Polygamist sect disputes Texas' count of pregnant girls

FORT WORTH — A teenager from a polygamist sect who gave birth Tuesday under the guard of Texas Rangers is an adult, attorneys for some of the sect's mothers said, and so are many others of the 31 girls state officials say are underage and pregnant.

The dispute over the age of the girls is just one of the ongoing unsettled issues in what is the largest child custody case in Texas history. Texas officials have said they also are uncertain of the identiies of the more than 400 children they seized from the compound of the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints.

Authorities issued a statement Tuesday afternoon saying that "one of the minor girls now in the care of Child Protective Services delivered a baby boy at a San Marcos, Texas, hospital. The boy is healthy, and the mother is doing well." Officials said the teen's mother was present while she gave birth.

But Rod Parker, a Salt Lake City attorney for the FLDS, said the woman was an adult. "We say she's an adult, we're confident she's an adult, and CPS initially classified her as an adult," Parker said. On Monday, CPS said 31 of the 53 girls ages 14 to 17 who were removed from the polygamist compound are pregnant, have children or both.Those figures were challenged by Cynthia Martinez, a spokeswoman for Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid, which is representing 48 of the mothers at the YFZ (Yearning For Zion) Ranch near Eldorado.

"We have a very strong dispute," Martinez said. "We don't agree that those numbers are accurate."

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