Women of Texas Polygamist Retreat Speak Out Against State Officials

Staff Report

The Associated Press

SAN ANGELO, Texas (AP) - A woman from a Polygamist sect in West Texas says the way the state's treating the group's members and their children makes it seem like "someone is trying to hurt" them.

A woman who only identified herself as Paula says she doesn't understand how authorities could take the more than 400 children into protective custody. Some mothers have been separated from their children as part of an abuse investigation.

But a state Child Protective Services spokeswoman says it's not the "normal practice to allow parents to accompany the child when an abuse allegation is made."

Authorities swept the children from the ranch more than a week ago amid allegations that underage girls were being forced to marry and bear the children of older men.

Some of the mothers at the sect complain that state officials misled them and began separating women and some of their children without warning. Some women and children were taken from San Angelo's historic Fort Concho to the city coliseum. Those who were childless or had children under the age of 5 were allowed to return to the ranch.