Polygamy Sect Struggling for Funds to Battle Charges

Church loses funds as it fights legal battles
By Ambreen Ali,  Newser User
Posted May 11, 2009 3:23 AM CDT
Oprah Winfrey talks with FLDS member Joy and her daughter Harmony during dinner at Yearning For Zion Ranch in Eldorado, Texas, earlier this year.   (AP Photo/Harpo Productions, Brian Piotrowicz)
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(Newser) – Members of a cash-strapped Texas polygamous sect plan to argue this week that key evidence against them should be thrown out because it was illegally obtained, the Wall Street Journal reports. Authorities say the diaries, photos, and documents they seized prove that underage marriages took place on the FLDS ranch, home to hundreds of kids. The men face criminal trials for charges including bigamy and sexual abuse.

This and other legal battles have put the church in dire financial straits. "There's a huge hemorrhaging of money," said a church spokesman. That pressure has changed the face of a once-reclusive community, where members are now taking jobs in nearby towns and marketing goods to outsiders. Officials are hopeful the spotlight has put an end to the sect’s underage marriages.