Tuesday, 08 Apr, 2008 Current Events

More than 400 Children Removed from Polygamist Sect


Authorities have removed more than 400 children and women from the Texas polygamist compound under investigation of physical and sexual abuse.

The investigation and raid on the compound started after the authorities received a call from a 16-year old girl, who claimed about abuse.

The polygamist sect founded by a leader Warren Jeffs was located in a West Texas praire, where all their members, including women and children lived isolated. The vast 1,700-acre property resembled a whole city with a temple, a school, a cheese-making plant, a cement plant, a doctor's office and a great number of housing units.

The women and girls of the compound were occupied with housework, children care, quilting and gardening. They wore home-sewn dresses with their hair pinned up in braids. They were not allowed to dress in red as their leader said that this color belonged to Jesus and were forbidden to cut their hair.

Since the last week, the women were interviewed, to find the evidence that the girls younger than 16 were forced into marriages with older men. It has been suspected that young girls were not only forced to marry older man but also gave birth to children while living in the compound.

Marleigh Meisner, a spokesman of Children's Protective Services said that each child taken from the sect will get an advocate and an attorney but was worried about the fact that if children would be separated from their family, it would be hard for them to adapt to modern life.

The sect that included 10,000 members was practicing polygamy and arranged marriages for girls as young as 13. Their leader Warren Jeffs was jailed in Kingman, Arizona and accused of being an accomplice to the rape of 14 year old girl who was forced into marriage with her cousin in 2001.

One person charged with interfering with the "duties of a public servant" has been arrested by the police, while investigation still continues.

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