Polygamy sect children return to families

A JUDGE yesterday ordered the immediate return of more than 400 US children taken into care from a polygamist sect’s ranch.

The ruling by Texas District Judge Barbara Walther allowed the parents to begin collecting their children from foster facilities around the state almost immediately.

The order requires the parents to stay in Texas, to attend parenting classes and to allow the children to be examined as part of an ongoing child abuse investigation.

But it does not put restrictions on the children’s fathers, require that polygamy is renounced or that parents live away from the Yearning For Zion Ranch.

“We’re really grateful to get the order signed,” said Willie Jessop, an elder for the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the sect that runs the ranch.

Two months in foster care has taken a toll on the children, who previously lived an insular life on the self-contained ranch and he hoped for a less restrictive order, he said.

The sect is a breakaway sect of the Mormon church, which renounced polygamy more than a century ago.


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