The sect of the polygamist cult, run by Warren Jeffs, is the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. This is indeed some vague relation to Mormonism, but not related to the dominant Mormon religion.
The authorities in Texas moved in after receiving a phone call tip from a woman in the compound. They moved in because they alleged that girls as young as 13 were being forced to marry much older men and to participate in sexual acts.
This is pretty disturbing, when you think about it. However, the latest news does not bode well for the authorities. The Texas appeals court has now ruled that the authorities didn’t have sufficient evidence that the children were in immediate danger, so seizing the children was not justified.
“The appeals court said the state was wrong to consider the entire ranch as an individual household and that the state couldn’t take all the children from a community on the notion that some parents in the community might be abusers.”
That’s a pretty intense ruling, and one that will have some MAJOR ramifications. From the beginning, the custody case has been crazy. The judge had to deal with hundreds of lawyers. So many that not only did they fill the courtroom, they had to teleconference in from a nearby auditorium.
Now this doesn’t mean that all the kids will be going back to the parents, at least not yet. It’s likely the State of Texas will appeal, but we’ll see how things go.