FLDS spokesman tells private eye to back off

Willie Jessop seeks a restraining order for 'continual harassment'

The Salt Lake Tribune/July 9, 2008

Two weeks after a restraining order targeted him, a polygamous sect spokesman is firing back and asking a Utah judge to keep a private investigator at bay.

Willie Jessop, a member of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, filed the request against Sam Brower on Tuesday in 5th District Court in St. George.

Jessop claims Brower has a "long history of following and photographing FLDS members," often leading to confrontations, and has engaged in a "pattern of continual harassment" that includes making disparaging comments about Jessop to the media.

Jessop wants Brower and anyone working for him kept 500 feet away from his homes and offices in Hildale, Canaan Gap, Cedar City and San Angelo, Texas.

Brower, who lives in Cedar City and has helped develop cases against the FLDS over the past four years, did not return a call from The Salt Lake Tribune for comment. A judge has not yet ruled on the request, according to online court records.

Jessop claims Brower took a television news crew to Hildale on June 7 and scaled a 6-foot-high wall in order to take pictures of Jessop's home and yard. In doing so, Brower "frightened . . . children sending them into the house very terrified," the filing states.

On that same day, Brower took the news crew to Jessop's ranch in Canaan Gap and, ignoring "no trespassing" signs and locked gates, again began photographing children and other family members, it said.

"They were forced to scramble out of the water and into a cabin on the property in order to preserve their privacy, and their family outing was disrupted," the filing states.

"Even more than it used to be, the intrusions freak the children out when strangers come barging in," said Rod Parker, a Salt Lake City attorney representing Jessop. "These children know what happened in Texas and are a little worried."

Texas child welfare authorities removed more than 440 children from an FLDS ranch in April; they have since been returned to their families.

Jessop's court filing claims Brower photographed children outside his Cedar City office and circulated the photos to news media while falsely claiming the children were working for the company.

Brower has "become more brazen and bold . . . and Willie has had enough of it," Parker said. "He wants to be left alone and he wants his privacy."

In June, a Texas judge ordered Annette Jeffs to keep her 16-year-old daughter Teresa away from Jessop, whom the girl's attorney claimed was interfering in her case. Jessop denied doing so.

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