DNA Testing to Start Today for Polygamist Kids

Three male members of the sect said in an interview aired on CBS's "Early Show" Monday that they would cooperate in DNA testing if it would help them get the children back. Several of the women also testified during last week's hearing that they would do anything, including leaving the compound, to get their children back.

"Whatever we need to do to get them back in their peaceful homes," a man identified as "Rulan" said on CBS.

Rulan said sect members are reconsidering whether girls under 18 should have sex with adult men.

"Many of us perhaps were not even aware of such a law," he said. "And we do reconsider, yes. We teach our children to abide the law."

Several of the women who testified also said they would tell their children to wait until they were 18 to get married.

State prosecutors have argued that the FLDS church encourages underage marriages and births, subjecting children to sexual abuse or the imminent risk of abuse. A child protective services supervisor, Angie Voss, testified last week that children from the sect reported that no age was too young to get married and that they would get married whenever the church's "prophet" told them to.

Voss also testified that investigators were aware of 20 girls who had conceived or given birth while they were underage.

FLDS lawyer Rod Parker, who is acting as a spokesman for the families, said on "Good Morning America" this morning that those 20 examples spanned a 10-year period and not all took place in Texas.

The separation from their families is "a horrible trauma for these children to be forced to experience," Parker said. "There isn't anything in terms of the current circumstances out on the ranch that would justify this kind of attack on these families and traumatizing them."

In addition to helping officials sort out the sometimes complicated family tree of the polygamous sect, the DNA testing could eventually become evidence in a potential criminal case against members of the sect. No charges have been filed.

"Given what we have so far, I think it would be rank irresponsibility for the attorney general of Texas or any of the local prosecutors to fail to prosecute for rape," said Marci Hamilton, a professor at the Cardozo School of Law, and author of Justice Denied: What America Must Do To Protect Its Children.

Parker said he thought the parents would comply with the testing.

"I think if they've been ordered to do it, they probably will comply, unless some of their individual lawyers advise them not to," he said.

The testing, which is expected to last a few days, could be complicated because the sect is made up of only a handful of families who have intermarried for generations, "because the people are from a rather small gene pool, so there are very few differences for telling them apart," said Dr. Harry Ostrer, professor of genetics at NYU School of Medicine.

The state will begin placing the children into temporary foster homes after the testing. They will each have a status hearing before June 5.

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