10 Apr 2008

Sect hid kids from authorities

Scripps Howard News Service
April 10, 2008

by Thomas Hargrove

How could hundreds of children go unreported, uncounted and unprotected while living on a sprawling Texas retreat created by a polygamist sect?

That is a question facing West Texas police and state social workers trying to piece together what went on far from public sight at the Yearning for Zion Ranch in rural Schleicher County.

Texas Child Protective Services authorities have taken legal custody of more than 400 children living on the 1,700-acre compound near Eldorado. It was built by leaders of the breakaway sect known as the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Officially, it seems, the children living on the Yearning for Zion Ranch did not exist.

"There is a legal requirement that the birth of each child born in Texas be registered," said Carrie Williams of the state Health Department. "Of course, it is difficult to know about births unless we are told about them."

According to state law, it is a misdemeanor offense "if a person fails, neglects or refuses to fill out a birth or death certificate and to file the certificate with the local registrar." Williams said state authorities will check if any births at the ranch were not registered.

Regardless of how it happened, Schleicher County authorities did not realize that the rural county with an official population of just 2,900 actually had more than 1,000 kids of school age.

This article was found at:

No comments:

Post a Comment