April 18th, 2008
09:39 PM ET

Dispatch from the FLDS hearing: How it ends

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/04/18/art.polygamisthearingend.jpg caption=" Members of the FLDS Church walk out of the Tom Green County Courthouse following a custody hearing in San Angelo, TX "]

Judge Barbara Walther says:
-As to each child in each case, the court has heard sufficient evidence.
-Their requirements have been met... The court keeps the children...
-The court is ordering (DNA) maternity and paternity testing for each child. 
-There will be a mobile lab at San Angelo coliseum...
-If you are a parent and have been or should have been named, please provide that information for DNA testing...  
The hearing ends.

FLDS members are not talking so far... 

They are all quietly leaving.


Filed under: Barclay Palmer • FLDS court hearing • Polygamy
soundoff (41 Responses)
  1. KarenD

    I am a polygamist. My "sister wife" (no, we are not sisters, that is just the technical term for our relationship) entered into this relationship as adults and with full consent from each other. We do NOT live on welfare. We are NOT members of the FLDS, LDS, Islam, or other religion. We live in a state where polygamy is technically legal so long as only one of the wives is legally married to the husband. Our husband makes a good living working in the IT sector. My sister wife is currently the 'stay at home mom' for our kids while I currently have a job as a CPA. In the past, I have been the stay at home mom while my sister wife worked. There is no brain washing, arranged marriage, child bride stuff going on. Our relationship is not for everyone, but we would not trade it for the world. There are about 25,000 other families out there in the US just like ours.

    April 20, 2008 at 8:15 pm |
  2. KarenD

    Polygamy per se is NOT a violation of federal laws. There really are no federal laws prohibiting polygamy. It is against the law on some states, but in others it is technically permissable.

    April 20, 2008 at 7:41 pm |
  3. Spider

    Always has been and always will be: We, as parents, do not OWN our children, the government can take them away from us at any time forth the vaguest of reasons. Be honest everyone, that is the way it should be. There are parents out there that think it is right to beat their children because they wet the bed. There are parents out their that don't tend to their children properly. The only way to handle this is to remove the children from the home and investigate.

    April 20, 2008 at 9:50 am |
  4. Karen / Illinois

    The judge is to be commended for her actions so far. The potential here is far reaching; . .The men are guilty of poligemy, pedophilia, rape, incest, false imprisonment; . . . the women are accomplices as well as victims. The lack of proper healthcare and education for the children; . . .And, what about the disparity between boys vs girls. There's more to that than is known so far. Not to mention welfare fraud and tax evasion and likely other criminal behavior. I would love to ask the women, "What are your hopes and dreams for your son, your daughters, yourself?", . .But, they have none.

    April 20, 2008 at 12:12 am |
  5. DEE

    One little bit of advice to the FLDS,,, Stay out of Texas,,They don't play!

    April 19, 2008 at 9:16 pm |
  6. Dorothy Lunche

    · Posted By: lunchelaw @ 04/19/2008 2:34:56 PM
    Comment: 400+ children should not be separated from their families and their faith What about the Catholics? Maybe we should round up all the children following Catholic mass and put them in to protective custody to protect them from the Catholic priests? The Bishops haven't been forthcoming about identifying who the abusers are and we are aware of the coverup, so how can those children's parents justify repeatedly exposing their children to potential abuse at the Catholic Churches and private schools? Everyone knows that the abuse takes place, so aren't we abusing children by ripping them from their parents in order to protect them?

    People in Child Services may be overzealous and have personal issues that caused them to seek that type of employment in the first place and may have a "cause." Also, they may be biased because of how much child abuse they have seen in their profession. In addition Texas may be afraid to send the children home due to the political fear of public outcry. There may be many factors keeping the children away from their families other than "abuse". This could be handled differently. We had Waco in Texas. And in Texas, some murder trials have lasted only a couple of days. Texas is also the state that wanted execute a mentally retarded Defendant. WHY did they have to go in with tanks and guns? Couldn't CPS just gone in to investigate with a clipboard? All the chlidren could be taken from their families for one year without due process and it is unfortunate for the children and their families, many who are born into their religion and believe in following the Bible in a very fundamental way. What amout the Amish? What about the Mennites? Those children are forced into their lifestyle and we're not ripping them from their homes. Also, every parent has influence over their children. All children imitate their parents and believe what their parent's beliefs are. We could all be abusing our children in that respect. I think we need to take a step back and work through what it means to remove children from their families and what the consequences of this are. I don't think the children will be thanking us.

    April 19, 2008 at 3:33 pm |
  7. bob


    Any marriage of a minor requires WRITTEN consent of the parents recorded with the county clerk, so if that does not exist, it's illegal. It's exceptionally easy to prove the allegations in that case (or defend as well).

    As for getting married at 14, that would be an INCREDIBLY rare circumstance, and obviously didn't occur here. I'd be interested to see the circumstances where one has been approved since the law change, and I'd be extremely surprised if one was ever allowed to a much older man/woman.

    April 19, 2008 at 2:51 pm |
  8. Brandi down the bayou.

    M Landolphe D’Aquin-Burglass MD ThD

    I have seen several comments related to the DNA testing that has been ordered (I especially liked it when AC was a little confused about it all! 🙂 sorry, i was unavailable for blogging last night)

    I believe yours is the most interesting. I see 'MD' behind your name and find it very interesting that you doubt the conclusiveness of the DNA testing.

    If nothing else, the DNA testing would be able to link the mothers and children, which would give a rather clear picture of the amount of incest even with the narrow gene pool. Of course, you will know I am referring to mitochondrial DNA. I would love to see how many of the the wives are married to the same men or have had children for the same men as their mothers or other immediate female relatives.

    This is what the DNA testing will be most useful for. It will be interesting to see how they figure up the end results, as I'm sure you know that each level of relation will have to be placed into a certainty percentage. This is of course where things get tricky. I do not believe however, that this will cause the results to be found inconclusive in any way, the narrow gene pool could actually make the results stronger if the testing is strategically conducted. I am just grateful that I do not work in any of the labs that will be processing these tests! lol

    I think it will show the amount of incest and is the first step at getting to the men who have abused these children and possible prosecution for their actions.

    April 19, 2008 at 1:32 pm |
  9. Roger Barr

    Here we go again where only the man is at fault, I see woman there that are over 50 and 60 years old and they do not know what the law is? Why are these woman not being arrested also? Did these woman not break the law also? Dont even say that these woman were brain washed like I said there are woman there over 60 why didnt one of them go to the police if they knew what was going on? Why did it take a 16 year old? Ask yourself that, every time something like this happens the woman escape justice. Yes those men envolved are evil but so are those woman for standing bye and doing nothing.

    April 19, 2008 at 12:45 am |
  10. Zafer

    My daughter in elementary school expressed her views while we discussed the recent custody battle for children belonging to FLDS church members. " The victims seem to be more victimized here", she said.

    If only Judge Walther could get a clue from this, i could hook her up with my daughter for solutions!!!

    April 19, 2008 at 12:05 am |
  11. Jen

    I’m a Texan writing to express my concern for the FLDS children in our foster care system. I keep hearing all of the talking heads on tv expressing their thanks to Texas for what we’re doing. But, what no one seems to be addressing is that our CPS system in Texas is broken. Bless their hearts, our CPS workers are underpaid and overworked. We had over 33,000 children in the foster care system in F07 – and we don’t have enough homes to place them in! Several months ago, there were articles in the Dallas Morning News about foster children spending the night in empty office buildings because there was no where to house them. CPS workers were volunteering their services to take turns spending the night at these facilities with them.

    Our system in Tx is broken. The state only pays for the most basic of needs such as food and shelter – and it’s not much. I just heard an ex-FLDS member say that these children are going to need extensive counseling. Most of the 33,000 children already in our system are not receiving that – and a lot of their stories are much worse than these. Believe me, I think what was done to these FLDS children is horrific and I do not condone them staying on the compound. But I am not convinced that we have the staff, the money or the ability to help 400+ more children coming into our system.

    That’s your story CNN.

    April 18, 2008 at 11:54 pm |
  12. Daniel Kalvar, Eugene, OR

    Of course in this moral sewer that America has come to be, where the ACLU defends Planned Parenthoods refusal to submit records of abortions on pre-teens, the children in the custody of THE STATE are never murdered, abused, or raped (in OR more children die and are raped while in Foster Homes than at large; in one instance a CS agent was so drunk she drove off with her new ward on top of her car). Let's not forget Waco and the 24 children the FBI and ATF killed in order to "save" them. Or the infant the brave FBI sniper murdered at Ruby Ridge.

    The men in the compound should be planting land mines, arming themselves, and preparing to take their children back from these modern day NAZI.

    Jericho rising.

    April 18, 2008 at 11:53 pm |
  13. Alexander

    I see a lot of sympathetic people posting. And that is of course understandable, it is all to easy to relate this incident to yourself and your children or your religion. However, as citizens of the United States it is necessary for us to follow all laws that are not prohibited by the constitution. As far as i know, the constitution does not condone polygamy or statutory rape, so unless these cults move off of US land, they should be subject to US laws.
    In fact, the complacency the government is showing in not enforcing even the polygamy laws undermines all attempts at enforcing other, more "valuable" or "important" laws.
    It seems as though tthe government picks and chooses which laws are necessary and which are not, which is a concept that leaves me feeling uncomfortable and vulnerable.

    April 18, 2008 at 11:38 pm |
  14. k mcneil

    It seems to me that there has been a lot of loose talk about how there is no stimulus for the children. eg no coloring books etc., perpetuating the idea that all these children were in some way being abused by their very environment. This is just spin as I seen coloring books when the young lady was showing the reporters around the compound. In fact she picked one up to show the camera. I believe that this whole affair was driven by the publics distaste for polygamy rather then any concerns for the children or their mothers.If they were so concerned for the children they could have come up with a better solution then to rip 400+ kids from their families!! They could have gone in with a whole pack of law officers,lawyers and social workers and got to the bottom of the allegations without subjecting the children to this,what must be for them a truly a terrifying situation. Who is truly safe from the state now?

    April 18, 2008 at 11:22 pm |
  15. jarob

    What is the ratio of young male children to female children at the FLDS compound? If there is a very large difference, would that indicate a form of infanticide? Could these 'men' who are the perpetrators be tried under the Rome Statute at the International Court for the crime of sexual slavery?

    April 18, 2008 at 11:11 pm |
  16. althusius

    A girl could get married legally in Texas at age 14 with the consent of a parent until the statute was changed in 2005. So it is possible for an 18 yr old mother to have three children today without any crime being committed. How is the State of Texas going to prove its allegations? Why is CNN failing to inform its viewers?

    By the way, a 14-year old girl can still be married legally today if the parent gets the approval of a judge.

    April 18, 2008 at 11:00 pm |
  17. Dis

    My God! People! ... If some 30 or 40 or 50 year-old man went after your 12 or 13 year-old daughter ... you'd have him strung up by his testicles ... why are these young girls any different? ... the mothers there say there's nothing wrong going on there ... 13 year old girls pregnant and having 4 kids by the time they're 18 or 19 ... there is something terribly wrong here ... we go overseas and stop this kind of thing over there ... why not here? ... these men are nothing more than incestous pedophiles ... Bravo to Texas for doing something about it!!!!

    April 18, 2008 at 10:54 pm |
  18. Debbie

    To Don in Georgia...this case is about child abuse, whether it be sexual, physical, emotional or verbal, not religion. From what I understand, a call was made. Whether it is a hoax or not, I have no idea. They were obligated to investigate when the call was received.

    April 18, 2008 at 10:44 pm |
  19. Curtis

    In fact, how many men are there and, what are they up to these days?

    April 18, 2008 at 10:34 pm |
  20. Annie Kate

    I'm glad the court kept the children in custody. I hope this can all be sorted out quickly and them placed in a safe environment that encourages the children creatively and intellectually as well as socially. These children have been so deprived – no toys, no crayons. All the FLDS women that have appeared on the 360 segments all seem to have the same personality – I hope the children will get the opportunity to have their own personality and be able to choose their own life style.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    April 18, 2008 at 10:29 pm |
  21. Diego Duey

    How about the men? Are they going to be investigated?

    April 18, 2008 at 10:26 pm |
  22. Curtis

    Where are the men of FLDS?

    April 18, 2008 at 10:26 pm |
  23. Kingsley Quartey, Alberta Canada

    The Young Lady that made the alleged hoax ccall is a hero and should be treated as such and not a criminal.

    I bet you if she was a white woman she would have been treated diffrently.

    What that brave woman did is to save a lot of innocent children and now she is the crimina ? unbelievable!.

    -Kingsley Quartey
    Alberta Canada

    April 18, 2008 at 10:25 pm |
  24. Don., Rex, Ga.

    This whole case smacked of fraud by the government as soon as it broke. This is an outright assault on these peoples constitutional right to privacy and to practice their religion. Tell me Mr. Anderson, what's to stop the government from frabricating a phone call such as that (presuming that that wasn't what happened in this case) and kicking down yours or my door? The state didn't have probable cause and these children should be returned to the women and returned to their homes. They can't justify the means after the fact. This is criminal on the states part and proves we haven't learned anything from Waco or Ruby Ridge!

    April 18, 2008 at 10:24 pm |
  25. John E Ewald

    I want to submit a suggestion for news comment relative to the polygamist ranch in Texas...
    It seems to me that taking the kids is nothing more than bailing water out of a boat being flooded with water... What we need to do is plug the hole!
    What I'm thinking here is that we have a 1700 acre private community, that is under its law, not the law of the land! So, my question is what law inforcement is within that compound! In my mind its apparent they make and rule their own law.... So how come we can't have a law where if there's a community (even on private property, larger than maybe an acre) that its patroled by the sheriff, state police or something other than law from within the compound? This is different then private property of one family, this is a community and I don't care if it is on private property... We've just allowed another "Jim Jones" situation! How are the young innocent protected?
    Again, is there a law?

    April 18, 2008 at 10:24 pm |
  26. Kiki

    Where is that Merrill Jessup hiding??

    April 18, 2008 at 10:23 pm |
  27. Apryl

    It would be interesting to see if ALL of the fathers and men on the compound will come forward to give DNA samples to the courts. I would have to assume that most of them won't if theinformation from those tests will implement them further in charges of child abuse.

    Anderson... will you ask the lawyers on your show how they can be sure that all the men will provide samples?

    April 18, 2008 at 10:21 pm |
  28. Mike

    I was thinking along the same lines as the person that made the previous comment. If the children were impregnated at such an early age, it wouldn't be unlikely that some of these sikko men would have impregnated their own teenage children, grandchildren or both. Would DNA testing be accurate for such inbreeding?

    April 18, 2008 at 10:19 pm |
  29. Susie

    The attorney on the show tonight said that it would be tragic for the two-year-old in one family to be removed from her home because the 14-year-old four houses away was being abused (pardon the paraphrase, but I'm sure that's close to what she said). I completely disagree. The two-year-olds must be removed. They're in waiting to become 14. This cult is a nest of pedophiles, and must be stopped. The Constitutional implications are mind-boggling, of course, but the Court must err on the side of protecting children, protecting those who've been allowed no choice in this horror show. May God grant grace, wisdom, courage, perseverance to those trying to save these children's futures.

    April 18, 2008 at 10:19 pm |
  30. Rose

    Does any one know if any of these children have birth defects because of all the mixed blood ? Really there must be some as if they dont know who belongs to who .

    April 18, 2008 at 10:19 pm |
  31. stu egli

    If I" father a child and that child's mother then collects FEDERAL MONEY (AFDC) and I have not paid suppofrt I am held liable for those funds.

    The wackos at Jeff's church should be held accountable for the AFDC funds disbursed for their children and intrest accrude just like done by the IRS.

    Just like how Capone was nailed ny the IRS the polygamists can be held accountable in the same way for ripping off the US taxpayers!!!

    April 18, 2008 at 10:18 pm |
  32. Steve and Vickie

    I have a question if these people where getting food stamps how in the world did they do it, when they don't have birth certificates?

    April 18, 2008 at 10:16 pm |
  33. C Myers

    Are there any elderly people at the FLDS compound? I haven't seen any. Considering the fact they throw boys out, I wonder what may become of the infirm.

    April 18, 2008 at 10:16 pm |
  34. Kiki

    Just wondering if there is incest, how would this affect DNA testing?
    Also, has there been any attempt to bring in testimony from any of the lost boys, especially from the Eldorado compound? It is all just too bizarre...

    April 18, 2008 at 10:15 pm |
  35. Michael

    What about the FLDS in Colorado City, Nevada? The same things are going on there; does the case in Texas give precedent for going into Colorado City?

    April 18, 2008 at 10:14 pm |
  36. Gwen Alleman

    Please tell me where the men are in this story....all we are hearing and seeing are women...are the men hiding?

    April 18, 2008 at 10:14 pm |
  37. M Landolphe D'Aquin-Burglass MD ThD

    Given these circumstances, the DNA "evidence" cannot be forensically conclusive. Nonetheless, the court may yet rule "ex cathedra" that it is "valid" and meets the criteria under the Frye case and its progeny. Should that obtain, I would expect the defense to seek immediate interlocutory appellate relief.

    M Landolph D'Aquin-Burglass MD ThD

    April 18, 2008 at 10:12 pm |
  38. Grandmother in Oklahoma

    According to the laws of Texas, this courts action was appropriate but I am sincerely hoping that the children can be united at home with parents. To tell a 16 year old girl to marry someone older is considered abuse. OK so be it. -

    However, I feel is it abuse for any child to be subjected to hate and racism in church teachings as in the Black Liberation Theology Churches and maybe others. When will the authorities look closely at what this "mind control" teachings will do to children when they have to grow up and live in the real world of all races and cultures.
    Why is this not considered abuse?

    April 18, 2008 at 10:08 pm |
  39. linda., bella vista, ar

    Hoping that they can 'sort' this out. How accurate can the DNA tests be with this group having been a 'closed' gene pool for several generation?

    Anybody got the 'scientific' data?

    April 18, 2008 at 10:05 pm |
  40. M Landolphe D'Aquin-Burglass MD ThD

    Well, the worst is rapidly coming to pass: "custody," DNA testing, fingerprints, "creating a paper trail." The black shirted storm troopers have landed! I wonder if the proceedings are being conducted in German (hmmmm....)

    M Landolphe D'Aquin-Burglass MD ThD

    April 18, 2008 at 10:05 pm |
  41. prr

    I am a mother of 4 and I certainly am not in favor of allowing any child to be abused, but how do you justify taking over 400 kids out of parental homes. I know that CPS was stunned by what they found but the kids must be in shock , scared, and devasted. Wouldn't it be better to remove the men and appoint a trustee or law enforcement or someone to monitor the women and children at the compund through this transition. What if one day the gov't doesn't agree with my beliefs? What about the financial burden to this town?

    April 18, 2008 at 9:57 pm |