Willie Jessop

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For other people named William Jessop, see William Jessop (disambiguation).

William Roy ("Willie") Jessop is a former leader and spokesman for the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS Church). Jessop should not be confused with William E. Jessop, the person Warren Jeffs designated as his successor to the presidency of the FLDS Church.

Jessop was a bodyguard during the tenure of FLDS Church president Warren Jeffs. After Jeffs' arrest and the April 2008 raids on the church's YFZ Ranch near Eldorado, Texas, Jessop became a frequent spokesman for the FLDS Church. In May 2008, Jessop wrote an open letter to United States president George W. Bush, requesting that he intervene against the removal of children from FLDS Church families.[1]

In a January 2009 deposition, Jessop refused to answer 110 questions put to him on the grounds that doing so would violate his Fifth Amendment rights under the United States Constitution.[2]

In February 2011, Jessop left the church[3] and in April denounced Jeffs.[4] After leaving the church, Jessop continues to live in Hildale, Utah. In October, a 25-year-old wife of Jeffs fleeing the church sought refuge in his house before being removed by law enforcement.[5]

Jessop has been nicknamed "Willie the Thug", "Fat Willie", "Willie Doughnuts" and "King Willie" by disaffected FLDS Church members. He has been described by police as having "a passion for violence, weapons (legal and illegal) and explosives" and has been said to be "the most serious threat affiliated with the FLDS religion".[6] Police have also suggested that Jessop attempted to intimidate witnesses during Warren Jeffs' 2007 trial.[6]

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