By Kimberly Reeves
Thu., Nov. 29 2012
Attorney General Greg Abbott has moved to seize a 1,700-acre ranch in West Texas, the scene of a 2008 raid of a polygamous sect accused of rampant sexual abuse and underage marriage in the name of religion.
Warren Jeffs, the one-time prophet of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, currently is serving a life sentence for sexual assault of children in an East Texas prison. It’s only the latest in a string of states that have wanted to prosecute Jeffs for his activities in Utah, Arizona and Texas.
Four years after the initial raid, the state has successfully prosecuted nine men in the sect, with convictions on both sex abuse and bigamy. The seizure of the Yearning for Zion Ranch, however, would be a death blow in Texas for the church, which appears to have scattered to various other states where FLDS holds property.
“Based upon the evidence reviewed in this case, Affiant believes that the suspected place was designed, improved and adapted in such a manner as illicit schemes and criminal activity described in this affidavit avoid detection by law enforcement,” Sgt. Mario Martinez wrote in the warrant. “The isolation and security of this community also helped facilitate the identified criminal offenses and ensured said criminal conduct would not be reported to law enforcement.”
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