Warrants could lead to more FLDS charges
ELDORADO, Texas — When a grand jury meets here later this month, criminal indictments could be handed down against more members of the Fundamentalist LDS Church.
Search warrants reveal new names under investigation by law enforcement for alleged underage marriages, the Deseret News has learned. The April 9 search warrants obtained blood, cheek and hair samples from five men, three of whom have already been indicted on sexual assault charges.
The warrants accuse Raymond Jessop, Leroy Jessop, Michael George Emack, Nathan Jessop and Jackson Jessop of fathering children with girls who were all about 16 years old.
Some of that information is based on initial interviews with the girls themselves.
“(The girl) referred to herself as the 10th wife of Nathan Jessop; that the father of her child is Nathan Jessop; and that (the girl) lived with Nathan Jessop at the suspected place and premises,” Texas 51st District Attorney’s investigator Diane Wilson wrote in a probable-cause affidavit filed with one of the warrants.
Law enforcement returned with DNA samples on April 14 to help establish paternity.
Some of the men have been previously named in search warrants served during the raid on the YFZ Ranch. Hundreds of thousands of pieces of evidence were removed from the temple grounds, including photographs, diaries, marriage and census records, and dictations by FLDS leader Warren Jeffs.
Some of that evidence has been used in child-custody cases over the hundreds of FLDS children taken into state protective custody during the raid. Texas Child Protective Services has said it has evidence of at least 10 underage marriages. A CPS caseworker testified during a court hearing last week that an investigation revealed “48 percent of the men at the ranch were involved in underage marriage practices.”
A CPS spokesman could not elaborate, citing the ongoing child welfare investigation.
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The latest warrants also name an ex-member of the polygamous sect who gave information to Schleicher County Sheriff David Doran in the years leading up to the April 3 raid on the YFZ Ranch.
“Sheriff Doran advised affiant that Becky Musser has provided him with information regarding the FLDS on more than 100 occasions over the past four years, including as recently as April 8, 2008, and that, on each occasion, that information has proven to be reliable, true and correct,” Wilson wrote in the probable cause statement.
Becky Musser is a sister of Elissa Wall, who was the star witness in Utah’s case against Jeffs. Musser also testified at the trial and was married to Jeffs’ father, Rulon, when she was a teenager.
Jeffs, the sect’s 52-year-old leader, is serving a pair of 5-to-life sentences after being convicted on charges of rape as an accomplice, a first-degree felony. He performed a marriage between Wall, then 14, and her 19-year-old cousin.