18 Dec 2010

Bishop of Mormon polygamist sect ordered by court to backpay 7 years of child support for 8 children he neglected

San Angelo Standard-Times - Texas August 5, 2010

FLDS bishop's ex-wife gains 'victory'

$148K is set for child support

By Matthew Waller

SAN ANGELO, Texas — A protracted fight to extract child support from a leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has the recipient of the child support claiming a “victory.”

Frederick Merril Jessop, the bishop of the FLDS Yearning for Zion Ranch in Schleicher County, has signed an order guaranteeing that he will pay $148,000 in child support to his former wife Carolyn Jessop for care of their eight children.

“Seven years of non-child-support and Merril is finally responsible for his children,” Carolyn Jessop said. “It’s a huge victory for every woman in the FLDS.”

Randy Wilson, Frederick Merril Jessop’s attorney, refused to comment after the hearing Thursday in the Tom Green County courthouse.

Willie Jessop, a spokesman for the FLDS, was present and he said he didn’t like the way Carolyn Jessop’s attorney, Natalie Malonis, who has in previous cases defended the FLDS, is now working against the sect.

“I think the unethics of CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) and Malonis of having inside information to then put them against the interest of the parents of the children show that they’re carpetbag lawyers making money when it’s in their best interest,” Willie Jessop said.

The ordeal began in September when 51st District Judge Barbara Walther ordered that the child support be paid to compensate Carolyn Jessop after she left the FLDS in 2003 with her eight children, one of whom has special needs that require 24-hour care.

Carolyn Jessop said she did not pursue a child support order because she didn’t have the resources.

She gained a living after a while by writing two books about leaving the FLDS and her experiences living with the polygamous sect.

In February, Walther signed an order mandating that payment be made for the child support from September since the order had been given before only orally.

“What we agreed on is that all is due now,” Carolyn Jessop said in the halls of the courthouse while attorneys met to draft the new order behind closed doors.

Malonis said the money from before September becomes like a defaulted loan — due at once if nothing had been done in 30 days.

In May, Malonis and Carolyn Jessop hadn’t received payment and they were ready to have the written order enforced.

“We were trying to get him in jail for not paying,” Malonis said.

Frederick Merril Jessop then paid everything that was due from September to May.

The new order says that Frederick Merril Jessop must pay the $148,000 that had been due before September. Child support is to be paid to Carolyn Jessop initially at the rate of $2,450 per month, with arrears to be paid off at $100 per month. Malonis said she was told that all Frederick Merril Jessop could afford is $100 a month in addition to the $2,450. If a payment is missed, the entire amount becomes due.

Even with the order, Carolyn Jessop said she believes the issue isn’t over.

“Nothing has surprised me,” she said. “They’ll use every loophole they can.”

Malonis said that a typical child custody case requires one, maybe two trips to court. She said this case has required five trips.

“This is not a normal case,” Malonis said.

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Houston Chronicle - Associated Press August 6, 2010

FLDS leader to pay $148K in back child support

By BETSY BLANEY Associated Press Writer

LUBBOCK, Texas — A polygamist leader in West Texas has agreed to pay child support dating to 2003, when his then-wife left the sect with their eight children.

Frederick Merril Jessop, the bishop of the Yearning for Zion Ranch, signed the order in court Thursday. He will pay his former wife $148,000 for seven years of back child support.

Natalie Malonis, Carolyn Jessop's attorney, said Friday that the bishop will pay $2,000 a month for the first six months and then $100 a month after that to cover the delinquent child support. Frederick Merril Jessop also will pay $2,450 a month to stay current.

Malonis said he only will pay about $90,000 because Carolyn Jessop received some of his Social Security after leaving the sect.

Carolyn Jessop did not immediately return a phone call to The Associated Press for comment Friday.

Willie Jessop, a sect elder, said Friday that he was grateful for closure in the case but took issue with the venue.

"The judge took jurisdiction over a case that was ongoing in Utah, and we object to that," he said.

Last September, State District Judge Barbara Walther ordered Frederick Merril Jessop to pay his former wife but he refused to sign the order and did not pay. Then in February, Walther signed the order to compel him to pay the child support from September, Malonis said.

A couple of months after that, when money still had not been paid to Carolyn Jessop, Malonis filed a motion to have Frederick Merril Jessop jailed for contempt because of nonpayment.

Before the hearing on Malonis' motion, Frederick Merril Jessop paid what he owed from September to May, but none of the amount owed before September, Malonis said.

Six men from the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints have faced criminal charges since the April 2008 raid on the ranch about 45 miles south of San Angelo. All have been convicted or pleaded guilty and have been sentenced to prison.

The FLDS broke away from the Mormon church, which renounced polygamy more than a century ago.

This article was found at:



Woman who left polygamous sect is seeking child support

Carolyn Jessop tells her personal story of control and abuse in the FLDS sect

Former FLDS calls new life as single mom 'heaven'

People who have left sect go to Texas to help

Court order shocking to woman who fled sect

Former Polygamist Speaks Out

FLDS teen disputes mom's book

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