Why Did They Wait? Sheriff Had Polygamy Informant for 4 Years

"I think Texas is setting a precedent for what can be done and hopefully our government will become braver and attempt to help and bring these children out. They're slaves," said Rowenna Erickson, co-founder of Tapestry Against Polygamy.

Lawyers for the sect had challenged the search on constitutional grounds, but agreed in court Wednesday to the appointment of a special master. The special master will vet what is expected to be hundreds of boxes of records, computers and even family Bibles for records that should not become evidence for legal or religious reasons.

Legal experts have told ABC News that they expected the search to be upheld. Marci Hamilton, a Princeton law professor, said the search was done in order to get children in imminent risk of harm out of the compound.

Hamilton, author of Justice Denied: What America Must Do To Protect Its Children, said legislators should make it easier for children to bring lawsuits against their abusers.

"We have rose-colored glasses when it comes to religious groups and we see children who are known to be abused in this group and in other groups. As society, we do not jump in fast enough," she said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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