Tuesday, June 3, 2008

FLDS promises to stop marrying underage girls

The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Of Nazareth Jesus of Latter Day Saints made the startling proclamation Monday that it will no longer let underage misses to get married grownups within their sect.

The determination came on a twenty-four hours when 19 children at two Houston-area grouping places were reunited with their parents, ending a two-month impasse between members of the polygamist Christian church and Lone-Star State Child Protective Services over the hereafter of more than than 400 children. An investigation, meanwhile, goes on into kid maltreatment allegations at the Longing For Sion Ranch in Eldorado.

By day's end, 16 children had been picked up by their parents from the Jim H. Green Kidz Seaport place near Liverpool in Brazoria County and three from Boys and Girls Country near Hockley in Townsend Harris County. Eight remaining at Kidz Seaport and two at Boys and Girls Country will probably be picked up today, functionaries said.

Edson Jessop, 51, stopped for a field day in a Townsend Harris County parkland with his household and friends after he picked up two children — a 5-year-old male child and 3-year-old miss — Monday afternoon at Hockley country facility.

"It's beautiful to have got the kids," Jessop said.

State District Judge Barbara Walther on Monday morning time signed an understanding hammered out over the weekend between about 20 lawyers for Hertz and the children's parents.

Walther, the same justice who ordered the children into surrogate attention nearly two calendar months ago, made the determination after the Lone-Star State Supreme Court last hebdomad sided with the 3rd Court of Appeals that Hertz could have got taken other actions before resorting to remotion of the children from FLDS' spread in Occident Texas.

Jessop said he and his political party were driving back to the spread near El Dorado on Monday nighttime and wanted to halt to eat before the long trip.

"They've been very good," Jessop said of the attention the children had received at the grouping homes.

All smiles
In Brazoria County, a 9-year-old miss wearing her traditional frock shouted, "I love Kidz Harbor!" as she walked out of a grouping place near Liverpool. She hugged respective staff members as she left but was smiling as she joined her household to drive away.

"You acquire very attached to them," state Natana Taylor, a staff member at the home. "They are like your small nieces and nephews, and they run and clinch you every morning."

CPS spokeswoman Estella Olguin said the children peered out of windows at Kidz Seaport and commented that those unusual people were taking their images again.

"I desire to take their picture," one miss shouted. Olguin said she showed the miss how to utilize a cell telephone to take a photograph of the reporters.

Several children left with fishing perches they'd received at the facility, which is on the Banks of Cocoa Bayou, and many left with stuffed playthings and other keepsakes.

Before any kid could be picked up, parents had to demo designation and mark written documents that listed their name, telephone set number, address, and the child's name and day of the month of birth.

Photos were taken of parents and the child, per the judge's order.

Parents must not interfere with the Hertz investigation. They also must advise the federal agency seven years in progress of any child's relocation, 24 hours after any exigency involving the kid and 48 hours in progress of any trip more than 100 statute miles from the child's designated residence.

As the transportations were taking place, Willie Jessop, an FLDS member and the group's Lone-Star State spokesman, said: "In the future, the Christian church perpetrates that it will not preside over any matrimony of any adult female under the age of legal consent in the legal power in which the matrimony takes place."

Following the law
The proclamation uses to both the group's "spiritual" labor unions and legal marriages. The lower limit age to get married in Lone-Star State is 16, but only with parental permission.

"The Christian church believes in purity, cleanliness and innocence, and our children and households are the basis of our lives and religion," Willie Jessop said. "We trust this modest elucidation will relieve recent concerns and let this Christian church and its households to dwell in peace among its neighbors."

CPS functionaries will go on to look into allegations of abuse, particularly that underage misses were forced into "spiritual marriages" with grownup men. The FLDS, which broke from the Mormon Christian church more than a century ago, patterns polygamy. The state of Texas' analogue criminal probe is also continuing.

The children were removed on April 4 and 5 from the spread after a caller, claiming to be an abused 16-year-old wife of one of the Christian church members, contacted a woman's shelter in San Angelo.

The children's lawyers felt alleviation their clients were returning place and were pleased at the agency's actions on Monday.

"I believe the temper is positive, and the parents I have got spoken to honestly desire an chance to work with the section to turn to their concerns that are there," said Andrea Sloan, who stands for respective of the FLDS children.

Chronicle newsmen Terri Langford and Janet Elliott contributed to this report.

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