TDFPS reports child abuse or neglect within 91 YFZ families
Twelve girls age 12-15 said to have entered into Spiritual Marriages — Seven gave birth to at least one child
The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services issued its long-anticipated report last week, covering the April 3, 2008 raid at the YFZ Ranch near Eldorado and the subsequent removal of 439 children by Child Protective Services.
The 21-page report says that 274 of children from 91 families were subject to abuse or neglect. Twelve girls in particular were found to have been given in “Spiritual Marriages” to older men in the polygamous FLDS church. Seven of those girls are alleged to have given birth to at least one child.
The bulk of the neglect cases apparently involve children who were exposed to sexual abuse of other children within a family or household.
Jeffs named in indictments
FLDS Prophet Warren Jeffs was named in three indictments released this week by the Schleicher County Clerk’s office. Jeffs was indicted by Schleicher County grand jurors on July 22, 2008 on one charge of Sexual Assault, a 1st degree felony. In it he is accused of assaulting a girl younger than 17.
Jeffs indicted again on August 21, 2008 on a charge of Bigamy, also a 1st degree felony. The indictment alleges that Jeffs was legally married to Annette Barlow when he married another person other than his spouse who was younger than 16 years of age.
FLDS mother wants jury to determine child’s custody
Child welfare authorities are seeking permanent conservatorship of a 14-year-old Marianne Jessop, a girl believed to be a child bride of FLDS prophet Warren Jeffs.
But, the girl’s mother, Barbara Jessop, wants a jury to decide who gets custody of Marianne, according to court papers filed last month in 51st District Court.
Ms. Jessop’s request was filed ahead of a “permanency hearing” scheduled for Thursday in San Angelo at which time state officials are slated to update Judge Barbara Walther on the girl’s experience since being placed in foster care.
We can live with criticism over polygamist compound raid, but not a lack of action
by Jacquielyn Floyd
The state’s raid on the West Texas polygamist compound has become a sacred touchstone, and not just for the peculiar sect that lived there.
It has mushroomed into a celebrated cause for those who mistrust “the government” in general and the state’s child-welfare system in particular.
State-sponsored child snatchers seized shrieking babies from their desperate mothers’ arms, they furiously recount in endless retellings via the Internet.
First YFZ trial slated for October
Hearing on legality of YFZ raid search warrant slated for May 13
Raymond Merril Jessop will stand trial for sexual assault of a child and bigamy, beginning on October 26, 2009. The trial will be held in Tom Green County, but with a Schleicher County jury, according to a ruling issued by 51st District Judge Barbara Walther during pretrial hearings Monday, January 12, 2009, at the Schleicher County Courthouse.
Trials for the remaining YFZ Ranch defendants will follow at a rate of one per month with Allan Eugene Keate being the second slated to stand trial. Keate is also charged with sexual assault of a child.
But, before the trials can take place, Walther must first rule on the legality of the search of the YFZ Ranch. Lawyers representing the various YFZ defendants have challenged the warrant served at the YFZ last April after authorities responded to a call from an alleged abuse victim. That call is now widely believed to have been a hoax.
Jessop wants YFZ to have local representation
YFZ Ranch and FLDS Church spokesman Willie Jessop met Monday with Schleicher County Commissioners where he expressed his opinion that residents of the YFZ Ranch pay a lot of taxes and therefore should be represented on local governing boards and included when juries are impaneled.
Jessop was accompanied to the meeting by YFZ Ranch residents Edson Jessop and Jake Johnson, neither of whom spoke. He also introduced attorney Stephen C. Clark of Salt Lake City and told the commissioners that Clark had been asked to come and look into the situation in Schleicher County. “He’s very up on ACLU issues,” Jessop told the court.
Clark also refrained from addressing the commissioners.
Later, however, when press reports referred to Clark as an ACLU attorney, Dotty Griffith with the ACLU of Texas released a statement saying, “The ACLU of Texas is not involved in any case as described in the news story.”
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