Polygamist gets 10 years for marrying teen

Nov. 11, 2009 at 1:28 AM
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ELDORADO, Texas, Nov. 11 (UPI) -- The first dissident Mormon to be convicted of sexually assaulting a child at a Texas compound was sentenced to 10 years in prison Tuesday.

Raymond Jessop, 38, was also ordered to pay an $8,000 fine, KSTU-TV, Salt Lake City, reported. A jury in Eldorado, Texas, sentenced him after deliberating five hours.

Jessup and 11 other men were charged after a raid last year on the Yearning for Zion Ranch, operated by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. More than 400 children were seized in the raid, although courts later ordered them returned to their mothers.

Investigators determined some men had married under-age girls. Jessup's wife was 15 when they married and 16 when she had a child.

"This is a case about the flesh and blood of a victim," Assistant Texas Attorney General Eric Nichols told the jury as he showed a picture of Jessop and his wife.

Defense lawyers used photographs of children and families to suggest those involved in polygamous relationships at the ranch are happy with it.

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