CNN correspondent David Mattingly was the first journalist to report live from inside the compound in Texas. So why did the state remove the children from the compound? "The state had no idea, really, what they were getting into when they went into that compound," he says. "When they got up in there, the state investigators say that they found multiple teenage girls who had been married, who had been pregnant. They found that the scope of this was a lot more than just this one girl."
David says investigators removed all children because they found the kids had been conditioned from an early age. "They uncovered what the state says they believed to be a pattern in which girls were conditioned at an early age to marry and to accept sexual relations with older adult men," he says. "The state's rationale here was that the boys were also being conditioned too, when they were adults, to accept marriages with these young girls and potentially become participants in this alleged abuse."
Although mothers were allowed to accompany their children at first, David says many of the mothers have since been sent home. "A couple of weeks ago, the mothers were told that they could go home and that the children were being taken away from them and moved to three separate facilities," he says. "They did that because they felt like the mothers were possibly coaching them. They weren't getting straight answers about who their parents might be, who their fathers might be, and possibly impeding their investigation."
The children are now living at group homes throughout Texas. David says the state took special care to make sure brothers and sisters stayed together. "They felt that would be bad. [It's] a very alien environment for them, so they're keeping them together so that they can support each other."
This case won't see resolution anytime soon, David says. "The scope of this case is unprecedented," he says. "They say everything's big in Texas. The state of Texas never saw anything this big when it comes to child protection."
See what happened when Oprah Show correspondent Lisa Ling was allowed inside the compound.