Court of Appeals of Texas
2008 WL 2132014 (Tex. App. 2008)
The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) (plaintiff) received a distress call from a child living on the Yearning for Zion Ranch, which was associated with the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS). DFPS interviewed the children on the ranch and found that five minors were or had been pregnant. DFPS also found that FLDS had a pervasive belief system that condoned polygamous marriage, underage marriage, and underage child-bearing. DFPS alleged immediate danger to the children’s physical health and safety and petitioned the district court to remove all of the children who were living on the ranch. DFPS argued that the girls on the ranch who had reached puberty were in immediate danger due to the ranch’s condoning of underage pregnancy. DFPS also argued that all of the children were in danger due to the pervasive belief system, which taught boys to commit sexual abuse later in life and girls to submit to sexual abuse after reaching puberty. The district court granted the petition, issuing temporary orders naming DFPS as the custodian of the children. The Relators (defendants), consisting of 38 women living on the ranch whose children had been taken into custody but were not and had not been pregnant, petitioned the Texas Court of Appeals for a writ of mandamus, seeking to vacate the district court’s order and retain custody of their children during litigation of the issue.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Per curiam)
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