Willie Jessop: Purported Frontman at Texas Polygamy Compound

"This is the place where the people of Colorado City yearn to be," Brower said. "They are taking the ones who are the most righteous and pious and bringing them out here."

In addition to the imposing white temple, which ABC News was not allowed to enter, there is just about everything that a community needs to be self-sufficient.

Brower said it's a huge city. "They have their own waste water treatment plant," he said. "They have their own wells. They are self-sustained."

There were several large dormitory-style homes and other buildings under construction, two fields for agriculture, and a granary. A huge warehouse overflowed with a wealth of building supplies. There was also a gravel pit and cement plant -- and lots of security. ABC's crew was constantly being watched by strategically placed vehicles, even while flying overhead.

"There are night-vision cameras out here," Brower said. "There are guard towers … perimeter guards set up everywhere. People patrolling on four-wheelers. It's sometimes hard to distinguish whether they are trying to keep people in or out."

Probably both, but the state's concern is that all the security is there to allow something dark and unholy to proliferate in a supposedly spiritual place.

Allegations of Abuse

Brent Jeffs, a former sect member, says he was a victim of rape and molestation by his uncle, none other than the "prophet," Warren Jeffs.

"When I was a little boy around 5 or 6, just attending regular Sunday school … behind closed doors Warren was sneaking around behind and would come down and escort me down the hall and into the bathroom and molest me as a kid," Brent Jeffs said. "Threatening me with eternal damnation if I did not do exactly what he said. I thought I was going to be in trouble. I thought I'd burn in hell for saying something. That's why I kept it a secret."

He said other young boys were also abused by Warren Jeffs, which he has denied. Brent left the church years ago and now he has come to Texas to testify against the sect.

The women within the sect who spoke to the media have said time and again that the children are not in danger, but Brent believes "that's because they've convinced themselves that this is right. The men in here that have brainwashed these women and children have convinced them ever since they were babies that this is right."

He said that the women and children are trapped, and lonely. "You can see it in their eyes," he said. "They just -- they're not even there. They're drones."

As for Willie Jessop, ABC News finally caught up with him outside the courthouse. This time he was less hostile than he was four years ago -– he was almost lawyerly, saying he had "no comment" and "let's see what all the evidence says."

But after nearly five years of investigating the church, private detective Brower said he doesn't care if Jessop has nothing to say.

"You know, any culture that just thumbs their nose at the law and says, 'We're not going to follow man's law -- we're going to follow God's law and God's law says we have the right to marry little girls,'" Brower said. "'If the prophet says it's OK then we're doing it and we're not gonna pay any attention to what the laws are.'"

Today, with the law of Texas coming down on them, the Yearning for Zion ranch is nearly vacant. Most everyone is spending their days in court.

Brent Jeffs, who came all the way from Salt Lake City to testify, said he wasn't afraid to testify. "I know it's right," he said. "It needs to be done. Someone needs to stand up and say, 'This is wrong.' I'm going to do anything I can to help these poor kids and these moms. If they let me."

-- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 4684344. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 4684344. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 4684344. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 4684344. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 4684344. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 4684344.
Page
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...