Sunday, April 20, 2008

Eldorado Reflections

Having already written a dozen posts regarding the seizure of 416 kids from the YFZ polygamist ranch in West Texas, I've begun asking myself what it is about this incident I've found so compelling.

Most immediately, I empathize with the children involved at an almost gut level, but not in the way of the hand wringing CPS types who fear they're being sexually or physically harmed. From the evidence presented publicly, I do not believe that's true. Allegations of forcible rape turned out to be bogus, and only five girls between age 16-19 were found pregnant or with children - probably about the same ratio you'd find if you rounded up all the kids in my neighborhood.

Instead, I wonder what it would be like for these children to be torn from a loving family by people whose message is this: Everyone who loves you is bad. Everything you believe is wrong. The God you've been taught is a fraud and belief in Him is harming you.

To pluck any deeply religious child out of a secluded household and shower them with such messages from "de-programmers" would scar a kid for life, if they believed it.

From a psychological perspective, though, what's more likely to happen is that scared youth will cling TO their loving family, not rally against them. Or they'll act out, especially once they're exposed to media from the outside world portraying them and their lives in ways they know are false and unfair. Either way, these kids will surely blame themselves for what's happened to them, their parents and their faith.

There's also perhaps a personal reason I've latched onto this case, and since it definitely influences how I approach the issue, I'll just put it out there. In high school back in Tyler I had a crush for a while on a beautiful young Mormon girl. (There are a couple of Mormon wards in Smith County, and a large number of Mormons, surprisingly, in neighboring Upshur County.) As a gentile, her parents wouldn't let us date, per se, but after a rather odd experience where I formally asked their permission to see her - literally hat in hand - they agreed to let me visit her at their home in exchange for attending a series of introductory classes to their religion at the church, which happened to be near my house.

As evidence of the strange places young love can take you, I did so, and thus gained perhaps more insight than your average East Texas Baptist on the particulars of Mormon faith and family.

What ultimately put me off in that relationship was this gal's belief, not so dissimilar to those in the FLDS (though she didn't believe in polygamy), that bearing and raising children was a woman's highest calling. She was very smart, but her plan was less to go to college than to obtain what used to be called an "Mrs. degree" - i.e., she wanted to find a nice Mormon fella with whom to raise a passel of kids. She, her sisters and friends would openly discuss what would be the maximum manageable number of children while I listened, near horrified. I recall her speaking with admiration of women she knew with 15 or 17 kids, but didn't believe she could "handle" more than 12, the same as her Mom.

I was fascinated by her family nearly as much as the young lady, and for a while really loved spending time with them, especially her mother who I truly admired. The kids were all happy, disciplined, and well-adjusted. Listening to the Mormon religious narrative and doctrine, I never could buy it. But if you looked at the values and lives of the people living the faith, they behaved a lot like the more religious Baptists I knew, except with less hypocrisy.

I can no longer explain the theological details of the LDS belief that more children earned more heavenly rewards, and it hardly matters except to say that the idea is a substantive part of the religion established in America by Joseph Smith, in both its mainstream and fundamentalist forms.

In Eldorado, no one alleges YFZ parents are themselves abusing children. Instead the allegation (in court, at least) is that they're teaching their kids that a woman's highest calling is giving birth and raising children, and that it's acceptable to get married at an early age. Even if it were true, and the allegation was disputed, can this really be enough to seize children from their homes? It's not SUCH an outrageous belief, even if you don't share it: Until 2005, 14-year olds could marry in Texas with parental consent, and 16 year olds didn't need parents' permission.

I wonder if somebody put my high school sweetheart on the stand at 16 years old and asked her honest, fundamental beliefs about her religion, women's role and child bearing, if her answers wouldn't sound as strange to a bunch of CPS workers as the FLDS ideology? I'm pretty sure I know the answer. But I can tell you for sure the state of Texas wouldn't have done nearly as good a job raising those dozen kids as her parents did.

See prior, related Grits' posts:
RELATED GOOD BLOGGING: Cicero at Red State, who's been slumming and visiting us in Grits' comments recently, ;) parses through CPS' court arguments and compiled an excellent "Appendix" including links to resources, news reports and some primary documents. See also this vacillating string questioning the correct position for a "Mormon feminist" on this matter.

MORE: An online petition has been created calling for release of the children.

58 comments:

Lowery said...

What is happening here is not acceptable. The time for talk has passed and the time has come to do something.
A rally in Austin to protest these acts of tyranny sounds like a good idea. This time I am not willing to sit down and shut up.
Can I get some help here in organizing such an event? This is not something I can do alone. Together we can start to reclaim this nation if there are enough people left who care.

Ron in Houston said...

Grits:

The problem really is that people have for too long looked the other way while the legislature has taken away the rights of parents.

In the 20+ years I've practiced law, the legislature has added more and more grounds so that they can make it easier for the state to terminate a parents rights.

It's like the rest of the law, we get mad at the legitimate cases of abuse and make the laws so tough that now that can entrap just about anyone.

I admire the people who are going to get out there and protest, but they need to realize that every "get tough" law just endangers your rights even more.

I did a post on the statistics that show that on the average between 1 to 3 of these kids will be the victim of "maltreatment" in the foster system.

Of course those statistics are based upon norms, and this case is so abnormal that who knows what will happen.

As much as we don't like it, everything that has happened is legal and with the mandamus standard on appeal of "clear abuse of discretion" will stay this way until final trial.

Protesting is great, but until people get the legislature to change the laws, things like this will happen.

Ron in Houston said...

Grits

What's compelling is that even if you're not a parent, you've been a child.

Hell, I look back at my childhood and by applying today's standards could have ended up in foster care. Would I have been better off? Hell, (insert expletive laden string here) No.

Anonymous said...

Wake up. This is a cult for pedophiles!

Lowery said...

Anonymous, if you have proof to make up that statement I would be glad to look at it. You speak the same words as the woman who made the anonymous phone call and many people are suffering.
What people know and what they think they know is sometimes worlds apart. Authorities rushed in expecting to find something that wasn't there but TX is experienced in punishing the wrong people. The woman who made the false claim is now under arrest.

Lowery said...

Looks like we have a lawyer on the scene so allow me to ask a question. The law is on the side of CPS but do the laws support authorities gong in and taking charge with with no real evidence? Surely these people have some recourse.

Ron in Houston said...

Lowery

The standard is that the parents must be allowing the children to remain in an environment that "endangers their physical or emotional well-being."

This is the thrust of Grit's post. The FLDS, like their cousins the LDS, teach women some views that greatly conflict with our post feminism society.

There are people who will say that the message "stay home and be a baby making machine" is damaging to the emotional well-being of female children.

The bottom line is that protecting constitutional rights with nebulous words makes for poorly protected constitutional rights.

Doran Williams said...

I hope the cruel irony of this situation is not lost on people. The CPS investigator, Voss, testified that the children will be traumatized by being taken away from their parents, their homes, their friends, their community. In other words, the emotional well-being of those children is now being threatened- indeed, made actual--by The Great State of Texas via CPS. The Great State of Texas and CPS are now being allowed by that crackpot judge to emotionally abuse the 416 Eldorado Kids. Her Honor has legitimized State sanctioned, enforced, and applied child abuse. NOT in order to avoid certain abuse of the Eldorado Kids in their homes, because there was no evidence that they had been abused, and the evidence of potentional abuse was speculative and remote. What a friggin mess that judge has wrought.

Grits, how about that transcript? I think the money can be raised immediately get the transcript, and all the pleadings in the case, as well as the Affidavits, for online posting.

kbp said...

Thanks Grits

On a few of the points from fellow commenters;

A protest could easily be argued by others to be an effort to reduce the safety of children. It might be helpful to post contact information so readers could email the politicians that represent them.

I do often here in Kansas where I live.

Ron's comment;
"I did a post on the statistics that show that on the average between 1 to 3 of these kids will be the victim of "maltreatment" in the foster system."

Did you mean 1 of every 3, or 1 to 3 of the 416?

Transcripts:
I'd donate. Hope we at least see the actual ruling. Most transcripts are protected records that cannot be shared with the public in complete form. I've followed cases in which groups posted them at message boards which required passwords, meaning a group bought them. Just a thought here, as I do not know how it is in Texas, or if they even have them available for hearings.

It would be great to know what the exacts words and context was when the CPS worker testified to something that has been reported to show "At least one girl was as young as 13 when she conceived a child."

On what we should expect of the 416 children, history seems to have a way of repeating itself. Many familiar with the Mormons have been saying since this mess started that the overwhelming majority of all effected would come back together to isolate themselves from society even further.

The history going back to when the Mormons started certainly indicates that prediction as the most likely outcome.

Anonymous said...

Wow! All girls are raised to believe that their highest calling is to have as many children as they can manage and you don't see anything wrong with that.

I don't know where to begin.

Anonymous said...

Hindsight for sure but, this group should have had lawyers advising them from the time they purchased the property in Eldorado.

They clearly have the resources and would have been better able to protect their children if they had invested a little in legal advice along the way rather than waiting for this raid.

As for a woman's rights, if a woman wants to be a baby machine, she should be allowed to do just that! Getting a career and financial independence is no more a guarantee of happiness than any other of life choices.

Texas will botch this effort and I truly hope we'll all learn something from it!

Jerri Lynn Ward said...

I am going to check into how to set up a Chipin site for the transcript. I've already floated the idea of raising money among the Austin Ron Paul people (who are furious about this) and some homeschoolers. By the way lowery, the Ron Paulers are talking about organizing a protest--though I think that setting the blogosphere loose on the transcript would be more effective.

I will have my staff call the court reporter to see if it is possible to get an estimate. Given that the hearings were open to the public, it is difficult for me to believe that the transcript would be sealed.

Last night I spoke with a person who was a homeschooler--and who is high up in the Republican Party. She had some interesting things to say about one of the involved CPS people's known antipathy to religious people.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Doran, I know a couple of lawyers involved who I'll call today and see about a transcript. I'll let folks know if we need to pay for it. I'll bet you're right SOMEBODY should be getting it anyway.

And Ron, IMO the judge did abuse her discretion. The search warrants were overbroad. The children didn't receive hearings on their individual circumstances. She interpreted "immediate" danger as danger that might exist 15-30 years from now. And she used her "discretion" to accept the word of an "expert" who learned all he knew about FLDS from media accounts over an academic who'd studied them for 18 years. IMO she's pandering to the electorate, and overstepped her bounds in the process.

To the person who wrote: "I don't know where to begin"

Why not begin by explaining how that belief differs substantially from the Catholic Church opposing contraception? Or explain why YOU should get to decide what values best suit a religious woman instead of her?

I didn't say I agree with the LDS position on large families, and I don't. But they're legitimate religious views. Many liberals disrespect the religious right's opposition to contraception and abortion, but I similarly believe they're entitled to their opinion, even if I don't agree with it.

If the state had credibly alleged child abuse, that'd be one thing. But all of the pregnant girls were of legally marriageable age.

Do you know how many Mormons there are in this country (not to mention Catholics and fundamentalist protestants with anti-feminist views), and how many kids they have. Your comments imply you'd agree if they were all seized by the state on these grounds. On its face, that's an absurd position.

Don said...

I'll donate to the fund for the transcript if you can get it. Like others, I don't share the FLDS beliefs, but I certainly would like to have some evidence of abuse before I am asked to believe that the government should send paramilitary units driving armored personnel carriers and brandishing assault rifles in to "rescue" the children. This will have a lifetime effect on these kids and they are telling us they "saved" the kids from emotional abuse? This is scary stuff. I am very afraid of the road we are on vis-a-vis government abuse of power.

Doran Williams said...

Grits, good luck on the transcript. It should certainly be available to the lawyers involved, and the Court Reporter may make it available to anyone who requests a copy.

I think there is no problem with posting the transcript online, assuming you get a copy. The Court Reporter has no pecuniary interest in the transcript, other than the cost to him or her of producing it and mailing it. The contents are in the public domain.

Even if gritsforbreakfast does not have to pay for a copy, posting it will take up some of your bandwidth for which you will be paying. If that is the case, some of the money raised should go to this blog to defray the cost of the bandwidth, IMHO.

A Christian Prophet said...

The Free the Children petition is gaining considerable momentum:
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/2/free-the-innocent-flds

Also, there is now a call for someone (anyone with compassion and computer skill) to set up FreeTheChildren.org:
http://miraclesdaily.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

Well, I'm just of the belief that there's a Constitution in this country which is being used as a door mat. Texas authorities have gone a bit too far. One blessing is that the feds aren't involved. They would have set the place on fire by now.

Ron in Houston said...

If I said 1 in 3 children then I seriously misspoke. Statistically speaking it's 1 to 3.

The national average for lack of mistreatment for foster children is nationally 99.49% Texas has been up and down. So, between 1 to 3 children will be statistically subject to mistreatment.

As I said in my post, that's based on "norms" and everybody can see this case is far outside the "norms."

Jerri Lynn Ward said...

Apparently, there are a dozens of mothers nursing babies and newborns who will have them ripped away this week after the completion of the DNA testing. From what I have read, it takes a while to wean a nursing baby and if nursing is abruptly halted, such a baby may stop eating for at least a while. I wonder how many of these babies will fail to thrive after being ripped from the breasts of their mothers.

Christoph said...

Hear, hear!

This is the best post I've ever seen on the subject.

Ron in Houston said...

Jerri Lynn

If there is one abuse by the judge in this case, it's trying all these cases as if they were one big case.

It is especially egregious to take an infant still in the formative/bonding state and remove them.

There's no way that you can say that the benefits of removal in those cases outweigh the harm.

I actually mistrust both sides equally. I've never been a fan of CPS and all the information I've gathered about FLDS makes me mistrust them also.

The problem is that you're dealing with individuals who happen to be members of a group. You shouldn't approach the case like your dealing with a group.

Another problem is that most of the FLDS people are taught it's acceptable to deceive the "gentiles." They've helped create this situation also.

Grits is really doing a great job of covering this. I'm not as anti-government as he is in this case, but he's always given a lot of good links to a whole lot of sources.

The Local Crank said...

"And Ron, IMO the judge did abuse her discretion."

Unfortunately, as I'm sure you know, "abuse of discretion" is the lowest standard for appellate review, especially in these days where damn near ANY error in a criminal trial short of the prosecutor actually shooting the defendant in open court is "harmless error." In fact, I'm not even sure a order for removal is considered a final order for purposes of appeal. Probably the FLDS parents' best bet would be to make a Constituional claim in Federal court.

Ron in Houston said...

Grits:

100% in agreement on trying the cases as a group as an abuse of discretion. These are individual families that deserve to be treated as individuals and not as members of a group.

I'm also a realist in saying that the odds of her order being overturned on appeal are slim to none. I really hope someone takes it up. I'd love to see that the Supremes would do with this hot potato.

Ron in Houston said...

If anyone wants to get their hands on a transcript, here's my advice.

Call the court reporter and find out which lawyers have requested copies.

I'm sure that one of the lawyers (probably ones who disagree with the ruling) would be more than happy to provide copies of the transcript. Heck they may even do it for free.

Actually one of them should post it online as a public service.

Jerri Lynn Ward said...

"Another problem is that most of the FLDS people are taught it's acceptable to deceive the "gentiles.""

Isn't it ironic that the government considers it perfectly fine to deceive suspects and--in the case of agencies like CPS--the public as well.

Barney Smellcash said...

Grits (or anyone else), a question: Grits mentions that only recently the age was raised from 14 to 16 for parentally-blessed marriages in Texas. In those situations -- where the 14 or 15 yo are married -- does statutory rape not apply? In other words, before 2005, could you marry a 14yo and have sex with her or did you have to wait?

Headmistress, zookeeper said...

If I were one of the nursing mothers I would be lying about my age and shouting to the winds that I was under 18 on the off chance that I could stay with my breastfed baby.

Lowery said...

Maybe I am older than the rest of you.During "my time" girls expected to marry as soon as they graduated from High School. We were stay at home Moms and some of you have Mothers who did just that. We raised our own kids, had families that were intact and had meals together. I don't agree with FDLS on some issues but their kids are being raised in a family environment. TVs and computers aren't used as babysitters.
Look at various groups of people ans the majority are overweight. I haven't seen this with these people who probably have kids that run and play. Bet their level of diabetes is far below norm. There are some things they are doing right and I don't much trust the outside world either.
Every new law that is passed puts us more under the thumb of government.
we either regain some ground or eventually everything will be illegal Can you imagine lawmakers showing up for session with nothing left to offer? The bottoms of barrels are being scraped to come up with some of the nonsense we have now.

Doran Williams said...

barney;

Texas Fammily Code, Section 1.104: Except as expressly provided by statute or by the constitution, a person, regardless of age, who has been married in accordance with the law of this state has the capacity and power of an adult...

TFC, Section 2.001: A man and woman desiring to enter into a ceremonial marriage must obtain a marriage license from the county clerk...

TFC, Section 2.101: Except as otherwise provided...a county clerk may not issue a marriage license if either applicant is under 18 years of age.

TFC, Section 2.102: If an applicant is 16 years of age or older, but under 18 years of age, the county clerk shall issue the license if parental consent is given...

This section also provides that a judicially designated managing conservator (such as CPS) can consent for the marriage of a person between 16 and 18, but not younger than 16.

TFC Section 2.103 provides a process for a minor to petition a court for an order granting permission to marry.

TFC, Section 6.102 provides that a marriage of a person 16 or older but under 18, that occurred without parental consent or court order, can be annulled upon the petition of, among others, a judicially designated managing conservator of the child. I suppose this opens the door for CPS to try to get some of the marriages of some of the Eldorado Kids annulled.

Under the sexual assault and aggravated sexual assault provisions of the Texas Penal Code (sections 22.001 and 22.021, respectively), "child" means a person under 17 years of age who is not the spouse of the person doing the nasty stuff. "Child" is similarly defined in section 21.11, Indecency With A Child.

These statutes are generally considered to effect the removal of the disabilities of a minor, making a person who is now 16 yo and married with parental consent, an adult.

If someone married a 14 year old, with parental consent, prior to September 1, 2007, that 14 year old became an adult, and the change in the law 10 age 16 would not affect that person's status as an adult.

Keep in mind that Texas recognizes only one marriage at a time. Anything more than that is bigamy, and previous or subsequent marriages are voidable or in fact void from the start.

Also, just because people are married, sexual assault and aggravated sexual assault can happen if one of the parties just says No, I have a headache tonight, and the other party disregards.

kbp said...

Barney S
"...does statutory rape not apply? "

I've never read of any case like that. I feel safe saying a married women/girl has the right to give consent no matter their age. But, that brings up another question or two.

No criminal charges have been filed yet.

The two that look to be possible;

1) Sexual Assault of a Child, and/or
2) Bigamy

With the Bigamy law having been tweaked soon after the FLFS arrived in Texas to include;
"... "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", it will get interesting to watch how things work out in appeals.

Is a bigamous marriage to a young lady under the age of consent (17 in TX?) grounds to claim she could consent, as other 16 year olds appear to be able to marry with their parents approval and then give consent?

If it is, there was no sexual assault on any 16 or older within a bigamous marriage.

If it is not, then there may have been, but could it still be bigamy then?

What a circle I put here. Sorry if it's not worded clearly.

kbp said...

I forgot to mention a thought on the nursing babies, after having read at the SLTrib and even a comment here on it.

Just imagine the political fallout is they loose one of the babies (or children) for any reason.

Don said...

Somewhere I saw that the legislature moved the age for marriage with parental consent up from 14 to 16 to specifically target the El Dorado compound. Thus there may be constitutional questions about the law itself. If they are indeed seperating nursing infants from their mothers, this is way more outrageous than anything I've heard so far. What bothers me most about this case is the number of usually rational people who are perfectly willing to accept the allegations of child abuse, rape, statutory rape, forced marriages, and all this other stuff at face value as if it were already proven. I've followed this as closely as most people, and I haven't really seen where any such evidence was even offered, beyond CPS hunches, suspicions, intuition, etc. What is going on here? Help!

kbp said...

...legally adults?

The judge also received 35 habeas corpus petitions representing the seized children "illegally restrained" by CPS. Those documents were filed on April 15, but were not available until Monday.
In yet another FLDS raid-related development, coordinating attorneys, legal aid attorneys and guardians ad litem announced an undisclosed number of 20-30 young women whose adult status had been debated had indeed been determined to be legally adults.



What are the chances anything like this happening would have been reduced or eliminated if rulings had been made on individual cases?

Ron in Houston said...

Barney

The change was the age at which a parent can consent to marriage which went from 14 to 16.

It wouldn't affect the status of anyone who was already married.

I'm not sure if that answered your question.

kbp said...

Part of the Ruling?

"...Judge Barbara Walther signed court papers this morning ordering the DNA samples.

"The Court finds that an unknown number of males of reproductive age reside, or have resided, at the ranch during the probable time of conception of one or more of the children the subject of this suit," her order says. "The court further finds that an unknown number of females of child bearing age reside, or have resided at the ranch and could be the mother of one or more children the subject of this suit.""


First question is could this be a part of the ruling?

Bigger question; Why does it matter if the males resided at the ranch at the time of conception?

Is the an investigation to determine who comitted crimes? OR

An intrusive method to determine parentage?

Looks fishy when they're searching to find out who is the father and the order for such mentions "time of conception"!

Lowery said...

"The Court finds that an unknown number of males of reproductive age reside, or have resided, at the ranch during the probable time of conception of one or more of the children the subject of this suit," her order says. "The court further finds that an unknown number of females of child bearing age reside, or have resided at the ranch and could be the mother of one or more children the subject of this suit.""


Looks like this could apply to any group, nation or society. Those who support or disregard this are leading us further in a direction that I don't want to go.
Can someone tell me how the transcripts would be beneficial?

kbp said...

"...Can someone tell me how the transcripts would be beneficial?"

The only accurate and objective means in which we can determine what actually took place.

Beyond that, none I know of. I think the ruling could tell us what CYA Walther used and possibly what sinister plan may be coing!

I'd like to read both.

Anonymous said...

I have yet to read comments from the Ex. Dir. of CPS, Carey Cockrell. What, if anything, is he saying?

The Local Crank said...

"Somewhere I saw that the legislature moved the age for marriage with parental consent up from 14 to 16 to specifically target the El Dorado compound. Thus there may be constitutional questions about the law itself."

Yes, indeed. And the legislators who wrote the change (one of them is Harvey Hilderbran) can't shut up about it in the media. A smart lawyer could argue that this law is thus an unconstitutional bill of attainder as applied to any Defendants from the YFZ Ranch.

Ron in Houston said...

Crank

Well coming from fine redneck stock, it seems that I remember a bunch of the cousins getting married at 14.

I think one of the cousins may even have married one of my uncles and they're living happily in a trailer park in Pasadena.

I joke, but for my extended family, that's not too far from the truth.

William in Fort Worth said...

Grits, bless you for your courageous and insightful comments on this tragedy. What CPS has done to those families is far, far worse than what has been alleged.

Fredje said...

Grits: Following the blog closely from New Yawk for rational discussion of this travesty. I'm very upset that left-liberal civil libertarians are shying away from this case, and I can only believe it's because of the weird ideology of these people. It seemed very clear from coverage of the hearing, and Voss's testimony, that the object of the raid, the overbroad searches, seizures and kidnapping was the "culture" of abuse, exemplified by the contention the BOYS were snatched because they were being TAUGHT to be "predators." This is prima facie nonsense. The weakest link is where the chain breaks. Since when, in this country, don't you have the right to be weird, live as you want, and believe in whatever crazy god you feel like? Keep agitating and I will pass around the link.

The Local Crank said...

"Well coming from fine redneck stock, it seems that I remember a bunch of the cousins getting married at 14."

On mama's side of the family, we come by our red necks honestly; my grandmaw got married at 15 and had a kid a year basically for the next 11 years. Her mother, my granny, who recently died just shy of her 106th birthday, got married at about the same age and was herself the youngest of 11 children. We used to joke that our plan to get back our land was to outbreed the white man. But you make a good point about changing societal norms; some of the FLDS women have said they didn't even know the marriage age had been raised to 16. Plus, it seems to me that there is a fundamental disconnect in logic in having the law say that anyone under the age of 18 is by definition not competent to consent to sex...unless they are married. In what other context can incompetency be removed just by getting married?

kbp said...

437 v. 416?

CPS lost track of 21 already!!

It only took them a couple of weeks to correct the count.

That makes everyone feel better about the CPS looking out for their well being!

The Local Crank said...

By the way, Ron, before I forget, back in the day, during law school, I used to work for the Attorney General's Office in Child Support Litigation in downtown Houston...back when Katherine Tyrant was District Clerk and BEFORE all the really horrible judges got voted out. I bet you and I despise some of the same people.

kbp said...

FLDS telling their story — on the Internet

...On captivefldschildren.org, photos and video of the raid were posted showing law enforcement's raid on the YFZ Ranch, Texas child protective services workers rounding up children and putting them on buses, and damage apparently done by law enforcement when they searched the compound.
snip

The companion Web site, fldstruth.org, said its goal is to counter the "many lies" circulating around the church. The site promises to provide facts about the church's doctrines, beliefs and teachings. A photo timeline of the FLDS leaders appears to still be under construction."




I guess that group is not as sheltered as some thought they were. They evidently all had enough sense to take pic's with their cell phones.

Hat tip to Ben Winslow, he has been doing pretty fair at reporting.

kbp said...

Judge change her mind?

After the world found the child savers could not even count triple digits, did the judge decide she'd better not go all out in this mess?

Now she thinks there are INDIVIDUALS involved, so she wants to consider the nursing-babies matter on a case-by-case basis. That about 360 degrees within the same afternoon, from a judge they brag knows what to do, right or wrong.

Doran Williams said...

Has anyone else noticed that, after almost two weeks of State supported terroristic activity at the FLDS Ranch, neither the Texas Observer online nor the T.O. Blog have posted anything -- not a damn word -- about it?

It takes this kind of studied ignoring/avoidance of terrible events by the leading voice of liberalism in Texas to remind me why I am never fully comfortable with Texas liberals. There is just too much political correctness at play in their minds and actions; P.C. clouds their observational faculties and impedes their ability to make value judgments and take positions that have the potential for making it difficult for them to attend drinking parties and other liberal social events in places like Dallas, Houston, Austin and San Antonio. Maybe the Texas Observer, like the Texas ACLU, is "monitoring" the situation. I feel so good about that.....

Anonymous said...

They forcibly took away Native children, Aboriginal children and even Doukhobor children in B.C. whose parents would not send them to public school. Those traumatized children are adults now and have written books, sued the governments and demanded apologies. It didn't work then and it won't work now.
Grandma

Dave In Texas said...

Folks here have taken the thin reed of information, coupled it with misconceptions and misunderstanding of law and created a legend of run-amok, jackbooted police, stupid judges and venal CPS agents picking on some poor religious sect who act a little weird.

Living in a trailer outside of town, keeping 50 cats and writing crabby editorials to the newspaper may be a little weird. As is shaving astrological signs into your hair and writing your memoirs on toilet paper. A theology built on impregnating as many 16-year-old girls as possible is something entirely different.

Are the polygamist simply a minority sect being picked upon?

The Amish are a minority faith that practice a different form of worship, dress oddly and instill rigid, family oriented values in their kids. No one is raiding their compounds and hauling the kids away.

Of course the Amish don't have 'spiritual beds' in the sanctuary in which to deflower young girls. Or assign adolescent girls to middle-aged me to produce babies. Or reassign wives to other husbands, as was revealed in the Warren Jeffs trial.

The issue of the 'legality' of marrying 16-year-olds with our without parental consent is moot.

Under Texas law, parents can't give consent to marriage under age 16. And no one at El Dorado went to the courthouse, got a license and said, "I do." These were 'spiritual marriages,' arranged and sanctioned by the adult males doing the 'marrying.'

And, importantly, if they're engaged in sexual activity with these young girls, it's statutory rape, whether they were coerced or went willingly to the chapel.

Clearly, I'm of the school that it's better to get the children of El Dorado out first while determining the level of physical and emotional abuse alleged there.

It wasn't all that long ago that CPS was criticized for NOT acting quickly to get kids out of dangerous and potentially lethal family situations.

The constitutional issues can be worked out and corrected later.

But there is much we don't know about the workings inside El Dorado, about the investigatory findings or the problematic nature of the raids and judicial rulings. The facts are simply not in yet.

That has not stopped anyone, including me, from jumping to conclusions and weaving up scenarios that have more to do with personal views on government, CPS and/or sex than reality.

Perhaps the most accurate thing written here has been Grits' acknowledgment in the first graf that all our suppositions are limited in this post is the clause in the first paragraph: "From the evidence presented publicly..."

doran said...

....assign adolescent girls to middle-aged me...." How very Freudian slippery of you, Dave; does it reveal your true motives and desires?

Dave In Texas said...

Why, no, Doran. Not at all. Consider me content with my middle-aged bride.

Does this mean you approve of the FLDS concept of marital bliss with adolescents?

Regardless, I'll certainly use the Preview button more carefully.

jackejett said...

I think the last straw for me was hearing that they are taking away babies that need to be breast fed from their mothers. This is wrong on so many levels.

Does anyone know if a protest is planned or how to plan one.

Texans are better than this and this is just another black eye on our reputation.

Lowery said...

In the first post here I was asking about a rally.I hope Ron Paul puts something together.
I lived in Saudi Arabia in the early 80's. Every Sunday morning foreigners were sneaking around and breaking the law in order to have Christian church services.
Here we have freedom of religion but not the freedom to practice certain parts of it as we see in this case. The state seems to have the power here. Those inside the compound have the power of their beliefs. Their determination is probably stronger than ever. After being terrorized by outsiders most of these kids will eventually make it back and cling to that way of life. We have helped nobody and caused harm for many.

Rick in Plano said...

Today's DMN includes your op-ed piece along with a news item in the same paper that reports that 10 pregnant girls "including a 14 year-old" will go into a group home in San Antonio. Even if the sex was consentual, the law considers this to be statutory rape. How does that square with your comments?

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Rick, the information about ten pregnant girls including a 14 year old girl is new - it's never been said in public before today, the same day my column went out (actually written as blog posts over the weekend). My comments were based on the information the judge had available to her to make her ruling last week.

The court was told there were were 10 girls who were married between ages 16-19. Five of them were said to have children. I'm guessing those are the ten girls being discussed, but it's really impossible to tell given that they didn't even have an accurate count until after the 14-day detention hearing.

In court, CPS tried to fudge and go back historically to guesstimate when currently adult women had their first baby, and that's where the lowest estimates came from, with investigator Angie Voss saying a now-adult woman "may have" had a child when she was 13. But until today, 16 was the youngest it'd been reported any of the girls were pregnant.

I'm still waiting to figure out the source of the discrepancy. CPS from the beginning has been hyping allegations in the press, but when they get to court their evidence is thin. I'm not sure they know who they have, or why.

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. The real shame is, because they went in on a bad warrant and overplayed their hand, they'll wind up freeing the guilty with the innocent because they went after the religion instead of the perpetrator.

ex-"wife" said...

Mr. Scott Henson:
I have been reading the Dallas Morning News since the day of the raid...and I feel it's about time I say something. In response to your article today, in Viewpoints, you wondered if the allegation that it is a woman's highest calling to give birth & raise childre a reason to seize the children? I say no. -that it is acceptable to get married at an early age, again no, IF it isn't against the law! Yet, we MUST remember that these children, their mothers, and fathers, have been most likely taught for generations, that "God's law is higher than man's law", thereby teaching the children to be lawbreakers. The boys especially will grow up to commit the crimes of welfare fraud, tax evasion, incest, statuatory rape, and other violations including child labor laws.
However, don't misunderstand me. I STRONGLY believe that it is WRONG to take the children away from their mothers, for they both are only doing what they are told to do.
It is sooo sad that this case has been so badly mishandled already, I wish the officials could get on a more lawful way of handling it.
The state's job is to make sure that individual rights are protected, without regard to religion or dress, and to make it applicable in this situation...Apply the Reynolds Act etc. thereby classifying the men as married or "common law", convict the men of polygamy & then, as in the Green Case, convicted of pedophilia where needed, and thereby place the underage MOTHER & HER CHILD/REN under state custody & then fostered as needed.
If the state of Utah, and the government had properly applied these laws FROM THE BEGINNING, then there wouldn't be some 50,000 polygamists in the US today. My question is..Is our government going to follow through with this action against the FLDS only, or ALL of the polygamist sects?
Why do I ask this question? Because if they do, I will be asked to testify against my ex-husband, a polygamist by whom I gave birth to 8 children(being the obedient wife I was taught to be by my polygamist father. I know that since the day of this "raid" of the FLDS sect, my "ex-husband" will continue his efforts to HIDE,be more reclusive, etc. to avoid being caught.

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