Texas child welfare authorities asked a judge on Tuesday to place eight children from a Texas polygamist sect's ranch back into foster care, saying their mothers refuse to limit their contact with men accused of being involved in underage marriages.
Child Protective Services filed petitions asking Texas District Judge Barbara Walther to place the six girls and two boys belonging to four different mothers back in foster care.
The children, ranging in age from 5 to 17, will be allowed to remain with their mothers until a hearing scheduled for Sept. 25, said CPS spokeswoman Marleigh Meisner. None currently lives at the Yearning For Zion Ranch in Eldorado.
CPS filed petitions detailing alleged involvement in underage marriages by the children's fathers or stepfathers, submitting sect marriage documents, notes from suspected underage brides, photos and journal entries from Warren Jeffs, the jailed leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
Two of the girls are daughters of Lloyd Hammon Barlow, a doctor indicted last month on three misdemeanor counts of failing to report child abuse, according to court filings.
Five other sect members, including Jeffs, were charged with sexual assault last month, but their children are not among those in the CPS petitions. The other six children are related, by blood or marriage, to men who are not under indictment but are accused by child welfare authorities of participating in or blessing underage marriages.
An FLDS spokesman did not immediately respond to a call seeking comment Tuesday.
CPS has continued its investigation of the 440 children taken from the Eldorado ranch since the Texas Supreme Court ruled in late May that the children should not have been swept into foster care under a blanket petition and hearing. The court said evidence showed no more than a handful of girls were abused or were at risk of abuse.