Questions arise about
Questions arise about 14-year-old bride
By ANGIE PARKINSON
COLORADO CITY, Ariz. — Another Colorado City
teen has attempted to flee an arranged marriage.
The girl was 14 when she was allegedly married
against her will on April 23. On May 15 the girl left her husband
to go to her brother’s home — also in the Colorado City/Hildale
The girl was reportedly attempting to flee the
Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
lifestyle and an arranged marriage.
“She’s running away from the lifestyle, the
marriage; all of it,” said the girl’s sister Flora Jessop.
Jessop lives in Arizona and wants to help her
sister make her own choices about marriage and life.
“She wants to have a choice and she doesn’t
have one,” said Jessop. “She wants to have a say in what her life
is and the girls don’t have that.”
When Jessop spoke to her sister in May the teen
spoke of wanting to leave the culture and the marriage.
“If leaving that life and that marriage is what
she chooses than that’s what I want to help her do,” said Jessop.
The weekend of May 19 and 20 Jessop said the
young bride went swimming at Quail Lake with her brothers. While
there a friend of the teen’s picked her up and took her back to
her parent’s home.
Now Jessop does not know where her sister is.
When Jessop asks other family members (those who still live in the
Hildale/Colorado City area) where her sister is they tell her she
is on vacation with her mother. Jessop fears her sister has been
taken to the FLDS community in Canada.
Under Utah law minors must have written
authorization from a judge or a court commissioner to legally
The written approval cannot be issued until the
judge or court commissioner determines that the minor is entering
into the marriage voluntarily and the marriage is in the best
interest of the minor under the circumstances. The law also
dictates premarital counseling for all minors unless “it is not
But Jessop, who left the FLDS religion at age
16, suspects her sister’s marriage was probably like other
marriages in the FLDS community — signified by a religious
The age of the alleged husband is unknown.
Jessop said her sister has been living in the same house with the
alleged husband for at least a year. She said the teen bride and
her alleged husband were stepsiblings.
Jay Beswick, an advocate with the child abuse
prevention organization For Kids Sake, and St. George resident Les
Zitting, who is trying to start a support group for those who want
to leave the FLDS church, are frustrated by governmental agencies.
Beswick and Zitting informed the Division of
Child and Family Services and the Washington County Sheriff’s
office of the runaway but say the agencies have not taken any
“I just don’t understand why they don’t have
any sympathy for child brides,” said Beswick.
Beswick said the agencies are “dragging their
feet” on the investigation of the most recent runaway’s situation.
Not true, according to Washington County
Sheriff Kirk Smith.
There is an investigation in progress
concerning the matter. Because the girl is a minor Smith said he
cannot release any information about the investigation.
“When there’s an alleged crime we have to look
at it,” said Smith.
Beswick and Zitting both feel there are other
teenage FLDS girls who want to flee arranged marriages but have
nowhere to go.
Copyright 1999 The Spectrum.