SAN ANGELO, Texas -- A judge has ordered the forfeiture of a polygamist group's West Texas ranch to the state of Texas.
State District Jude Barbara Walther's order came Monday in Eldorado after the ranch owners failed to appear for the hearing. The San Angelo Standard-Times (http://bit.ly/1cHAvcK) reports Walther authorized the Schleicher (SHLYE'-kur) County Sheriff's Office to enter the Yearning for Zion Ranch and inventory the property.
The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints formerly owned the ranch. The Texas Attorney General's Office filed to seize the ranch in 2012, citing numerous sexual assaults of children committed there. The state has prosecuted 12 male members of the polygamist sect, including leader Warren Jeffs. He is serving a life sentence plus 20 years for sexually assaulting two girls, ages 12 and 15.