Former polygamist bishop Fredrick Jessop was sentenced to 10 years in prison today for marrying Warren Jeffs to a 12-year old girl, based on evidence collected by Texas State Troopers from the Wichita Falls office and other law enforcement officers from across the state.
Some of the evidence presented to the 12 Texas jurors showed Jessop also allegedly married Jeffs to 11 daughters and two granddaughters.
Bishop Jessop only had 22 wives of his own, according to witnesses which pales compared to the 78 wives Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints leader Jeffs allegedly has.
Jessop, 75, will now join his former leader Warren Jeffs, 50 in the Texas prison system.
Jeffs will be receiving mail in the prison system far longer than Jessop, though, as he was sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of sexual assault for forcing two teen-age girls into so-called “spiritual” marriages with him.
In addition to the 10-year prison time, Jessop was sentenced to pay a $10,000 fine, which may be difficult to do while he resides in the Texas penitentiary system.
This latest prosecution of the FLDS polygamists was headed by the Office of Wichita Falls native and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott.
The smoking gun in the state’s evidence was Exhibit #552 which details more than 500 allegedly illegal marriages performed not only in Texas, but also in Arizona and Utah.
Speculation is that Washington County, Utah, law enforcement authorities are interested in State’s Exhibit #552 which could conceivably lead to further prosecutions of the Polygamous Prophet Warrent Jeffs in the Beehive State.
One private investigator in Utah said there was more than enough evidence from the 2008 raid on the Yearning For Zion compound in Texas to prosecute Jeffs on other charges.
A Utah jury has already convicted Jeffs of a sexually-related crime only to have it thrown out by that state’s Court of Appeals based on the instructions to the jury.
Utah officials will have to weigh whether it will be worth it to them to prosecute Jeffs on further charges since he is already serving the life sentence in the Lone Star State.
Of course, one of the factors they will weigh is that the Texas sentence will be appealed. If it is reversed, they might decide it would be nice to have another sentence to keep him out of society.
One of Jeffs wives recently escaped from one of the FLDS polygamist compunds. Concern continues that he still exerts power over his sect from inside his prison cell.
Carolyn Jessop wrote a bestseller about her escape from an FLDS compound where she was held against her will.
Members of Wichita Falls law enforcement agencies who participated in the collection of the evidence for the Jeffs and Jessops trials deserve a great deal of credit.
Anyone interested in receiving free notice of future law enforcement and public safety articles should click on the subscribe link above this article.