April 17th, 2008
10:52 PM ET

Dispatch from the FLDS hearing: Cross Examination

Ismael Estrada, CNN Supervising Producer

6:45pm CT

Several attorneys cross examine Angie Voss, who supervises the investigation for Children Protection Services.

They ask CPS reasoning for removing the children, whether CPS followed policy in going in, who gave the authority to allow DNA swabs. (How and when DNA swabs were taken is not clear.)

They asked what immediate danger the children were in...was their religion, their following of their "prophet" Warren Jeffs enough to remove the children?

Voss testified one of the reasons was the belief that children are supposed to have children, that they are supposed to be married when they are told..

Voss said"it's not about religion, it's about child abuse"

Other issues raised: Why did they take the boys? Were children taken even after birth certificates were provided? And more...

Filed under: FLDS court hearing • Ismael Estrada • Polygamy
soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. Karen

    Can someone please find out why the Mormon Church, the non-dundamentalists, are not assisting with helping these people? Why arent they crying out to educate this sect on their Mormon beliefs and to help them understand that what they're being taught is not really the true Mormon religion? Why are they not helping to house, feed, assist with the care of these children? These appear to be "lost sheep" of the Mormon religion and I wonder whay they dont see them as that and work to bring them into their "fold". I see the volunteers of the Baptist church in San Angelo trying their best to help. Where are the others?

    April 18, 2008 at 1:17 pm |
  2. Rachel B

    Thise is about religion and nothing more. They removed these children from their peacful existance, and placed 416 children and over 100 women in a building of 4,000 square feet with two bathrooms. A building the size of 2 standard homes. If people would dare to choose to live in that kind of setting, their children too would be removed, but the state of Texas placed these women and children in those conditions. Now that is clearly child neglect, who will prosecute these state officials for this?

    April 18, 2008 at 2:55 am |
  3. Helen

    How interesting....CNN...one of your most popular hosts has been married five times...and now to a much younger women. And he has the audacity to get holier than thou about polygamy? I mean, polygamy is distasteful, but certainly there are thousands of Americans who practice polygamy without marriage. Why should the media pick on those who do it in the name of religion? Why not pick on the polygamists in San Fran?

    April 18, 2008 at 1:06 am |
  4. B.C. Pool

    I was very disappointed to see that at 11:00 (CST) tonight, Anderson Cooper only interviewed the FLDS lawyer about the day's proceedings, allowing him an open soapbox to attack CPS and Cooper didn't interview anyone on the opposing side to point out the overwhelming signs of child abuse in the compound. Give both sides a chance next time.

    April 18, 2008 at 12:24 am |
  5. Lee

    Does this not go deeper than Polygamy and child abuse. My questions are these: I have not heard anyone speak of the births and deaths that go on in the compound itself. Do they not have to report/register the births and deaths of those living behind the walls? Is there a cemetary there, if so, is it legal? Are they following the legal system when it comes to births and deaths?


    April 18, 2008 at 12:20 am |
  6. Tracy

    My husband and I are hoping to get some answers somewhere. We are wondering when these oil companies buy crude oil how many gallons of gas the produce and what the markup is? We are desparately looking for answers as are many Americans. We need to put more heat on the oil big wigs and quit worrying about dissecting what Hillary and Obama are saying or not saying. We are crying out for help with these issues and it is getting ignored. Come on folks let's all ban together and get some answers. Lord knows Washington isn't going to answer any because they are getting rich too. Please help me find these answers about the oil. Please I would really like to know how this works.

    Feeling really depressed at the pumps in Rogers, AR

    The Johnsons

    April 18, 2008 at 12:01 am |
  7. Suzanne P.

    I hope the Judge is well protected; if she rules to leave the children in the hands of the state she may need that protection. Watching the wives the last few nights I've gotten the impression that those women live in fear. If abuse is a regular component of their lives no wonder they are afraid. The children would be better off with foster families.

    Knoxville TN

    April 17, 2008 at 11:57 pm |
  8. ronnb

    Anderson, your CNN expert on the Vatican sounds more like an apologist for the Vatican. His assertion that it took the Vatican a number of years to grasp the enormity of the scandal is ridiculous. A holy entity which is a leading moral authority needed 6+ years to grasp the enormity of the problem?! It's simply not a plausible explantation. How about–they knew how egregious this widespread tragedy was, but knew the financial and good will loss would be extremely high so it elected to skert the truth and to remain elusive and uncooperative on this issue. Now that they have had to pay out over $2 billion in legal suits and fees, and it is clear that their strategy of being elusive, changing the subject and hoping it would go away has not worked.

    So finally, they are trying this approach of providing a personally apology to a very few, carefully, handpicked individuals to meet with the Pope privately so the Vatican can say they empathetic to those who have been sexually abused as children. They know they have to
    appear to be genuine and empathize with those who have been abused–I am not at all convinced that the Vatican actually is being genuine. If they were, why have they waited all of these years to even admit that they have failed those who have been abused? And I am not even sure they are admitting they have failed. To me, this still seems like a public relations initiative by the Vatican designed to defuse the remaining negative sentiment over this global scandal, so they can put this behind them. Will the Catholic Church actually change by stopping abuse right when they hear of it and stop reassigning, protecting and hiding known abusers–that remains to be seen.

    April 17, 2008 at 11:56 pm |
  9. Bonnie Milam

    I \have been following this story. I am a Christian woman who watch Cooper Anderson's program and Larry King's program, I cannot let go the fact that on the tour of the compound with one of the mothers, each room had a photo of Warren Jeffs in each room and not a photo of Jesus Christ or other biblical reference was not noted by CNN. Also there was no mention of where are the fathers who should be speaking out????

    False prophets are everywhere and the women and children (including sons) in this compound have been victimized and brainwashed by these prophets.

    April 17, 2008 at 11:41 pm |
  10. Janice


    I disagree with the legal analyst. Having taken legal guardianship of my grandson it is my understanding the removal of the children is a civil case. Child protective services does not have to produce the same evidence that would be required to charge the parents. The children can remain in state custody as long as there is sufficent evidence that the children need to be protected.

    April 17, 2008 at 11:38 pm |
  11. mitchell martin

    this will go on forever,with over 300 lawyers,and one judge.why didn't the state just take the men into custody,and let them go through the tortuous legal battles ,that are only going to traumatize the children more?

    April 17, 2008 at 11:38 pm |
  12. catherine carmody

    One problem with this "community" vs. "individual famly" theory is that a handful of men have fathered the hundreds of children removed. These children are mostly related to each other - different mothers but the same few fathers. This is not a "community" but a handful of families.

    Also, why hasn't anyone discussd the fact that Judge Walther has body guards protecting her? Obviously, this is a dangerous and threatening group.

    April 17, 2008 at 11:18 pm |
  13. Allen

    Why aren't the men being charged with statutory rape?

    April 17, 2008 at 11:07 pm |
  14. Slater

    This is going to be a travesty of justice. What a bunch of mo mo's.

    They should specify that the policy is probable cause, which follows due process in the procedure of evidence gathering. Without the girl, her testimony and the proof that she had children by a 50 year old man, they have no probable cause, therefore the case gets dismissed, no matter how mitigating the circumstances. Because they have no probable cause, they cannot order any DNA swabs and if they do, they will be excluded in the case. Mark my words.

    Because of this, they just handed any of those children back to alleged sex abusers.

    April 17, 2008 at 11:07 pm |
  15. David in Boston

    Anderson or Erica,

    Will you please tell your audience if FLDS members go to college or have any contact with people outside their compound.

    Are all marriages between members only?

    April 17, 2008 at 11:05 pm |
  16. Annie Kate

    I don't see how this case can be tried for all the children at once. It has to be a madhouse and when things are that unorganized and in turmoil important points can be missed or forgotten. I don't think anyone but the FLDS thinks this case is about anything other than child abuse – the FLDS want it to be about religion so they can claim persecution and hopefully get sympathy. I only sympathize with the children though.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    April 17, 2008 at 11:00 pm |