Willie Jessop: Purported Frontman at Texas Polygamy Compound

Deep in the vast mesquite-covered scrubland of west Texas lies the spiritual center of a secretive polygamous sect.

The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints arrived quietly nearly five years ago and from nothing, built a virtual instant city whose gleaming white temple quickly became its centerpiece, and today, the center of controversy.

This week, with allegations of child abuse swirling around their compound, sect members reluctantly opened their gates for the first time to outsiders, to protest their innocence and to reveal a glimpse of their pain.

"It literally breaks my heart," said one woman who identified herself as Nancy. "My children are everything to me. Help us get our children back."

The polygamists say the call that triggered the police raid was a hoax and that now authorities are on a witch hunt.

Who's in Charge?

With Warren Jeffs still in jail doing time for rape as an accomplice in the forced marriage of an underage girl, another man has reportedly assumed Jeffs' authority. Four years ago, he was part of an attack on an ABC camera crew in the fundamentalist church community of Colorado City, Ariz., Jeffs' home base.

His name is Willie Jessop, he's a former body guard to the "prophet" and said to be one of the most powerful men in the Texas compound today.

"You know it seems like whenever they're in trouble they call in Big Willie to just kind of run the show," said Sam Brower, a private detective who has spent the past five years tracking Warren Jeffs' flock across several western states. Brower says he has no doubt that sexual abuse is happening in the compound.

"I mean that is part of their lifestyle, part of their culture," he said. "Warren Jeffs brought that over."

Willie Jessop is reviled by former church members who were kicked out by Jeffs in Colorado City, Ariz., such as Issac Wyler and Richard Holm. They say they were forced to leave nearly five years ago.

"Around here a lot of us call him 'Thug Willie,'" Wyler said. "But he was -- he's been kind of Warren's bouncer. He is the one that stays in front of the meeting house door and kicks out people."

Said Holm: "He told me he is willing to give his life in defense of Warren."

A Carefully Controlled Media Tour

"The fact that Willie is here is telling me that they're organizing," private detective Brower said. "They're organizing their stories. He's here to make sure that everything goes the way that the church leaders want it to go, and he's 'The Enforcer.'"

Earlier this week, Jessop offered to give ABC News correspondent John Quinones a tour of the compound but ABC News' crew was turned away at the gate.

The cameras, however, had already captured Jessop inside as he organized a carefully controlled media tour. One of the places cameras are allowed to go is inside Jessop's home. But Jeffs still occupies a place of honor.

The Place They 'Yearn to Be'

The people behind the gates get upset when anyone calls this place a "compound." They refer to it as a "ranch," the Yearning for Zion ranch, Zion meaning "heaven on earth." But in reality it is neither a ranch nor a compound. These 1,700 acres in West Texas are all part of a vision of a shining future capital city of polygamy.

It's Jeffs' vision, which he purportedly uses to reward his most favored followers.

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