Former child bride flees FLDS community

Posted at 6:38 AM, Jan 23, 2013
and last updated 2013-01-23 13:47:12-05

A woman, who says she was forced into marriage as a child by polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs, has fled the Fundamentalist LDS Church.

Ruby Jessop, 26, was granted temporary custody of her six children after leaving the polygamist community in Northwest Arizona.

Jessop did not speak to the press about the ordeal, but her older sister, Flora, did. She spoke about the conditions in the towns of Colorado City and Hildale and noted that people there are still very much under the control of Warren Jeffs.

Jessop was able to leave the group with the help of state and county officials. Flora said that she could have left sooner, but law enforcement kept that from happening.

"If we would have had somebody up there that was legitimate law enforcement, she wouldn't have been 12 years in hell," said Flora Jessop.

Officials said they looked for Ruby years ago, but were unable to locate her.

"Ruby's sister, Flora Jessop, approached the attorney general's Office complaining that her sister  Ruby, who was then 14, was being held against her will in homes in Colorado City and Hildale, Utah," said Tom Horne, Arizona attorney general. "Arizona and Utah officials launched a major effort at that time to find Ruby, but she could not be found. Flora left the FLDS church in 1986 and has been working to tell Ruby's story to the public. It was only weeks ago that Ruby finally escaped Colorado City."

Jeffs is jailed in Texas for life after being convicted of sexually assaulting two of his alleged underage brides.

Mohave County has assigned a deputy to control Colorado City and keep an eye on law enforcement there, but Sheriff Sheehan says the law needs to change in order to give other women the option to safely leave the FLDS lifestyle.