Judge Extends Restraining Order in FLDS Custody Case

By Matt Phinney
San Angelo Standard Times

September 25, 2008

District Judge Barbara Walther today extended a restraining order designed to keep FLDS spokesman Willie Jessop from communicating with the now 17-year-old daughter of sect leader Warren Jeffs.

Walther signed the extension, which will remain in effect until the girl's custody case concludes, after a hearing that lasted about an hour and a half, only about a half-hour of which was spent with court in session.

Natalie Malonis, the attorney who represents the child, said after the hearing there is to be no communication between the child and Jessop, who has acted as spokesman for the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Malonis sought the restraining order in June after what she described as a pattern of intimidation by Jessop.

Sect officials and supporters later asked that Malonis stop representing the girl, who also wrote a letter to Walther asking her to remove Malonis as her attorney.

This month, Walther ruled that Malonis would remain the attorney for the girl.

"There is not a whole lot going on right now," Malonis said after the hearing. "But everything is fine."

The case grew out of a massive child-custody case that started in early April when local, state and federal authorities raided the polygamist sect's YFZ Ranch near Eldorado on suspicion of sexual abuse and forced "marriages." The state took hundreds of FLDS children into custody, but appellate courts later forced most of them to be returned to their parents. However, CPS and police investigations into the ranch and the sect continue.


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.