Report: Raid on Polygamous Sect Justified Last April Texas law enforcement officials raided the compound of the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints in Eldorado, Texas. A report last week contends the raid was justified.
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Report: Raid on Polygamous Sect Justified

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Report: Raid on Polygamous Sect Justified

Report: Raid on Polygamous Sect Justified

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ALEX COHEN, host:

From NPR News, it's Day to Day. This week, we've been checking back in with some of the reports we brought you in 2008. It's a little end-of-the-year tradition we call holiday leftovers. Today, we revisit the story of the Texas compound of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, also known as FLDS.

FLDS has been accused of forcing underage girls to marry adult men. For more, we turned to Salt Lake Tribune reporter Brooke Adams, and, Brooke, many people likely remember this story. Hundreds of children were removed from the ranch in April. And later on, they were returned to their family. When did that happen and why?

Ms. BROOKE ADAMS (Reporter, Salt Lake Tribune): They were returned to their families in June - actually on June 2nd after first the Texas Court of Appeals and then the Texas Supreme Court ruled that a San Angelo judge didn't have enough evidence to hold all of them in custody.

COHEN: And so they went back to their families. You wrote about a new report that was released just last week. There was a commission that reported on FLDS. What were some of their key findings?

Ms. ADAMS: The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services found that there were 12 young girls ranging in age from 12 to 15 who had been married to older men. It's unclear from the report whether all of those marriages took place at the ranch, but that's where they found the evidence for that. And of those 12 girls, seven of them have had children, which is interesting. The girls now range in age from 14 to 18, so many of them are still minors. The youngest of those girls, I will say, however, have not had children.

COHEN: Brooke, how has the FLDS responded to this?

Ms. ADAMS: They responded with their own report, and their primary complaint is that the state made these allegations or findings about the 12 girls without letting them address those allegations in court.

They also brought up a lot of the original things that had happened during the raid about how the women and children were treated, and they also point out, which was maybe one of their strongest points, that there were a number of families who there were no findings of abuse or neglect that were also caught up in this event and have never had even an apology from the state.

COHEN: Meanwhile, a former FLDS leader, Warren Jeffs, is serving 10 years to life in a separate case from 2007. He's appealing that sentence in the Utah Supreme Court. What's the latest on that front?

Ms. ADAMS: Nothing has moved yet in the appeal here in the state of Utah. Warren also has a case pending in Arizona. And that - the status of that case is that his attorney is currently doing depositions or interviews with law officers in Texas and with anti-polygamy activists in Arizona prior to going to trial in that case.

COHEN: This has been such an extraordinary story. Looking back on covering it, Brooke, is there one moment that stands out to you from all of your reporting?

Ms. ADAMS: Well, two maybe. First of all, the very raid itself was astonishing because of how closely it paralleled the 1953 raid on this same community. So that was a really moving moment to watch this under way as they removed the children and women from the ranch.

And then, I guess, the second moment was when the first court ruling came down in Texas. I happened to be sitting in a cafe about a block from the court house when the Texas Court of Appeals ruled that the judge did not have sufficient evidence to hold the children, and there were other reporters in the room, and you could just see an electric buzz go through this cafe as we all furiously began typing on our computers and then dashed over to the courthouse to try find out more about what was happening.

COHEN: Salt Lake Tribune reporter Brooke Adams, thank you.

Ms. ADAMS: You're welcome.

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