Sex Abuse 'Rampant' at Polygamist Ranch
Pubescent girls forced to 'marry' older men, say investigators
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 9, 2008 9:34 AM CDT
Residential structures are seen along a road that leads to the main temple, top rear, on the grounds of the "Yearning For Zion" Ranch.   (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
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(Newser) – Young girls at a polygamous compound were readied for "spiritual marriages" to much older men as soon as they hit puberty, the AP reports. Papers submitted to a Texas court detail a "pattern of abuse" at the ranch, where young boys were forced to marry underage girls and girls in their early teens were required to bear children.

The compound was raided last week after a hushed phone call from a 16-year-old girl pleading for help after she had been beaten and raped by her 50-year-old husband. She was his seventh wife. The state has won custody of 419 young people removed from the ranch. Some of the teenage girls are pregnant and officials say all were in danger of "emotional, physical, or sexual abuse."