FLDS member, Raymond M. Jessop, sentenced to 10 years in prison for sexually assaulting an underage girl/ 75-year prison sentence and $10,000 fine meted out to Merril Leroy Jessop for sexual assault of a child/ Five sentenced now

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Normal FLDS member, Raymond M. Jessop, sentenced to 10 years in prison for sexually assaulting an underage girl/ 75-year prison sentence and $10,000 fine meted out to Merril Leroy Jessop for sexual assault of a child/ Five sentenced now

Post by Nama on Sun Oct 25, 2009 1:20 am

Trial will put polygamist sect in spotlight again

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SAN ANGELO, Texas -- Attorneys on Monday will begin culling the largest jury pool ever called in Eldorado, Texas, to try to find 14 people in a county of 2,800 who can set aside what they have heard about a polygamist sect whose alleged marriages involving underage girls triggered a police raid that swept more than 400 children into state custody last year.

Raymond Jessop, 38, will become the first man from the Yearning For Zion Ranch to go on trial here. He is charged with sexual assault of a child -- an underage girl whom he allegedly married first -- and faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted. He is also charged with bigamy for allegedly marrying a second underage girl, but will be tried on that charge separately.

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Normal Re: FLDS member, Raymond M. Jessop, sentenced to 10 years in prison for sexually assaulting an underage girl/ 75-year prison sentence and $10,000 fine meted out to Merril Leroy Jessop for sexual assault of a child/ Five sentenced now

Post by Nama on Sun Oct 25, 2009 1:23 am

In all, 12 sect men have been charged with crimes ranging from failure to report child abuse to bigamy and sexual assault at the ranch, where women and girls wear braids and pastel prairie dresses. They have all denied wrongdoing.

The cases began after a woman in Colorado allegedly called a Texas domestic abuse hot line in March 2008 and pretended to be a teenage girl with a much-older husband who raped and beat her. State authorities swooped in, taking 439 children away from their sheltered lives and hundreds of boxes of documents and family photos to build their case. The Texas Rangers have acknowledged the hot line information was false, but the caller has never been charged.

Speculation grew about life in the secluded community when the sect's leader, Warren Jeffs, was placed on the FBI's Most Wanted list, accused in Arizona and Utah of arranging underage marriages with sect girls. Jeffs, who is revered as a prophet by FLDS members, was captured in 2006 and convicted in Utah as an accomplice to rape. He is jailed in Arizona awaiting trial on charges related to underage marriages there and faces sexual assault and bigamy charges in Texas.

Nichols said the trial is expected to last two weeks. The prosecution lists 59 potential witnesses including law enforcement and child welfare officials, two of Jessop's alleged wives, and former FLDS members.
Authorities have said little about the allegations against Jessop, but documents seized from the ranch indicate the assault charge stems from his alleged marriage to an underage girl. The girl later became pregnant and was in labor for several days in August 2005. But after Jessop consulted with sect leader Warren Jeffs, the girl wasn't taken to the hospital, allegedly out of fear that hospital authorities would discover her age and turn in Jessop.
"I knew that the girl being 16 years old, if she went to the hospital, they could put Raymond Jessop in jeopardy of prosecution as the government is looking for any reason to come against us there," said Jeffs in one of the numerous alleged journal entries confiscated by authorities.

One of Jeffs' daughters allegedly married Jessop the day after she turned 15. The bigamy charge pertains to that relationship.

Under Texas law, generally, no one under 17 can consent to sex with an adult.

FLDS members, who believe polygamy brings glorification in heaven, historically have lived around the Arizona-Utah line, but the sect bought a ranch on the outskirts of Eldorado about six years ago. Hundreds of FLDS members, including many of the 439 children initially taken by child welfare authorities, have returned to the log cabin-style homes there.

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Normal Re: FLDS member, Raymond M. Jessop, sentenced to 10 years in prison for sexually assaulting an underage girl/ 75-year prison sentence and $10,000 fine meted out to Merril Leroy Jessop for sexual assault of a child/ Five sentenced now

Post by Nama on Sun Oct 25, 2009 1:31 am

Members of the fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints share a belief in multiple wives, being self-sufficient and dressing modestly. But an anonymous phone call alleged the church also sanctioned underage marriage and child abuse.

Four-hundred-thirty-seven children were removed as a result of the raid, as authorities investigated the allegations. Eventually, the initial phone call was determined to be a hoax and all but five of the children were returned to their families.

Former polygamist Flora Jessop, who escaped the compound 15 years ago, worked with some of the children after they were taken from the ranch. She now lives in Phoenix with her husband and two kids. Raymond Jessop's father is her cousin, so Raymond is her second cousin.

Flora works to get other girls out, including her sister. She's also writing a book about the sect.

Flora added, "I think the nature of the abuse and the severity of the abuse is going to shock people. I spent a month in Texas in June, when I just traveled through the state, and I wanted to know firsthand what was discovered, and spoke with hundreds of CPS (Child Protective Service) caseworkers, and the sense I got was that the local CPS workers felt just as betrayed as the children, and (I) felt they just quit believing in the system, because they were told they couldn't protect these kids."

Flora predicted some of the allegations that will be made in the courtroom will be worse than what's come to light already "because of what I discovered in Texas."

In-Session/Court TV Correspondent Beth Karas, who's been covering the raid's aftermath, told Wragge prosecutors will initially have their work cut out for them. "The biggest hurdle is that they're gonna try to get a jury in the same community where this occurred. People know about this. It's widely publicized. So the big hurdle will be trying to seat a jury of 12 people who can put aside any opinions they have and knowledge they have of the case and just decide it on the evidence."

She said the charges are "very serious": first-degree felonies punishable by five-to-99 years or life in prison."

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Normal Re: FLDS member, Raymond M. Jessop, sentenced to 10 years in prison for sexually assaulting an underage girl/ 75-year prison sentence and $10,000 fine meted out to Merril Leroy Jessop for sexual assault of a child/ Five sentenced now

Post by Nama on Sun Oct 25, 2009 1:32 am

“I kept hoping this trial would go away,” said Willie Jessop, a spokesman for FLDS, who is not related to the defendant. “We're disappointed that they're moving forward with their program. We keep thinking they're going to recognize this thing as a hoax.”

The indictments are the result of documents and evidence pulled out of the YFZ ranch by the Texas Department of Public Safety after a caller, now believed to be a hoaxer, called a women's shelter in San Angelo in late March 2008. The caller claimed to be a physically and sexually abused teen-wife named Sarah.

Officials with the women's shelter notified Texas Child Protective Services and caseworkers were sent to the ranch a few days later. After seeing several young girls who were pregnant or mothers, a decision was made to remove all 439 children from the ranch, a move that was later reversed by the Texas Supreme Court.
The children were removed from the ranch and placed in foster homes across the state — an action that cost Texas taxpayers at least $12 million, authorities said. Eventually reunited with the parents, the raid on the ranch and the subsequent legal battles over their welfare ignited a national debate over religious freedom and property rights.

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Normal Sex with minor girls?

Post by Nama on Sun Oct 25, 2009 1:35 am

Sex with minor girls?

The particular charges in this first trial involve one of Jessop's nine wives whom prosecutors believe was less than 18 years of age when she gave birth to Jessop's daughter. The child was 3 years old at the time of the raid, said Willie Jessop.

The fact that the sect members “married” teenage girls younger than 18 years of age is not in dispute. The Texas Attorney General's Office will have to prove to jurors that the sect's idea of marriage involved sex with minor girls, which will not be an easy task considering that many of the children do not have birth certificates.

Last month, Deputy Attorney General Eric Nichols, the lead prosecutor, notified the court he would be introducing a number of extraneous acts and offenses in Raymond Jessop's case.

The allegations include how Jessop moved a 26-year-old pregnant wife out of the master bedroom in 1999 and moved a 19-year-old wife in; how he placed a 16-year-old wife and unborn child in danger in 2005; how he allegedly conspired with Jeffs, the church's leader, to commit acts of sexual assault and transporting a minor across state lines in 2005; alleged illegal banking activity that same year; and his reported abandonment in 2007 of nine wives and 22 children.

Hundreds of FLDS members who had lived along the border of Arizona and Utah for years, began moving to Eldorado in 2002 after buying 1,700 acres just northeast of the tiny town. Before the raid, Texas officials believed there were about 55 children at the ranch.

Most of the 439 were born on the ranch.

The FLDS broke from the larger Mormon Church over the issue of polygamy.

Since the raid, the FLDS members have said they are committed not to engage in underage marriages. Asked Friday whether they were living up to that commitment, Willie Jessop said he had no way of knowing what other people do.
“I don't know that,” he said.

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Normal Re: FLDS member, Raymond M. Jessop, sentenced to 10 years in prison for sexually assaulting an underage girl/ 75-year prison sentence and $10,000 fine meted out to Merril Leroy Jessop for sexual assault of a child/ Five sentenced now

Post by Nama on Sun Oct 25, 2009 1:42 am

Jessop’s attorney, Mark Stevens of San Antonio, on Thursday filed a 23-page response to the state’s notice of intent, which included allegations that Jessop was involved in a number of illegal marriages in Utah and Schleicher County, violated banking regulations in connection with an account related to the YFZ Ranch and aided sect leader Warren Jeffs while he was a fugitive in 2005 and 2006.

Stevens’ response to the state’s notice, styled Defendant’s Objections to Evidence, states, “The state cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt with competent and admissible evidence that Mr. Jessop perpetrated any of these transactions.”

Stevens argues that the state’s allegations are “unfairly prejudicial, confusing and misleading, and therefore inadmissible.”

Jessop was indicted on bigamy and sexual assault charges in July 2008, but he is being tried on Oct. 26 only on the sexual assault counts, and Stevens in his response argues that allegations involving multiple marriages, harboring a fugitive and bank fraud are unproven and irrelevant for this trial.

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Normal Re: FLDS member, Raymond M. Jessop, sentenced to 10 years in prison for sexually assaulting an underage girl/ 75-year prison sentence and $10,000 fine meted out to Merril Leroy Jessop for sexual assault of a child/ Five sentenced now

Post by Nama on Sun Oct 25, 2009 1:44 am

State attorneys allege a polygamist sect member set to for trial on bigamy and child sexual abuse charges next month deliberately skirted anti-money laundering laws.

The Texas Attorney General's Office also alleges Raymond Jessop used a wife he abandoned to front a company that could exploit contracting rules favoring women-owned businesses.

The allegations are listed in a court filing by the Attorney General's office Friday.

The 38-year-old Jessop isn't charged with additional counts in advance of his trial set for Oct. 26. However, the attorney general's filing's accusations may be used by prosecutors in the punishment phase of the trial.[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

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Post by Marica on Sun Oct 25, 2009 10:20 am

These seem to be people who hide behind the church door to do as they please, but what they do is not about pleasing their Heavenly Father.
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Normal Re: FLDS member, Raymond M. Jessop, sentenced to 10 years in prison for sexually assaulting an underage girl/ 75-year prison sentence and $10,000 fine meted out to Merril Leroy Jessop for sexual assault of a child/ Five sentenced now

Post by Wrapitup on Sun Oct 25, 2009 11:02 am

This man is the epitome of a control freak/perv. And talk about subservient women. They talk like frickin robots! Glad this is finally going to trial. It's about time!

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Normal document that identified "extraneous" information

Post by Nama on Sun Oct 25, 2009 6:34 pm

Prosecutors provided an outline of their case against Jessop last month in a court document that identified "extraneous" information they plan to use either during the trial or at sentencing.
According to that document, Jessop has at least nine wives; he allegedly spiritually married six of them at the sect's Texas ranch.
The state says three of Jessop's wives are daughters of sect leader Warren S. Jeffs, including one who was 15 at the time of their alleged marriage; two are Jeffs' sisters. Jessop has at least 12 biological children and 10 stepchildren.
The state, citing comments made by Jeffs in private dictations, says that Jessop placed his teenage wife in danger in 2005 by not seeking medical help when she labored for three days before giving birth to her first child at the ranch. The document recounts Jeffs saying that going to a hospital was not an option because of the girl's age and "the associated governmental pressures against the Prophet."
The state filing also alleges Jessop helped harbor Jeffs while he was a fugitive and gave a "coercive correction" to one of the sect leader's spiritual wives when she was 13. Jeffs is serving two five-to-life sentences in Utah after being convicted in 2007 of accomplice to rape, based on a marriage he conducted in 2001.
Jessop, the state says, also engaged in money laundering to hide the source of funds used to pay for work at the YFZ Ranch and listed several wives as executives in a company he co-owned to gain business contracts based on gender.
Stevens, Jessop's attorney, filed an objection to use of that material in the trial, arguing it is irrelevant and that the state cannot "prove by competent evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Jessop did any of these things."

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Normal Re: FLDS member, Raymond M. Jessop, sentenced to 10 years in prison for sexually assaulting an underage girl/ 75-year prison sentence and $10,000 fine meted out to Merril Leroy Jessop for sexual assault of a child/ Five sentenced now

Post by Nama on Sun Oct 25, 2009 10:35 pm

Raymond Merril Jessop is the first, but certainly not the last person who will be prosecuted for their actions at the YFZ Ranch. Jessop has remained free after posting $100,000 bond. The FLDS trial scheduled to begin in Texas tomorrow is simply the first of a number of prosecutions related to sexual abuse of underage girls. The defense, and supporters of the group, claim that Texas authorities are simply persecuting a religion because it is different and that the religious freedoms of the group are under fire. I might be able to support this argument if it was just about polygamy, but these men are being prosecuted for the sexual assault and abuse of underage girls. I am sure that the religious freedoms guaranteed under the constitution were never meant to allow children to be raped and sexually abused. If convicted Raymond Merril Jessop faces from 5 to 99 years in jail for sexual assault. If the allegations are proven and the state can show that the abuse occurred, then I hope he gets the 99 years and not the 5.

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Normal The Groundskeeper's Bed

Post by Nama on Mon Oct 26, 2009 11:49 am

Thanks to an anonymous commenter who provided a link to the AP
article containing this unique and creepy photo. This is apparently
the bed that was found in the Temple at
the FLDS Ranch in Eldorado,
Texas. When asked by Oprah if the rumors of a bed in the
Temple were true, Wille Jessop, Spokesman Extraordinaire, said
that the bed in the Temple was for the
Groundskeeper. I don’t
think Willie was anticipating the release
of this photo.
[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.] However, an affidavit unsealed yesterday in Texas District Court said that bed had “ …disturbed bed linens and a strand of hair that appears to be from a female head.” The affidavit quotes a confidential informant as saying the bed was used for “sexual activity” between older men and underage girls.

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Post by Wrapitup on Mon Oct 26, 2009 9:36 pm

OMG, it reminds me of a coffin! That is sick! Seriously sick and twisted. No words!!

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Post by Juanita on Tue Oct 27, 2009 7:55 pm

i wouldnt be surprised, thats the first picture i saw of that thing in the temple

my bf just told me that the mormons are not considered a recognized christian group, its considered a cult
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Post by Wrapitup on Tue Oct 27, 2009 9:06 pm

Is he saying all mormon's or just these nut jobs??

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Normal Jury chosen for US polygamy trial

Post by Nama on Wed Oct 28, 2009 2:35 am

Jury chosen for US polygamy trial

The sexual assault trial of a member of a US polygamy sect is to continue with a second day of jury selection at a Texas court.
Raymond Jessop, 38, faces up to 20 years in prison if found guilty of the charge related to his alleged marriage to an under-age girl.
It is the first criminal case stemming from a raid on the sect's ranch last year.
About 150 people, including members of the sect, were eligible for jury duty.
Prosecutors allege he has nine wives. His bigamy trial will be held later.
Two of Mr Jessop's alleged under-age wives, as well as former sect members, are due to give evidence for the prosecution.

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The Associated Press is reporting that of the 300 people making up the jury pool, at least 10 clearly belonged to the FLDS church. Sect members are pretty easy to spot. The women wear ankle-length prarie dresses and particular hair styles. The men wear button-up shirts.

It is not clear yet if lawyers for the state will try to exclude jurors who are members of the sect.

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Post by Juanita on Wed Oct 28, 2009 6:34 am

Wrapitup wrote:Is he saying all mormon's or just these nut jobs??

the entire mormon church even those who denounce the nutjobs
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Post by Juanita on Wed Oct 28, 2009 6:34 am

but please keep in mind, he is athiest and i am agnostic, so to us, every religion is a cult to various degrees
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Post by Wrapitup on Wed Oct 28, 2009 7:57 am

Understood, Juanita. ❤

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Normal Jessop is Guilty!

Post by Nama on Fri Nov 06, 2009 1:09 am

One of the leaders of a polygamist sect was convicted Thursday night of sexually assaulting an under-age girl whom the church elders had assigned to him as one of his nine wives.

Raymond M. Jessop was taken to the Schleicher County jail after his conviction Thursday. He faces up to 20 years in prison.

A jury of seven men and five women deliberated 2 hours 20 minutes before returning a verdict of guilty in the first trial of a dozen members of the Yearning for Zion Ranch just outside this rural hamlet in West Texas.

The defendant, Raymond M. Jessop, 38, seemed unperturbed as Judge Barbara Walther of State District Court read the verdict. Mr. Jessop was immediately handcuffed and taken into custody by the Schleicher County sheriff. He smiled and nodded to several other men in his religious group, who sat grave-faced as he was led away.

Mr. Jessop will be sentenced after a second hearing before the jury on Monday. He faces penalties ranging from 2 years’ probation to 20 years in prison.

His lawyer, Mark Stevens, declined to say if he would appeal, though the defense had argued in hearings before trial that the state illegally seized the church documents that were crucial to the case during a raid on the ranch in April 2008.

Mr. Jessop is one of the most prominent members of a breakaway sect that has at least four other communities in Arizona and Utah. He is close to Warren S. Jeffs, the self-styled prophet and leader of the sect.

Mr. Jeffs has been convicted in Utah as an accomplice to rape, a charge related to his role in ordering the “spiritual marriage” of an under-age girl to one of his followers. He is in jail in Arizona awaiting trial on similar charges and has been charged in Texas with sexual assault and bigamy.

The trial of Mr. Jessop offered a rare glimpse of the inner workings of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a group that split from the Mormon Church. Followers believe polygamy brings heavenly rewards and treat Mr. Jeffs as a modern-day prophet.

The ranch first came to national attention a year and a half ago when the Texas authorities descended on it, seeking a girl who had complained in a telephone call to a San Angelo women’s shelter that she was being sexually abused. The girl was never found, and the Texas Rangers acknowledge that the tip was a hoax.

But in the course of executing search warrants, social workers and the Rangers uncovered evidence that at least a dozen girls had been coerced by church elders to serve as wives to older men. Seven had borne children.

The prosecutor, Assistant Attorney General Eric Nichols, put several Rangers on the stand along with a former member of the church to introduce several church documents seized from a vault on the ranch.

Since the woman said to be the victim, who is now 21, did not testify, Mr. Nichols used the documents, along with her photo album, to prove she lived with Mr. Jessop as one of his wives and was impregnated by him when she was 16.

The state’s case also rested heavily on genetic evidence that showed there was a 99.9 percent chance Mr. Jessop was the father of the child, who is now 4.

In his closing argument, Mr. Nichols attacked the theory that the teenager had consented to be Mr. Jessop’s wife. “Any act of sexual assault is a horrendous crime,” he said, “but an act of sexual assault on a child is of such an extreme nature we don’t even consider whether the victim was able, much less did, consent.”

One of the most damning pieces of evidence presented in court was a written record of Mr. Jeffs’s instructions in August 2005 not to take the girl to a hospital even though she had been struggling in labor for three days at a clinic on the ranch.

“I knew the girl, being 16 years old, if she went to the hospital, they could put Raymond Jessop in jeopardy of prosecution as the government is looking for any reason to come against us there,” Mr. Jeffs was quoted as saying.

Some of the most revealing testimony came from another witness for the prosecution, Rebecca Musser, a former member of the church who had been married to Rulon T. Jeffs, the sect’s founder and the father of Warren Jeffs. She left the church in 2002 after the elder Mr. Jeffs died.

Ms. Musser testified that Mr. Jeffs had controlled every aspect of the women’s lives, including how they dressed and what they ate. He also controlled whom they married and when.

“Age was not a factor,” she said. “It was when the prophet deemed she was worthy.”

Mr. Stevens mounted a technical defense, arguing that the state could not prove the crime had taken place in Texas since the evidence it had was purely circumstantial. He did not present any witnesses.

“It’s dangerous when we start trying to convict people based on documents and we are not sure where those documents came from,” he said.


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Post by Wrapitup on Fri Nov 06, 2009 1:14 am

Well....Finally!!! Some good, great news!!! Just think of all the wives and children he is leaving behind. Hopefully, this is a step in the right direction. Maybe some of these brainwashed women will up and leave this sect/cult with their kids and get a real life!!

Thank you, BJ, for this uplifting post after the sad, sad news today!! This conviction was a long time coming!! :cheers:

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Normal Yeah... But He Only Gets 10

Post by NiteSpinR on Wed Nov 11, 2009 3:17 am

Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
Texas Supreme Court
(CNN) -- A polygamist sect member arrested following last year's raid of a west Texas ranch was sentenced Tuesday to 10 years in prison for sexually assaulting an underage girl, authorities said.

Raymond Jessop was found guilty last week of assaulting a girl under 17, with whom he had entered into a "spiritual" marriage, said Jerry Strickland, a spokesman for the state attorney general.

Jessop also received an $8,000 fine, said Sheriff David Doran, of Schleicher County, Texas.

The victim in the case was one of 400 children seized from the Yearning for Zion Ranch in Eldorado, Texas, in April 2008 by state child welfare workers. The children were returned after the Texas Supreme Court ruled that the state had no right to remove them and lacked evidence to show that they were in danger of abuse.

Jessop belongs to the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The church -- a 10,000-member offshoot of the mainstream Mormon church -- openly practices polygamy on the ranch, as well as in Arizona and Utah.

Critics of the sect say young girls are forced into "spiritual" marriages with older men and are sexually abused. Sect members have denied any sexual abuse.
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big whoopty doo 10 years. all that to watch this man get slapped on the hand.

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Normal Re: FLDS member, Raymond M. Jessop, sentenced to 10 years in prison for sexually assaulting an underage girl/ 75-year prison sentence and $10,000 fine meted out to Merril Leroy Jessop for sexual assault of a child/ Five sentenced now

Post by Nama on Wed Nov 11, 2009 9:29 am

One trial down, 11 to go. Jessop's sentence was not harsh enough. What was that judge thinking?

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Normal THREE found Guilty so far!

Post by Nama on Fri Feb 05, 2010 8:31 pm

An FLDS member who was to stand trial Monday in Texas on charges related to sexual assault of a child has pleaded no contest, according to The San Angelo Standard-Times .
Michael G. Emack was sentenced to seven years in prison in the plea agreement reached Friday during a hearing in San Angelo before 51st District Judge Barbara Walther. Emack's attorney is Randy Wilson of Abilene.
Emack, 59, is the third member of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to be sentenced following an investigation at the Eldorado-based Yearning For Zion Ranch in 2008. Seven other men also face charges related to underage marriages.
Raymond M. Jessop, 38, was sentenced to 10 years in prison in November. A month later, Allan E. Keate, 57, who was also represented by Wilson, was sentenced to 33 years in prison -- a tougher penalty because his offense happened after the Texas Legislature modified its sexual assault law in 2005.
Emack's crime happened before the law changed, which meant he faced up to 20 years if found guilty.
Using evidence seized from the ranch, Texas authorities charged Emack with sexual assault and bigamy, alleging he sexually assaulted a 16-year-old girl in October 2004. The girl, who was one of Emack's plural wives, gave birth to a son in 2005.
According to the Standard-Times , Emack told Walther that entering a plea "helps me maintain my dignity."
The newspaper reported that Walther found Emack guilty after he agreed to a "waiver of stipulation of the evidence," saying that the evidence was accurate and could prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt.

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Normal Meet the Mormon man with 239 grandchildren

Post by Nama on Fri Feb 05, 2010 8:41 pm

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Gathering Joe Jessop’s brood together for a group photo is a challenge for even the most patient of snappers.
After all, there are five wives, 46 children and – at the last count – 239 grandkids to squeeze into the frame.
That’s because the 88-year-old is the bed-hopping patriarch of one of the world’s most extraordinary families.
Joe and his clan live in Short Creek, Utah, a 6,000-strong community of members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, a polygamous offshoot of the Mormon Church. Joe says: “My family came to Short Creek for the same reason as everyone else.
“To obey the law of plural marriage, to build up the Kingdom of God. Despite everything that’s been thrown our way, I’d say we’ve done a pretty good job.”
Each wife has her own bedroom and takes responsibility for her own children.
But, dressed in their distinctive pioneer-style dresses, they share the domestic chores equally. One will take control of the kitchen, another will take on the role of schoolmistress (most FLDS children are home-taught), while someone else will be in charge of sewing.
Family mealtimes begin with a prayer with up to 12 adults and adolescents sitting at the main table and the toddlers to teens taking their place around two tables in the next room. TV and junk food are banned but the community does have internet access and younger members
regularly check emails and listen to religious music on their iPods.
And while their distinctive outfits may seem more in keeping with a horse and cart, most men drive SUVs and mobiles are as common here as in the rest of the US.
Joe adds: “I’ve had a blessed life. I wouldn’t trade places with anyone.”
However, the religion and associated lifestyle has come under fire in America by critics who see the FLDS as little more than a cult which brainwashes its women and deprives its children of a normal childhood.
Former president Warren Jeffs, who claimed to be God’s mouthpiece on earth, is serving a 10-year jail sentence over a rape. There are 11 other church members awaiting trial in Texas.
In April 2008 the group made international news when, acting on what turned out to be a hoax call alleging systematic child abuse on the church’s Texan compound, welfare officers took custody of all 439 children under the age of 18.
America was gripped by the TV footage of the raid but just over a month later, the Supreme Court ruled it had not been justified and ordered the children to be returned to their parents.
However, the cloud of suspicion remains.
Several people have left the church to campaign against it and families have been torn apart as a result.
There are around 40,000 people living in a polygamist family in Utah – about 2% of the population.
Only the first marriage is legal and licensed, the others are carried out secretly in private ceremonies. The Mormon church itself renounced polygamy in 1935 which helped give rise to extreme off-shoots like the FLDS.
“I know it must seem strange to outsiders,” says Joyce Broadbent who shares her husband Heber with her sister Marcia.
“Oh sure, you might be closer to one than another, or someone might get on your nerves occasionally, but that’s true in any family. I’ve never felt any rivalry or jealousy at all.”


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Normal Merril Leroy Jessop guilty of sexual assault

Post by Nama on Sat Mar 27, 2010 2:42 pm

A Tom Green County jury Wednesday found Merril Leroy Jessop, 35, guilty of sexual assault of a child in connection with allegations he illegally married an underage girl.
The sentencing phase of his trial continues at 9 a.m. today.
Jessop is a member of the polygamous Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
He maintained a pleasant expression while 51st District Judge Barbara Walther read the jury statement early Wednesday afternoon and pronounced him guilty.
Jurors heard closing arguments Wednesday morning and left at 11:30 a.m. to deliberate. The trial was in its eighth day.
Attorneys were summoned back to the courtroom at 12:30 p.m.
After the verdict, the jury had a lunch break and began hearing arguments for the trial's sentencing phase.
Because the jury found that an enhancement to the laws on sexual assault of a child applies, the penalty was elevated from a second-degree to a first-degree felony. The punishment Jessop faces ranges from five years with the recommendation of probation to 99 years or life in prison with a fine of up to $10,000.
Early Wednesday, lead prosecuting attorney Eric Nichols gave the first closing argument.
"You can conclude who that child's parents are beyond a shadow of a doubt," he said of the baby the state alleges was born as the result of the relationship between the defendant and an underage girl.
Nichols harked back to the DNA experts who said Merril Leroy Jessop had more than a 99 percent probability of being the father.
Behind him, a projected image showed the girl the state alleges was abused, half smiling and holding the child.
Nichols referred back to evidence "taken from the sacred church archives" which indicated Merril Leroy Jessop was living at the ranch at the time of the offense, which the state says was Aug. 20, 2006, when the girl was 15.
Lead defense attorney Dan Hurley Hurley noted that Merril Leroy Jessop had been called to marry the alleged victim with half an hour of notice.
"Was he intentionally and knowingly violating the law, or was he following the directive of the prophet?

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Normal Re: FLDS member, Raymond M. Jessop, sentenced to 10 years in prison for sexually assaulting an underage girl/ 75-year prison sentence and $10,000 fine meted out to Merril Leroy Jessop for sexual assault of a child/ Five sentenced now

Post by laga on Sat Mar 27, 2010 4:43 pm

Lead defense attorney Dan Hurley Hurley noted that Merril Leroy Jessop had been called to marry the alleged victim with half an hour of notice.
"Was he intentionally and knowingly violating the law, or was he following the directive of the prophet?


OOPS, He should have got that directive in writing. :tongue in chee
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Normal Re: FLDS member, Raymond M. Jessop, sentenced to 10 years in prison for sexually assaulting an underage girl/ 75-year prison sentence and $10,000 fine meted out to Merril Leroy Jessop for sexual assault of a child/ Five sentenced now

Post by Wrapitup on Sat Mar 27, 2010 5:36 pm

Laga, are you and the article saying the minor only had a half hour notice that she was marrying this perv? thinking

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Normal Re: FLDS member, Raymond M. Jessop, sentenced to 10 years in prison for sexually assaulting an underage girl/ 75-year prison sentence and $10,000 fine meted out to Merril Leroy Jessop for sexual assault of a child/ Five sentenced now

Post by laga on Sat Mar 27, 2010 5:48 pm

That would be a logical conclusion, Wrap. All I know is what the article says the defense atty stated in what sounds like to me an excuse, like he didn't have time to consider the legal issue as the prophet only gave him half an hour to get the job done. Whether the minor knew of the prophet's plan is not clear. Maybe, they can receive clarification of this issue directly from the prophet.
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Normal Re: FLDS member, Raymond M. Jessop, sentenced to 10 years in prison for sexually assaulting an underage girl/ 75-year prison sentence and $10,000 fine meted out to Merril Leroy Jessop for sexual assault of a child/ Five sentenced now

Post by Wrapitup on Sat Mar 27, 2010 6:18 pm

I am speechless!!!!!!!!!! head bang

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Normal Re: FLDS member, Raymond M. Jessop, sentenced to 10 years in prison for sexually assaulting an underage girl/ 75-year prison sentence and $10,000 fine meted out to Merril Leroy Jessop for sexual assault of a child/ Five sentenced now

Post by laga on Sat Mar 27, 2010 8:12 pm

by Wrapitup Today at 6:18 pm

.I am speechless!!!!!!!!!!


Not me..I have quite a few choice words. #*@#&*F***ing Ba****d pervert pedophile nonhuman creep!!!!
10 years?! How much time do you think he will serve of this sentence? Hey Ray, I just heard from the prophet, he wants to see you NOW, he's got a bonfire going for you, hurry, hurry, no time to consider, you're already late.
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Normal Re: FLDS member, Raymond M. Jessop, sentenced to 10 years in prison for sexually assaulting an underage girl/ 75-year prison sentence and $10,000 fine meted out to Merril Leroy Jessop for sexual assault of a child/ Five sentenced now

Post by Wrapitup on Sat Mar 27, 2010 10:19 pm

laga wrote:by Wrapitup Today at 6:18 pm

.I am speechless!!!!!!!!!!


Not me..I have quite a few choice words. #*@#&*F***ing Ba****d pervert pedophile nonhuman creep!!!!
10 years?! How much time do you think he will serve of this sentence? Hey Ray, I just heard from the prophet, he wants to see you NOW, he's got a bonfire going for you, hurry, hurry, no time to consider, you're already late.
affraid :lol!: Whip Bravo Shocked 2 👍 :scared10: :FBI:

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Normal 75-year prison sentence and $10,000 fine meted out to Merril Leroy Jessop for sexual assault of a child .

Post by Nama on Wed Apr 21, 2010 1:57 am

Few crimes elicit more vitriolic reactions than those of the sexual abuse of children.

Even so, legal professionals said this past week that the 75-year prison sentence and $10,000 fine meted out to Merril Leroy Jessop for sexual assault of a child is on the high end of punishment.

Jessop, a member of the polygamous Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, was sentenced March 19 after being convicted of engaging in marriage with an underage girl while being married to another person, now a first-degree felony in Texas.

Gerry Morris, an Austin lawyer associated with the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, said he has been involved with more than 100 cases relating to sexual abuse.

“I’ve seen sentences all the way from probation to life,” Morris said. “The range I see more often is in the five- to 20-year range where you have a single incident.”

Although he sees that range more often, he said no sexual assault case is typical.

“It really is fact driven,” Morris said. “It depends on whether there were multiple incidents of sexual activity and what period of time.”

Morris said harsher sentences are reserved for repeat offenders.

“I’ve seen life sentences,” Morris said. “You’ll see that more often on cases where there are multiple instances, particularly egregious cases.”

One such case occurred in Tom Green County in the past week. On Thursday, 32-year-old Daniel Ozuna was sentenced to life in prison by 391st District Court Judge Tom Gossett for indecency with a 7-year-old child by sexual contact. Ozuna already was serving a 5-year sentence for a similar crime.

Lesser sentences can come from situations when there is not a large age gap, such as between a 19-year-old and a 15-year-old person, Morris said.

Morris also said that if the parties consented, the sentence may be more lenient, even though consent is no defense for the guilt-innocence phase of the trial.

“It’s not a defense, but it’s certainly something (jurors) can consider in punishment,” Morris said.

Shannon Edmonds, a staff attorney for the Texas District and County Attorneys Association, said Jessop will need to serve 30 years in jail before becoming eligible for parole.

“If you have a 75-year sentence, it’s the same as a life sentence,” Edmonds said.

In some instances, the penalty for sexual assault of a child is a second-degree felony, with a range of punishment of two to 20 years in prison with up to a $10,000 fine.

The penalty becomes a first-degree felony if the defendant is legally prohibited from marrying, purporting to marry or living with someone under the appearance of being married.

A first-degree felony is punishable with five to 99 years or life in prison and the fine of up to $10,000.

Four FLDS members have been convicted of sexual assault of a child, and eight more men have been indicted on charges that include child sexual assault, performing an unlawful marriage ceremony and bigamy.

Raymond Merril Jessop, Merril Leroy Jessop’s half-brother, received a 10-year sentence and an $8,000 fine. Allan Eugene Keate received a 33-year sentence. Michael Emack plead no contest and was sentenced to seven years.

Raymond Merril Jessop and Emack’s offenses were said to have happened before Sept. 1, 2005, the date when the law changed to make sexual assault of a child a first-degree felony in some cases.

“The 75-year sentence is just outrageous,” Linda Ugalde, a secretary at the Johnson Law Offices in San Angelo, said.

Ugalde said she had rarely heard of sentences that high, especially with Merril Leroy Jessop being a first-time offender with no criminal history.

“I know some of (the FLDS) because we’ve dealt with them,” Ugalde said. “They minded their own business. They know no different; that’s how they were raised. ... That’s my personal opinion.”

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Normal FLDS man pleads no contest, gets eight years in prison/ He is the fifth man sentenced in Texas.

Post by Nama on Wed Apr 21, 2010 2:02 am

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An FLDS man who was to stand trial later this month in Texas on charges related to sexual assault of a child and bigamy has pleaded no contest and been sentenced to two eight-year terms in prison.

Fifty-first District Judge Barbara Walther issued the sentences, which will run concurrently, during a hearing for Lehi Barlow Jeffs, 31, on Thursday in San Angelo, Texas.

Texas authorities alleged Jeffs was already married when he entered a "spiritual" marriage with a 16-year-old girl in October 2005 at the Yearning For Zion Ranch in Eldorado, Texas. The state alleged Jeffs subsequently sexually assaulted the girl in September 2006. She gave birth to a daughter in June 2007.

The ranch is home to members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which also has major settlements in Utah, Arizona and British Columbia.

Jeffs is the fifth man to be found guilty in Texas on charges related to underage marriages based on evidence seized by authorities during an investigation at the ranch in April 2008.

The other four FLDS defendants -- among them the father of Jeffs' victim -- received sentences ranging in length from seven years to 75 years.

On Wednesday, Walther also accepted a plea from Michael G. Emack on a bigamy charge and ordered him to serve a seven-year sentence. That term will run concurrently with a seven-year sentence he received in January after pleading no contest to sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl.

Seven other FLDS men are awaiting trial on charges related to underage marriages, including Warren S. Jeffs, the sect's religious leader.

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Normal Texas Appeals Court Upholds Sex-Assault Conviction Of FLDS Member Raymond Merril Jessop

Post by NiteSpinR on Thu Apr 19, 2012 11:52 pm

Apr 19 2012

A Texas appeals court has upheld the sexual-assault conviction of a polygamous sect member who spiritually married a 15-year-old girl in 2004 at a ranch in Schleicher County.

Raymond Merril Jessop, 40, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for one count of sexual assault. His was one of several cases filed against members of the Warren Jeffs-led Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints following a raid at the sect’s Yearning For Zion Ranch in Eldorado, Texas.

In Jessop’s trial, prosecutors used the victim’s photo album, documents seized from the ranch and DNA tests to prove he had taken the woman, then a 15-year-old, as a spiritual wife in August 2004. She conceived a child in November and gave birth to a daughter on Aug. 19, 2005.

Jessop appealed his conviction, claiming the evidence against him was circumstantial or unreliable. He also claimed that some of the witnesses — including two former FLDS members and a psychologist who works with members and former members of polygamous sects — gave prejudicial testimony that was not directly relevant to the case against him.

The Texas Third District Court of Appeals disagreed, ruling that the evidence was properly admitted and was sufficient to convict Jessop.

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Normal Re: FLDS member, Raymond M. Jessop, sentenced to 10 years in prison for sexually assaulting an underage girl/ 75-year prison sentence and $10,000 fine meted out to Merril Leroy Jessop for sexual assault of a child/ Five sentenced now

Post by Wrapitup on Sat Apr 21, 2012 12:56 am

There is NO WAY he would have won an appeal. His "magical thinking" days are long gone.

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