Judge Dismisses Motions for 17-Year-Old Girl in Polygamist Sect

Associated Press/February 06, 2009

San Angelo, Texas - A judge on Friday dismissed a flurry of petitions and motions, including the subpoena of a reporter, in the case of a 17-year-old daughter of jailed polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs.

Texas District Judge Barbara Walther dismissed the girl's attorney, Natalie Malonis, and a string of motions and petitions related to the contentious fight over the girl, who was allegedly married at 15 in the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Child welfare officials on Monday dismissed her case, saying the girl could be kept safe even if there was previous abuse.

But the dismissal did not resolve motions filed by Malonis, who the girl tried to fire earlier in the case, and the girl's mother. Walther dismissed them all on Friday, including the contested subpoena of a San Angelo Standard-Times reporter who had been leaked a copy of the deposition of Yearning For Zion Ranch leader Merril Jessop. The paper reported the dismissal on its Web site Friday.

Child Protective Services has dropped from court oversight nearly all the 440 children taken from the YFZ Ranch last April.

Still, a dozen FLDS men, including Jeffs, face charges ranging from sexual assault of a child to failure to report child abuse.

Jeffs, convicted in Utah in 2007 as an accomplice to rape, awaits trial in Arizona on charges related to underage marriages of sect girls.

The FLDS, which believes polygamy brings glorification in heaven, is a breakaway sect of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Mormon church, which renounced polygamy more than a century ago.

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