Former polygamous sect leaders appear in Texas court

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Frederick Merril Jessop, a former bishop of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, was told to stay in Texas until his trial unless he gets permission from the court to take medical trips out of state.

The San Angelo Standard-Times says:

[Fifty-first District Judge Barbara Walther] said there have been problems with making sure Jessop appears in court in the past, including times when he has been gone for medical reasons. Jessop has been in court for not paying child support for eight children he had with Carolyn Jessop, a former FLDS member who has written books on her experience with the sect.

Monday’s hearing was related to charges alleging Jessop performed an illegal ceremony involving an underage girl. His final pretrial date is set for Sept. 1 and his trial date is Oct. 31.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports:

Another FLDS man, Leroy J. Steed, also had a hearing Monday. His final pretrial date was set for Sept. 8, according to the Standard-Times. His trial date was scheduled for Nov. 29. He is charged with bigamy, sexual assault and evidence tampering connected to allegedly hiding an electronic storage device in a trash bag during the raid.

Former FLDS Church President Wendell Nielsen was also set for a pretrial hearing Monday, but he did not appear due to health problems, his attorney said in court papers. He was also reportedly excommunicated this year.

The Standard-Times explains that the

three men and the FLDS prophet, Warren Jeffs, whose leadership has been contested, are among the final FLDS members to be tried as a result of evidence gathered from a state raid on the YFZ Ranch in April 2008.

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This post was last updated: May. 9, 2014