In the secretive, illegal world of American polygamy, life has been good to 67-year-old Wendell Loy Nielsen of El Dorado, Texas.
By his own account, Nielsen has 21 wives, and 36 children.
His oldest wife is 13 years older than he is, and his youngest wife is 43 years younger - she's just 24. His oldest child is 21 years old, and his youngest is a six-month-old baby.
That's one of the longer, single-family geneaologies we uncovered in the "Bishop's List" - a series of documents listing the age, marital status, children and addresses of members of the FLDS's Yearning for Zion ranch in El Dorado.
The list indicates five of the wives are 16 years old - that's underage by Texas law. If those girls are also mothers, or even if they're not, but their marriages have been consummated, they could be considered victims of statutory rape under Texas law.
The "bishop" in charge of families keeps the list to keep track of members, and make sure there's enough housing and food. That's what Carolyn Jessop told us. She's a former polygamist wife who wrote the bestseller, ESCAPE.
And the bishop, she says, is her ex-husband, Merril Jessop.
Jessop is running the ranch while its self-proclaimed prophet is on suicide watch in prison for his role in forcing a 13-year-old girl to marry her 17-year-old first cousin.
This list of names was found among nearly 1000 boxes of paperwork taken from the ranch by officials investigating child abuse charges against some of the sect members.
Last week, attorneys for the sect argued against a court review of the documents, claiming the documents should remain private under First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and association. Judge Barbara Walther disagreed, saying the documents must be examined to try to find possible medical records of the sect children.
The Bishop's List also reveals other details. Most of the documents list the members' address as "R 17." That's shorthand for the Yearning for Zion Ranch. But documents indicate two wives and an infant live in a "house of hiding." Investigators have not revealed where or what kind of house that might be. More importantly - what or whom are they "hiding" from?
Some sect members have refused to tell investigators - or said they don't know - how old they are.
Yet the documents in the Bishop's List seem to suggest that sect members do know their ages, and the ages of their children. Again in the Johnson family record, one wife is listed as being "almost 28" while another is listed as being "almost 22."
The ages of the wives and their children are critical to investigators, who believe that underage girls were routinely married to - and forced to have sex with - older men.
Believe it or not, this is still just a "custody" case. No criminal charges have been filed - against anybody. And the parents of the 463 children taken into state custody want them back.
The next court hearing is scheduled for later this month.
Editor's note: To read an excerpt from ESCAPE, click here.
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