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Texas appellate court decision on children to be appealed

In a decision that shocked the Texas State Government, an appellate court decision on the 22dn of May 2008 threw out the Government action in taking away children from their mothers in the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints case, whereby the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services had raided the gated compound of the Church (a known polygamist compound where there have been many cases of girls being married off when they were under-age and forced to have sex with their elder husbands) and taken away around more than 400 children from their mothers, giving a reason of their being in constant danger of being forced to marry and have relationships when they are under-age.
So, while this taking of children was being discussed in a somewhat chaotic lower court, an appellate court stepped in (in response to petitions from the mothers) and stopped proceedings in the trial court and ordered the return of children of the 38 mothers who had filed the suit. The decision by the appellate court was a severe indictment of the action of the state, essentially stating that the children were not in the peril that the state claimed; further, continuing news reports of this whole incident pointed out several problems – the state was not able to find the person who supposedly made the complainant, many of the people who were claimed to be underage were actually adult, and so on.

However, now the state is going to file a petition in the Texas Supreme Court asking for this decision to be over-turned:

Texas authorities asked the state Supreme Court on Friday to overturn a ruling that found child welfare officials had no right to take more than 400 children from a gated polygamist compound. Lawyers for the Department of Family and Protective Services also requested that the high court allow the state to keep the children in foster homes until their fate is decided. Otherwise, they said, Texas would be forced within days to return more than 120 boys and girls to sect members who have not proved they are the biological parents.
Texas authorities raided the Yearning for Zion Ranch in West Texas on April 3, after a caller claimed she was a 16-year-old bride suffering abuse at the hands of her husband, a call that since has been shown to probably be a hoax. Inside the secluded compound, child welfare officials have said, they found numerous pregnant teenagers and child brides living in a communal setting with older men, bound in “spiritual marriages.”

No matter what happens, this is likely to remain controversial. It is pretty much known that the Church’s compound had a continuing practise of polygamy (which remains illegal), and in earlier depositions, women who have escaped from the Church have claimed that they have been forced into marriage and sex.

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