November 26th, 2008
08:12 AM ET

Finally – Merril Jessop indicted

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/04/23/book.292.320.jessop.jpg caption="Carolyn Jessop is a former FLDS Member and Co-Author of Escape." width=292 height=320]
Carolyn Jessop
Author of ESCAPE, and former FLDS member

Relief. Justice. Accountability. Those three words best express my reaction to the news that my ex-husband, Merril Jessop, one of the most powerful men in the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints (FLDS), has been indicted.

Merril, 72, is charged with conducting the marriage of an underage girl—his own daughter—to the FLDS “prophet” Warren Jeffs. I know her; she was 12 years old when she was forced to marry. Merril posted $30,000 in bail yesterday and is free. But he’s been charged with a felony and will stand trial.

Merril is in charge of the compound in Texas that’s home to hundreds of FLDS members and that was raided last April on accusations of marriages of underage girls. In fact, Merril has headed the sect since 2006, when Jeffs was put on the FBI’s Most Wanted List, fled the compound, and was later convicted on a charge related to the marriage of a girl to an older man.

I long ago worked through the anger I felt toward Merril, whom I was forced to marry at 18. I was his fourth wife and we had 8 children in 15 years. Five years ago I fled with all of my children in the middle of the night. The book I wrote about my life, ESCAPE, became a bestseller.

I knew I couldn’t stay silent when crimes were being perpetrated against so many women and children still trapped in the FLDS. I wrote ESCAPE to bring attention to the rampant degradation, humiliation and exploitation that was routinely done by the FLDS in the name of “God.”


Filed under: Carolyn Jessop • Polygamy • Raw Politics
November 26th, 2008
08:10 AM ET

Morning Buzz: Going Wild

Penny Manis
AC360 Senior Producer

DC is going WILD about Inauguration Day. 240,000 seats are available for the swearing-in ceremony though 1-4 million people are expected to attend the overall festivities. Hotels are booked, so now would be the time to hit up friends/family and offer to keep their couches warm if they happen to be residents of the nation’s capital.

Of course, if you have big money to blow, you could always book the Inaugural package at the Ritz Carlton in DC which offers tickets to the parade, one of the balls, and a trip to the Caribbean.

Another day, another press conference. President-elect Obama is on a roll this week. He is expected to make an ‘economic announcement’ today. We will hear that Paul Volcker will head the Economic Recovery Advisory Board to provide outside advice from heavyweight thinkers. Obama would be the 6th president that Volcker has served.

P-E Obama is also solidifying his national security team. Our sources hear that current Republican Defense Secretary Robert Gates will stay on in his current post for at least the first year of the new Administration.

This is huge news during a time of war, but there is likely to be criticism from the anti-war folks who voted for Obama. Keeping Gates ensures continuity, which could mean that Obama’s full focus can be on the economy but don’t expect major changes in policy overseas.

Meanwhile, Iraqi lawmakers today delayed till Thursday voting on a pact that would allow US troops to stay in the country for 3 more years. Otherwise known as the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), this deal is meant to replace a UN mandate allowing US troops to legally remain in Iraq until the end of the year.

Should Parliament fail to approve the deal, Iraq would have to ask the UN for an extension of the UN mandate, which is problematic, or would legally have to ask U.S. troops to leave the country. If this SOFA passes Iraq’s Congress today, US troops are guaranteed to remain in Iraq until 2011.

Tonight Erica Hill has a poignant story on how the number of hungry kids in America shot up 50% last year. Some food banks point to a perfect storm: greater need, but fewer donations. We’ll offer advice on how you can help.

Have a good one and see you at 10pet!

Filed under: The Buzz
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