SPOKANE, Wash. -

Canadian prosecutors filed charges Wednesday against members of a religious sect, accused of practicing polygamy.

The group lives in Bountiful, which is just across the Canadian border from Bonners Ferry, Idaho. They're affiliated with FLDS church, an extremist group which claims to be based on the teachings on the Mormon church. They are not affiliated with the LDS church in any way.

Prosecutors have been investigating members of the group for years, but often cited religious freedom as a reason not to prosecute. That changed this week, as four members of the group now face charges that include polygamy and removing someone under the age of 16 from Canada with the intent of committing sexual abuse.

Winston Blackmore, leader of the group and the so-called "Bishop of Bountiful" faces charges of practicing polygamy with 24 women. He's been outspoken in the past in his efforts to separate himself and his followers from Warren Jeffs, the so-called prophet of the FLDS church who was recently sentenced to life in prison for the sexual abuse of young girls.

Blackmore and the other defendants will be in court to face the charges in October.

For complete details and charging documents in the case, visit the website of the special prosecutor in British Columbia