Former members of Warren Jeffs' discredited FLDS sect are weighing in on what should become of the walled 1700 acre compound in rural Schleicher County which has now been seized by the state of Texas, 1200 WOAI's Michael Board reports.
The ranch, where Jeffs and other male leaders of the outlawed offshoot of the Mormon Church raped and sexually assaulted girls as young as eight was ordered seized by a judge in San Angelo on a request by the Texas Attorney General, and notices of the forfeiture posted on the doors to the ranch. The corporation which owns the remaining FLDS property did not challenge the forfeiture, but has thirty days to object to the seizure before it becomes law.
"Under Texas law, law enforcement authorities can seek to seize property that was used to commit or facilitate certain criminal conduct," the attorney general's office said.
State District Judge Barbara Walther in San Angelo said the State of Texas is 'authorized to use, maintain and dispose of said property in accordance with the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure."
Jeffs is serving a life term for sexual abuse of young girls at the ranch, and eight other FLDS men were convicted or pled guilty to similar charges.
So what should become of the ranch? Former FLDS member Flora Jessop has some ideas.
"It's a useless building, turn it into a judicial center," she said. "That's the biggest justice I can see for those kids."
Jeffs built the ranch between 2003 and 2004, moving FLDS members to Texas from the group's Headquarters in Colorado City Arizona.
Some former FLDS members say the ranch should simply be demolished.
"You know, it could be used for all kinds of things," Jessop said. "They could put together programs for troubled kids, they can put together domestic violence shelters."
So far the Attorney General has not indicated what the state's plans for the ranch are once the seizure is complete.