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Award of Excellence
Stephanie Sinclair
VII Network

"The Young Women of the Polygamist F.L.D.S."

2 of 12

Leanne Jeffs, (center) 17, holds her daughter Sally, 1, while relatives make breakfast inside their San Antonio home.

In early April, investigators from Child Protective Services and the Texas Rangers raided the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints' Yearning for Zion ranch after receiving a call from a woman who claimed to be an abused 16-year-old living there. That call was later traced to a Colorado Springs, Colo. woman with a history of making hoax abuse claims. Authorities eventually removed 440 children from the ranch, which they said had been sexually, physically and emotionally abused. After two months in state custody, two Texas courts ruled a lower court judge did not have sufficient evidence of abuse to keep the children in custody and they were returned to their parents. However, criminal and child welfare investigations continue. A grand jury met in June and heard testimony from a half dozen FLDS women and other witnesses. The grand jury is set to hear additional testimony July 22.



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