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Texas Supreme Court deals blow to CPS in polygamy case

AUSTIN -- Child Protective Services overreached its authority when it seized more than 400 youngsters from a West Texas polygamist camp last month, the Texas Supreme Court ruled Thursday.

The high court let stand an appellate court’s order that the children should be returned to their parents.

The ruling dealt a clear blow to the state agency charged with ensuring the safety of children at risk. The agency raided the ranch near Eldorado based on a tip that might have been bogus. The tipster said she was 16 years old, pregnant and forced into a marriage with a much older man.

The agency had no immediate comment on the ruling or on when the youngsters might be reunited with their families.

The residents of the ranch are members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which broke with the Mormon church in the 19th century because it wanted to continue the practice of polygamy.