Texas officials: Sect's children's broken bones may be abuse

AUSTIN — At least 41 children taken from the polygamist compound in West Texas had suffered bone fractures, some of them multiple times, which suggested a pattern of child abuse, the head of the state’s Child Protective Services told a legislative panel on Wednesday.

Carey Cockerell, commissioner of the agency, said both the younger children and those who might be their mothers have systematically attempted to mislead investigators in the month since authorities seized more than 460 children from the Yearning For Zion Ranch near Eldorado.

The head of the committee, Rep. Jane Nelson prohibited legislators from asking questions publicly to avoid jeopardizing the complex investigation into the allegations of widespread abuse at the ranch operated by the breakaway Mormon sect called the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, or FDLS.

Lawyers for the FDLS have accused the state of overstepping its authority by seizing all the sect's children and have challenged the state's version of events.

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Earlier: Polygamist sect disputes Texas' count of pregnant girls