Inside the Compound

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Excerpts from the affidavit supporting the request for a court order to remove more than 400 children from the Yearning for Zion Ranch. The document details the alleged experiences of an unnamed 16-year-old girl who became one of several "wives" of a man at the ranch who fathered her child. It also states what authorities found when they went to the ranch to search for the girl.

· "She advised that the adult male would 'beat and hurt her' whenever he got angry . . . hitting her in the chest and choking her and that while such abuse was occurring one of the other women in the home would hold her infant child."

· "She reported that church members have told her if she leaves the ranch, outsiders will hurt her, force her to cut her hair, to wear make up and clothes and to have sex with lots of men."

· "While searching for the teenage mother and her infant child, investigators at the [ranch] observed a number of young teenaged girls who appeared to be minors and appeared to be pregnant, as well as several teenaged girls who already had given birth and had their own infants."

© 2008 The Washington Post Company