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Lawyer: FLDS girl isn't pregnant
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2008, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

SAN ANGELO, Texas - A lawyer for a 14-year-old FLDS girl argues her client - listed by the state of Texas as an underage mother - is not pregnant and does not have children.

Attorney Andrea Sloan with the Texas Advocacy Project said the girl has taken a pregnancy test to confirm she is not pregnant.

Texas child welfare officials originally claimed 31 girls from the YFZ Ranch between the ages 14 to 17 were either pregnant, have children or both.

So far, however, they have acknowledged that 11 girls are actually adults. At least six more are likely to get that designation today, when status hearings resume at the Tom Green County Courthouse.

Sloan said her client is the youngest girl included on the list. While a judge told her the girl's status was not relevant to Wednesday's hearing, Sloan said the record should be corrected because Texas Child Protective Services has used the girl to mislead the public. Doing so would improve the mother's chances of regaining custody of the girl, Sloan added.

District Judge John Specia told Sloan to work with CPS to get the girl's status clarified.

In afternoon hearings, state attorneys acknowledged another three mothers are adults: Barbara Joy Jessop, Lenora Jeffs and Janet Jeffs Jessop.

Judge Jay Weatherby ordered CPS to quickly move Barbara Joy Jessop and her 8-month-old daughter quickly to a family shelter where she will be allowed more freedom than the facility where they are currently housed.

Attorneys for parents and children continued Wednesday to seek modifications to the boilerplate service plans the state has set up, arguing neither the claims nor remedies fit their clients.

And the requirements may set parents up for failure, attorneys said, as they crisscross Texas trying to hold down jobs and visit their children.

Parents' suggestions for modifying the plans have been rejected by the judges.

Caseworkers acknowledged they had little to do with crafting the one-size-fits-all plan, which they said was put together by "culturally sensitive" experts.

A CPS spokeswoman told The Salt Lake Tribune that psychologists and psychiatrists from across the country helped write the plan, but said specific names of those individuals weren't available. The plan calls for the parents to undergo psychological evaluations, take parenting classes, get jobs and live independently.

Many FLDS women have already moved, gotten jobs and begun lining up evaluations in hopes they will be accepted by CPS.

Sarah Draper, 37, has moved to Abilene, Texas, and taken a job as a registered nurse to be near her four children, who are in Hendrick Home.

"I feel very blessed," she said, praising the facility and its activities, which have included trips to the zoo and a local fire department.

Inexplicably, caregivers there told Draper on Monday her children would no longer be allowed to participate in off-campus excursions. No one could explain why or who ordered the change.

"And frankly, I would rather have my children going to the fire department than sitting in front of television all day," she said.

brooke@sltrib.com

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