Timeline of raid on FLDS-owned YFZ Ranch

Published: Friday, May 23 2008 12:02 a.m. MDT

April 3: A raid on the FLDS-owned YFZ Ranch near Eldorado, Texas, begins. Law officers act on a warrant initiated by a phone call from a 16-year-old girl reporting sexual and physical abuse at the hands of an older man to whom she was "a spiritual wife."

April 5: 167 children taken into custody by Child Protective Services workers. Law enforcement officials with search and arrest warrants look for Dale Barlow, the man named in the young woman's phone call. A SWAT team breaks into the FLDS temple located on the ranch despite protests.

April 6: Sixty FLDS mothers voluntarily leave the ranch to be with their children at a makeshift shelter in San Angelo. State officials continue to search the compound for children. Child welfare workers say 18 children showed evidence of possible abuse.

April 7: A judge orders children, now numbered at 401, into temporary protective custody based on determination of significant risk of harm. A total of 133 women have now left the compound. Men on the ranch are not allowed to leave while investigation continues. Twelve attorneys hired to defend church members.

April 8: Affidavit released by the court outlines claims of physical and sexual abuse made by the teenage caller. A groundswell of opinion, pro and con, begins to grow.

April 9: Dale Evans Barlow, the accused abuser, denies allegations, says he hasn't been in Texas since 1977. Arizona probation officials agree it's unlikely he has been in Texas recently. Records and other items are seized amid allegations such seizure could violate pastor/parishioner confidentiality. A Deseret News/KSL poll shows 62 percent of Utahns find the raid "probably or definitely " justified.April 10: Three mothers report to the Deseret News they are being denied access to their children. Officials in Utah and Arizona say they hope information from Texas raid will help them in their investigations into other FLDS enclaves

April 11: Authorities release 88 pages detailing items seized from the ranch.The search continues for the girl now identified as "Sarah" alleged to have made the initial call. The Texas Bar seeks volunteer lawyers for each of the now 416 children in custody

April 12: Barlow meets with Texas Rangers in St. George, leaves a free man. Rangers refuse to say if he's still a suspect. Deseret News reporters and photographers become first media ever allowed inside ranch. Women from shelters speak with Deseret News on cell phones complaining of crowded conditions and uncertainty.

April 13: A judge orders all cell phones confiscated from FLDS women and children amid allegations the move was triggered by women talking with Deseret News reporters and sharing pictures taken with the phones. Utah Attorney General says Texas raid could compromise Utah efforts to keep communication with polygamists open. Eldorado newspaper prints legal notices of the court's actions, preparatory to upcoming court hearing.

April 15: Public opinion intensifies. Child welfare officials defend the raid, say they have homes lined up for children if the state retains custody. Former FLDS members have little sympathy, say the abuses of which the Texas group are accused really happen. The ACLU decries "colliding issues," declines to take a stand.

April 16: Hearings begin in 51st District Court with Judge Barbara Walther presiding. Tom Green County courthouse is filled to capacity, with overflow going to City Hall.

April 17: Ten hours of testimony stresses that while no signs of physical or sexual abuse have yet been documented among children in custody, the general culture of the polygamous sect puts them at risk. Hearing is punctuated by dozens of objections and lawyer requests to be heard on issues of unlawful search and seizure, venue, freedom of religion and authenticity of records. Police in Colorado Springs announce they have arrested a woman, Rozita Swinton, for investigation of making a false report to authorities and make a tentative connection to the Eldorado raid. Texas Rangers go to Colorado to investigate.

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