Sect's Moms Separated From Older Children

Denver Post/April 15, 2008

San Angelo, Texas - Texas officials who took 416 children from a polygamist retreat into state custody sent many of their mothers away Monday.

Of the 139 women who left the compound with their children, only those with children age 4 or younger were allowed to continue staying with them, said Marissa Gonzales of Children's Protective Services.

"It is not the normal practice to allow parents to accompany the child when an abuse allegation is made," she said.

The women were given a choice: Return to the ranch of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints or go to another safe location. Some women chose the latter, she said.

The state is accusing the sect of physically and sexually abusing the youngsters and wants to place the children in foster care or put them up for adoption.

The women and children were taken by bus Monday to the San Angelo Coliseum, which holds nearly 5,000 people, after some mothers complained to Gov. Rick Perry that the children were getting sick in the crowd.

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