Hearings Begin in Polygamist Sect Cases

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

SAN ANGELO, Texas (AP) - A state child welfare caseworker says a
6-year-old son of polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs suffered NO
physical or sexual abuse while living with his mother at the
group's West Texas ranch.
The testimony of caseworker Joni Manske came today in one of several hearings in San Angelo which more than 400 individual cases are being considered.
The massive custody cases opened today in all five of Tom Green
County's courtrooms, with parents learning what they must do to
regain custody of the children. The hearings are expected to last
three weeks.
Texas authorities have 463 children in foster care. They were
taken because of allegations that members of the Fundamentalist
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints were forcing underage
girls into marriage and sex at the sect's compound in Eldorado.
The attorney for the boy's 34-year-old mother, Sharon Barlow,
objected to a state plan for her to get the boy back, saying it
wasn't clear enough. Under the plan, Barlow must take parenting
classes, find a safe living environment and undergo a psychological
evaluation. Her attorney, Donna Guion, said the plan was
so vague and broad that Barlow has no idea what she's to do.


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