Friday, November 06, 2009
ELDORADO, Texas — After being duped by false leads and chastised by a court for its handling of polygamist sect children, the state of Texas has won a criminal conviction in its first trial of a sect member charged with sexually assaulted an underage girl.
Raymond Jessop, 38, was convicted late Thursday for having sex with the teen with whom he had a so-called spiritual marriage. He faces up to 20 years in prison when the jury reconvenes Monday to begin deciding his sentence.
Early on, the weeklong raid of the Yearning For Zion Ranch was hounded by missteps. After scouring the ranch for days in April 2008 in search of a caller who claimed to be an abused girl, law enforcement acknowledged "Sarah Barlow" didn't exist.
Several weeks after Texas child welfare officials put all 439 sect children in foster care in one of the largest child custody cases in U.S. history, an appellate court ruled that Texas authorities had overstepped, and the children went back to their parents.
But authorities still seized documents from homes and concrete vaults in the towering limestone temple and annex building at the ranch — documents that would help convict Jessop and indict 11 other members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
Posted by Nikki at 11/06/2009 01:02:00 PM