Polygamist Sect Member Guilty of Sex Assault

Texas court convicts FLDS man married to underage girl
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 5, 2009 7:14 PM CST
Raymond Jessop, the first man to face criminal charges following the raid of a polygamist sect's West Texas ranch in 2008, is seen outside the courtroom today.   (AP Photo)

(Newser) – Jurors in the first criminal trial following the raid of a polygamist group's Texas ranch today convicted a member of sexual assault of a child. Raymond Jessop, 38, was found guilty of the charge that stemmed from his alleged marriage to an underage girl. He's the first group member to face a criminal trial since authorities raided the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints' ranch in Eldorado last year.

Prosecutors say the girl was brought to the Yearning For Zion Ranch at age 15 and entered a so-called "spiritual" marriage with Jessop. She became pregnant at 16. Defense attorneys argued prosecutors failed to produce a witness that placed Jessop in Schleicher County at the time of the alleged assault.