More cases against FLDS dismissed

The Salt Lake Tribune/October 16, 2008

Texas officials dismissed child welfare cases involving 29 children from a polygamous sect on Wednesday, the largest number dropped in a single day from the state's massive investigation.

The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services has steadily nonsuited cases since June, when 439 children were returned to their parents after two months in state custody.

The cases are closed after officials determine the children are safe or have turned 18, according to Patrick Crimmins, DFPS spokesman.

To date, the state has ended cases of 338 children from the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. That leaves cases involving 101 children still pending. Among them: A 14-year-old girl who was returned to foster care in August after her mother failed to give a Texas judge assurances she would keep the girl safe.

The state took custody of the children in April after raiding the sect's Yearning For Zion Ranch because of allegations of sexual and physical abuse.

The call that initiated the raid is now believed a hoax, but investigators said they found evidence of abuse that warranted the children's removal.

Last week, the state said it has asked that 63 FLDS girls between the ages of 10 and 17 complete individual counseling sessions designed to educate them about sexual abuse and marriage laws.

A grand jury in Schleicher County has indicted nine FLDS men on charges related to underage marriages; some also face bigamy allegations. The grand jury will meet again in November.

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