SAN ANGELO, TEXAS — The mothers of children removed from a polygamous sect's ranch in West Texas after an abuse allegation are appealing to Gov. Rick Perry for help, saying some of their children have become sick and require hospitalization.
In the letter, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press, the mothers from the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints also say children are "horrified" by physical examinations they have undergone while in state custody.
The mothers said the letter was mailed Saturday. Perry spokesman Robert Black said Sunday that he had not seen the letter and couldn't comment.
About 416 children were rounded up and placed in temporary custody 11 days ago after a domestic violence hot line recorded a complaint from a 16-year-old girl. She said she was physically and sexually abused by her 50-year-old husband.
The one-page letter, signed by three women who claim they represent others, says about 15 mothers were away from the property when their children were removed.
"We were contacted and told our homes had been raided, our children taken away with no explanation, and because of law enforcement blockade preventing entering or leaving the ranch, we were unable to get to our homes and had no-where to go," it said. "As of Wednesday, April 9, 2008, we have been permitted to return to our empty, ransacked homes, heartsick and lonely."
The mothers said they want Perry to examine the conditions in which the removed children have been placed. "You would be appalled," the letter said. "Many of our children have become sick as a result of the conditions they have been placed in. Some have even had to be taken to the hospital. Our innocent children are continually being questioned on things they know nothing about. The physical examinations were horrifying to the children."
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