A woman who was married at the age of 14 thanks to convicted child-rapist Warren Jeffs is now free -- at the age of 26.
Attorney General Tom Horne set up the press conference yesterday with the woman, Ruby Jessop, as Horne's chalking up her escape to his office's payment to the Mohave County Sheriff's Office to patrol Colorado City.
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The woman lived in Colorado City, the city on the Utah/Arizona border that Jeffs used to call home, and remains the home to members of the polygamist Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
The town was previously patrolled only by the "Marshal's Office," which state and federal authorities believe is to be loyal to Jeffs instead of the law.
That belief has been a focus of Attorney General Tom Horne for quite some time, and last year became the focus of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, which alleged -- in part -- in a federal lawsuit that the "Marshal's Office" does its policing on the basis of FLDS law, instead of enforcing actual laws.
As for Horne, he tried to replace the "Marshal's Office" -- which has absolutely nothing to do with the U.S. Marshals Service -- but the legislation he supported was shot down in the House last year.
Horne used yesterday's event to announce that he's supporting a similar bill this year -- especially since the $420,000 the Attorney General's office is paying the Mohave County Sheriff's Office runs out in about six months, according to Horne's office.
"Since taking office in 2011, I have worked to have legislation passed that would ensure proper professional law enforcement is available in Colorado City. One reason is to make sure that people like Ruby can leave if they want to do so," Horne says in a statement. "While I will continue that effort in the legislature, making nearly half a million dollars available to the Mohave County Sheriff's Office was absolutely crucial in getting Ruby Jessop to safety. There are more people like Ruby in Colorado City, and these funds will run out in approximately six months.
Horne's statement continues, "Therefore, I urge Arizonans to contact their legislators and ask them to support a bill that would authorize Mohave County Sheriffs Deputies to do the policing in Colorado City rather than the local marshals who are under the control of the dominant church."
The bill, as proposed last session, would essentially strip certification from the FLDS-loyal police force, and patrol of the town would be done by the Mohave County Sheriff's Office.
More details on a "criminal probe" of the FLDS communities can be found here.
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