From XFamily - Children of God
120 Children Seized In Raid On Australian Sect
SYDNEY, May 15, Reuter - Australian police took more than 120 children into protective custody on Friday after dawn raids on the Children of God religious sect in Sydney and Melbourne, police and welfare officials said.
"The action was taken following a formal notification of concern about the children's lifestyles and emotional condition," said a statement by the welfare department in the state of Victoria.
The children, aged between two and 14, were seized in raids on six houses used by the sect in the Victorian state capital Melbourne, the centre of the state, and the New South Wales state capital Sydney.
Police in Sydney told reporters they took more than 70 children into custody in raids on four houses because they held fears for their emotional and physical safety.
Members of the Children of God, founded in California in 1968, believe they have been chosen by God to survive the end of the world.
A Melbourne Children's Court magistrate ruled on Friday that 52 children taken into custody in the Victorian raids had to stay in the care of the welfare department over the weekend.
Parents of the children had sought their release.
Counsel representing the department told the court that the children had been taken away because they were being subjected to emotional and psychological abuse.
He said they were denied access to the outside community, transferred from country to country and were often not in the care of their parents.
A hearing will be held on Monday to decide the children's future.