PHOENIX (KSAZ) - A jury issued a verdict in the federal trial of two polygamous towns along the Arizona-Utah border. The jury found the towns guilty of discriminating against people who did not follow the FLDS faith.
One former FLDS member says the lawsuit only addresses part of the problem; she accuses the towns of not addressing sexual abuses within the polygamous sect. She hopes this verdict leads to major changes in the town.
Flora Jessop has been speaking out about abuses in the FLDS church for years.
"The FLDS could be described as a criminal organization that could give the Mafia lessons," said Flora Jessop.
Now the abuses are being exposed, with a federal grand jury finding the FLDS towns on the Arizona-Utah border violated the constitutional rights of non-FLDS members by denying them city services.
"These communities have been through a lot, there have been issues in the past, and they did not hide from the fact and we just hope for the best, and hope we can move forward to protect everyone's rights," said Jessop.
But Jessop says the lawsuit does not go far enough. She worries about women and children still in the polygamous sect.
"I've been fighting ever since for their rights, for them to have a choice, and we are still fighting for the women to have somebody to listen to them," said Jessop.
The federal judge in the case will determine what measures need to be taken to make sure all city residents are guaranteed housing, water, and police protections. Jessop hopes the case leads to reverting to county control in policing and revoking the cities charter so the towns can rebuild from the ground up.
"Because as long as the FLDS retains control of that town, these things will happen," said Jessop.
The DOJ will submit recommendations to the judge; it will then be up to the judge to figure out how to change the way the city operates.