First Texas FLDS Member Sent to Jail
Raymond Jessop found guilty and sentenced to 10 years in prison
By Jordan Smith, 12:53PM, Wed. Nov. 11, 2009
Raymond Jessop, the first of 12 members of the polygamous Mormon breakaway sect the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to be tried in Texas on sexual assault and bigamy charges related to the practice of taking multiple wives – and often underage wives – has been given 10 years in prison by a jury in the West Texas town of Eldorado.
Jessop's conviction was based on a sexual assault charge related to his "spiritual marriage" to an underage FLDS member, allegedly a daughter of the group's imprisoned prophet Warren Jeffs; Jessop still faces trial on a charge of bigamy. Jessop's lawyers told reporters they would appeal the charge, challenging the search warrants that provided the government with documentary evidence they said proved the charges. Indeed, the warrants were obtained last spring based on a hoax phone call to officials where the caller claimed there was abuse happening at the sect's gated compound. As a result law enforcement raided the ranch and more than 400 children were removed from the property; the children were later returned to their families after two appeals courts ruled that the state had no cause to remove them.