Two Years After Raid, Polygamist Sect Leaders Are 'Nervous'

In the days following the raid, 439 children were taken from their parents and put into foster care, running up a tab for the state of Texas that exceeded $12 million in just 2009. Legal fees since then have not been calculated. All but one child has since been returned to the ranch.

"It broke my heart to see the judge turn those children back," said Mackert.

Jessop also questioned why the children were returned.

"When the state went in and took the kids, I thought once they interfered they had an obligation to follow through. They had an obligation and not just put the kids back in it and close their eyes. That to me was completely betrayal for these children," she said.

The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services declined to comment for this story. In previous media accounts, the agency has defended the raid and has said they would do it again if they received more reports of child abuse. The children were returned to the ranch due to a lack of evidence of abuse to those children.

"Because the state dropped the ball on the kids, the FLDS community was very much strengthened because inside, they feel like the sky is the limit and they're untouchable," said Carolyn Jessop, who still communicates with sect members, including family members.

Jessop Says FLDS Leaders Are Nervous About Exposure

Today, Mackert lives in Idaho and provides guidance to other women trying to leave the group while Jessop became the first woman ever to win a custody lawsuit against the FLDS, gaining custody of her eight children.

But both say that while they will never stop talking about their own experiences, current FDLS members are the ones that really have the power to end what they call a life of "emotional and physical torture."

"The people at the top [in the sect] are nervous," said Jessop. "They don't admit it to a lot of people, but they are."

"How could they not be nervous?" echoed Mackert. "It's becoming a reality that they could spend the rest of their lives behind bars."

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