UPDATE 7:08 p.m.; April 28: The Associated Press reports that the young woman gave birth to a healthy boy. The agency quotes CPS spokesperson Patrick Crimmins as saying, “The boy is healthy and the mother is doing well.” | » Read the story
by BRAD ROLLINS
A young woman removed from a polygamist sect’s ranch in West Texas is at Central Texas Medical Center giving birth as state troopers stand guard outside.
The teenager was admitted to San Marcos’ hospital and was in labor, Rod Parker, a spokesman for the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, told the Associated Press. He contends she is 18, but state officials have the girl on a list of minors taken into state custody.
Two armed state troopers and at least one person wearing the shirt of a Department of Family and Protective Services worker stood outside the maternity ward. A woman wearing the FLDS’s trademark pastel prairie dress and upswept braided hair sat calmly in the nearby waiting room, the Associated Press reported. All declined to comment, as did a woman who said she was the girl’s attorney.
A San Marcos Mercury reporter was turned away by troopers at the second-floor entrance to the maternity ward. The officers referred questions to hospital spokesperson Clay DeStefano, who declined to comment.
“We really want to respect the privacy of all our patients,” DeStefano said outside the hospital as news vans gathered in a vacant lot across Wonder World Drive.
State officials raided the FLDS’s Yearning For Zion Ranch in Eldorado on April 3. They took custody of 463 children on the belief that the sect’s practice of underage and polygamous spiritual marriages endangered the children.
A number of girls first listed as adults were reclassified as minors as Child Protective Services, a division of Family and Protective Services, moved the children last week from a mass shelter in San Angelo to foster care facilities around the state, including some near San Marcos, the Associated Press reported.
On Monday, CPS announced that almost 60 percent of the underage girls living on the Eldorado ranch either have children or are pregnant, the Associated Press reported. Of the 53 girls between the ages of 14 and 17 who are in state custody, 31 either have given birth or are expecting, a CPS spokesperson said.
— REPORTING BY THE ASSOCIATED PRESS USED THROUGHOUTEmail | Print