Police Defend Inaction at Polygamist Ranch

Bare dramatic details of raid
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Apr 11, 2008 6:00 AM CDT
Department of Public Safety spokeswoman, front center, is followed into a news conference by Schleicher County Sheriff David Doran, middle right, and Texas Rangers Capt. Barry Caver, center rear, to discuss...   (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
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(Newser) – Law enforcement authorities yesterday released dramatic details of the police raid that rescued children suspected of abuse at a polygamist ranch—and countered complaints that the action was too late. Some 60 men surrounded the ranch temple, weeping and praying, in the last day of the operation that seized 416 children—but no one violently opposed the officers, said a Texas Rangers captain.

Police moved in after a teenage girl called a hotline complaining of rape and beatings by her "husband," which authorities fear may have been a common occurrence. Investigators have had an informant at the founding church of the sect for four years, but couldn't take action earlier, said County Sheriff David Doran. "This is the United States. We are not going to violate their civil rights until we have an outcry, a complaint, and I've said that from day one," he added.