Texas drops cases involving 49 more kids
SAN ANGELO, Texas - Child welfare authorities have moved to drop cases involving another 49 children from a polygamous sect.
Requests to dismiss the cases were filed in Tom Green County Court Friday, said Patrick Crimmins, a spokesman for Texas Child Protective Services.
To date, CPS has dropped cases involving approximately 150 FLDS children removed last April from the Yearning for Zion Ranch, home to members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
The Texas Supreme Court later ordered the children's release from state custody, finding a lack of evidence that they were all in danger.
The dismissals have cited reasons that include teens turning 18, parents completing court requirements and a family's lack of history of underage marriage or abuse.
Still pending are cases involving another 290 children. One girl has been returned to state custody - a 14-year-old apparently married to the sect's leader, Warren S. Jeffs, at age 12.
- Brooke Adams
SAN ANGELO, Texas - Attorneys representing a polygamous sect have asked Texas authorities to disclose the three individuals indicted by a grand jury Thursday so the FLDS members can voluntarily surrender to the Schleicher County Sheriff's Office.
In a letter sent to the Texas Attorney General's Office today, attorneys Cynthia Orr and Gerald Goldstein reiterated an offer made before Thursday's session to cooperate if the jury issued any indictments.
The attorneys said that upon notice of any indictments, the individuals named would voluntarily surrender "at Sheriff [David] Doran's office with dispatch."
The letter also requested that there be a discussion of a reasonable bail amount because those indicted, all members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, "do not present a flight risk and will present themselves whenever the court deems appropriate."
On Thursday, the Schleicher County Grand Jury indicted three individuals on felony charges. The Attorney General's Office declined to specify the nature of the charges or the individual's names until they have been arrested.
In July, the grand jury indicted six individuals, including jailed sect leader Warren S. Jeffs. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott disclosed Jeffs' name immediately because he is already in custody.
The other men's names were released about a week later when, as the sect agreed it would do, they voluntarily turned themselves into to the Schleicher County Sheriff's Office.
Each of those men faces one felony count of sexual assault related to underage marriages; one man also was charged with bigamy. Bail was set at $100,000 per charge, a total of $500,000.
A sixth man was charged with three misdemeanor counts of failure to report child abuse and posted $5,000 bail on each charge, for a total of $15,000.
The men facing felony charges are due back in court Sept. 8, when they will request that travel restrictions be lifted.
Michael Emack, a contractor, said in a court filing that he is a permanent resident of Utah and that without his vehicle and work tools he is unable to make a living to pay living and legal expenses or support his family.
Raymond Jessop will ask the court for permission to travel to Idaho to work in construction, a court document states.
A hearing is set for Sept. 3 to consider dueling motions over the representation of Teresa Jeffs, 17, who no longer wants to be represented by attorney Natalie Malonis.
The grand jury meets again Sept. 23 to consider additional evidence of criminal behavior of sect members.