Skip to comments.Cost of Polygamist Case Tops $7 Million
Posted on 06/04/2008 4:25:34 PM PDT by FreeInWV
Removing 460 children from a polygamist sect compound and then reuniting them with their families will cost Texas $7 million, according to the state Department of Family and Protective Services.
The children were ordered returned to their families this week after the Texas Supreme Court found that the state did not have enough evidence to show that abuse was happening at the Yearning for Zion ranch near Eldorado.
Custody Battle Over Sect ChildrenMike Stone, ReutersA woman and two children from a polygamist sect in Eldorado, Texas, prepare to return home Tuesday after sect children were ordered reunited with their families. The order followed a Texas Supreme Court ruling that authorities had no grounds to remove 460 children from the sect.
The price tag includes costs from fighting a court battle to retain custody of the children, attempting to determine their parentage through DNA testing and reuniting the children with their parents.
The $7 million does not include more than $500,000 in estimated costs incurred by local governments whose law enforcement agencies were involved in the April 3 ranch raid, according to a budgetary presentation given to Texas lawmakers last month.
The raid was prompted by an anonymous caller who claimed that men at the ranch were involved in sexual relationships with young girls.
The ranch is owned by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, a Mormon offshoot that practices polygamy. Child welfare officials said they found a "pervasive pattern" of sexual abuse through forced marriages between underage girls and older men. FLDS members have denied that any sexual abuse occurred and say they are being persecuted because of their religion.
Albert Hawkins, executive commissioner of Texas Health and Human Services, told the state Senate Finance Committee that as of May 15, the state had spent more than $5.2 million to provide food, shelter and counseling to the FLDS children. The bulk of those costs included employee overtime and transportation, Hawkins said.
Meanwhile, a state district judge told senators that legal costs in the case had topped $2.2 million. Most of that burden falls on Tom Green County, where the district court hearings were taking place, and Schleicher County, where the ranch is located, said Judge Ben Woodward, according to a Senate statement.
Neither county, Woodward said, has the money to cover the legal costs. "We're at a point now where we're going to start limping along pretty badly," he said.
The court costs estimate, presented to the Senate on May 20, does not appear to reflect the cost of an appeal handled by the Texas 3rd District Court of Appeals. The appeals court overturned the district court's ruling that the children should remain in state custody.
For comparison, $7 million would pay for 137 police officers in the city of Mesquite, Texas, at a salary of $51,060, according to a figure from a job posting. It would also pay for 180 new teachers at the average statewide salary of $38,857 given by the Texas State Board for Educator Certification and would more than double resources available for a state program aimed at children of incarcerated parents, according to the state's budget for fiscal 2008-09. In that budget, the program receives $5 million.
Texas Child Protective Services referred all questions about the costs of the operation to the state's Health and Human Services department. In response to the Texas Supreme Court ruling last week, CPS said in a statement that it "has one purpose in this case: to protect the children. Our goal is to reunite families whenever we can do so and make sure the children will be safe."
The removal of the children was thought to be the largest child protection case in the nation's history. If they had remained in state custody, Hawkins told lawmakers, the estimated monthly cost for their care would have been $1.3 million.
District Judge Barbara Walther, who decided after a chaotic hearing last month that the state would retain custody of the children, also ordered DNA testing to identify parents and children, as child protection officials said they were thwarted by FLDS members who gave them conflicting or misleading information about their names, ages and familial ties.
Those DNA test results, obtained by a North Carolina lab, were beginning to come in Tuesday, the Child Support Division of the Texas Attorney General's Office said. The lab was starting to deliver reports to the court, the office said, and CPS should have them by the end of the week.
Some 599 DNA samples were taken, the office said. Of those, only 36 were of adult males. Now that the children are being returned, CPS will decide how to use the results in its continuing case involving its oversight of the FLDS.
State Sen. Steve Ogden told officials during the hearing that the final costs would probably be more than the estimated figures presented.
"The cost of this operation is going to be a lot more than is on this sheet of paper," he said. "It doesn't reflect what is going on now, and there are huge legal costs out there that we haven't even discussed yet."
He asked officials to rework their analyses of future costs so the state isn't caught by surprise when the next legislative session begins in January.
However, all that is largely a moot point now, as FLDS children were allowed to reunite with their families beginning Monday. Though the state Supreme Court upheld the ruling that the state had no right to seize the 460 children, the justices said that court oversight of the FLDS could be accomplished through other means.
Also during the hearing, state Sen. Bob Duell questioned whether Texas could force FLDS adults to bear some of the costs. However, given the subsequent court decisions, it appears unlikely the FLDS could be forced to bear any financial responsibility.
To those familiar with FLDS history, the raid called to mind a 1953 mass arrest in the hamlet of Short Creek on the Utah-Arizona state line. More than 400 FLDS members were arrested and more than 200 children taken into foster care. However, news photographs of wailing mothers and children won public sympathy, and the raid backfired on then-Arizona Gov. Howard Pyle, who ordered it. In the next election, Pyle was voted out of office.
"For 50 years, [the FLDS] used the Short Creek raid as [a] reason to keep their people secretive and isolated," Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff told the Los Angeles Times in a story Saturday. "We said that was not going to happen again. Well, it has happened again."
Eldorado residents, meanwhile, expressed frustration with the outcome of the raid and the court's finding that the state had no right to remove the children.
"I said from the word go, if there's sex with underage girls, nail their butt," Curtis Griffin, owner of the local fuel depot, told the Los Angeles Times. "But nail the right people. We're going to wind up with a $30 million bill here in this little county because these people didn't have their ducks in a row."
Actually, he has a very valid point. The Baptists had to have been fully involved prior to the raid. They were briefed about what was going on and had buy in. They volunteered and arranged buses & housing.
The groups have an adversarial relationship. They both feel that their beliefs are correct and that they know what is best for the children and everyone involved. Instead of chartering buses or borrowing them from the public school system, the CPS chose to haul the FLDS children away in buses of their known adversary. The parents obviously suspected that their children would be taken away and indoctrinated with the beliefs of the Baptists. There was some truth to their fears. The CPS arranged for public schooling and placed many of them in religious homes. Here is where they were housed:
Amarillo: Cal Farleys Boys Ranch, Presbyterian Home
Midland: High Sky Childrens Ranch
Abilene: Hendrick Home for Children
Fort Worth: Assessment Center of Tarrant County, Catholic Charities
Waxahachie: Presbyterian Home
Houston: Kidz Harbor, Boys and Girls Country
Waco: Methodist Childrens Home
Austin: Austin Childrens Shelter
Round Rock: Baptist Childrens Home Ministries Residential Emergency Shelter
San Antonio: St. Peters/St. Joseph Emergency Shelter
Converse: Boysville of Texas, Inc.
Corpus Christi: The Ark Assessment Center and Emergency Shelter.
Did you get angry when you read it? That is the reason for changing the wording but not the meaning. It is also the answer to Alice's question.
Why do you need to know what church someone goes to? Its not your business. I go to a few myself depending on where I happen to be. Its is getting really old with you & many of the pro FLDS group.
I could care less what Church you go to, but if your Church helps enable immoral or illegal activities I am free to mock it. Surely you FLDS bashers can sympathize with that.
CPS went in saw danger in their opinion & even if it was wrong they did what they felt was correct.
So as long as the CPS feels that they are doing the right thing that makes whatever they do ok? I once heard that the road to hell was paved with good intentions. I bet you think that it is ok to ignore that pesky Constitution whenever it gets in the way of doing good.
Is it a known fact boys are tossed out of this CULT? Why yes it is. Is it a know fact there are women who had babies as teens?..Why yes it is. Is it a known fact that the FLDS women lied?..Again yes.
Your 'facts' are all wrong except for Teen pregnancies, but Teen pregnancies aren't necessarily illegal and the youngest pregnancy now alleged by the CPS is a 16 year old.
Its too bad that CPS didn't have a solid case before they went in YFZ ranch. I don't like CPS at all.
Then the CPS should be punished not the FLDS.
I hate the fact that we all pay for a bunch of men to have multi-wives & tons of children. Its called Bleeding the Beast...Again I am correct.
Again you seem to be factually challenged, the FLDS in YFZ weren't receiving any government money at all except for some elderly people who are receiving SS benefits. Would you deny seniors SS simply because they are cult members?
People like you make me ashamed to be a FReeper.
I must have touched a nerve. Good :)
If defending the constitution offends you, I am pleased to offend you.
If the buses had come from the local shul, would you have written the following?
I want to know if this judge is Jewish. The reason Im asking is because they used synagogue buses to cart away the children and Jews volunteered to care for the children after they were rounded up at gunpoint. Furthermore, I want to know how many of the law enforcement thugs who went in there were Jews . . . thinking they are doing God a great big favor!
“I am a Christian, and I belong to no denomination. ...Except that Mormons think I am one of them for some reason.”
I heard you were a Martian, and that you had two heads and six legs.
Can you tell me why there is such rage they were used? Maybe that is all the buses they had right there. I don't know why they were used. Maybe the LDS could have stepped in & brought their buses. I really don't see the need for the outrage that Baptist buses were used. It is only a bus! The Baptists offered help & gave it when it was needed. Placement for the children was also needed & TX needed that help. Why didn't the LDS offer help? I don't buy into the fact that CPS used the Baptists to help so they could push the Baptist religion on the FLDS children. I believe the Baptists even gave the FLDS children bikes too. Now I don't know if they are allowed them on YFZ ranch but I think they were given out right to the children, those rotten people! Do people think the Baptists were going to steal these kids or do something wicked to them? If so I would like to know about it & see a source so I can understand the rage etc.
What I do take offense at is the fact that He can take words & twist & change them. Comparing CPS & the FLDS children to Germans & Jews is not needed. Calling names & fighting makes FR look asinine to people who lurk. People should be able to agree to disagree.
I don't like what CPS did & I surely don't like what has gone on in the FLDS. However that is CPS's job & what they saw the acted on. I hope the teen brides & babies stop now. I have read many stories about how it was before Warren took over. His own father told him to keep the legal age with marriage. He should have. Seems to me had he this wouldn't be an issue. I also have had a problem with CPS going in on a call that didn't go directly to CPS. However even before the raid on YFZ ranch there were stories about the abuse of women in the Jeffs sect & the Kingston sects & Tom Green's sect etc. So if we knew there were things happening with these polygamists I think we should have done something years ago.
You want to be a polygamist , fine. Just don't expect the taxpayers to pay for your ticket to heaven! Be a man & support your children & wives. Stop welfare fraud aka Bleeding the Beast. I don't know if it went on in TX . I just find it odd that the FLDS hates the very people they take welfare from.
If I get called names again for being against polygamy & the rape of teenage girls so be it. I will be back Monday to address any as I will be away. I just don't care. But it is making FR look like all we do is fight. Thats not good. We all should have respect for each other's beliefs. I do wonder though why its alright for this to happen in a religious sect for some posters. Yet those posters wouldn't want child molesters let out of jail...Have a safe, happy weekend. Pandora
Any minor dependent of a senior who is receiving social security is also receiving benefits.
If I was receiving $1,000 per month in social security benefits and I had one minor child, that child would receive half my benefit or $500 per month. With two minor children, it would be an extra $1,000 per month. If I had 10 minor children (not unheard of within this cult) I would get $6,000 monthly from social security.
Seems to me that you will mock anything & everything that you feel like mocking. Support the FLDS. That is your right IMO. It is my right to not support them & the practice of polygamy. Or am I wrong? It is a known fact that there are in the Jeffs sects teen brides that were very young. Maybe not in TX but in the other compounds.
You, LeGrande are looking for a fight & its clear you will support the FLDS along with some others forever. So there are no Lost Boys? lmao! All the facts I have are wrong according to you. So be it. I suppose all the ex members are liars too? So you can bash churches but nobody else should question the FLDS. OK.....
I think CPS will be changing its way of doing things & that may be a good thing. I don't mind paying for people to live who need the money. I just resent paying for men to have child brides & tons of children.
I would love to keep going with you but I have to go camping now. So kindly put off your posts to me until Monday. Then we can pick it up again. Maybe you can show me that there are no boys tossed out of any of the Jeffs compounds. Even though I have watched many shows on them. Maybe you can get me to believe it is normal for a old man to marry a 12 yr old too.
Have a safe & good weekend. Pandora
“Apparently they did, and the CPS refused to accept their proof until forced by a judge. “
So, faced with this lack of cooperation, and seeing that they would be unable to do their job, they went to the Judge who eventually ordered all the children removed.
So now you have to take the children, but the questionables keep changing their stories, and there are some who are obviously older, but are lying so they can go with their child.
And then you have one who wants to go, then decides not to.
But, it must be evaluated as the major reason why the children had to be taken, and why we now have these cases where a woman was ‘guessed’ or ‘accepted at her word’ on being a child.
Once the CPS thought they ‘knew’ or had accepted the ages of the so-called children, then, by law, only the Judge could make any ‘changes’ to the ‘status’ of those ‘children’.
That is why it was done, in court, and not a moment sooner.
So, if some if someone called in an anonymous complaint about child abuse at a Baptist summer camp, the CPS showed up at the camp with FLDS elders and anti-Baptist activists advising them, seized the children and hauled them away in FLDS buses to a FLDS children’s home, you would be OK with it?
I didn't know that : ) My understanding though, is that no minor children are receiving SS benefits.
If they are in other States then they don't have anything to do with what happened in Texas do they?
All the facts I have are wrong according to you.
Can you name a single 'fact' that the CPS has alleged in the case that is true? As far as I can tell, every single allegation that the CPS has made has turned out to be false.
I think CPS will be changing its way of doing things & that may be a good thing.
Maybe you can show me that there are no boys tossed out of any of the Jeffs compounds. Even though I have watched many shows on them. Maybe you can get me to believe it is normal for a old man to marry a 12 yr old too.
Why would I show you that boys never got tossed out or that it is normal for an old man to marry a 12 year old? Do you want to tell me why Gay marriage is a normal and good thing?
No I am highly disgusted about it & believe it is very wrong. I pray you aren't in support of that....
I don't like CPS however I know how they work. My neighbor is a NJ DYFS worker & she tells me horror stories. I don't know why they removed all the children. Was it the rumors that were flying all over? Maybe. But LeGrande can you honestly tell me in all of the Jeffs sects/compounds theres no abuse of women , children & underage marriage? Or of men getting ripped from their families. I don't care if its TX, UT or AZ. Do you think I want to believe that ANY religion would do as the FLDS is said to have done? If so you are very wrong .
I want to learn about this & if you have the time to freepmail me about where I've gone wrong in my thinking over the weekend please do. I don't like abuse of any kind.
Now I really have to get off here & go camping in a thunder storm. Thank you for your info. Pandora
I would never send my child to any overnight camp. I've heard enough stories about abuse in them too.
I recently looked into it because I have two grandchildren living with me.
In the Q&A section of their website, they state the following:
Q: Does anyone at the Ranch receive any Welfare assistance from any State or Federal government agency?
A: There are a few handicapped and retired elderly people that are receiving Social Security Income. This is the only government assistance received by anyone at the Ranch.
But is that the truth?
One of the women at YFZ was Sarah Barlow Draper. Before Warren Jeffs reassigned her, she was the wife of Dan Barlow, the mayor of Colorado City. Warren kicked Dan out. Later his teenaged son, Gideon, was also kicked out and became a “Lost Boy”. Dan, who is in his 70’s, continued to collect benefits for the boy.
Not so sure. The children’s DNA was taken while they were in the custody of the state. This custody was over-ridden by the higher courts. Parents DNA alone will do nothing.
This was part of what I tried to explain early on. IF there are true rapist in the compoud, why would they voluntarily come forward and incriminate themselves?
Certainly the FLDS have abused women and children, etc. etc. I would love to see the FLDS perps charged and convicted, who wouldn't?
The problem though is that the CPS not only did almost everything you have accused the FLDS men of doing, but their actions are going to make it almost impossible to prosecute the FLDS men. Breaking the law to protect the law desecrates the law.
You stil don’t know it, because it is not true.
SS benefits cap out, at some number of dollars per dependant, or some number of dollars per group of dependants.
The max is about $3,200 per month.
The $6,000/month figure is a sock of cr@p.
Does SS make payments to bastard children? That is your question isn't it? I don't know the answer.
If it does, should we change the SS laws? Or would that be impossible because nothing is too good for the Children®.