Polygamous Sect Spokesman Seeks Restraining Order

By Jennifer Dobner
Houston Chronicle

July 8, 2008

SALT LAKE CITY The spokesman for a southern Utah polygamous sect has asked a judge for a restraining order against a Cedar City private investigator.

In court papers filed Tuesday in St. George's 5th District Court, Willie Jessop wants investigator Sam Brower to keep at least 500 feet from Jessop's homes and business offices in Hildale and Cedar City, Utah, and in San Angelo, Texas.

Brower is a private investigator who has worked with lawyers involved in civil and criminal cases filed against the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints over the past four years.

In court papers, Jessop claims Brower has twice trespassed on his properties at least once with a television news crew in tow frightening Jessop's children and harassing employees of his excavating business.

Jessop claims Brower's actions have become increasingly aggressive and represent a pattern of harassment, according to court papers.

A telephone message seeking comment from Brower was not immediately returned Tuesday.

Jessop's Salt Lake attorney Rod Parker says a judge is expected to review the filing on Wednesday.

The FLDS is an insular faith of nearly 6,000, whose members are traditionally based in the twin communities of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz. The faith practices polygamy in arranged marriages that have sometimes involved underage girls.

Jessop became the public face of the church in April, after authorities in West Texas acted on a report of child abuse and raided a church ranch, removing more than 400 children from the custody of their parents. The children have since been returned, although an investigation continues.

Last year, FLDS church president Warren Jeffs was convicted by a Utah jury of two counts of first-degree felony rape as an accomplice for his role in the 2001 marriage of a 14-year-old follower to her 19-year-old cousin. He was sentenced to two consecutive terms of five years to life in prison.


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