Attorney: FLDS 'sealing' not the same as marriage

Nov 1 2011 - 5:27pm

ROBERT LEE, Texas -- An attorney for a polygamist ex-bishop told jurors that the act of "sealing" as practiced by a Warren Jeffs-led polygamous group differs from a marriage ceremony as defined by Texas law.

The San Angelo Standard-Times ( reports Rae Leifeste of San Angelo, in her opening statement Tuesday, said she'll make the distinction as trial proceeds.

Fredrick Merril Jessop is charged with a felony count of performing an illegal 2006 wedding ceremony between Jeffs and an underage girl. The ceremony occurred at the Yearning For Zion Ranch near Eldorado, owned by the Jeffs-led Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

The San Angelo Standard-Times Prosecutor Angel Goodwin said she the prosecution will prove that on July 27, 2006, Jessop "married a freckled, 12-year-old girl to a 50-year-old man."


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