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Ex-FLDS bishop guilty of marrying girl to Warren Jeffs


ReligionNewsBlog.com • Monday November 7, 2011

A jury took one hour and 20 minutes today to find Fredrick Merril Jessop guilty of performing a ceremony prohibited by law, marrying a 12-year-old girl to sect leader Warren Jeffs, the San Angelo Standard-Times reports:

The punishment phase of the trial will take place this afternoon.

Jessop, 75 and a former bishop of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, is charged with performing a ceremony prohibited by law, marrying a 12-year-old girl to sect leader Warren Jeffs.

Jeffs is serving a life plus 20 year sentence for sexually assaulting that girl and a 15-year-old girl. [...]

The charge against Jessop is a third-degree felony punishable by two to 10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.

The Salt lake Tribune says

The evidence against Jessop came primarily from sect records gathered in a massive 2008 raid on its Yearning for Zion Ranch near Eldorado, Texas, along with testimony from a former member and law enforcement. [...]

Jessop was an FLDS bishop and church elder who oversaw the YFZ Ranch until he was excommunicated by Jeffs early this year. He is also the former husband of Carolyn Jessop, who wrote the bestselling book “Escape” chronicling her marriage and departure from the group.

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