Texas officials want 8 sect kids back in custody

SAN ANGELO, Texas (AP) -- Hearings begin this morning in Texas, where child welfare authorities want to put eight children from a polygamist sect back in state custody.

Authorities say their mothers haven't limited their contact with men accused of being involved in underage marriages. None of the children live at the Yearning For Zion Ranch in El Dorado.

The latest allegations center on underage marriages involving the children's fathers or stepfathers. Only one of the men faces any criminal charges.

In April, over 400 children were taken into state custody amid worries that church leaders were forcing girls into underage marriages and grooming boys to be adult abusers.

Six weeks later, the state Supreme Court ordered the children returned.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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