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Children taken in raid to remain in state’s custody

| September 25, 2008 at 01:19 pm

LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas (AP) – Six girls removed from an evangelical compound as part of an investigation into the possible sexual abuse of minors will remain in state custody for the near future, a state official said Tuesday.

Authorities raided Tony Alamo Christian Ministries on Saturday after allegations of child sex abuse.The Arkansas Department of Human Services had until Tuesday night to ask the court for permission to keep the children or return them to the Tony Alamo Christian Ministries compound. State and federal agents raided the compound Saturday looking for evidence that children were being molested.

Department spokeswoman Julie Munsell said she couldn’t comment about the legal process surrounding the girls’ future, but acknowledged they wouldn’t be leaving the state’s care Tuesday.

“If you don’t see kids coming back today, you can assume we’re moving forward in this process,” Munsell told The Associated Press just before the deadline.

State lawyers will appear before a Miller County judge sometime in the next five days for a closed-door hearing about the girls’ future. The judge will decide whether the state had enough evidence to warrant removing the children from their homes. (more…)