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Indictments filed but not against FLDS members


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Gene Kennedy reportingThe reunion between Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saint (FLDS) children and their parents continued today. This, as reports that 18 indictments from a grand jury in Schleicher County, Texas, end up having nothing to do with the Eldorado compound.

We've confirmed there are no indictments against FLDS members at this time, but the Texas Attorney General's Office has a launched a criminal investigation into whether leader Warren Jeffs sexually abused four girls.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott isn't making public comment but is mounting a sex abuse case against Jeffs. Abbott served this search warrant last week on Jeffs at an Arizona jail, and police took DNA samples from Jeffs.

The warrant says Jeffs sexually abused four underage girls whom he "spiritually married" -- girls ranging in age from 12 to 15 years old. He allegedly fathered a child with one of them. Now, Abbott is waiting to see if the DNA results actually prove that.

No word when the DNA results come back, but FLDS attorney and spokesman Rod Parker told us today that he wonders how authorities can prove any crime took place in Texas. In his mind, it's a possible issue of jurisdiction.

Part of what launched this latest criminal investigation was a photograph of a 12-year-old girl kissing Jeffs. The picture was seized from the Yearning for Zion (YFZ) Ranch in Eldorado during the April raid.

Texas authorities won't say if the girl is one of the four Jeffs allegedly married. But in the aftermath of so much negative publicity for the FLDS, the church has changed policy. "The church commits that it will not preside over any marriage of any woman under the age of legal consent in the jurisdiction in which the marriage takes place," Willie Jessop, an elder in the FLDS Church, told reporters on Monday.

Eyewitness News contacted the Arizona prosecutor who has an ongoing case against Warren Jeffs. Attorney Matt Smith told us if Jeffs fathered a child with an underage girl, the only way it would be relevant in the Arizona case is if they can prove Jeffs had sex with the victim in Arizona.

FLDS families in Texas have started getting their children back from state welfare workers. FLDS leaders say some practices will change, including the sanctioning of marriage of underage girls, to comply with state laws.

However, at least one child will not leave foster care. The Dallas Morning News reports a judge kept a 16-year-old daughter of polygamist leader Warren Jeffs because her attorneys say she was sexually abused.

E-mail: gkennedy@ksl.com

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