Church Lawyer Drops Challenge to Search of Polygamist Commune

Staff Report
The Associated Press

SAN ANGELO, Texas (AP) - A Polygamous religious sect's attorney surrendered his challenge to the ongoing search of the sect's remote West Texas commune.

Gerry Goldstein is a San Antonio lawyer representing the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. He'd initially tried to stop the search, saying rummaging through the
80-foot gleaming temple in the commune near Eldorado (ehl-duh-RAY'-doh) was like a police search of the Vatican or other holy places.

He also objected to how officers got access to the temple, "using force and a dynamic entry" over the objections of church members.

Prosecutors argued the state could legitimately search the premise for evidence of possible abuse of underage girls in the commune. State troopers and other law enforcement have been
scouring the compound for a week in search of documents demonstrating possible sexual abuse or pregnancy among underage girls.

The state's taken legal custody of 416 children, who are being housed at two sites in San Angelo, about 40 miles north of the compound. Another 139 women left the compound voluntarily and are housed with the children.