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April 14th, 2008
09:33 PM ET

Live Blog from the Anchor Desk 4/14/08

Breaking news tonight, for the first time in 4 years the gates are open and CNN is inside the polygamist Yearning for Zion ranch. Some of the 139 women who voluntarily left during the raid are now returning. And they’re coming back without their children. We’ll hear from one mother who hasn’t seen her children since authorities removed 416 children, saying they were in imminent danger of abuse. But is it necessary to separate mothers from their children? Legally, how long can they be separated?

Gary Tuchman is covering this story from Colorado City in Arizona, where thousands of FLDS followers held a rare meeting to learn what has happened to family members in Texas.

And, “bitter-gate” continues. As the Pennsylvania primary draws closer, Sen. Clinton vies for the working class and rural vote by talking about guns, drinking beer, and calling her opponent elitist.

And be sure to check out our new live web camera from the 360° studio. The shot features a behind the scene look at the set. We’ll turn the camera on at 945p ET and turn it off at 11p ET. LINK TO THE BLOG CAMERA

We’ll start posting comments to this blog at 10p ET and stop at 11p ET.


Filed under: Live Blog
soundoff (361 Responses)
  1. babette

    I can't imagine living a life of seclusion. These women have no idea what life is like for most americans, and they have been taught to fear and distrust us. So have these children. I am a mother and can't imagine having my children taken away from me. I believe for the most part the love and bond between mother and child is universal.

    In no way am I condoning this seemingly cult lifestlye, but I hope the authorities are handeling this women and children with exteme care and expert guidence. The worst thing that could happen would be these children are released back to this isolated world with the fears and distrust instilled in them reinforced by the state officials. They really don't know any beter about our society than what their being shown right now.

    April 14, 2008 at 10:32 pm |
  2. Debbie

    Why do we continue to allow these"pervert" polygamists practice in our country?? Isn't THAT against the law also? We truly need to pray for ALL of them.

    April 14, 2008 at 10:32 pm |
  3. Saera El Paso, TX

    no more singing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    please?

    April 14, 2008 at 10:32 pm |
  4. Terri F - Canada

    Just because you get a college education doesn't mean you left home. I really didn't buy that she went to college though. Perhaps she took a correspondence course, as I can't see them being able to leave with all of the responsibilities.
    This may sound so mean...but it's not meant that way, but did Kathleen seem a little mentally challenged to anyone else? Again, dont mean that in a bad way, she just didn't communicate well to me.

    April 14, 2008 at 10:32 pm |
  5. EJ - Ohio

    "polygamy is not the problem, pedophilia is"

    Yes – They FLDS "spokespeople" are trying very hard to avoid this.

    I don't care if these men marry 50 women – as long as those women are 1) over 18 2) not being coerced and 3) not using their situation to get welfare for the government

    but obviously this is not what is going on – they are doing these things

    April 14, 2008 at 10:32 pm |
  6. Richard, Newfoundland, Canada

    I have been following the story from Texas about the polygamist and find it amazing that these people say they are having their religious rights violated. The only thing that is being violated is the human rights of the kids in the compound and not by your government. These people should be ashamed of themselves.

    April 14, 2008 at 10:31 pm |
  7. Maureen T

    That Warren Jeffs song is so eerie!

    April 14, 2008 at 10:31 pm |
  8. Megan O. Toronto, ON, Canada

    This Warren Jeffs song totally creeps me out.....kind of wish you all would stop playing it

    April 14, 2008 at 10:31 pm |
  9. Minou, New York City

    Can I download Warren Jeff's songs on itune? no? oh darrrrrn...

    April 14, 2008 at 10:31 pm |
  10. Melinda

    Evarest- it's one thing to have a baby and a relationship at 16 because you chose to (good or bad choice) but it's another when you are forced to marry older men and have sexual relations with them. Caroline Jessop and others have talked about how they have no choice in how many kids they have. They are forced to have child after child. There is a huge difference between choosing something and being forced to, no matter what age you are.

    April 14, 2008 at 10:31 pm |
  11. Cecil Jones

    The Polygamist story is a nightmare and a trainwreck. There are no heroes in this story. The Constitution has been shattered, but the law has also been broken. Which one is worse? The Constitution trumps child abuse, but a pregnant 16 year old can't be ignored or condoned. These people are going to make a bundle off this blunder. We may prosecute the Father of the 16 year old.

    April 14, 2008 at 10:31 pm |
  12. Brian Persaud

    Sue Polinick> "this is so 18th century…." Hahaha! 😀 That made me laugh...too funny!

    April 14, 2008 at 10:31 pm |
  13. Tasha

    Hold up the authorities in Arizona are part of the sect????? ohk that can;t be all too good, God knows what they are sitting on.

    April 14, 2008 at 10:31 pm |
  14. kris

    Amazing how they hide behind the religious prosecution line. Hopefully the kids can be safe now. As stated by the caller, it isn't about rligion or polygama – it's about abuse. How could those mothers live with themselves and say those crazy things – – it's like being sent to a gas chamber?? !! Holy cow!
    i wonder if any of them are in the military doing their service for the ountry that they are so rudely criticizing???

    April 14, 2008 at 10:31 pm |
  15. MartaK

    Jeanine: To answer your question about how they get money.

    ONE of the ways they get money is WELFARE. Yes...WELFARE. Guess what? Because we don't honor polygamy, every wife with children AFTER the first wife is considered to be a single mother and collects WELFARE benefits. Don't you just love your tax dollars supporting THIS looniness?!

    April 14, 2008 at 10:30 pm |
  16. Jo Ann, Ohio

    Talk about the fox watching the hen house! I hope Gary and his crew stay safe. I hope CNN is providing them with good security.

    Why are the men allowed to wear contemporary clothing, but the women are dressed like "Little House on the Prairie?"

    April 14, 2008 at 10:30 pm |
  17. Saera El Paso, TX

    if they really think they should bring up the Holocaust
    they should compare themselves to the nazis
    to a much lesser extent of course, but you could say some of these people didn't realize they were wrong.
    like the milgram experiments situation?

    nah, never mind
    it's completely absurd

    April 14, 2008 at 10:30 pm |
  18. Betty Ann

    glad to see you back Anderson. Colunbia is so cool! Unless there is a coup! Otherwise, paradise!

    April 14, 2008 at 10:30 pm |
  19. Becca

    Why is the girl who has made these phone calls that led to the raid in hiding? Wouldn't she want to get out of the area and be able to give a face to her story? Will there still be a case against the religious sect if no one can find this girl?

    April 14, 2008 at 10:30 pm |
  20. Jennifer

    Hello, Anderson.

    Welcome back. We've missed you.

    It's about 25 minutes into tonight's episode and katheleen jessop was just on. I have to gravely disagree with her. While I am not Mormon (though a friend of mine is), I do not believe that what she and many of the other women and children are going through is anywhere near the gruesome and horrendous Holocaust. It is a completely different scenario.

    I also believe she was rehearsed. She did not make eye contact with the camera, staring in one direction during the entirity of the interview. Was she reading something?

    Other than that, I hope this story comes to a close soon and the girl that did or did not make that call is found.

    April 14, 2008 at 10:30 pm |
  21. Bonnie

    That was great when Carolyn knew just who Kathleen was–and how she tried to keep Carolyn from leaving the compound. Wonder what Kathleen would have said if confronted about that??

    April 14, 2008 at 10:30 pm |
  22. Jarrett, San Angelo, TX

    Erica,
    I missed the start of the interview with the women will it be availible to be viewed online sometime soon?

    April 14, 2008 at 10:30 pm |
  23. Claire in Birmingham, AL

    June...it was probably an "inside" college. She has a "college degree" in the ways of their world.

    April 14, 2008 at 10:30 pm |
  24. EJ - Ohio

    Anderson told Gary to be careful - so I was wondering – Is he & the crew there in any trouble? Is there any fear that they may be hurt?

    April 14, 2008 at 10:29 pm |
  25. Rafael

    Does CNN know where this group receives its finances from? In other words, how can they keep all of their operations running? Do they work in the real world and come home, or do they create products within their compounds? I think CNN should start following the money...

    April 14, 2008 at 10:29 pm |
  26. Riki

    I'm glad I'm not the only one who thought that Kathleen was reading. She wasn't looking at the camera, she was very monotone, and she did seem very rehearsed. She even corrected herself a few times, as if she misread the words that she was trying to say.

    I don't know if I agree with the kids being taken away without some kind of proof, but when speaking to media, at least speak from the heart and not from a cue card. She doesn't speak that way, as they also showed a clip from earlier and she was not speaking in the monotone way she was in that interview.

    April 14, 2008 at 10:29 pm |
  27. Megan O. Toronto, ON, Canada

    Karoline....you should check out Anderson's blog post from earlier today....he talks about what he did last week

    April 14, 2008 at 10:29 pm |
  28. Sue Polinick/Pennsylvania

    Erica- Hiding behind religion is a pathetic was to justify planned marriages...I wonder what the "dowery" is....this is so 18th century....

    April 14, 2008 at 10:28 pm |
  29. Kim

    Creepy to imagine that, being constantly shadowed and always being tense, waiting for something to happen....

    April 14, 2008 at 10:28 pm |
  30. June

    I am surprised that women in the FLDS are allowed to go to college or any school.

    April 14, 2008 at 10:28 pm |
  31. Karoline, Los Angeles, CA

    Oh no, I'm glad the Kathleen lady came out and spoke. I wish they'd all have a dialog with "outsiders". Maybe such a dialog would cause more of them to come out of the cult.

    April 14, 2008 at 10:28 pm |
  32. Dan in Bama

    I agree Anderson – its unbelievable that these types of situations exist in the US where these religious leaders have the local law enforcement folks under their control. These types of tactics are nothing short of the control the Mob had (and probably still does) in communities.....

    April 14, 2008 at 10:28 pm |
  33. Jolene

    Cut Kathleen some slack bloggers. She's just protecting her beliefs and lifestyle the best she knows how (or was told). It was apparent that she was angry! She most likely has been exploited by the men in that compound.

    I find it interesting that the men are allowing one of the women to be spokesperson....or maybe that's not the case.

    Keep on this story...it's fascinating.

    April 14, 2008 at 10:28 pm |
  34. MaryBeth

    OMG...when did the US cease to exist out west? This is getting more and more bizarre. Who is this girl? Is she real? Are there tapes of this girl's calls? Don't abuse centers record calls like 911 centers do?

    April 14, 2008 at 10:28 pm |
  35. Sunae, Jacksonville, Fl

    Welcome back Anderson hello Erica

    April 14, 2008 at 10:28 pm |
  36. Yvonne

    I think its terrible to have children or any human person in a situation like this.The authorities should put the men under the jail. I know the women are scarred so I am praying for them.

    April 14, 2008 at 10:27 pm |
  37. Linda-Vegas

    Anderson I missed you so much!! Glad you are back:)

    I think that those women are brain washed, why would you allow old men to have sex with you teenage daughters. I think the men are taking advantage of the women and the children, the state of Texas need to really investigate this situation. The women that stayed had a choice to leave too if they wanted to be with their children. Then men need to got to prison if they are having sex with minors.

    April 14, 2008 at 10:27 pm |
  38. Patty Chazen

    Regarding this FLDS story, it was so obvious to me that Kathleen was reading her responses. You could tell she was educated and I'm sure that's why she was chosen as the spokesperson. If these mothers are so upset about losing their children, then why did they leave the children and come back to the compound? Perhaps their husbands wanted them there to deal with the press?

    Polygamy is against the law. Why haven't the men at this compound been arrested for having multiple wives? I just can't believe that this type of lifestyle is allowed to continue in our country. Forget "freedom of religion" as Kathleen quoted. In my opinion, this is about sex with multiple women and young girls in order for these elder men to reproduce, not to mention the mind control that these men have over the girls and women in the compound. It's a very sad situation that should not be allowed to continue.

    April 14, 2008 at 10:27 pm |
  39. Brian Persaud

    I had no idea that the authorities were part of the church, no wonder this has been under wraps for so long.

    April 14, 2008 at 10:27 pm |
  40. Angelique

    Hi Erica,
    Just wanted to know if anyone is watching over the activities of the other proerties to see if anything is happening? Would they attempt to hide women and children while we are all watching the Texas one? What about in Canada and in Utah as well as the other states?

    April 14, 2008 at 10:27 pm |
  41. Patrick, Atlanta, GA

    They probably thought that bringing up the Holocaust would shock viewers and get them to sympathize, but it obviously didn't go over very well.

    Why do those roads need to be so wide?

    April 14, 2008 at 10:27 pm |
  42. ericacnn

    Can you imagined being followed like Gary and the rest of our 360 crew in Colorado City?

    April 14, 2008 at 10:26 pm |
  43. marissa in san francisco

    polygamy is not the problem, pedophilia is. l

    April 14, 2008 at 10:26 pm |
  44. Jana, Indiana

    Gary you need to stay safe.

    April 14, 2008 at 10:26 pm |
  45. Ara

    If they so believe what they do is right, why run away from the cameras? Face it right? I think this whole cult is just a way of getting their sexual frustations/desperations out! Unfortunately little children are victims of excess of libido!

    April 14, 2008 at 10:25 pm |
  46. Westley

    If the authorities had the name of the girl and have the necessary evidence to go in, then why not go to the individual household. Instead they took the children of an entire community. Here in CA if a guy down the street commits child abuse, the LASD does not take every child in the community. How are they any different.

    April 14, 2008 at 10:25 pm |
  47. MartaK

    In all the footage to date of these folks, I haven't seen any boys over the age of about 10. Haven't seen one teen boy....just lots of little girls. Either they have mostly girl-children....or there is some truth to the "Lost Boys" reports.

    April 14, 2008 at 10:25 pm |
  48. Dave

    They need to keep those parents away from those kids. A cult is no place for children to grow up. Especially not a cult that condones child abuse such as the LDS, Children of God (The Family International)or others. Give the kids a chance in the real world without those surroundings. Give them to relatives that care.

    April 14, 2008 at 10:25 pm |
  49. Frances

    Anderson, I wish you would have pressed her on what went on in the concentration camps ...... i.e., "Is anyone dying as a result of this action?"

    April 14, 2008 at 10:25 pm |
  50. Renee

    Really Kristin good point. It's is not like they are allowed on-line to get there degree or to watch TV or go to college.

    April 14, 2008 at 10:25 pm |
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