Flora Jessop, an escaped former member of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Colorado City, promised today that change is coming to the small community that straddles the Arizona-Utah border.
Jessop is once again trying to promote a bill that would allow the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office to take control of the city’s policing, which she and others say is corrupt and only carries out the desires of Warren Jeffs, the church’s incarcerated figurehead.
A similar bill was narrowly defeated in the state Legislature after a heated debate on the House floor last year. Some of the lawmakers who represent Colorado City called it “an alternative lifestyle” community, while other lawmakers invoked the merits of leaving local matters to local police to handle.
But Jessop and other critics of what they describe as a rigid theocracy in Colorado City say women and children are abused, mistreated and denied their fundamental civil rights by the church. They say those practices are condoned by the local police.
Jessop stood alongside her younger sister Ruby, who escaped the community last month, and who gained custody of her six children last week with the help of the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office.
Attorney General Tom Horne, who endorsed and argued for the bill last year, said he has discussed the measure with Rep. Michelle Ugenti, R-Scottsdale, but there has not yet been a decision about whether she will sponsor the bill this year.