritual marriages" and cohabitation would fall into this category); or

(2) he knows that a married person other than his spouse is married and he:
(A) purports to marry or does marry that person in this state, or any other state or foreign country, under circumstances that would, but for the person's prior marriage, constitute a marriage; or
(B) lives with that person in this state under the appearance of being married.

(b) For purposes of this section, "under the appearance of being married" means holding out that the parties are married with cohabitation and an intent to be married by either party (again, "spiritual marriages?").
(c) It is a defense to prosecution under Subsection (a)(1) that the actor reasonably believed at the time of the commission of the offense that the actor and the person whom the actor married or purported to marry or with whom the actor lived under the appearance of being married were legally eligible to be married because the actor's prior marriage was void or had been dissolved by death, divorce, or annulment. For purposes of this subsection, an actor's belief is reasonable if the belief is substantiated by a certified copy of a death certificate or other signed document issued by a court (I don't see any of these being the case).
(d) For the purposes of this section, the lawful wife or husband of the actor may testify both for or against the actor concerning proof of the original marriage.
(e) An offense under this section is a felony of the third degree, except that if at the time of the commission of the offense, the person whom the actor marries or purports to marry or with whom the actor lives under the appearance of being married is:

**(1) 16 years of age or older, the
offense is a felony of the second degree; or
**(2) younger than 16 years of age, the offense is a felony of the first degree.

The penalty is raised for underage "spouses" in polygamous situations, and yet people keep acting like once girls enter these marriages, they should be treated as cognizant adults making adult decisions and be left alone. That is not the law.

§ 261.001. DEFINITIONS. In this chapter:

(1) "Abuse" includes the following acts or omissions by a person:

(A) mental or emotional injury to a child that results in an observable and material impairment in the child's growth, development, or psychological functioning (Hm. It will take psychological experts to figure out how healthy the minds of these kids are).;
(B) causing or permitting the child to be in a situation in which the child sustains a mental or emotional injury that results in an observable and material impairment in the child's growth, development, or psychological functioning (Ditto.);
(C) physical injury that results in substantial harm to the child, or the genuine threat of substantial harm from physical injury to the child, including an injury that is at variance with the history or explanation given and excluding an accident or reasonable discipline by a parent, guardian, or managing or possessory conservator that does not expose the child to a substantial risk of harm;
(D) failure to make a reasonable effort to prevent an action by another person that results in physical injury that results in substantial harm to the child;
**(E) sexual conduct harmful to a child's mental, emotional, or physical welfare, including conduct that constitutes the offense of continuous sexual abuse of young child or children under Section 21.02, Penal Code, indecency with a child under Section 21.11, Penal Code, sexual assault under Section 22.011, Penal Code, or aggravated sexual assault under Section 22.021, Penal Code;
**(F) failure to make a reasonable effort to prevent sexual conduct harmful to a child (any person who encouraged and allowed kids to have sex with adults or enter polygamous marriages with adults was not making reasonable efforts to prevent sexual conduct harmful to these children);
**(G) compelling or encouraging the child to engage in sexual conduct as defined by Section 43.01, Penal Code (ditto);

(4) "Neglect" includes:
(A) the leaving of a child in a situation where the child would be exposed to a substantial risk of physical or mental harm, without arranging for necessary care for the child, and the demonstration of an intent not to return by a parent, guardian, or managing or possessory conservator of the child;

(B) the following acts or omissions by a person:
**(i) placing a child in or failing to remove a child from a situation that a reasonable person would realize requires judgment or actions beyond the child's level of maturity, physical condition, or mental abilities and that results in bodily injury or a substantial risk of immediate harm to the child (We don't even let 16 year olds vote, or drink, or smoke, because we think they have some growing to do. 16 year olds make terrible drivers. And yet Grits keeps arguing that 16 year olds are not being neglected when marriage and motherhood are systematically foisted upon them. Reasonable society would most likely disagree. 16 year olds are free to get pregnant in our country without the government investigating them, until the child is born addicted to drugs, or is abused or neglected. But 16 year old kids shouldn't be burdened with the mistaken ideas of the people who control them.);
(ii) failing to seek, obtain, or follow through with medical care for a child, with the
failure resulting in or presenting a substantial risk of death, disfigurement, or bodily injury or with the failure resulting in an observable and material impairment to the growth, development, or functioning of the child;
(iii) the failure to provide a child with food, clothing, or shelter necessary to sustain the life or health of the child, excluding failure caused primarily by financial inability unless relief services had been offered and refused;
**(iv) placing a child in or failing to remove the child from a situation in which the child would be exposed to a substantial risk of sexual conduct harmful to the child;

The FLDS situation is NOT the same thing as Catholics being raised to believe that procreation is one of life's purposes, because the Catholic church is not confining its followers, educating them in that same confined area, making them distrust the "outside world," and arranging sexual relationships between teenagers and illegal bigamists holding power within the church. DNA testing is the only way to prove or disprove that bigamy, sexual assault, and inbreeding, all crimes, have taken place, and the testing is being ordered because the FLDS members keep changing their stories about who is related and married to who. And because the FLDS have culturally and historically practiced these illegal activities, and evidence of these practices was in plain sight (according to the CPS spokesman and the affidavit) when investigators acted on an outcry they took in good faith, and they were responding as best they could under the law to a bizarre and complicated situation.

What if the police went to check a home after someone called in a burglary of habitation on a street that had been experiencing a rash of burglaries, and there is no burglar, but upon looking in the open windows and walking on the lawn, they find a meth lab, or child porn, or a kid chained to a radiator? Are they supposed to ignore these things because there's no burglar, even though meth labs, child porn, and child abuse/neglect are illegal, and they investigated the home in good faith?

And why does Grits keep arguing that child protection and sexual assault laws should not apply to the children of the extremely devout? It's already a given that these kids will be traumatized, no matter what happens. Growing up in a cult is traumatic and life-damaging. Being removed from your parents is traumatic. But the State is beholden to the law, not the FLDS god, whatever or whoever it is. If the FLDS want to ignore the law at their own peril in favor of their deity, that is their misguided decision. It is absolutely tragic that children are being separated from their parents. Grits likes to portray these kids as having choices because he says many of them leave the cult after time -- how come the parents didn't leave and remove their children from the sexually exploitative situation? Is the opportunity for escape and "freedom" there, or not? And if it is, why should abusive and neglectful parents be given slack just because they're religious? Religious belief is a right, not an excuse to break family and penal law. I have the right to use the press to express my opinion. That doesn't mean I can break laws that apply to the press. And so forth.

kbp said...

link for last post

To help older men with difficulty reading lonnnng skinny comments!

Lowery said...

""What matters is what we found there. We found a number of children as young as 13 who were being married and were giving birth to children and who were sexually abused, and the judge agreed," said Darrel Azar, Child Protective Services spokesman."
I am waiting for proof.
Also, I don't have a legal background but I can tell you with certainty that want is happening to these kids now is far worse than the allegations that have been made.
I was jerked out of a home the same way and placed in a situation where nothing was familiar. I was abused by strangers, fed dog food and tossed on a curb when I turned 18. CPS removed me from what they viewed as a troubled home and decided to "save" me. I have always just appreciated the hell out of what they did for me.
The kids at the compound were in no more danger that day than the day, the week or the month before.The way this is being handled is all wrong and has been from the beginning.

Anonymous said...

Read your Op-Ed in the Dallas Morning News.

"You've ruled the existence of five girls between 16 and 19 who were pregnant or had children was evidence of systematic abuse, even though in Texas 16-year-olds can marry with parental consent."

In a DMN article, they stated this:

"And around 10 pregnant girls – including a 14-year-old – will go to a group home in San Antonio."

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Don't know where the Dallas News got that, anon. The info about five pregnant girls age 16-19 is what CPS told the court at the 14-day hearing last week.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

OK, I think I figured it out. There were 10 girls who were MARRIED, CPS told the court, between ages 16-19. Five of them were pregnant or had children. I'll bet those are the ten girls being discussed. As to whether all were pregnant, that contradicts what CPS told the court. Also, nobody ever told the judge last week about a pregnant 14 year old.

As I've said from the get go: Prosecute individual sex crimes. If a 14 year old is pregnant by an older man, arrest the father. But don't take her kids or put her in a group home. That's not right.

Anonymous said...

Sorry for not providing a link to the DMN article earlier.

http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/texassouthwest/stories/DN-polygamists_23tex.ART.State.Edition2.4682227.html

My best assumption is that the DMN was given the information about the 14-year-old by CPS. They've been taking a bit of a butt-kicking on the PR front.

I'm not that familiar with CPS cases, so I don't know if it is normal for their prosecutors not to present all their evidence in preliminary court procedures. I would guess not.

I read in Bud Kennedy's column in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that State Senator Jane Nelson will be holding a public hearing on YFZ in Austin on April 30. I thought that might be of interest to you if you don't already know about it.

http://www.star-telegram.com/news/columnists/bud_kennedy/story/598852.html

Doran Williams said...

To Anon. 12:10

"Grits, do you think the CPS spokesman is making a bold-faced lie?"

I don't know what Grits is thinking, but I think it is possible this guy was lying or that he just did not know what he was talking about. His description of events was NOT what was testified to in Court; he certainly was not present when the events he described took place, if at all, so he is not talking from personal knowledge; his language is imprecise enough (a "number of children" -- 2? 3?) to give the hysterical amongst up plenty of room to jump to the most horrible and paranoid conclusions, and to include events that happened years ago; and the local Sheriff who had been investigating FLDS for the past two or three years had never turned up anything like the CPS mouthpiece was describing.

Here is something you need to know before you dismiss concerns that this entire CPS exercise was first and foremost a part of a concerted effort to destroy the FLDS presence in Shcliechter County: Those provisions of the Texas Penal Code from which you quote extensively were amended in the past sessions of the Legislature, some of them becoming effective in September 2007, as best I can determine. Those amendments were clearly designed to apply to the FLDS Church, and to give CPS and law enforcement the grounds for what they did just a few weeks ago. Maybe you can do some research and find out who the Legislators were who sponsored and introduced the amending bills.

You have allowed your imagination to run amok with fantasies of genital mutilation, child porn, systematic sexual assault of girls and boys, massive, systematic inpregnation of children, and so on. And then you use your own fantasies to beat up on those of us who think that decisions about the welfare of children should be based on facts and evidence!! Please, get real!!

Consider this: The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, in 2002, engaged the John Jay College of Criminal Justice to research and report upon the allegations of child abuse by Catholic clergy. I cannot put a link in here to the Report: You can find a copy of the Report by googling these two entities.

The findings of the John Jay research included the following:

The total number of priests with allegations of abuse in the survey was 4,392. The percentage of all priests with allegations of sexual abuse between the years of 1950 and 2002 was approximately 4.0% of all priests active between 1950 and 2002. The number of priests against whom allegations of sexual abuse were made was approximately 4,127.

"A total of 10,667 individuals made allegations of child sexual abuse by priests. Of those who alleged abuse, the file contained information that 17.2% of them had
siblings who were also allegedly abused."

I strongly recommend you find this Report and read it.

So, why do YOU think Rep. Hilderbran and others did not go after the Catholic Church, given the widespread, systematic, admitted child abuse and Church practice of shielding abusers and moving them around from parish to parish? Have any theories, Mr. Anon?

Try this theory: The Catholic Church is a main stream religious entity; the FLDS is not.

Or this one: The Catholic Church did not threaten the fundamentalist Christian political control in Schliechter County; FDLS did.

Or this one: The Catholic Church is familiar; the FLDS is not, it is strange.

Get this straight, Mr. Anon. No one commenting on this blog supports child abuse, with the possible exception of those who think is just fine for the State of Texas to abuse children. If there was child abuse at Eldorado, the perps should be identified, tried and punished, if the State has not totally screwed up the possibility of doing so.

And get this straight, also: Decisions about the welfare of children, in the context of a CPS investigation, are best made in the absence of hysteria; and should be made based upon facts presented in a calm fashion in a reasonable judicial hearing, and not at a mass "cattle call". Do anything less and the children involved will not get the proper judicial attention they need.






The total number of priests with allegations of abuse in our survey is 4,392. The
percentage of all priests with allegations of sexual abuse is difficult to derive
because there is no definitive number of priests who were active between the
years of 1950 and 2002. We used two sets of numbers to estimate the total
number of active priests and then calculated the percentage against whom
allegations were made.
o We asked each diocese, eparchy and community for their total number
of active priests in this time period. Adding up all their responses, there
were 109,694 priests reported by dioceses, eparchies and religious
communities to have served in their ecclesiastical ministry from 1950-2002.
Using this number, 4.0% of all priests active between 1950 and 2002 had
allegations of abuse.
o The Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) reports a total

Headmistress, zookeeper said...

We don't have television (rendering us, I assume, in danger from CPS), so I haven't seen any coverage through that medium. But I have read something interesting from so somebody who had- only I can't confirm, partly 'cos I forget where (blush).
The gist of that interesting information is that according to some of the lawyers for FLDS members, included in those ten girls between 16 and 19 and were married, were at least five girls where this had happened sometime in the last ten years. So the thirteen year old, if they indeed have one, is actually now 21.
Did anybody else see this?

What is the statute of limitations on statutory rape? And, if true, how can they fault these people for something that wasn't a crime when they committed it?

Gritsforbreakfast said...

I'd missed this question until Doran referenced it: "why does Grits keep arguing that child protection and sexual assault laws should not apply to the children of the extremely devout?"

I have NEVER argued that. That's pure smear - you can't find one statement I've made that supports it.

kbp said...

Doran W.,

The two factors in this raid that I feel are the most revealing of what the intent of the Texas authorities involved are the timing and accusation of penal code violation.

The last Sarah call was 3/30 and the warrants did not come until 4 days later. They obtained the next warrant almost immediately.

The penal code violation listed in the affidavit was "Sexual Assault of a Child".

The call produced worries about a life threatening emergency in the claim of being hospitalized as a result of beatings.

So the state waits 4 days to attend to a sex with child danger!

Don said...

Thanks to Doran Williams for a good response to Anon 12:10. As an addendum to that, let me add to Mr. Anon (12:10) that you managed to mischaracterize everthing that Grits and others have said. It's all, or at least mostly, about evidence, or lack of it, and probable cause, or lack of it, and constitutionality, or lack of it of laws they are trying to apply. Apply, but apparently not prove the breaking of. You put a lot of effort into this diatribe, but didn't accomplish anything, except perhaps making a fool of yourself.

Anonymous said...

Doran Williams said:
"So, why do YOU think Rep. Hilderbran and others did not go after the Catholic Church, given the widespread, systematic, admitted child abuse and Church practice of shielding abusers and moving them around from parish to parish? Have any theories, Mr. Anon?"

You do know that it's already a second degree felony for clergymen to sexually abuse those who follow their spiritual guidance, right, because the sexual activity is considered to be devoid of consent? Are you saying Catholic priests are exempt from this rather specific statute? I already pointed that out in my post, so I'm not sure why you're acting like the Catholic religion gets a free pass, while the bigamists of the FLDS do not. You must not have read what I wrote.

"Those provisions of the Texas Penal Code from which you quote extensively were amended in the past sessions of the Legislature, some of them becoming effective in September 2007, as best I can determine. Those amendments were clearly designed to apply to the FLDS Church, and to give CPS and law enforcement the grounds for what they did just a few weeks ago."

Um, what? Which Penal Code provision are you talking about? Sexual Assault or Bigamy, because those are the two I quoted. Those were not amended in 2007, and if they were, how can you assume they were amended with the FLDS in mind? There's no reason for you to assume that. The whole lawmaking process does not revolve around the FLDS, as suprising as that may be to you.

Aggravated Sexual Assualt is listed under "Abuse," (I did not quote it directly, because I was not going to assume children under 14 were being sexually molested by the FLDS, or that mentally retarded children were being molested, or that deadly force was being used) but that statute was amended by House Bill 8. Why don't YOU do some research to see if House Bill 8 specifically and consciously targets FLDS groups?

Anonymous said...

Genocide
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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For other uses, see Genocide (disambiguation).

Genocide is the deliberate and systematic destruction of an ethnic, racial, religious, or national group.

While precise definition varies among genocide scholars, a legal definition is found in the 1948 United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. Article 2, of this convention defines genocide as "any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life, calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; [and] forcibly transferring children of the group to another group."[1]

Anonymous said...

"I have NEVER argued that. That's pure smear - you can't find one statement I've made that supports it."

As long as you continue to argue that because a pregnant 16 year-old is legally old enough to be married with a parent's consent, therefore, there's no reason to suspect child abuse resulting from participation in a polygamous marriage that would nullify any legal standing of sexual activity between her and an older man, DESPITE the fact that you understand the FLDS are practicing bigamists and have a documented history of abuse and thought control, all I can figure is that you think the religious practice of bigamy should not be used in any step of deduction or inference when investigating child abuse, and that to consider the practice of bigamy and "spiritual marriages" at all when investigating child abuse is not simply logical, but rather a form of religious persecution, I will consider you as minimizing sexual abuse for the sake of illegal religious practices, whether you're aware you're doing it or not. I think the line of reasoning holds up.

That's not to say that I think you're entirely wrong in protesting the swift removal of children from their homes and families who may not be abusive. Unfortunately, apocalyptic sects often resort to violence and suicide when they're investigated, and I think those are legitimate risks that could have occurred if children were left on the ranch.

The Local Crank said...

"Um, what? Which Penal Code provision are you talking about? Sexual Assault or Bigamy, because those are the two I quoted. Those were not amended in 2007, and if they were, how can you assume they were amended with the FLDS in mind?"

Not to put words in Doran's mouth, but he may be thinking of the legal marriage age, which was just raised to 16 and we know that was targeted at the FLDS because Harvey Hilderbran won't shut up about it. My concern is that the legislative history on this may allow a smart lawyer to argue that law is an unconstitutional bill of attainder as applied to FLDS. There are MANY other justifications you could make for raising the marriage age; I just Hilderbran had made some of them. or just kept his blowhole shut.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

12:52 - what I've said is that there's no reason to suspect child abuse just because CPS saw pregnant religious girls walking around a ranch. Come to my neighborhood in East Austin and there are plenty of pregnant girls here, too, probably a higher percentage. One must make many sweeping unfriendly assumptions to get from there to where we are now, and as it turns out, those assumptions don't apply to everyone on the ranch.

Anonymous said...

"My concern is that the legislative history on this may allow a smart lawyer to argue that law is an unconstitutional bill of attainder as applied to FLDS."

Wouldn't this apply only to cases where sexual assault is being charged and the victim is under 16 and "married?" Because any person who has not reached adulthood who engages in sex with an adult as part of a polygamous marriage would still be a victim of sexual assault, whether they were 14, 15, or 16. And if the victim is under 16 and not "married," and the actor is an adult, the whole marriage thing is irrelevant.

The only people this change in law would apply to would be the ones who still "got married" or engaged in sex within said "marriage" while they were still under 16, and that marriage was not polygamous.

As far as needing one "legal marriage" to constitute bigamy once other marriages are entered into, maybe "informal marriage" between one man and woman would suffice to qualify all the others as bigamous.

Anonymous said...

"One must make many sweeping unfriendly assumptions to get from there to where we are now, and as it turns out, those assumptions don't apply to everyone on the ranch."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cult_suicide

You don't give much weight to the fact that cults often resort to deadly violence, martyrdom, and suicide when confronted with outside intervention, do you?

Okay.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

11:28, change "cults" to "religions," and I'll agree with you. I consider fundamentalist Mormons, inclusive of the hermits in the prairie dresses, an offshoot of a legitimate, major American religion - Mormonism - not a "cult" in the way the Branch Davidians were, or Jim Jones. See this chart of polygamist groups' historical lineage from Joseph Smith from the Salt Lake Tribune.

What's happened is that by making a central tenet of fundamentalist belief - polygamy - illegal, the religion has been driven underground, so it's harder to identify child abuse, e.g., if all of the kids are homeschooled.

The story highlighted in this post, and the arguments in this one show why IMO it's a bad idea to label Mormonism a "cult," either in its mainstream or fundamentalist forms.

Closer Look said...

I think that we need to stop looking at the differences between FLDS' society and ours and look at the commonalities.

If this is how CPS operates, alot of people should be very afraid. visit my blog fldsvscps for more info