2 FLDS sect members plead, sentenced

Lehi Barlow Jeffs gets 8 years; Emack gets 7

SAN ANGELO, Texas — Michael Emack walked into the courtroom, sat down and stretched out his handcuffed hands to shake with those around him, with his lawyer Randy Wilson, with Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints spokesman Willie Jessop, and finally with the man seated next to him, Lehi Barlow Jeffs, who was there to plead no contest to charges of bigamy and sexual assault of a child.

Theologically, Mormonism in turn is a cult of Christianity
Theologically, the FLDS is also considered to be a cult of Christianity
Sociologically, the FLDS is a high-demand, high-control, destructive cult. Among other things, it teaches and practices polygamy, breaks up families and marriages, and has engaged in arranged and forced marriages.
In contrast to the Mormon Church, the FLDS practices a more original version of Mormonism. Mormonism’s doctrines constantly change in response to outside pressure and realities.

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Emack and Jeffs were the latest sect members, fellow residents of the Yearning for Zion Ranch, to be sentenced as an outcome of the state raid on the ranch two years ago.

Emack’s orange jumpsuit clashed with Jeffs’ blue button-down shirt. Emack, 59, an FLDS member, had pleaded no contest in January to sexual assault of a child, a 16-year-old girl with whom he fathered a child. He received a seven-year sentence from 51st District Judge Barbara Walther.

Emack was in Walther’s court again Thursday to plead no contest again, this time to a charge of bigamy.

The state, led by prosecuting attorney Eric Nichols, presented dozens of records to make the case that, besides his legal wife, he had three “spiritual” or “celestial” wives.

Walther sentenced him to seven years, to be served concurrently with his previous sentence.

Jeffs, 31, and the nephew of the former leader of the FLDS, was next. He took a plea deal and was sentenced to eight years in prison for sexual assault of a child, a girl who was bound to him in a nonlegal marriage when she was 15 years old. The assault itself — based on the date of birth of her child — was alleged to have occurred on Sept. 18, 2006.

Jeffs also plead no contest to bigamy. He was sentenced to eight years, to be served concurrently with his other sentence.

A trial on a charge of sexual assault of a child had been scheduled for Jeffs on Monday in Schleicher County.

Jessop, who often acts as a spokesman for the FLDS, said the “selective prosecution” that the state is engaged in hasn’t altered much since he came to San Angelo during the April 2008 raid that, based on what is now thought to be a hoax phone call alleging abuse, resulted in the removal of more than 400 children from the ranch and the seizure of personal and community property to use as evidence against the FLDS.

“My first introduction to the courthouse was a big yellow tape around it that said ‘crime scene,'” Jessop said. “There is no change.”

– Source / Full Story: 2 FLDS men plead, sentenced, Matthew Waller, San Angelo Standard-Times, Apr. 15, 2010 — Summarized by Religion News Blog
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Religion News Blog posted this on Friday April 16, 2010.
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