Systemic child abuse does not go on at a polygamous sect compound in Texas, and outsiders need to mind their own business, sect members said Monday as they continued their media campaign to be left alone to live their lives and practice their religion.
“The whole community has sort of been arrested,” a woman identified only as Janet told TODAY’s Meredith Vieira in a live interview from the sect’s 1,700-acre ranch in Eldorado, Texas. “We don’t think it’s being just at all.”
Two weeks ago, police and Texas Child Protection Services officials raided the camp after they said they received a call from a 16-year-old girl who claimed she had been forced to marry and was being physically and sexually abused.
More than 400 children were removed from the compound and are being kept separated from their parents while court-ordered DNA tests are carried out to determine which children belong to which parents and a judge determines if the children are being abused.
“We understand their concerns,” Janet said.
But she also said that if there were one case of abuse on the ranch, it doesn’t justify removing all the children.
Another sect member identified as Amy said that if there is any child abuse, it is being committed by the child protection officials who are keeping the children separated from their families.
“Since the children have been taken from their mothers, they have experienced abuse from the [state],” Amy said.