Eldorado Investigation

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Texas Department of Family and Protective Services

The largest child protection removal in U.S. history - at the Yearning for Zion Ranch near El Dorado, Texas, last year - is back in the news.  The ranch is a residential compound founded and inhabited by members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

A report confirms the sexual abuse and neglect of 12 girls, ages 12 to 15 at the time, who were married to adult men at the ranch. Seven of the 12 had given birth to one or more children. Forty-three girls ages 12 to17 were removed during the raid, meaning that one in four pubescent girls on the ranch was in an underage marriage.

The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services' months-long investigation into the alleged misdoings also found that 262 other children were subjected to parental neglect when their parents "failed to remove their child from a situation in which the child would be exposed to sexual abuse committed against another child in their family or household." The agency interviewed 146 families for this report. Of those 146, 62 percent had a confirmed finding of child abuse or neglect for at least one child in the household. Free, 21 pages. (512) 438-4800, www.dfps.state.tx.us/documents/about/pdf/2008-12-22_Eldorado.pdf.