Thursday, April 17, 2008

Hearing On Custody of FLDS Children Is Chaotic

A hearing-- generally described in an AP report as "chaotic"-- began today in San Angelo, Texas on the fate of the 415 children being held in temporary custody by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services after last week's raid on an FLDS ranch where they lived. (See prior posting.) Today's San Angelo Standard-Times has a fascinating minute-by-minute log of events at the hearing. The 350 lawyers representing the children removed from the YFZ Ranch-- as well as representing some parents-- were divided between the court house and an auditorium in City Hall. However the video feed to the City Hall location was grainy and the audio was difficult to hear. When prosecutors attempted to introduce the medical records of two girls into evidence, logistics became unmanageable as lawyers scrambled to see the documents and register objections. State District Judge Barbara Walther called a 40 minute recess so attorneys could decide whether to object en masse or individually.

The AP says that a major issue in the case will be whether the entire YFZ Ranch is the "home" of each child, or only individual house in which the child lives. Apparently Texas law provides for removal of children if sexual abuse is occurring in a "home" and a parent does not stop it


jen said...

One thing about this "home" issue is that, at this point, even if the judge decides that a kid shouldn't have been taken from his/her home - the state has to figure out who the parents ARE in order to send the kid home.

They can't just turn 100, 200, 400 kids over to the YFZ ranch, and from all reports some of these kids can't even identify their parents. In other cases, adults and children alike have given multiple answers to the question of which kid belongs to who.

I honestly think they need to run paternity/maternity tests on every one of these kids and not make a send home/keep decision until they know who the child's parents are.

tim said...

Who would have guessed? A hearing with 350 participating lawyers gets a bit out of hand? PT Barnum couldn't have imagined this circus in his wildest dreams

Anonymous said...

why don't the courts go back to the child welfare office, and see which women applied for welfare and on which child. At least they may find out how many one mother has when it comes time to pair them up.

Anonymous said...

In response to the comments re obtaining information from the Child Welfare Office, it is my understanding that the church took care of their own and that no one at the church compaund had made any applications to any state / local wefare offices. These people have stayed very much to themselves and have not allowed any outsiders (non-churhc members) into the compund until now. And to Tim - You hit the proverbial nail on the head. It is a circus and Barnum would be flabergasted.

Adrian Grassi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Wow unbelievable the STATE is trying all the families based on the behavior of a bad family! that is just insane it is the same if the state took your kids away because your neighbor did bad things to his kids, how does that make sense?

I believe that this whole thing is a sham, i don't believe that there was a 16 yo girl that got abused, that was just an excuse the state is using to persecute because of polygamy and their self sufficiency. We all know the government hates people that are self sufficient specially a whole community, they want everyone to consume generic modified foods and drink fluoride poised water, also i am sure those people don't borrow money from the bankers that control our world therefore they are a threat in the eyes of government.
All I see here is government saying that if someone you know committed a crime you are a criminal as well, how does that make sense? When are people going to start standing up for their individual rights, they can't try a group based on the actions of a few that is just absurd!

Barb said...

TV has featured some of the communes of this type who did put the 2ndary illegal or extra wives on welfare and foodstamps --of course welfare isn't as chronically available as it was in LBJ's Great Society years. The news reported that OTHER communes in this "denomination" of polygamist Mormons sent food stamps to the headquarters group.

Of course, self-sufficiency is proper and removes some of the criticism of their lifestyle --because it is valid criticism of polygamy to point out that one man can't typically support properly multiple wives and their many children--thus making them poor and dependent on the rest of us.

It is not religion that drives this polygamy --it is polygamy that drives the religion--mens' unbridled lust. It has to be a steamy culture --having the men eyeing all the young girls to choose their next young bride. DO THE GIRLS HAVE A CHOICE? AND IF THEY DO, IS THEIR CHOICE MANIPULATED BY RELIGIOUS COERCION --"God has told me, Rebekkah, that you are to be my bride."

This system is illegal for good reasons. Both polygamous religions, Islam and fundamental Mormonism, were revealed to their founders by "an angel" -- Jesus warned us of Satan who could appear as "an angel of light" and deceive many.

And what of the fact that birth rates are almost one boy for one girl. Polygamy would have to short change MANY men. Thus they get overly eager toward the younger girls. Mohammad married a 9 year old to get her officially into his harem before the competition would grab her up.

jen said...

that is just insane it is the same if the state took your kids away because your neighbor did bad things to his kids, how does that make sense?

Except that when you have 400 kids born to 100 women and 25 men, and some of those women had some kids with one man and were then "reassigned" to another man - and they all have the same belief that when Warren Jeffs says it's time to marry, it doesn't actually matter how old you are or what the law has to say about it - these aren't separate families like my family and the complete and total strangers who just moved in next to me.

Defining how many "families" are involved is going to take some work, especially because these kids are saying that 3 women are all "mother" and a lot of the women can't/won't identify what woman is the biological mother of what child. According to one of the reporters who was able to talk to the women, they literally didn't understand the question "who is the child's biological father" - they were only able to answer in terms of "the father of the household is. . . ."

So at this point, how do you send "home" a kid who says 3 women are "mother" without knowing whether any of them are actually the biological mother? Without knowing who is actually the biological father?

I'm sorry, but if "mom" and "dad" don't have a biological claim to the kid, and haven't legallized the guardianship arrangements, then handing the kid over to them without further question just isn't right.

Chimera said...

"...mens' unbridled lust..."

LOL! And what of the women's "unbridled lust?" If you take away their marriage partners, what are you going to advise them to do with all that sexual energy -- go shopping for toy boys? First you want sex to be limited to marriage and then you want to limit marriage. I wonder if your real target isn't sex.


All your "choices" are being manipulated by religious coercion. Theirs is just a different subset religion than yours, is all. Unless they are somehow obstructing your immediate life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness, leave them alone.

"So at this point, how do you send "home" a kid who says 3 women are "mother" without knowing whether any of them are actually the biological mother? Without knowing who is actually the biological father?"

Why does this matter so much to you? What stake have you in knowing the precise biology of anyone who does not affect your life in a negative manner (and no, I don't consider the possibility of "morality" to be of any importance in this question)?

The real "crime" seems to be that they prefer to live their lives in isolation from a society with which they do not agree. As long as they are not bothering anyone, and they're not a drain on the public social system, why make an issue of this?

Anonymous said...

Barb, Mormonism was started by Jesus appearing to Joseph Smith, not an angel.

Anonymous said...

Polygamy doesn't have to shortchange anybody--as long as you didn't allow restrictions on marriages.

Four women could marry one man.
Four men could marry one woman.
Four men could marry each other.
Thirty women could marry each other.

Why should the state care how people want to share their lives together?

The only restriction should be that these marriages cannot be maintained by coercion or intimidation (as should also apply to the one man/one woman variety).

This group is an extreme group precisely because society refuses to accept them, forcing them to become isolated and insular. Which also raises the potential for abuse.

If I am a woman who believes that polygamy is god's will, and there is only one place I can live to practice polygamy, then I'm pretty much stuck with plugging my nose and living in that place. Give her alternatives and not only will she pick the more pleasant place, but it will pressure the unpleasant place to shape-up or face all its members moving away.

Maybe I've missed something, but aren't all marriages based on lust? To criticize a form of marriage because it is based on a desire to have sex is laughable.

(though emblematic of protestant prudishness--reminds me of the Monty Python skit where the Catholics sing the song: "Every Sperm is sacred" and then the watching protestants scoff and say that they allow contraceptives so they could have sex any time they wanted. Though, of course, they never do).

Anonymous said...

thankyou for your post. It gives me hope that at least there are some sane people out there who are not so concerned about their definiton of others welfare, that they force it on them.