Texas seizes polygamist sect’s ranch, evicts occupants

Windsor Genova – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

Eldorado, TX, United States (4E) – The 1,600-acre ranch of a polygamist sect near Eldorado, Texas was seized by state authorities and its remaining eight occupants were evicted on Wednesday.

Agents of the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) and the Schleicher County Sheriff’s Office served the court order seizing the Yearning for Zion Ranch owned by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS). The property was forfeited in favor of the state because it was used for criminal activity, according to the court order.

Law enforcers are assisting the ranch occupants with their departure, the DPS said Thursday.

The Attorney General’s Office filed for the seizure of the property in 2012 and obtained the final judgment from the 51st District Court on Jan. 6 because the FLDS did not oppose the legal action.

In 2008, police raided the ranch after a phone call tip about sexual abuse and rape committed inside the property. Some 468 children were removed from the ranch after child protection officials learned that they were married by force to older men in the sect.

FLDS leader Warren Jeffs was one of 11 arrested for sexual abuse and rape. In August 2011, a Texas jury found him guilty of sexual assault of two girls, ages 12 and 15. Jeffs was later sentenced to life imprisonment.

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