Texas release El Dorado report

What a day to dump the news: Texas Child Protect Services officials release a report justifying the raid on the El Dorado FLDS compound — which resulted in the forcible seizure of more than 400 children — because 12 girls in the cult had been “spiritually married” before age 16:

As a result of this investigation, CPS found that 12 girls who ranged in age from 12 to 15 were victims of sexual abuse at the YFZ Ranch with the knowledge of their parents. Sexual abuse occurred in the case of the 12 girls, who now range in age from 14 to 18, because they were “spiritually” married under age. The earliest marriage was in 2004 and the most recent known marriage took place in July 2006. Two girls were 12 when married; three were 13; two were 14; and five girls were 15 when married. Seven of these girls have had one or more children after marriage.

Now, as I said months ago, if Texas officials are going to launch a paramilitary raid every time a 15-year-old girl gets pregnant, they’re going to need to hire some more SWAT police. In point of fact, Texas leads the nation in teenage pregnancy. The crime that justified this raid in the minds of CPS officials obviously wasn’t that teenage girls were having sex or having babies — that happens every day in Texas — but that they were “married.”

The cost to taxpayers of the raid and investigation was more than $12 million — a million per underage marriage. Twenty-six mothers originally suspected of being underage were eventually determined to be adults. Note well that, although the officials have apparently done DNA testing to determine the paternity of every child in the cult compound, they are still “investigating” the hoax call that led to the raid:

All the children from the ranch were placed in foster care in April after authorities raided it in response to calls to a domestic abuse hot line. Those calls are being investigated as a hoax, though a dozen FLDS men now face charges including sexual abuse and bigamy based on documents and evidence seized at the ranch.
The children were returned to their parents in June after the Texas Supreme Court ruled the state had overstepped in removing all the children when it only had evidence of abuse or neglect involving about a half-dozen girls. Many of the children were boys or younger than 5.

As weird as this FLDS cult is, and as serious as the actual charges are, a $12-million SWAT raid that put more than 400 children into foster care was not the right solution.

UPDATE: In case you are one of the Mahablog readers who has been misdirected here by a link intended to send you to Dennis Prager, I apologize. As to my own argument — that Texas child-welfare officials overreacted by seizing all 432 children at the El Dorado compound — this gets twisted by Mahablog into “an apology for sexual exploitation and forced marriage of girls as young as 12.” Of course, there is no such apology intended, and only a willful misreading could lead to such a conclusion.

Mahablog then goes on to argue that “movement conservatism is, at base, a kind of psychological-sexual dysfunction” — the old Adorno/Marcuse/Frankfurt School theory. It is as wrong today as when it was first promulgated in 1950. To disagree with liberals about the proper scope of government power is not evidence of a mental disorder, and repetition of the libel does not make it so.

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