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Texas Polygamist’s Children Ordered Returned to Their Mothers

In April of this year, almost 500 children were taken from their mothers and their Texas ranch home. The authorities were acting on anonymous complaints from a pregnant teenage girl who claimed to live at the ranch, and accused her middle-aged husband of abusing her. The police made the decision to raid the ranch, the home of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

The police found plenty of evidence of polygamous marriages to very young girls, some as young as 12, pregnant teenagers, and children who didn’t know what crayons were.

Abusing young teenagers is utterly heinous and I hope that the men responsible end up in jail for a long time. The police found no evidence of abuse of young children, and nothing so far has suggested that the babies and toddlers taken from their mothers were in any danger – at least nothing that warranted a mass removal of every child in the compound.

I miss my son when he goes to the park with his dad for an hour. I can’t even begin to imagine the distress of these mothers, not having any idea when – or if – their children would be returned to them,

On Monday, after months of separation from their children – many of them babies, and most of the children were under 5 – the Texas supreme court ruled that there was no evidence of immediate danger, and the raid was unlawful. The children have been ordered to be returned to their mothers.

With conditions attached – the children may not leave Texas, the parents must be photographed and agree to cooperate with any further investigation, and must attend parenting classes. The parents must also allow the children to undergo psychiatric or medical exams if required.

The children are being collected, and are returning with their mothers to the ranch where they previously lived. Some commentators are criticizing the courts decision to let the children return, knowing they would go back to the ranch. But where else would the mothers, unfamiliar with the outside world, and many alienated from their own families, take them?

I hope that, after two months separation from their children, the Texas authorities can now do something to help the women at the ranch. Hopefully they can take more appropriate action to help these families leave the ranch to start life outside if they desire, and remove and punish their abusers, and perhaps that would be some compensation for those separated mothers, babies and children.

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