Child Abuse Raid Still a Mystery a Year Later

A year ago today, Texas officials launched one of the largest child abuse investigations in American history. As Nathan Bernier reports, the custody battle is over, but questions over what to do next still linger.


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The raid that began April 3rd was sparked by an anonymous call — and resulted in more than four-hundred children being removed from the Yearning For Zion Ranch outside Eldorado, Texas. The compound is owned by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, a religious community that practices polygamy. The Texas Supreme Court ultimately ruled that Child Protective Services overstepped its bounds by treating the entire community as a single family. One year later, almost all of the kids are back with their parents.

Scot: “We had an opportunity with a microscope of the world looking in to say, ‘Our system is flawed, how can we truly make this better for families?'”

Johana Scot runs the Parent Guidance Center. The organization advocates for parents whose children are taken into C.P.S custody. They advised some FLDS parents.

Scot: “We’re not getting rid of anonymous reporting, which is what we should be doing. We’re not getting rid of the fact that we can do these things with absolutely no evidence. You yell at your children and someone sees you and they can make a call on you.”

C.P.S released a final report on the raid two days before Christmas. Of the more four-hundred children taken into state custody, C.P.S said twelve had been sexually abused. Former FLDS member Flora Jessop applauds the state’s efforts.

Jessop: “I don’t think that they overstepped their bounds because they got a call from what was supposed to be a child in need, and they went to do their job. What they found was so overwhelming that their hands were tied. What do you do with 400 children?”

Members of the FLDS are planning to mark the one-year anniversary of the raid with a gathering this afternoon at Fort Concho in San Angelo.

I’m Nathan Bernier in Austin.

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