Photo By Trent Nelson
The Salt Lake Tribune and KSL news are now reporting that Texas authorities have forced the FLDS mothers and children who were together since the raid last week, involuntarily apart. KSL reports that the Texas CPS authorities apparently lied to the mothers and children claiming they would simply be moved to another shelter. Rather, they dropped the mothers back at the FLDS ranch, and they are now separated from their children:
The children remain in state-run shelters, but it now appears their moms were separated from the children involuntarily this afternoon and taken back to the FLDS compound. Apparently without proper good-byes for a separation that could be long-term, or even permanent.
For the last week and a half, 416 children and 139 adult women have been at state-run shelters in San Angelo. The women were free to leave but were told that if they did, they couldn’t come back to their children.
Late this afternoon, FLDS spokesman Rod Parker told us all the women and children were put on buses this afternoon, supposedly to go to a new shelter. But the women were taken, instead, back to the FLDS compound and dropped off.
Parker says the separation of the mothers from their children was involuntary.
This is simply over the top. These people have no shame. They have no dignity. They have no decency at all.
From the Salt Lake Tribune:
Posted: 6:10 PM- SAN ANGELO, Texas – Texas authorities have separated many of the 139 women from the 416 children in state custody since a raid on a polygamous FLDS sect, sending some back to their ranch in Eldorado.
The FLDS has opened the ranch to the news media, said Rod Parker, attorney for the FLDS families.
Earlier today, all the children and women staying at Fort Concho in San Angelo were moved by bus to the San Angelo Coliseum. Later, the Texas Child Protection Service gave the women a choice: either go back to the ranch or to an undisclosed “safe location,” said agency spokeswoman Marissa Gonzales.
Only women with small children were allowed to stay at the coliseum.
Gonzales said the precise number of who stayed with their children, or those who went back to the ranch or to the safe location, were not known.
“We’re still trying to put that together,” she said, adding that the numbers should be available by Tuesday.
It appears from the Tribune report as well as the KSL report that some of the youngest children may still have their mothers with them. An earlier Tribune report appears to confirm the Texas CPS lied to the media and the mothers by implying they were going to move everyone to a larger facility, and then provide details only after the move was complete–I wonder why:
SAN ANGELO, Texas — Several buses loaded with FLDS women and children today left Fort Concho headed for the much-larger San Angelo Coliseum.
As buses rolled out early this afternoon, the passengers smiled and waved at bystanders. One girl shook her head “no.”
Groups of women and children could be seen in front of the shelters at the fort, where many of the 416 children from the polygamous FLDS ranch in nearby Eldorado have been staying since the state raided the ranch early this month. Officials have said they suspected the children were being sexually and physically abused.
The children are in state custody, but the 139 women who have been staying with them are there at their own choosing. Many carried matching royal blue bags, presumably holding their belongings.
Marissa Gonzales, a spokeswoman for Texas Child Protective Services, said only that “we are in the process of moving. We simply are not going to release any details about the move until it’s complete.”
The agency also canceled a press briefing that had been scheduled for this afternoon, but officials said they would have a statement after the move is complete.
They even canceled their press briefing until after they had forcibly separated mothers from children. According to this AP account in the Las Vegas Sun, the Texas CPS position is that it is not customary to have children who are the subject of abuse allegations to remain with the parents:
“It is not the normal practice to allow parents to accompany the child when an abuse allegation is made,” Gonzales said.
The women were given a choice: Return to the Eldorado ranch of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, a renegade Mormon sect, or go to another safe location. Some women chose the latter, Gonzales said.
The state is accusing the sect of physically and sexually abusing the youngsters and wants to strip their parents of custody and place the children in foster care or put them up for adoption. The sheer size of the case was an obstacle.
OK. Except that there is NO evidence, or should I say published reports in the media, that any of these children were the subject of any abuse or even abuse allegations–unless of course Texas has finally located the alleged 16 year old complaining witness–thus far that hasn’t happened.
CNN has also picked up the story:
A group of women from a polygamist sect’s Texas ranch returned to the compound Monday after authorities separated them from the 400-plus children now in state custody.
Rhonda Jeffs, mother of two of the children and a spokeswoman for the other women, said mothers of children 5 and older were told they could not remain with the children but could go back to the ranch or to a women’s shelter.
The number of women who chose to return was not immediately known, but it appeared to be fewer than the 130 who had accompanied the children taken after an April 4 raid on the compound.
“We wanted to come home,” Jeffs said. “Where else would we want to go? They didn’t even let us say goodbye to our children.”
Mothers who had children under age 5 were allowed to stay, Jeffs and Texas Child Protective Services spokeswoman Marleigh Meisner said.
Texas didn’t even let the mothers and children say goodbye? Are you kidding?
She said state officials made the decision after consulting with lawyers, health officials and child-welfare officials.
“They reached a consensus that this was in the best interests of the children,” Meisner said.
They reached a consensus. Really? Did the mothers who gave birth to these children, and who have raised them, fed them, clothed them, and cared for them all their lives have any say at all? Apparently not.
Let’s stop pretending, Texas, that you are in the least bit protecting these children. Let’s stop pretending, Texas, you have any regard whatsoever for the the fundamental rights that are objectively, deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition, and implicit in the concept of ordered liberty. Because, Texas, by your actions you have sacraficed the liberty and justice of all these FLDS families. You have sacraficed their fundamental rights of association and privacy on your skewed alter of West Texas justice. Shame on you all! Someone from the Texas CPS needs to tell Texas Governor Rick Perry, just to issue the extermiation order and be done with it.