Texas’s case against members of a polygamist sect is damaged but not dead, legal experts told the Washington Post, even after a series of court defeats that ended with the return of hundreds of children who had been seized at the group’s compound. As members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints continued to pick up their children from foster homes, some said that the court rulings proved the state had overreacted when it removed more than 400 children from their parents. Child-protection authorities said their investigation will carry on. Experts said they might still have a good chance at proving abuse at the Yearning for Zion Ranch, using DNA tests and seized records to show that underage girls were married to and impregnated by older men.
Said law Prof. Adam Gershowitz of South Texas College of Law in Houston: “If the evidence indicates that men have been having sexual relations with underage girls, that’s still a crime.” On April 3, authorities raided the group’s compound near Eldorado, Tx. The state alleged that the group’s beliefs, which allowed girls to become wives and mothers just after puberty, created a physical threat to some children and a threat of psychological corrosion for all. Last week, the state Supreme Court rejected that logic.