TEXAS: Raymond Jessop, alleged bigamist and child statutory rapist goes on trial

It was dubbed the “largest child custody case in American History” when about 18 months ago, federal officials stormed the remote ranch compound of a polygamous sect Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints – a “breakaway from the Mormon Church” –  in Eldorado Texas, seizing over 400 children. The children were placed  in foster care pending a court’s determination whether it was in their best interest to remain with their biological parents, all of whom were polygamists.
In the aftermath, several arrests were made and several men are facing charges of rape, abuse of women and other matters. Raymond Jessop, a good-looking 38 year old man about the ranch, is accused of statutory rape and fathering a child with a fifteen year old girl. He is also accused by the State of Texas of the crime of bigamy (he will stand trial separately for this) and is accused of having approximately 16 wives. Mr. Jessop faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted for rape.
The state’s main witness is a DNA specialist named Amy Smut whose testimony is expected to prove that he is the likely father of the child based on DNA samples and evidence. However, it is expected to be a difficult trial since none of the women in the sect are cooperating with authorities. In addition, the judge hearing the case has ruled that his history of multiple wives and other pertinent information should be redacted and not presented to the jury, as it would be unduly prejudicial to the defendant. Read more in the New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/04/us/04polygamy.html