He glances at the jury, a faint smile crossing his lips.
In the past, Jessop has been the staunchest defender of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a polygamist offshoot of Mormonism.
Three female users who spoke to Reuters on the condition of anonymity said they were open to entering into polygamous marriages.
One said she was more “open minded” than her parents who oppose polygamous relationships.
The ambitious, twisted son of the previous FLDS prophet, Jeffs took control and became obsessed with the idea of “perfect obedience.” He started kicking people out of Short Creek that he deemed sinners: young men who came to be known as Lost Boys, teenage girls he considered too rebellious and men no longer “worthy of priesthood,” reassigning their wives and children to loyalists he felt he could trust.
Beginning in 2002, he came under investigation for child rape in Utah.
The prosecutor asks why Jessop would turn on FLDS leadership to become a key witness for the Department of Justice. “Because those sons of bitches were raping girls in Texas, and they knew it and I knew it,” he says, “and that battle is still raging today.” It’s Week Two in a federal trial currently underway against the adjoining towns of Colorado City, Arizona, and Hildale, Utah, and increasingly disturbing and bizarre revelations are coming to light.
But in recent years, the DOJ has been investigating allegations that the two towns have been violating residents’ civil rights, allowing the church to use public officials to run members who left the faith – “apostates” in FLDS parlance – out of town, denying utility hookups and even spying on citizens.
In August 2006, he was arrested during a routine traffic stop on the outskirts of Las Vegas, carrying 16 cellphones, three wigs and ,000 in cash in the lining of a suitcase.
Convinced God would liberate him from his prison cell in Utah, he had his wives record his sermons when he called them, to be played for his followers in Short Creek.
He then began evading authorities while marrying off teenage girls to the sect’s leadership.
He also ordered the construction of a new FLDS compound, the Yearning for Zion ranch, in the West Texas desert.