Police Gain Access to Polygamist Compound

April 6, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Police have finally gotten access to an enormous temple on the grounds of a west Texas polygamist compound. But they still haven't found the 16-year-old girl whose abuse charges prompted the raid in El Dorado.Police and child welfare officials have taken over 200 children and adults from the compound of a polygamist sect in northwest Texas. "It is very difficult any time Child Protective Services removes children from their parents' homes, one of the most difficult things that we do. We are really trying to make certain that their needs are met. That I would say right now they appear to be doing very well," said Marleigh Meisner with Texas Child Protective Services.

Texas state troopers and child welfare officials raided the compound after receiving allegations of physical abuse from a 16-year-old girl who lives there and still has not been found. She is reportedly married to a 50-year old man who is the father of her child.

While investigators are combing the compound and interviewing sect members, one woman who escaped five years ago with her eight children spoke about the psychological terror that pervades the polygamist cult. "Mind control is so intense. With my children they were terrified when I left. They thought I was taking them to hell and they thought they would be condemned for my actions and they thought they would be destroyed," said Carolyn Jessup, "There is a lot of mind control here. And just layers and layers of things that the authorities have to drill through to get at the truth of what's going on with the girls."

The sect's leader, Warren Jeffs, was sentenced in November to two consecutive terms of five years to life in prison in Utah for being an accomplice to rape. He's now in an Arizona jail awaiting additional rape charges.


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