SAN ANGELO, Texas – Child welfare authorities want a judge to order a teenage member of a polygamist sect to let them collect a DNA sample from her newborn so they can identify the father and determine if he’s an adult.
The girl is a minor and Child Protective Services believes she was married to an adult male in the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints when she was 14, attorney John Dolezal said in the Nov. 14 motion requesting a court order.
In Texas, someone under the age of 17 generally cannot consent to sex with an adult.
The motion says the girl gave birth June 14, less than two weeks after she and the other 438 children taken from the sect’s Yearning For Zion Ranch were returned from foster care to their parents.
A hearing on the motion was scheduled Tuesday.
CPS collected DNA from all the children swept from the ranch in Eldorado in April, but the baby was born after the teen mother was returned to her parents.
The Texas Supreme Court ruled in May that the state had overreached in placing all the children in foster care when it could show no more than a handful of teenage girls had been abused. The children were returned in early June, and only one, a teenage girl whose mother wouldn’t cooperate with child welfare authorities, has been returned to foster care.
All but 36 of the children’s cases have been dropped from court oversight.
Twelve FLDS men have now been indicted on charges related to underage marriages and bigamy.
The FLDS is a breakaway sect of the Mormon church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which renounced polygamy more than a century ago.
Associated Press – November 25, 2008
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