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Former Child Bride Escapes FLDS - on 20/20


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http://news.yahoo.com/former-child-brid ... ories.html

 

 

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Ruby Jessop's children are thrilled to be off of a strictly imposed all-bean diet ordered by jailed polygamist leader Warren Jeffs.

 

"It's like they cannot get enough food in their bellies. They want to taste and try everything," Jessop's relieved sister Flora Jessop told ABCNews.com.

 

Until recently, Flora Jessop said she didn't know if she would ever see her sister again.

 

Ruby Jessop was forced into an arranged marriage with her step-brother when she was 14 years old, according to her sister and the Arizona attorney general.

 

"Twelve years ago, I got a call from my sister who has 14 years old and had been placed in an arranged marriage," Flora Jessop told ABCNews.com. "She had managed to get away and I gave her a promise that I would do everything I could to keep her safe. Then, before I could get to her and get her help, she disappeared and was taken back into the group."

 

Jessop, now 26, managed to flee from a radical faction of the Mormon church called the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, more commonly known as FLDS, earlier this month. She was then able to gain temporary custody of her six children, who range from 2 to 10 years old.

 

Watch more on FLDS on "20/20: Breaking Polygamy" Saturday at 10 p.m. ET

 

Her escape was announced on Tuesday by Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne.

 

"I have been searching for her for 12 years and she was hidden from us," Flora Jessop said. "Every time I got close to the community, they would pack her in a car and move her into hiding, ensuring that we couldn't get close to her."

 

"It is unacceptable that anyone would be married against her will and forced to live in a community in which she feels unsafe, " Horne said in a news release. "Ruby Jessop was forced into marriage by FLDS leader Warren Jeffs who compelled her to marry her second-cousin Haven Barlow in 2001. Her exact whereabouts were unknown for years until very recently when she was able to escape the town."

 

The attorney general's office has not provided details on how Jessop escaped or got temporary custody of her children, but said the escape was aided by $420,000 Horne made available. He said the money went towards more deputies working in Colorado City, an FLDS stronghold. The deputies were "instrumental" in helping Jessop and her children leave safely, Horne said.

 

Horne emphasized the need for more funding at a news conference, saying that the current funds will run out in six months.

 

"Ruby is one of thousands that have been trapped and abused and held under the regime of Warren Jeffs and she is just so happy to be out and her children are excited and able to go to a school for the first time," Flora Jessop said. "To watch them play with toys and learn to become children has just been amazing."

 

Ruby Jessop and her children are staying with her sister until they find a place to live. Her attorney has advised her not to speak publicly while the custody of her children is temporary, though her sister says she is doing well.

 

Jessop's husband Haven Barlow could not immediately be reached for comment. Barlow was in his early 20s when he and Ruby Jessop married.

 

Flora Jessop claims that after her sister was able to get away, the FLDS would not give her her children and that the Colorado City Marshal's Office, which she calls Warren Jeffs' personal "security force," did "everything they could to block her getting access to her children."

 

Blake Hamilton, an attorney for the Marshal's Office, vehemently denies the claims.

 

Escape From Polygamy

 

"That is absolutely not true," Hamilton told ABCNews.com. "I don't know exactly what she's alleging here, but the Marshal's Office has not gotten in the way of people wanting to leave the community or of obstructing any type of justice being carried out as far as people getting their children."

 

He says the officers are all trained and certified peace officers and that he had no knowledge of Ruby Jessop ever approaching the Marshal's Office for help securing her children.

 

Horne has been asking for community support on a bill that would authorize Mohave County Sheriff's Deputies to police Colorado City instead of the Marshal's Office "who are under the control of the dominant church," he said.

 

"That is one thing that would benefit the community more than any other thing that could happen because it effectively will take away the control and power base that FLDS uses to control the women and children," Flora Jessop said.

 

Horne said the Marshal's Office is not against extra police protection in the city, but they do take issue with the idea of being de-certified and replaced.

 

In June, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a complaint against the Colorado City government and the local Marshal's Office alleging civil rights violations.

 

The complaint alleged the Colorado City Marshal's Office "routinely uses its enforcement authority to enforce the edicts and will of the FLDS; fails to protect non-FLDS individuals from victimization by FLDS individuals; refuses to cooperate with other law enforcement agencies' investigations of FLDS individuals; selectively enforces laws against non-FLDS; and uses its authority to facilitate unlawful evictions of non-FLDS, among other unlawful conduct."

 

Jeff Matura, a lawyer for Colorado City, denied the allegations made in the lawsuit.

 

"We'll have our day in court," Matura told the Associated Press in June. He said the town utilities don't discriminate against anyone. "There's not a question on the application that says, 'What's your religion?'"

 

Flora Jessop left the "complete and utter suffering" of the FLDS community in 1986 and wants to help others who wish to break free from the controlling community. For now, she says she is enjoying catching up on lost years with her sister.

 

"I never did give up. I never thought I would see the day that I would be reunited with her either," she said. "I've been on cloud nine since I got the call."

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Thanks for posting. I set my DVR to record 20/20 tomorrow night. I'm relieved to know Ruby was able to get free and also take her children with her.

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Ah, the FDLS and the antics of 'Big Love', my gateway fundies.

I hope the young woman is doing okay. I still can't believe that cult is up and running.

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So we have first-hand testimony that kids are being forced to eat nothing but beans. No dairy? No fruits and veggies? Can't child abuse charges be brought up on these folks? Beans is not a balanced diet. At this point I don't care about the kids being separated from their families... I want them to be in a SAFE environment where they can get a balanced meal that isn't pre-determined by a lunatic.

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Aren't beans mainly just cheap filler food? I could see why individual families might be forced by poverty into such a diet, but for it to come from on high? Where's the money going?

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The Marshall's office and the Colorado City police are so full of shit. I've read numerous accounts of women trying to escape, and almost all of them have said they couldn't go to the Colorado City police because most of the officers were FLDS. Some women were allegedly sent back to their husbands by these cops when they tried to get help. Again, I call complete and utter bullshit.

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I am so glad this family got to freedom. I hope the other families trapped in there will escape too. Cant the police do anything to stop this happening, cause feeding a child nothing but beans is child abuse, theres forced marriage, underage marriage, incest (seriously, hes her husband, stepbrother and second cousin), and the people in there have no quality of life. This is illegal.

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I've been following this story for years, Ruby and I are about the same age and I have a lot of friends in the Salt Lake Area (not FLDS), so years ago when visiting SLC I heard about Flora Jessop's fight for her sister and others trapped in the FLDS.

I'm so happy Ruby was finally found and I really hope it will be another crack in the fortress holding in all those men, women and children.

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I'm glad she was finally able to escape that cult with her children, as I've followed her story for years now. The FLDS cult is all about child abuse, from forcing girls into marriages, to this latest form of abuse, as while beans are generally healthy, children especially need a more balanced diet. I still worry about another Jonestown type of tragedy, as I do think Warren Jeffs is crazy enough to order such a thing, and he's successfully brainwashed his followers to the point where they would take the poison.

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It never ceases to shock and amaze me the things that are going on inside the FLDS. I'm reading Carolyn Jessop's book Escape right now and sometimes I have to put it down because it's so depressing and rage-inducing. Now learning that the kids were ordered to only eat beans....it shouldn't surprise me. Jeffs is on such a power trip he seems to be randomly dictating things just to watch people obey him. I hope more women find the courage to escape and tell their stories.

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Thanks for posting. I set my DVR to record 20/20 tomorrow night. I'm relieved to know Ruby was able to get free and also take her children with her.

It's on Saturday and it's a repeat, just fyi

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Aren't beans mainly just cheap filler food? I could see why individual families might be forced by poverty into such a diet, but for it to come from on high? Where's the money going?

Beans are actually very nutritious and good sources of protein, fiber, and vitamins and minerals like iron (the cultivation and eating of beans during the Middle Ages was actually one of the things that prompted longer life-spans, particularly for women).

Of course, this is the case when they are eaten within the context of a sane and healthy diet. Just eating beans and nothing else would lead to malnutrition, I'm guessing. Aside from being just absolutely ridiculous and the weapon of control dreamed up in the mind of an absolute psychotic lunatic.

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It's on Saturday and it's a repeat, just fyi

Thanks! I would have been very disappointed when I finally got around to watching it :)

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I honestly thought that Ruby would never be seen again. I remember when she escaped the first time and Flora was frantic on RFM, but then Ruby just disappeared again. It was thought that she was coerced and that promises were made, but no one knew what happened. I'm so happy for her and for Flora; this is an enormous weight off her shoulders.

ETA: Here's the thread on RFM about it. http://exmormon.org/phorum/read.php?2,766428

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I'm with Seven Severn. I am really glad that Ruby got out, but when hearing about her story before this week, I too never thought that we would see her again.

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Ah, the FDLS and the antics of 'Big Love', my gateway fundies.

I hope the young woman is doing okay. I still can't believe that cult is up and running.

My gateway fundies too. Because I didn't realise that the Duggars were fundies. I thought they were a 'totes adorable loving huge family'

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Beans are actually very nutritious and good sources of protein, fiber, and vitamins and minerals like iron (the cultivation and eating of beans during the Middle Ages was actually one of the things that prompted longer life-spans, particularly for women).

Of course, this is the case when they are eaten within the context of a sane and healthy diet. Just eating beans and nothing else would lead to malnutrition, I'm guessing. Aside from being just absolutely ridiculous and the weapon of control dreamed up in the mind of an absolute psychotic lunatic.

The local grocery store has been closed since November, if you are member the FLDS will give you food however it is only food that Jeff feels is holy or something like that. Plus since they have took control of all vehicles and you have to go and ask for one then tell them where you are going and they tell you how many miles you can drive, google maps. No trips to Wal-Mart to get food, unless you have a family member on the outside. Also all cell phone were taken about a month ago, another Jeff comand.

I doubt if she will be on 20/20.

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FLDS were my gateways as well. I'm crying tears of happy for Flora, Ruby, and her children.

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I'm not usually an advocate for assassination, but can't Warren Jeffs have an "accident" in prison? Even a new "prophet" can't be nearly as sick and twisted as he. Feeding children only beans is beyond the pale, and for some reason disturbs me even more than forced marriages and physical abuse.

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Lots of photos with the UK copy of this story. Ruby has aged a lot.

http://bit.ly/117rj9l

She's 26, but her face tells a different story. I'm 13 years older than she is, and I don't have half the lines she does. Poor woman.

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Lots of photos with the UK copy of this story. Ruby has aged a lot.

http://bit.ly/117rj9l

She's 26, but her face tells a different story. I'm 13 years older than she is, and I don't have half the lines she does. Poor woman.

From the story: "Jeffs, who heads the FLDS Church, reportedly said that married men and women were not to have sexual relations with one another until he says otherwise because he does 'not want any child to be born in this wicked generation'."

I suspect this edict has nothing to do with not wanting to have children born in an evil generation, and everything to do with Jeffs not wanting his followers to have the 'sweet, sweet fellowship' he can no longer have now that he is behind bars.

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It's all about control. And probably also about no further prosecution, too.

He's a snake.

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