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Polygamy: Shocking Testimony

Aired April 17, 2008 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We saw some of your friends on Larry King last night and they were talking about how this is an injustice.

Do you believe that's the case?


KING: Disorder in the court -- Texas showdown turmoil -- polygamists versus the state.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you describe what it's like in there? Is it really crowded and chaotic?



KING: But confusion reigns as one of the biggest child custody fights in U.S. history gets underway. Anxious parents angling for a front row seat.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's not a -- it's not very organized.


KING: And asking where are my kids?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't know what they've done to them.


KING: Attorneys don't have answers.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't have the typical documentation we'd have on a family. I don't have access to a father. (END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Plus, former polygamists on the mothers who cried for their kids in our exclusive interview.

It is all right now on LARRY KING LIVE.

It is safe to say that San Angelo, Texas has never seen a day like today. What a day. A court hearing to decide the fates of more than 400 children taking place. A beleaguered but yet, we hear, terrific judge on top of the scene.

But how do you deal with over 300 lawyers, all of whom have the right to speak and the right to object.

We begin with David Mattingly, our CNN correspondent, who has been in that courtroom all day.

Also with us is Jenny Hoff of KXAN. She recorded -- has reported on this, as well.

David, was it a mess or was there something coming out of chaos?

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Very slow going in the beginning, Larry. All of the attorneys sat down, the judge sort of making up the rules as she goes along. But she does seem to have control of this almost uncontrollable situation. All of the attorneys do have the right to ask questions. They do have the right to object. And a lot of them have, slowing things down. But the judge is keeping things moving. And we heard some very compelling testimony today.

KING: And is anyone -- for example, how many kids have they shown to be under age and pregnant? How many children should have been taken away?

Where do we stand with that?

MATTINGLY: A really interesting story today emerging on the stand. We are hearing from the supervisor of the investigators for the state when they went in there. They went looking, originally, for one teenage 16-year-old girl who was pregnant. Instead, she says, they found many. And that many -- that number later was refined to five.

But when cross-examination came along, the attorneys for the parents said that five figure, why do you have to keep the 407 other kids if you just have five?

Well, the answer was because these girls are raised to believe that they have to marry any time the prophet tells them to. And they believe you're never too young to be married.

Also, they say, the highest blessing they can have is to have children.

So the state concludes to send any young girl back into that environment makes her a potential future victim of what they call this abuse. And sending any boy child back in there makes him a possible participant in this abuse -- Larry.

KING: Are they going to take DNA?

MATTINGLY: They've already taken DNA swabs of the kids. They might -- they want to take DNA swabs of the parents. They feel like that's going to be the only way they can match these kids to their biological parents. They have about 130 young kids ages four and under who don't have birth certificates at all.

A lot of these kids can't or won't identify their biological parents. So, in a lot of ways, the state investigation is exactly where it was 14 days ago, in trying to match these kids to the adults. They're looking for some help from science. And DNA may be the way to go.

KING: Jenny Hoff of KXAN, were you in the courtroom?

JENNY HOFF, REPORTER, KXAN-TV, AUSTIN: I was in the auditorium, Larry, which is right next to the courtroom. And there were a lot of mothers in there, as well as there was a lot of lawyers and media. They were watching that screen, wanting to hear every word the judge had so say, as well as the investigators.

And I looked to the left of me at one point and I saw several of those moms sitting in a row. And at some point, they would put their heads in their hands. They looked like they were crying, especially when they heard names of these children pop up or names of their husbands.

KING: Were -- did any of the mothers yell out at any point when testimony was given?

HOFF: They were absolutely calm the entire time. As I said, really, the only action I saw from them was putting their heads in their hands. Now, this entire time, though, we've been curious what do the men have to say?

And at a few points I walked over to them and I sat down and started talking to the men. Now, they didn't want to talk on camera, of course, at this time. But I did talk to one of the guys who told me hey, he's just a rancher. He grows potatoes. He says he doesn't even know what this is all about. He's never been through something like this before. And he told me they are all law abiding citizens and as long as they know the law, we tell them what the law is, they will follow it.

And that's kind of a similar sentiment I heard when I spoke to the women. The women seemed to be willing to concede to a few things. If the state will give them their children back, the women tell me they'll concede to whatever the state wants them to do, as long as it's something rational and it's a compromise they can come to together.

KING: Jenny, what's your impression of the judge?

HOFF: Oh, she's fiery. Larry, she's an excellent judge. The whole time I was regretting that we couldn't have cameras in the courtroom, because she comes back immediately with every objection, with every statement a lawyer wants to make, she comes back with her decision.

And as David was saying, she's really making the rules as it goes on in this trial because she's never endured something like this before. So she's having to come up with these rules as it goes on. But it is chaotic in there. Every time a lawyer gets a chance to make an objection, they do. Every time they get a chance to cross-examine, they do. It's likely this is going to go on for weeks, who knows.

KING: David, what's your read as to how long it will go on?

MATTINGLY: Only the judge can answer that. It has been going slowly. We did hear from the state's big witness today. It's possible it may not go a week. Bull if you just do the math, if they spend 10 minutes on every single case for the 416 kids they have, then we'd be here for 10 days. Let's hope it's not that long.

KING: David, who, in your opinion -- for want of a better term -- is ahead?

MATTINGLY: Well, right now, the state has had the floor and the state has the burden here. They're the ones who have to convince the judge that you shouldn't be sending those kids back into this environment. So it's really -- the hard part that has to be done here is by the state. They've had the testimony all day long today. Cross- examine only started just a short time ago. And we heard that one pointed exchange, where they were asking, did you have to take all the kids?

And, of course, the answer from the state was, yes, we did because of the practices that are going on there. So, again, the state sticking to its guns, not conceding anything in their decision to take all 416 of these kids away from their parents.

KING: Jenny, how much national press is there?

HOFF: Oh, there's national press. We've got CNN, of course, and NBC, CBS. You've got all of the big networks are here. This lawn is crowded. I wish you could see the street. It is lined with live trucks and satellite trucks. And in addition to that, we have reporters from all over the state, who, of course, have a huge interest in this story.

We've never seen anything like this here in Texas. The closest thing that people can compare it to is what happened in Waco. And, of course, this isn't the same situation as Waco.

KING: Yes. Thank you both very much.

And we'll be calling on you frequently.

David Mattingly, our own David Mattingly, always atop the scene. And Jenny Hoff of KXAN-TV.

You're watching LARRY KING LIVE and we'll be right back.



MARILYN, SPEAKING FROM INSIDE YFZ RANCH: This is my mother's room. She has three of her daughters that sleep in here with her. And she comes home and sleeps in her room and every child is gone.


KING: That was a scene from our program last night. We'll be showing you other highlights, in case you missed them, relating to this incredible story.

Joining us now in San Angelo is Mary Lou Alvarez, Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid, representing five of the FLDS mothers from the YFZ Ranch. And also with her is Susan Hays, who's attorney ad litem for one of the FLDS children.

Mary Lou, how do you present this case?

MARY LOU ALVAREZ, ATTORNEY, REPRESENTS FIVE YFZ MOTHERS: Well, it's complicated. There's a lot of people who are at issue here. So I don't know exactly what you mean when you say how do I present this case.

KING: Well, you're representing five different mothers. That means there are a lot of different children.

Might one mother have a different story from another?

ALVAREZ: Well, it's the state's burden to present the case. And I'm defending the mothers against the allegations. And right now, I haven't heard any allegations to defend against.

KING: In other words, the state has presented nothing against the particular five women you are representing?

ALVAREZ: I have been in that hearing all day and I haven't heard any evidence to support the removal of my clients' children.


Susan, how did they find the child that you would represent?

SUSAN HAYS, ATTORNEY, REPRESENTS YFZ CHILD: Lawyers from all other the State of Texas converged on San Angelo in the last 36 hours to represent these children. A lot of us arrived yesterday. We were signed in, given I.D. badges, given a health check in light of the chicken pox outbreak that had happened with the children, given a file and within a few hours were able to interview the child. And in my case, my client is very young, so I also had to rely heavily on information from the mother.

KING: And now we're joined by Tom Vick, the attorney with us the other night. He helped recruit the hundreds of lawyers needed to represent the children.

How did this day go, Tom?

TOM VICK, ATTORNEY, RECRUITED LAWYERS FOR KIDS: Larry, I think it went great. I think this is the adversarial system working at its best. It's a little bit slow. It's a little bit awkward because we have so many people. But these lawyers are testing the credibility of every witness. They're testing the admissibility of all the pieces of evidence. And when we're done, we're going to have a clean, good result because the system is really working well.

KING: Mary Lou, is it your basic contention that these -- the children, the raid was illegal and the taking of the children was illegal?

ALVAREZ: Larry, I don't think I have enough information to say that. I can say that I have not heard any evidence that would support the removal of the children from my clients.

KING: And, Susan, what's your position regarding the child you represent?

HAYS: I want more information. And this case has had to happen so quickly because it is unprecedented. And my background is complex commercial litigation. That's how I started out as a lawyer. I now represent teenagers quite a bit.

And never in the family law system do you have a case with hundreds of lawyers. So it's not something that the family bar or a rural area of Texas was ready to handle on such quick notice.

That said, I think they've done a fabulous job trying. I would like to have more information about my client. I would like to have already interviewed both parents. I'd like to talk to the attorneys representing my clients' siblings. But at this stage in the game, I just haven't been able to make contact with them yet because the data isn't available.

KING: Tom, what's your impression with how the judge is doing?

VICK: Oh, the judge is the star of the show, Larry. She is incredible. She's being attacked from all sides. All these lawyers want to make some kinds of ridiculous objections. Sometimes they're great objections.

She just couldn't handle this better. She's the one who's making this happen. And it's difficult for her. But, like I said, she's being attacked from every side and she's doing a great job.

KING: Mary Lou, in the law they talk about precedent. Do we have any precedent for this?

ALVAREZ: Not in Texas, Larry.

KING: So there's nothing we can turn to say we've had this before or something similar? ALVAREZ: Where we've had over 300 or 400 children removed from their families at the same time? No.

HAYS: Larry, if you don't mind, if I could address that.

KING: Sure.

HAYS: The law talks about precedent in term of what's the legal background. The fact situation here is completely unprecedented. But the law in Texas is fairly -- is well laid out in the family code about under what circumstances can you remove children. You don't have to prove that an individual child is abused, but if there is abuse going on in the household by one parent and the other parent does not protect the children or get children out of the household when they're not witnessing it, then that can be a basis for temporary removal or a permanent removal once the process plays out.

KING: Susan, would the fact that they are polygamists automatically lend toward taking the children away, since polygamy is illegal?

HAYS: I think it's hard to make that blanket statement without knowing how it plays out in a given case. Right now this hearing, because it necessarily is addressing hundreds of cases, is being carried out in a very generalized form. But, ultimately, every single child and every single parent involved has a right to counsel and has a right to the facts concerning their individual circumstance to be examined by the court system.

KING: Tom Vick, how do...

HAYS: And this hearing today is step two in a lengthy process.

KING: Tom Vick, how long do you think it's going to last?

VICK: I think it's going to last until 9:00 tonight. And I think it will last until 9:00 tomorrow night and Saturday night. And I think we'll get to go to church on Sunday and then we'll finish before we start work on Monday.

KING: Thanks to all of you very much, Mary Lou Alvarez, Susan Hays and Tom Vick.

Our exclusive look inside a home at the YFZ compound is ahead on LARRY KING LIVE.


KING: Just a reminder, we're all part of the best coverage of a primary. It's Tuesday night in Pennsylvania. Watch it all here starting at 7:00 Eastern on CNN.

Now we welcome Mike Watkiss from San Angelo, the KTVK reporter. He's done extensive coverage on polygamy and been frequently with us.

So, too, is Carolyn Jessop. She's in Salt Lake City, a sixth generation polygamist, grew up in the FLDS communities in Arizona and Utah, forced into marriage with a 50-year-old when she was 18 and finally fled.

In Charlotte, North Carolina, Kathy Jo Nicholson. Kathy Jo is one of 13 children in a polygamous family with three sister wives. She left the FLDS at age 18, eventually followed by her 14-year-old brother and their biological mother.

By the way, Carolyn Jessop is the author of a terrific book, "Escape."

But, Mike, what do you make of the number of mothers we had on last night and many others who are saying they haven't done anything wrong?

Their kids have been taken away. That's wrong. They weren't raped. They weren't married when they were 16. This is an injustice.

MIKE WATKISS, REPORTER, KTVK-TV, PHOENIX: I would say that it's rather naive to assume that forced marriages, underage marriages are not going on in that compound. We've told you this story before, Larry.

The reason Warren Jeffs brought his people here to Texas is because of the statutory rape of a 16-year-old girl in Colorado City, a woman named Ruth Stubbs. She was married by Warren Jeffs to a polygamist cop twice her age, a man who already had two wives and nearly 20 children. When she stepped forward, told her story to us, they prosecuted the cop. They threw him in jail. Warren Jeffs knew if they could come after one of his polygamist followers who was a cop and put him in jail, they could come after him. That's why he moved here.

Warren Jeffs is in jail for forcing a 14-year-old girl to marry her adult first cousin. This is Warren Jeffs' practice. That's why he's here. That's why he's in jail. To assume that he's not practicing it there, I think, is very naive.

KING: You're not assuming that all the women deserve to have their children taken away are you?

WATKISS: No. I don't -- you know what, I'm sure there's some great moms there. And they probably deserve to get their kids back. But they're in a culture and in an -- now, Warren put them there to isolate them. Nobody gets out of there and virtually nobody could get in, I think, sort of set up the dynamics.

What were Texas officials supposed to do? You know what, I think some of these -- many of these women are the -- I would see them as the victims of this culture, as well.

But are they bad moms? I bet no. I bet some of them are great people and great moms.

KING: All right, Carolyn Jessop, what do you make of -- I mean, obviously, you had a terrible thing happen to you. How about all the women saying things are fine for them?

CAROLYN JESSOP, ESCAPED FROM POLYGAMY: They've all -- Larry, I know most of them that I've seen. And they've had terrible things happen to them, too. Many of them that were interviewing last night have had their husbands taken from them. And they're down in Texas with their children and the husband's been sent away to repent from afar.

That's terribly traumatic. You start building a life with a man and then one day he's gone and you lose your house and you get moved to another state with your kids behind closed walls.

KING: Is that why they wouldn't talk about their husbands?

JESSOP: Oh, I'm sure of it. And it's probably still very traumatic for them.

And the thing that really angers me emotionally is, where are the men? Where's Merrill? Why isn't he asking about his eight children that they've taken into custody? Why is he using these women and using them as human shields?

It's not right. It's not OK.

KING: Kathy Jo, what do you read on this?

KATHY JO NICHOLSON, ESCAPED FROM POLYGAMY: Oh, I know this reaches far beyond the Texas compound. I know it still goes on in Colorado City. The men are -- there is so much abuse of -- that I know firsthand. My brother, I believe, in Colorado City, was held up for blood atonement. He is now dead and no one can explain it and the police record has been closed.

My -- two of my very closest friends when I was growing up were married at 15 and 16. And the 16-year-old cried to us about being raped over and over on her wedding night. And I thought, well, you're married. It's OK.

They're just so sheltered. And they keep the people hopping. Like Carolyn was saying, a man -- first of all, you're placed with this man. You don't have a choice...

KING: All right, let me...

NICHOLSON: be with him.

KING: Let me -- hold on a second, Kathy Jo.

Let me show -- last night, we interviewed three FLDS mothers. Now, maybe some folks missed it -- Ester, Marilyn and Sally. We asked them about abuse allegations.

Here's what they said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) KING: You never thought plural marriage was wrong?

SALLY, FLDS MOTHER: No, sir. I do not believe that.

KING: You never thought that a relationship between, say, older men and teenage girls and younger were wrong?

SALLY: I would not -- I would -- for my own daughter, I would advise her to wait until she was of legal age. I would not want her to get married younger than that.

KING: But did you see others at the ranch getting married younger?

SALLY: Not that I'm aware of.

KING: You never saw anyone having sex with an underage girl?

SALLY: No...


MARILYN: No, sir.


KING: All right.

Carolyn, are they lying?

JESSOP: Larry, you know, I know Sally and her daughter Marilyn and they are absolute sweethearts. It's hard to see them and not just love them.

But you've got to realize, they're under some tremendous pressure as to what they're allowed to say. And they could be in a whole lot of trouble if they told the truth. And to say that they're lying, well, I'm not in Texas. I'm not in possession of the facts. I know what was occurring in the community before I left and in Merrill's family.

But I see them as victims. And I feel like they're being victimized from both sides.

KING: Mike, do you see a little Stepford wife kind of thing here?

WATKISS: Well, you know what, I don't want to pass judgment on those women. I'm glad that they opened up the compound, the ranch. They don't want us to call it the compound anymore. I'm glad they're having their say. They need to be part of this discussion. They need to be brought into this.

You know, we're going to have to resolve this, Larry. America is aware that polygamists are in our midst. They're certainly people who follow the big love sort of fashion of polygamy. And if it's consenting adults, I've said all along, I would never do another story. I'm done if it's consenting adults.

But I know in that community that's not the way it works. If they don't force little girls into marrying these guys, it's going to fall apart. Warren Jeffs knows that. He's socially architect -- you know, put in social architecture to force these little girls. The flip side, abuse the boys and exploit them and then abandon them as teenagers. That's the mortar that holds this society together. And anybody who thinks otherwise, thinks they're not doing that out there, doesn't really know the story and doesn't know the history.

KING: Thanks, Mike.

Mike Watkiss.

When we come back, Carolyn Jessop, Kathy Jo Nicholson will be joined by Stephen Singular, who is the author of "When Men Become Gods: Mormon Polygamist Warren Jeffs, His Cult of Fear and the Women Who Fought Back."

And we'll meet Dr. Charles Sophy, medical director of the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services.

All that ahead, next.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is Marla's bed. You can see it's empty. And it's the hardest thing in the world for me to come and sleep in this room with no little girls.


KING: Mike Watkiss, Carolyn Jessop, Kathy Joe Nicholson all remain.

We're adding now Stephen Singular, the author of "When Become Gods," and Dr. Charles Sophy, the medical director of the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services.

Stephen, does this story shock you?

STEPHEN SINGULAR, AUTHOR, "WHEN MEN BECOME GODS": No, Larry, I've been looking into this for several years, and it really doesn't shock me. One of the things I've noticed is that when you drive around Colorado City, where all of this began, there are no American flags. The FLDS has gone out of its way to shun the American political system and the American legal system. And now that system has stepped up and voluntarily given them 400 lawyers to defend their rights, to defend what they have, born under the United States Constitution.

I think there is a great day for American jurisprudence. The lawyers have done a great job. The judge has done a great job, and the defense has provided them with very good counsel. KING: Dr. Sophy, what does this do to those children?

DR. CHARLES SOPHY, LOS ANGELES COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES: In any situation, as you can imagine, when you take a child out of a situation they're used to, a permanent situation for them, that stirs up their anxiety. They are separated. They know this one way of living, and now they are in another situation.

I really hope this gets resolved quickly, so that we can find a way to get these kids to a permanent situation, whether it's back in that home situation, or it's with a foster care setup. But the kids need permanence and they need safety too.

KING: Mike Watkiss, do you have a general thought about what we do with them?

WATKISS: I hope we care for them with all of our hearts, Larry. They are now sort of America's children, Texas' children. Perhaps some of them should be returned to their mothers, because they probably are decent people. At the end of the day, the only thing that any of us should really be concerned about is the welfare of those children. Greater minds than mine have to figure out what to do with the kids. I am hopeful that it's the most loving and caring situation that they can place them in.

KING: Carolyn, Kathy Jo, pay attention to this. Some of the FLDS mothers we spoke with yesterday got a bit emotional when talking about their children.

Take a look, and I want you to comment.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I said, but what about my handicapped son. And she said, oh, we'll take care of him. I said, you can't. You don't know how to take care of him. You haven't been his mother for five years. And they started pushing at me. And I said, now wait a minute. I want to know what's going on here.


KING: Kathy Jo, were you surprise surprises at the way the state handled this?

NICHOLSON: No, I think that -- my heart bleeds for Sally, and I -- in the beginning, thought the best was to keep the mothers with their children, and I see now that the state is doing what they need to do, as they would do in any other situation, with one or two or three children in danger in a home. This has to happen. And the state is well-equipped.

Thank God for Texas. This has been going on for so long. I'm not talking about polygamy. Polygamy is wrong. I abhor it. But this is about child abuse, and not just the abuse of girls. It's abuse of boys. It's the breaking down of the soul. These children are probably terrified. And best case scenario, they get to be with their moms again. But best case scenario would be that their moms would seek some counseling and leave that community. I can't imagine --

KING: Carolyn, do you agree?

JESSOP: Oh, I agree, Larry. I think America has to stay focused on what's really happening here. And it's about the children. Yes, it breaks your heart. And I'm a mother of a severely handicapped son, too. And it would create a tremendous amount of anxiety for me to be separated from him. I am separated from him every day. He gets on a school bus. He goes to school. There are people who are very well- equipped to give him his care. And they haven't been his mother for the last eight years.

It cuts both ways. I'm sure that the state has the facilities to give that child the care that he needs. It is difficult to see the mother's anxiety in being separated from her son.

KING: If the situation, Dr. Sophy, is not a great one, do you take the child away?

SOPHY: Absolutely.

KING: You do? Foster children?

SOPHY: Yes. Safety is utmost importance to us, just as these women articulated. We have to keep a kid safe. That is our mandate. After that, then we look for permanence, and permanence would hopefully be with their family back again. But we can't guarantee that.

KING: Stephen, do these leaders not care about children?

SINGULAR: I think they care about wielding power more than anything else. I mean, Jeffs had a habit of breaking up families, sending the fathers off in one direction by themselves to repent, and sending the women and children to be with another man. They called it reassigning them. He funneled a number of those women down to Texas we're now learning.

So, no, I don't think the primary interest is in children, but having power and money and control over this population.

KING: We talked to the women last night, as we said, and they kept saying getting their girls back -- they didn't seem interested or mention boys.

We have an e-mail question concerning from that Christy in Stark, Florida: "Why do you think that is?"

Do you have a thought on that, Mike?

SINGULAR: Yes, because women are the currency with which Warren Jeffs buys his power. He is the only person who can a lot marriages, give men -- men need three wives to get into heaven. Women need to be the dutiful wives of a polygamist man. This is the currency that he buys loyalty from his followers. He needs -- and I hate to use the word. He needs a herd of women that he can parcel out to his favored followers. This is why we have the lost boys. A large percentage of the young men are not going to get wives. They are booted out of the communities after they're put on work detail starting as young children, worked up until teenagers, and then their dads drive them to the edge of town and say so long, son, just because Warren says so.

Warren Jeffs is a megalomaniac and, you know -- activists think he's the best thing that happened because he's made a bad situation much worse and has finally made the state pay attention.

KING: We're going to keep this panel with us, and we'll continue with all of them. Coming up, more of our exclusive tour of a home in the polygamist compound, when LARRY KING LIVE returns. And this is something to see.


KING: What's going on inside the polygamists' homes. We got a look at one of them. Our tour guide, a wife that lives here. Here is more of our exclusive footage.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you so much for coming. This is the room of a lady that is not here. They have her and her 10-month-old child, and two other little girls that live here with her. And that is just so, so pathetic.

And see, her name, this little girl is Marcy. Here's her leggings. Have her little slip that she wears under her dress. When their socks get holes in them, we have a sweet, sweet grandmother that patches them so they don't go around with holes in their socks.

My mother has a little boy that's 5-years-old. He has down syndrome. We have to have a bigger bed for him because he moves all over and has Hurshburn's (ph) Disease. They refused to let her take him with her. He takes minute by minute care. This is a picture that one of the children colored for him.

This is in a room where three girls live with a mother. You can see the beds are empty. We get up in the morning. We sing. We read. We have breakfast. We say our prayers.

We're back in the kitchen. The bread is out of the oven. It's fresh. We can show you into our dining room. This is where we eat our meals. Most of the time it's full of children's noises.

Not having our children, it is terrible. For them to have done what they have done, and those children are suffering because of it.

My little girl's name is Marla. When they came last Friday, they asked us to bring all the girls from age seven to 17 to be questioned. I took her there personally and stayed with her. And we knew something was up. We didn't know what. There were men all around with guns. They had never seen a firearm in their life. And here is a picture of her more recent.

Those children need their mothers.

In our backyard, we have grass. They come out and play on the grass. This shelf right here is for our shoes. It is generally full of children's shoes. They're gone because they have our children. And they need to come home to their mothers. We need our children to come home. They need us.


KING: Our panel will give us their read on this next.


KING: Be right back with our panel. Let's check in with Anderson Cooper. He'll host "AC 360" at the top of the hour.

What's up tonight?

ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, "AC 360": Larry, the Catholic church faces up to their sexual abuse problems in historic fashion today; the Pope meeting face to face with victims of abuse. He heard their stories and tonight, so will you. An exclusive interview with three of the victims who met with the Pontiff today, truly an extraordinary meeting it was.

We'll also bring you all the political fallout from last night's debate. Was the biggest loser actually the media? Controversy today over the questions asked. We'll show you how it is all playing out on the campaign trail.

All that, plus the latest on the polygamy trial in Texas. You're covering chaos in the courtroom, more than 400 kids, 300 attorneys. As you've noted, we're expecting court to adjourn in the next hour. We'll bring you that story, as well. A busy night for us at the top of the hour, Larry.

KING: Thanks, Anderson. That's "AC 360," 10:00 Eastern, 7:00 Pacific.

Back with our panel.

Dr. Sophy, what is your read on Marilyn, who gave us the tour of her house?

SOPHY: It is easy to sit there -- it's not easy to sit there and listen to how difficult that feels. It makes you sad that she wants her child. But the bottom line is we have to make sure the kids are safe. She may be able to keep her kids safe, but her frame of reference may not be appropriate. It is the job of the state to jump in there, make sure these kids are safe and get them permanent.

KING: Was there something wrong about her? SOPHY: If you hear the way she's speaking, she's kind of talking a little bit child like, a little slow. There's a gaze to her. Either she's depressed from the loss of her kid, or if we saw her before all this, is she hypnotized, is she under some kind of connection with somebody that doesn't allow her to think properly.

KING: Carolyn what is your read on Marilyn?

JESSOP: Larry, this is just a phenomenon that's occurred in the last five, six years with this cult, where they have all taken on the voice of Warren Jeffs. They have all taken on the demeanor. They are all modeling the Prophet. If they're united with the spirit of God, then they will be like the prophet of God. So, she's just modeling Warren.

And, also, including with that is the mind control. The best interest of her child -- and if she loves her child, she will obey the prophet. And that puts her in a very vulnerable place as far as protecting her child. There goes the mother bear.

KING: Stephen, you wrote a book about the prophet, Jeffs, do you think he had that stern effect of Marilyn?

SINGULAR: On mothers --

KING: On Marilyn, the lady we just showed, yes.

SINGULAR: Oh, yes. I think the affect has trickled all the way down from his jail cell in Arizona all the way down to the ranch. We know some of his relatives, brothers are still visiting him up there and taking orders from Mr. Jeffs. So, yes, his grip is very, very pervasive and very strong.

When you can tell a father to leave his family and go sit in St. George, Utah, and repent for awhile and maybe you'll get your family back; the father goes and does it -- this is a successful businessman -- it shows you how much power he actually has over people.

When you can send 1,000 boys out of town, after you have exploited them in these construction companies, which they use to use this under age labor to get these cheap contracts to get even government contracts, military contracts from our government, for millions of dollars -- yes, this influence is pervasive. People have compared it to a criminal enterprise. And that's not entirely inappropriate.

KING: Mike Watkiss, would you share that view about Warren Jeffs? Oh, I'm sorry. Mike must have left us. Kathy Jo, do you share that view?

NICHOLSON: Yes, 100 percent. I think that he still has a grip on these people. He has built them up and torn them down and the process has been going on for years, several years. And it's still very, very prevalent in, like I said, Colorado City. There's a baby graveyard and the stones aren't even marked.

They are inbreeding. Fathers are impregnating their daughters. They are beating the boys. Suicides are claimed that aren't suicides.

KING: I'm puzzled, Dr. Sophy, how anyone can have the power to dictate these things.

SOPHY: Let me tell you, I think it's really important, and I hope it's part of this process that typically any child welfare system will do, which is to psychiatrically evaluate those parents. So, it will be interesting to see if they evaluate Warren, what that psychiatric finding will be. And they should be able to evaluate the parents, the mothers, as well because we have to see, kind of, what pathology is really going on there. It is all pathology.

KING: If this were in Los Angeles, you would be --

SOPHY: My staff and my colleagues, absolutely.

KING: Wouldn't that be Herculean?

SOPHY: Absolutely. We have a protocol we have to go through. We have to provide safety. We have to minimize risk. We have to get kids permanent. In that process, we evaluate every aspect that we can. We look at parents. We look at kids. We look for relatives who can support these kids while we're in the process of evaluating that. But I hope that psychiatrically they will look at these parents, and Warren, to come up with an answer.

If there is enough pathology, that's enough for the state to be able to say the kids aren't safe.

KING: That's the concept, they are all our children.

SOPHY: Correct.

KING: We'll be back with more moments on this fascinating topic. Don't go away.


KING: We're back with our panel on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. Carolyn, where do you think it's all going to end? Polygamy's not going to go away, is it?

JESSOP: Well, Larry, I don't note about that. But I know it's been perpetuated from one generation to another by abusing children. That's my opinion. That's what I experienced in it. I can't speak for every polygamist community. I know that's how I was indoctrinated into it and required to live the lifestyle.

We'll see if the public steps up to the plate and says no, there's going to be a line between religious freedom and abuse. You cannot abuse children. Then maybe polygamy will have to be truly about consenting adults.

KING: Hold it, Carolyn. We're going to go to David Mattingly, who is on the scene at the courthouse. David, is it over for the day? MATTINGLY: Yes, Larry, it is over for today. Everything starts again tomorrow morning. No guesses yet on how long this might go. But the state did a very bold move here when it took 416 children away from their homes, and they are going to have to come up with some very big evidence to convince a judge to keep them there.

KING: Where are the children?

MATTINGLY: Right now, the children are in state custody. They are in a variety of places. Some of the boys have been sent to a boy's ranch. Some of the younger kids are in one location with their mothers, with some care givers there. The other children are in another location.

State having to do some improvising. They weren't anticipating this many kids to be coming out of there. One interesting fact, when they went there the first time, they thought there were only 100 to 150 people total who lived there. They had no idea, Larry, what they were getting into.

KING: Are those of age getting schooling?

MATTINGLY: There was -- these children are all home schooled, so they have not been able to get that home schooling they were getting when they were at the ranch that they lived at. That is one of the many details that's being worked on for these kids right now.

KING: Court is what time tomorrow?

MATTINGLY: Court starts at 9:30 Central.

KING: And the state still is presenting its case, right?

MATTINGLY: The state is presenting its case. We walked out a little while ago, during cross examination of one of their lead witnesses, the supervising investigator for child protective services, saying a lot of justification about why the state chose to do this. At one point during cross examination, she did say, this is not about religion. She said, this is about child abuse.

KING: Thanks so much, David. We'll talk to you again tomorrow, I'm sure. So, Dr. Sophy, is that what it's about?

SOPHY: It's got to be about child safety and child protection, minimizing risk. It has to be.

KING: That's some task, taking care of all these kids in different places.

SOPHY: Yes, and I would applaud the state of Texas for being able to step up. I know here in L.A., it's tough to find a foster home, and we do the best efforts we can. So, I applaud them in such a huge effort to be able to stand up and get these kids really under a roof and safe.

KING: Do you know if there's a polygamist community in L.A.? SOPHY: Not that I know of.

KING: We know where they are, right?

SOPHY: Yes, they are pretty well located.

KING: Utah, Colorado, Texas, Idaho. Boy, it's a tough job. Glad you didn't -- it didn't hit you.

SOPHY: I'm glad it didn't come to L.A.

KING: Thank you all very much. We'll be calling on you again.

Carolyn Jessop, as always, you're so on the scene for us.

Kathy Jo Nicholson, great having you with us.

Dr. Sophy, thank you so much -- the doctor is medical director of the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services.

Check out our Web site, We've got quick votes, video clips and transcripts too. You can e-mail upcoming guests or download our podcast. This week, it's Stephen Colbert. Our web extra takes you inside the polygamist compound, all on

Tomorrow, super political smack down. It's Ben Stein, our own Ben, versus Morgan Spurlock. They will tangle over the presidential candidates. It will be fun. It will be funny. It's a Friday on LARRY KING LIVE.

Right now it's Anderson Cooper and "AC 360" in New York -- Anderson.