DNA taken from baby born to girl who belonged to polygamist sect
SAN ANTONIO — Investigators from the Texas attorney general’s office on Monday took DNA samples from a baby born to a member of a polygamist sect months after a high-profile raid, thwarting efforts by the baby’s mother to prevent the sample from being collected.
Jerry Strickland, a spokesman for the office, confirmed late Monday that investigators executed a search warrant and gathered a DNA swab. The attorney general’s office is handling the prosecution of some members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints accused of charges including bigamy and sexual assault of a child.
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Child-welfare authorities previously tried to examine and collect a sample from the baby born June 14, saying they wanted to establish paternity, but the baby’s 17-year-old mother refused to disclose the child’s whereabouts. A standoff in court in San Angelo on Nov. 25 led to an undisclosed agreement between the two sides.
But the search warrant, obtained in criminal court, forced the issue.
Child Protective Services said in court filings that investigators believe the girl was married to a man in the sect when she was 14. In Texas, someone younger than 17 generally cannot consent to sex with an adult.
Twelve FLDS men, including the sect’s jailed prophet, Warren Jeffs, have been indicted on charges related to underage marriages and bigamy. Jeffs, convicted in Utah as an accomplice to rape, awaits trial in Arizona on other charges related to the marriages of sect girls there.