May 20th, 2008
05:37 PM ET

Dispatch from FLDS hearing: Underage mothers and Warren Jeffs’ children

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/05/19/art.fldscourt.jpg]
From a pool reporter inside the courtroom
Update from Courtroom A

Case #1
1 year old boy
Mother: 17 ½ years old

Attorneys asked for a continuance because the mother, who is a minor, has not been able to meet with her attorneys because she is 8 months pregnant and located in a shelter in San Antonio. The judge granted the continuance and the hearing will now be held 6/3. Attorneys expressed concern that they are not able to have private conversations, that social workers are taking notes on phone conversations.


Case #2
9 ½ year old child

Father: Warren Steed Jeffs (incarcerated)

Highlights: The attorney asked which version of the Book of Mormon the children were given (new version of Book of Mormon condems polygamy). CPS worker Irene Schwaninger "Polygamy is not the issue, underage marriage is the issue here." Mother has signed CPS plan.


Case #3
6 year old boy – only name listed on docket

Combined with siblings:
8 year old boy
Girl, missed age

Father: Warren Steed Jeffs (incarcerated)

Highlights: Mother has filed to expedite moving children to live with her mother. The children’s grandmother left the FLDS in 1983 and has recently relocated to San Antonio from Nevada. Judge ordered to expedite homesteading, said it could happen between 10-30 days.
There was a long line of questioning from the mother’s attorney about whether it is a detrimental to the child if the mother is part of FLDS.

CPS specialist "The only things we are concerned about in FLDS are those in the service plan, that girls were being groomed for marriage at a young age…This does not have to do with religion, we are not asking them to leave their faith."
Mother’s lawyer: "Would living with an FLDS member be considered adverse to the child's welfare?"
CPS specialist: "Not as long as they don't have a criminal history, a CPS history, or are a sexual perpetrator."


Case #4
5 year old girl
7 ½ year old child

The father was not present, he was not served and is currently living in Arizona. He drove to Eldorado for the DNA test and would like to participate in the hearings.
The daughter recently had 3 stitches and a tetanus shot after injuring herself on a swing set. The ad litum and mother were not notified until nearly two weeks after the event. They were also not notified that the children were given bone scans.
Attorney asked if it would be possible to move the children to live with relatives in Utah or Arizona. CPS said it is a lengthy process and will be easier to get the two children in the same location (currently separate).
When asked if the children could go back and live on the ranch, the CPS worker replied "With the investigation still ongoing, people are very leery about any decisions regarding the YFZ ranch."

Filed under: Barclay Palmer • FLDS court hearing • FLDS update • Polygamy
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. Gary Chandler in Canada

    @ sangiovanni welfare junkies?
    trouble is these camps ADD to the local economies. This is the reason they are tolerated.
    Just on the basis every child is entitled to fredom of information and freedom to choose universal education, everyone of these camps in North America should be invaded by the authorities.
    I don't advocate child removal. Just have teachers and social workers MONITORING the curriculum, discipline, and work loads.
    Hey, in Canada here they should go into Bountiful just to see if the minimum wage laws are being adhered to!
    The camp leader is a millionare from his slave labor force.

    May 21, 2008 at 4:15 am |
  2. Barbara

    I find it interesting that the reports speak of a young woman, 18 years old, as an adult case, but she has a 3 year old child. Unless my math is faulty, she must have been 14 when she bacame pregnant. If that isn't statutory rape, I don't know what is.

    May 21, 2008 at 2:29 am |
  3. Oscar in Texas

    the women and the children need to be deprogrammed and separated from the perverted men. Also, I heard that the children were told that if they ever left Yearning for Zion, that they would be thrown into hell. They worship Warren Jeffs as their god. Why dont they realize that Warren Jeffs is just a perverted nutcase.

    May 21, 2008 at 1:59 am |
  4. Angel

    I find it quite interesting that this cult claims protection under American Laws, breaks laws, gets caught and screams injustice. It's simple, when an American citizen breaks the law...they face the consequences.

    Their refusal to admit to the facts proves they know they're guilty.

    May 20, 2008 at 10:35 pm |
  5. gingerash

    Dude, these people are nutty freaks! I'm a mormon and I know their religion is really corrupt and screwed up. The government DOES have the right to take their kids away. Maybe the idiots shouldn't have been abusing them in the first place!

    May 20, 2008 at 8:04 pm |
  6. Isabella from FL

    Yes being under age is the big problem, but we can’t forget that the cause. We have forgotten our morals and our principles! God intended us to get married with one partner, to dedicate our self to our children and husbands. Now with all women trying to be independent, we have failed to educate our children well. This lack of education has led to the atrocities that we are facing now: 13-year-old children being sexually active, polygamist groups, and drug & alcohol abuse. All of us mothers should do something about the situation. My recommendation is to talk more to our children and spend more time at home. Parents are responsable to teach them the difference between right and wrong, so that future generations don’t go through these events.

    May 20, 2008 at 7:42 pm |
  7. ChrisR

    In todays Free World is hard to believe that somewhere in society there are places where people live their lives in a way that have no respect and morals for one another. The FLDS belive that they can live in a World where they can abuse and take advantage of children without any consenquences. Those girls at that age or any age should'nt be experiencing those circumstances. They deserve the right to choose for themselves and find their own happiness in their own way.

    May 20, 2008 at 7:38 pm |
  8. sangiovanni

    this unrepentant welfare junkies are in for repentance. I Understand that some states like arizona allow marrige at 16, but this is circumstancial. This is a whole sect of primitive individuals exploiting young girls. The seem to be confusing LDS with LSD: Two completally different trips.

    May 20, 2008 at 7:38 pm |
  9. Annie Kate

    The CPS plans I understand give the mothers a year to demonstrate to CPS that they can protect their children from abuse. This year that they spend in executing the CPS plan – are the children with them during this in their custody or do the children remain in the foster care system until the plan is fully and successfully completed?

    I hope that these children's education will be broadened to teach them that there are other life styles open to them within the mainstream Mormon church. Everyone should know they have options and the freedom to choose among those options.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    May 20, 2008 at 7:37 pm |
  10. Sasha from Hialeah

    Underage marriage is just a "permit" for these older men to commit statutory rape. Not to mention, I'm pretty sure that little girls are not the ones at stake in this situation. When underage marriage is allowed within a community, under the radar young boys are becoming sexual victims as well.

    These children have been exposed and exploited for older men (and women) and will never recover from the atrocities committed.

    All the adults in the community should be punished in one way or another because these children are scarred for life and are going to grow up with a twisted sense of what is right and wrong. These children's children are going to grow up with the notion that it's the norm to be 14 and be with a 40 year old man.

    May 20, 2008 at 7:34 pm |
  11. JEANA RIV.

    I do believe that both the girls and boy here are the victims. Neither one of them have freedom to do anything. The men are the authorities and that's final. These men are all about control and power not only over their women, both young and old, but also over the boys, because they are "men of the church". I think it's terrible that these men have that kind of control, enough control to take away someones freedom of speech or just their freedom of being.

    May 20, 2008 at 7:25 pm |
  12. Sara

    Maybe the FLDS belongs on a different planet. Here on earth, there are laws that when followed teach us on how to grow into civilized people. The FLDS has broken those laws of civilization, and their children unknowingly are paying for it. We've said it's child abuse, but it's actually an abuse on humanity.

    May 20, 2008 at 7:24 pm |
  13. Gary Chandler in Canada

    I ask again!? Is it not against some law, or the constitution of the USA to rob children of their freedoms? (freedom of religion – they have no choice of religion, freedom of movement – they are trapped in those camps, freedom from brainwashing – I don't care how many partners that adults, in a free and open society want to have, but it is immoral and should be criminal to forcefully educate children from preschool ages that polygyny is the ONLY way!!!)
    While underage sex and broken bones are important, the actual 'culture' of these camps violates the UN Millennium Directive. The incubation process is root cause for monitoring.

    May 20, 2008 at 6:28 pm |
  14. Sharon from Indy

    Like Irene Schwaninger said, “Polygamy is not the issue, underage marriage is the issue here.”

    No child, and I mean child in an adult body (teens), should be influenced or forced into a marriage or child bearing based on what her husband or cult church assigns them.

    The boys also are victims. Seen as threatening to the older men, it is pathetic that young men are shunned into obscurity because the men of the church need to be in charge of the under-aged girls.

    LIke Al Capone, it was hard to prove he was an organized crime leader, but in the end, they did jail him for tax evasion.

    Under-age marriages may be the only way to save these young women and their children.

    May 20, 2008 at 6:02 pm |