FLDS sect member pleads no contest, sentenced to seven years
ReligionNewsBlog.com • Saturday January 23, 2010
SAN ANGELO, Texas — Michael Emack, a member of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, pleaded no contest to the accusation of sexual assault of a child Friday, was found guilty and was sentenced to seven years in prison.
Judge Barbara Walther of the 51st District Court asked Emack if he understood what the plea allowed him to do.
“I believe it helps me maintain my dignity,” Emack said.
He also said he understood that it allowed him to appeal. The court recognized that Emack reserves the right to appeal only in certain cases.
The state, led by prosecutor Eric Nicols, presented documents during the hearing meant to show that Emack, 59, sexually assaulted a 16-year-old girl and fathered a child by her in October 2004, and that he had one legal wife and three spiritual wives including the minor.
Emack has a pending bigamy case against him, and he said he intends to plead no contest to that as well. His attorneys and prosecutors have agreed to a seven-year sentence, which would be served concurrently with his sexual assault sentence. A judge would have to approve the plea agreement.
Wilson will reserve the right to appeal that bigamy case, stating that Emack intends to be a part of a joint motion of FLDS members who will challenge the constitutionality of Texas’ bigamy statutes.
Emack is the third of 10 FLDS members indicted, with trials scheduled to go on through December.
FLDS member Merril Leroy Jessop is scheduled to go to trial March 8 in Eldorado. He is charged with sexual assault, a first-degree felony.
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