Grand jury may study polygamist sect case

A Schleicher County grand jury is expected to hear evidence next week of possible criminal charges against members of a West Texas polygamist sect.

The Eldorado Success reported Wednesday that grand jurors are expected to meet sometime next week.

The Texas attorney general’s office, which is leading the criminal investigation, declined to discuss the case.

“Grand jury proceedings are secret proceedings by law,” spokesman Jerry Strickland said.

Texas Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Tela Mange also said she had no information about the case.

The Texas Rangers and various other law enforcement agencies raided the YFZ Ranch near Eldorado on April 3 in response to allegations about child sex abuse. State Child Protective Services removed about 440 children from the 1,691-acre ranch, which is owned by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Its initials stand for Yearning for Zion.

But the 3rd Court of Appeals and the Texas Supreme Court last month ordered a San Angelo district judge to return the children to their parents.

The reunions began this month, though more than half of the families with children have not returned to the ranch.

After the return of the children, Schleicher County Sheriff David Doran predicted, the FLDS’ legal troubles will be far from over.

“I believe when all of the criminal charges come forward, it is going to be very hard to practice their beliefs within the state of Texas,” Doran told the Star-Telegram. “I believe there are numerous criminal investigations going, and a number of charges will eventually come out of those investigations.”

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Religion News Blog posted this on Friday June 20, 2008.
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