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More bigamy charges filed in Texas sect case

/ Source: The Associated Press

Two new indictments against members of a polygamist sect have added bigamy charges against men already accused of sexual assault of a child.

The indictments issued Thursday by a Schleicher County grand jury accuse Michael George Emack, 57, and Raymond Merrill Jessop, 36. Both were served on Friday.

The clerk's office has not released the name or charge on a third indictment issued Thursday because it has not yet been served.

The indictments against Emack and Jessop include few details of the accusations, but church records released as part of a separate custody case show Jessop, who was already married, was married to the daughter of jailed sect leader Warren Jeffs the day after she turned 15.

Under Texas law, someone younger than 17 cannot generally consent to sex with an adult.

A spokesman for the sect didn't immediately return calls seeking comment Monday.

Glorification in heaven
The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints believes polygamy brings glorification in heaven. The church is a breakaway sect of the Mormon church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which renounced polygamy more than a century ago.

Authorities raided the FLDS-run Yearning For Zion Ranch in April, looking for evidence of underage girls forced into marriages and sex with older men. Texas child welfare authorities initially put all 440 children at the ranch in foster care but were forced to return them by a Texas Supreme Court ruling that found evidence showed abuse in only a handful of cases.

In July, jailed sect leader Warren Jeffs and four followers were indicted on charges of sexual assault of a child. One follower was also charged with bigamy. A sixth member was charged with three misdemeanor counts of failing to report child abuse.

Jeffs was convicted in Utah last year as an accomplice to rape for the marriage of a 14-year-old sect girl. He faces similar charges in Arizona, where he is jailed awaiting trial.