On Thursday, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said on CNN's "American Morning" that "the case really doesn't hinge upon that particular 16-year-old."
Which suggests that they may now suspect the call was a fake. Legally speaking it doesn't matter; the call gave them grounds to search the ranch and they can then act on what they found. But I find it interesting that, so far as I can tell, nobody but the FLDS people has actually raised the issue of whether the call was real.
"It's our belief that these children who are under the age of 17 have engaged in sex with older men, which is a violation of Texas law, which is also a potential violation of the bigamy laws," he said.
Legally speaking I believe he is correct, provided that the older men were not legally married to the "children" or else the latter were under sixteen. On the other hand, a little googling for data on teen sex indicates
that, in the U.S., about one sixteen year old in four has had intercourse. So while it may be illegal, it is also common enough to make such a massive response look very much like selective prosecution.
Another interesting quote
comes via CNN from Angie Voss, a supervisor for investigation at Texas Child Protective Services, who said that about 130 of the children removed were under the age of 4.
Boys were also removed from the ranch, Voss testified, because "I believe that the boys are groomed to be perpetrators."
Or in other words, bringing up children in their parents' religion is itself child abuse, provided that the doctrines of the religion are sufficiently repugnant.