533 Women and Children Removed from Polygamist Sect Compound

April 10, 2008 02:25 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
The search continues for the missing 16-year-old girl who called police as the sect’s members face the difficult task of rejoining mainstream society.

30-Second Summary

Texas state troopers surveying the 1,700-acre compound in rural Eldorado, Texas, found a bed in the ranch’s temple strewn with soiled sheets and female hair. Authorities believe it was used for rituals following “spiritual marriages.”

“There is a pervasive … practice of indoctrinating … minor female children to accept spiritual marriages to adult male members of the YFZ Ranch resulting in them being sexually abused,” said investigator Lynn McFadden.

Since the raid began on Friday, 416 children and 139 women have been bussed out of the YFZ—Yearn for Zion—Ranch to the nearby town of San Angelo.

Underage girls on the ranch were found pregnant and taking care of their own infants.

The unidentified 16-year-old girl whose call sparked the raids said on the phone that “she had been told that outsiders would hurt her, force her to cut her hair and wear makeup and have sex with lots of men.”

The inhabitants of the ranch belong to a Mormon sect, not recognized by the mainstream Mormon church, called the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The FLDS broke away from the central Mormon church after it banned polygamy in 1890.

Brooke Adams, a polygamy expert for The Salt Lake Tribune, laments the fate of the sect’s children, writing that they will have to “face the prospect of other moves to strange locales.”

A child protection services worker told San Antonio CBS affiliate KENS that  “it’s going to be very tough to integrate these children, who don’t watch movies or television.”

Headline Links: Polygamist women and children speak out

Background: The Yearn for Zion Ranch

Video & Audio: Life at the Eldorado Ranch and Warren Jeffs’ teachings

Reactions: Ranch leader and FLDS lawyer decry raid

Key Player: Warren Jeffs (1955–)

Historical Context: The 1953 raid in Short Creek, Ariz., and the 1993 siege in Waco, Texas

Opinion & Analysis: Children at greatest risk of political, cultural fallout

Reference: Polygamous sects and how to help the women and children of YFZ


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