Monday, November 24, 2008

More FLDS men surrender

Three FLDS men surrender;

The Salt Lake Tribune - "Fredrick Merril Jessop, 72; Wendell Loy Nielsen, 68; and Leroy Johnson Steed, 42, were booked and released after posting bonds.

A Schleicher County grand jury indicted the men on Nov. 12. The jury also issued a new indictment on Warren S. Jeffs, president of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Jeffs, currently jailed in Arizona, was indicted on a first-degree felony charge of sexually assaulting a child. The Schleicher County grand jury previously indicted him in July of sexually assaulting a child and, in August, on first-degree bigamy.

Court documents list Jessop as the bishop of the sect's Yearning for Zion Ranch in Eldorado, Texas. He faces one count of conducting an unlawful marriage ceremony involving a minor, which is a third-degree felony.

According to other court documents, Jessop performed a spiritual marriage between a 12-year-old daughter and Jeffs in 2006 at the Yearning For Zion Ranch in Eldorado.

The girl, now 14, was returned to state custody in August after her mother balked at cooperating with Child Protective Services caseworkers. Jessop posted a bond of $30,000.

Nielsen is the founder of a high-tech machine shop, formerly located in Utah and known as Western Precision. He is charged with three separate counts of third-degree felony bigamy, and posted a $10,000 bond on each count.

Steed is charged with one count of sexual assault of a child, a first-degree felony (because it involves a prohibited marriage); one count of second-degree felony bigamy; one count of third-degree felony bigamy; and one count of tampering with physical evidence, a third-degree felony.

Steed was arrested during an April raid on the YFZ ranch after he attempted to remove some documents. He posted a total bond of $120,000, with $100,000 for the sexual assault count."

If memory serves me, Wendell Loy Nielsen hasn't been charged before. It also seems he is only charged with bigamy, though there are three counts of it.

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ztgstmv said...

Nielson could be the ticket to polygamous freedom, if all of his "marriages" are unregistered and between consenting adults.

I really hope polygamists unite to challenge these stand alone bigamy charges (none involving minors), and do a better job than Tom Green did, i.e. challenging the laws against consensual polygamy on the basis of free speech and free practice of religion, AND right to privacy. But especially free speech.

The Pharisee said...

Yup, unless they're planning to charge him with something else later, or they're going to try to argue that one of his brides or more was a child bride, and use that to color the jury's thinking.

One would hope he is convicted. He may be just the ticket. Sorry their Mr. Nielson, you may have to take one for the team.

Pliggy said...

Well, when the Bishop records get thrown out for several reasons, not the least being there was no warrant to break into the safe in the Temple building, the polygynists will need a new "rally" point.