When Jessop was a member of the sect, it was centered in Colorado City, Ariz., on the Utah border. The 1,700-acre Texas compound was built after she left. The sect’s leader, Warren Jeffs, was sentenced to 10 years in prison last September after being found guilty of two counts of first-degree accomplice rape for sanctioning the forced marriage of a 14-year-old girl to her 19-year-old cousin.
The 40-year-old Jessop was 18 when she was forced to marry Merril Jessop, who is said to have taken over leadership of the sect when Jeffs went to prison. Merril Jessop was 50 at the time of the marriage and had three other wives. She said from what she has heard and read, the sect has become even more restrictive since moving to Texas.
She has written a book about her experience entitled “Escape,” and in it, she talks about being totally cut off from the world and not being allowed to watch television or read newspapers or magazines.
“Everything you did was monitored and controlled and everybody reported on everyone else,” she said. “It was a police state. You were not allowed to make decisions in your life. I had no power over my life or the lives of my children. It was a terrible way to live.”
The alleged control began in infancy.