Texas Drops Half of Cases in Polygamist Sect Raid

Staff Report
The Associated Press

SAN ANGELO, Texas (AP) - Texas officials say many of the children seized during a raid on a polygamist sect's ranch can safely live with their parents or guardians.

The April 3rd raid on the Yearning for Zion Ranch at Eldorado involved more than 440 children.  Authorities feared some girls were being forced into underage marriages and boys were being raised to be perpetrators.

The Texas Supreme Court later ruled the action was too broad and ordered the children back to their parents.

The Associated Press today reports so far the custody cases for 235 children have been dropped.

Child Protective Services spokesman Patrick Crimmins says more cases are likely to be dropped. Crimmins says the dismissals don't mean that abuse never occurred -- only that many of the children can safely live with a parent or other relative.

Only one child - a girl allegedly married to jailed sect leader Warren Jeffs when she was 12 - has been returned to foster care.