Christian Supremacism – Texas: Child Sexual Assault Charges in Case Challenging Members of “Renegade Mormon Group”

By R.E.A.L. Organization • on November 2, 2009

The Daily Telegraph reports: — “Polygamy challenged as renegade Mormon group’s trial grips Texan town” – “Court case sheds light on Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, where it is alleged that bigamy and sexual abuse of girls, some as young as 12, are widespread.’ — “It was laid out in the makeshift courtroom set up in Eldorado’s draughty community hall, where, over coming weeks, the key tenet that marks the sect out from mainstream Mormons – polygamy – will come under challenge. Prosecutors claim that the church’s controversial practice of ‘spiritually uniting’ young women with men often several decades older is a cover for rampant sexual abuse, as well as bigamy.” — “The legal showdown began last week, when a leading pillar of the church pleaded not guilty to charges of sexual assault against a 16-year-old girl, who was allegedly assigned as one of his nine wives.” — “Raymond Jessop, 38, is one of 12 men from the sect who are facing sex and bigamy charges arising from a raid last year on the church’s nearby Yearning for Zion ranch.” — “‘We will ask you to conclude, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Raymond Merrill Jessop is guilty of sexual assault on a woman less than half his age,’ deputy attorney General Eric Nichols told the jury of eight men and four women in a brief opening statement.” — “Jurors were shown a picture of a toddler in a pink prairie dress, clinging to the skirt of a teenage woman who prosecutors say is the girl with whom Mr Jessop allegedly had sex in 2004. Prosecution DNA evidence is be presented to show that the toddler was the product of that liaison.” — “Led by their ‘prophet’ Warren Jeffs, who has since been jailed on sex charges, many of the sect’s senior figures moved here in 2004 from their long-standing communities 1,100 miles away on the Utah-Arizona borders. — “Even as the softly-spoken mothers, their hair coiffed up from their foreheads as a tribute to God, insisted that the authorities were breaking up happy normal families, child welfare services were reporting a large number of pregnancies among ‘clearly underage’ teenage girls. They also noticed an unusual rate of broken bones among young children, The Sunday Telegraph was told.” — “The children were all subsequently returned to the church, to the delight of its leaders and horror of its critics. But based on evidence seized from the ranch, the prosecutions are being pursued.” — “Their 10,000 followers, who are spread across the Midwest, broke away early last century after the mainstream Mormon church renounced polygamy. They are committed to the doctrine of ‘plural marriage,’ which requires a man to take multiple wives to receive the highest form of salvation.” — “The church also practices ‘placement marriage’ – with the church leader, who has the status of prophet, assigning females to husbands. Traditionally, this has involved marrying off girls as young as 12, although the church stated last year that it would end the practice of child brides.” — May 30, 2008: “Texas overstepped authority in removing polygamist sect children, rules court”April 28, 2008: “Most teen girls from ranch have been pregnant”Wikipedia reports: “Despite the widespread assumption that the calls that triggered the raid were hoaxes, Texas officials have no regrets. One child, a 14-year-old girl, remains in foster care. She was married to jailed leader Warren Jeffs two years ago, when she was just 12.” — June 11, 2004 – Arizona Republic: “Peek at polygamists’ haven”

"Yearning for Zion" Ranch (Jack Kurtz/The Arizona Republic)

"Yearning for Zion" Ranch (Jack Kurtz/The Arizona Republic)