This needs to be handled by the local law enforcement agents and local judiciary. They need to gather evidence against applicable laws and proceed accordingly. If there is justifiable suspicion of immediate danger to life then a court order needs to be obtained with appropriate follow-up.
The guiding principal in all such situations is that we must always remain a nation of laws, diligently protecting our constitutional liberties by affording every citizen the right to due process.
Last I checked, we believed in innocence until proven guilty. Only in cases where there is clear evidence and the people have been arrested should the children not be with their family. Otherwise, if there are no charges, the kids should be back with the parents. That's the way the justice system works.
The government has no right to go in to this compound and rip away these children from their families. Just because one woman claimed she was sexually abused (which is horrible if true) they should not remove all of the children.
That's the same as saying because one child in your neighborhood was molested that every child should be removed until they government can "figure it out".
Living in SoFla when the Elián González event took place. I am very much a person who believes in parental rights. Even in cases of Statutory Rape we do not remove the child from the custody of the parents. I am not condoning their behavior or actions. However unless there is abuse I don't think the government should revoke their rights as parents.
If the ensuing investigation and probable trials reveal that everyone was over 18 when the sex occurred, and that it was consensual, then yes, they should be returned.
If either male or females were forced into having sex before 18, then that's statutory rape, and in no way should they be returned to the parent that committed the rape, who should be in jail.
Morally, I don't have a problem with their polygamy - if all of the parties agree then I certainly don't have a say in it. Not for me, but not my decision for them. Underage forced sex and marriage is another matter entirely, and I think the letter of the law should be strictly enforced.
One thing that disturbs me greatly though are the remarks I heard on NPR recently by I think the TX Attorney General, urging the Az and UT A/G's to go into the night, throw everyone in polygamist communities into the street, and demand birth certificates and DNA samples right then and there.
To their credit, both AZ and UT A/G's had strong remarks rebuting him. This is still America, and no innocent person should ever be treated like that. Polygamy, I understand, is not even illegal in this country.
That struck me as far too much like Nazi Germany than anything else, and I'm beginning to fear that the officials down there are grand standing. I hope not.
There appears to be a large amount of evidence that indicates that there was significant amounts of sexual, physical and emotional abuse that was occurring at the compound. Removing the children from the facility immediately was the best option until they can sort out exactly what was going on in that place.
Although it is almost ALWAYS best to let children stay with their families, in a case like this that is not what is best for the children. Until further investigation can be done as far as the extent of the activities conducted in this compound, these children should be well cared for in a completely different place. Perhaps, in the future, when the marital and family relations are better sorted out, the crimes are better defined, and the extent of the sexual, physical, and emotional abuse that went on here is uncovered and exposed, some of these children can be returned to live with their biological parents. But not until much more has been done to secure their welfare in living in such a place.
So are you saying that due process should be denied until things can be "sorted out"? What about innocent until proven guilty? Just because they're Mormon doesn't mean that they don't deserve the same rights that you and I expect.
The government has not been able to prove that there has been any wrongdoing on anyone's part in the compound. Those people freely choose to live there and we should not interfere with that decision.
Time2Golf, this is due process. Due process is a legal process, in this situation, includes removal of minors from potentially harmful situations until that it can be established that they are under no risk.
If someone is sexually abusing their child, should we wait until a court has decided guilt to remove that child from the situation? Your argument is based on the assumption that they are not being harmed and that leaving them in the home is better than removing them from it. However, what if they are being abused? Can you justify allowing them to spend one more moment in that abusive context?
It's certainly a horror story when a child is taken from a parent who has done nothing wrong. However, it is much more horrific when a child in left with a parent who has.
Twelve and thirteen year old girls who were being sexually abused and forced to bear children chose to live there? I'm sorry, I don't think you can say they chose that...and that is where the government stepped in. Just as the government steps in on other issues that are non-polygamist/religious based that place children in danger.
Whatever the courts decide I will probably go along with, provided there wasn't any corruption or mishandling of the case. If what is being said about this group is true there isn't any doubt in my mind that the best thing for these kids is to be placed in homes run by responsible, sane adults.
I won't say whether or not I think the parents/cult are guilty. As far as I know the case hasn't been decided on and well-researched enough for me to make an objective statement one way or another.
According to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services children should be removed only "to protect them from abuse or neglect and when there are no reasonable efforts CPS can make to provide for the children’s safety and prevent their removal." This was the case in the Texas Polygamist compound, thus the authorities were following not only the law, but what was in the best interest for these children.
The CPS is allowed by law to remove children for abuse and neglect or for being at risk of abuse or neglect and the person taking possession of the child has sufficient knowledge or reason to believe that there is an immediate danger to the physical health or safety of the child or the child has been the victim of sexual abuse.
A Parent's Guide to a Child Protective Services (CPS) Investigation (www.dfps.state.tx.us)
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