Return to Transcripts main page
Former FLDS Members Speak Out
Aired August 12, 2011 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DR. DREW PINSKY, HOST: Here we go.
His followers call him a prophet. The law says he`s a pedophile. I say he`s a jerk pervert.
Yet, Warren Jeffs` supporters still idolize this convicted rapist. Wait until you hear how they want to honor him.
His victims and the man who helped put him away sound off.
Let`s go figure this out right now on this special edition of DR. DREW.
Polygamist leader Warren Jeffs behind bars. We learned the shocking detail of his atrocities during sentencing. We also learned it wasn`t about religion, it was about indoctrination and perversion.
His crimes, sickening. His victims, women and children. But some of those victims got out. And tonight they speak out about Warren Jeffs, the FLDS, and their triumph over tyranny of the worst kind.
And tonight, polygamist leader Warren Jeffs is guilty of sexually assaulting two young girls, two children he referred to as his spiritual brides. Oh, yes, isn`t that lovely?
Jeffs said that if the world knew what he was doing, they would -- I think this is the quote -- "hang him from the highest tree." Well, the jury might not have been able to find a tree, but it did seal his fate. Jeffs got life, plus 20.
Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He started to undress me and undress himself. I was crying and I was, like, "Please, I don`t want you doing it. It doesn`t feel right. Please stop. Please quit. I can`t do this."
Just begging him to stop, or at least explain to me what he was doing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: This pedophile will serve the rest of his life behind bars. Believe me, what happens here on earth is nothing compared to the eternal damnation he might yet receive. He is the first of several or perhaps many more we need to address and put away.
Tonight, women who escaped the brutal abuse of the FLDS are here. We`re going to hear their stories. And, in fact, these are all faces you may be familiar with because we have been talking to them via satellite.
And tonight, they have kindly agreed to come out into my studio, and they`re here live with me. And we`re going to try to get a better understanding of the nightmare they endured, how they found the strength and the courage to fight back against what they knew was an atrocity, and what was happening in a closed system, behind closed doors, with the threat for them of eternal damnation. Yet they spoke out anyway.
Joining me, former FLDS Flora Jessop and former member of the FLDS who attended school where Warren Jeffs was the principal, Kathy Jo Nicholson.
Kathy Jo, I`m going to start with you. What was the reaction when you heard the verdict?
KATHY JO NICHOLSON, FMR. FLDS MEMBER: Emotional. Very emotional.
It was a relief and -- well, I was elated, excited, and also, I guess, exhausted. You know how you feel when it`s finally done, you`ve worked so hard and, you know, people that you love worked so hard?
PINSKY: But emotional all the way around, I`m sure.
PINSKY: I can see the emotion on your face still.
Tell us your story. So you lived in the FLDS. And what kinds of things did you have to go through?
NICHOLSON: Well, I was in contact with Warren every single day.
PINSKY: He was the principal at your school.
NICHOLSON: He was the principal of the academy that I attended. I had daily contact, like I said. We had church devotionals where he would get up and do similar speeches like he did in court. That was nothing new, and I read some of the documents.
PINSKY: And so you were a high school student hearing this guy talk about how he is God on Earth and all this nonsense. What did you think?
NICHOLSON: At the time his father Rulon was the prophet. But Warren, I would have to say that in the young flock at school at the academy, grade one through 12, he was everything to us.
We had -- we really didn`t have any contact, any personal contact with the prophet at the time. Warren was everything. And we didn`t question. If we did, there were consequences whether it was physical or humiliation, emotional.
PINSKY: You told me the story about a young boy that was brought before the 12th grade of the high school. Can you tell me that story?
NICHOLSON: Yes, I`ve -- yes, that stuck with me for so long. It`s so vivid, I can see it right now.
There was a second-grader who was misbehaving -- at that age, they do -- and the teacher had brought him over to the high school and told Warren about the misbehavior. Warren brought the child in. Mind you, this child is maybe 7 years old, a little boy.
And he picked him up by the ankles in front of the entire high school, and he gathered the rest of the classrooms in to watch this, because at the time it was a geometry class anyway. He shook him upside down and finally said, "I`m shaking the evil out of this."
And some of the kids were snickering, some of the kids were cringing. My stomach was turning. But looking around, oh, is this funny? Oh, OK. Well, years later, this little boy has grown into a man, and he is now a registered sex offender.
PINSKY: Which is something for people at home, I think, to keep in mind, is that the kids that get out, particularly the boys that are severely abused, I think you guys call them the lost boys.
FLORA JESSOP, FMR. FLDS MEMBER: Yes.
PINSKY: Some of them get into our communities and become sex offenders, they become violent. And there is no resource for them, no way to socialize them, because they have only been abused and only have been in this closed regressive system.
JESSOP: Correct. You know, we have this huge problem, and it is not all of the boys. You have to keep in mind, it`s not all of them, but there is a large majority of them coming out. And because they`re taught that women are submissive, that women have no voice, no say, they`re coming out into our communities, living next to our schools and our kids and our homes, and they are molesting and raping children and young girls in our communities.
We had a young man that had a 15-year-old girlfriend at a party, told her in the middle of this party that he wanted to have sex. And she refused him. He shot her in the head and proceeded to rape her while she bled to death on the floor.
And he -- you know, this is -- he thought this was OK because this is -- women don`t have a voice. So if people think this is not coming close to you, it is.
PINSKY: Well, and not only is it coming close to our communities by what flies out of these communities, it`s a symbol of what goes on in many dysfunctional families throughout the country. People are abused often in their families these days, and they don`t know to speak up, they don`t realize it. I mean, just like you said, the prophet is your world just the way your dad or your mom is your world.
How did you finally, Kathy Jo, realize that there was something not right here?
NICHOLSON: You know, that is something that I have struggled with up until Warren was convicted. And it finally hit me.
I don`t know why it took so long, but I realized that the first lie that I -- that really grabbed me was they told us that the prophet, Uncle Roy -- I was -- when he died -- which he was never supposed to die, he was supposed to not only not die, but he was supposed to grow younger -- and people would say from the congregation, "Oh, look at Uncle Roy," Leroy Johnson, "I think his hair is growing back in. Oh, it`s a miracle."
They were convinced. And he was -- so he wasn`t supposed to die before the second coming. He died when I was, I guess, 15.
PINSKY: How did you get out?
NICHOLSON: My dad got kicked out. He let his family go because he was told that he was holding his family back and he was holding the entire church back because he was bad. So he had to go away and repent, his wives were redistributed. How does that feel for the children? Now they have a new dad.
PINSKY: Tell me. How does it feel? You were one of those children.
NICHOLSON: I had left by that time.
PINSKY: But you still --
NICHOLSON: And I was still in contact with my family, but it was -- nobody admits it. Nobody admits that it hurts. They don`t.
PINSKY: So people are torn asunder without any concern for the effects.
NICHOLSON: Well, my dad left and I thought -- I went back, and I was with Flora. And I thought he would finally know that, dad, we`re on the same side now. Aren`t you upset? Aren`t you so angry? Let`s fight this thing together.
And he promised he would meet me. And then someone intervened and he drove by me.
PINSKY: How sad.
NICHOLSON: He just drove by and left and -- anyway, that was the last time I saw him.
PINSKY: This is how people get through the intolerable, which is that they disassociate, they cut off from their emotions. And then we`ll talk when we come back is that to then reconnect is very difficult and that relationship is very difficult.
Coming up, more of these stories from the women who survived hellish ordeals with the FLDS.
Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JESSOP: If you understand Warren Jeffs and the narcissistic personality type that he is, he is -- he believes, I think, that he is the only one, through the guidance of God, is going to convince all of us that he is -- should be left alone to rape children, that it`s a sacred right that he holds.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to make it real clear. I stand with Warren.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We back him 100 percent.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I back him 100 percent.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: It is hard to believe there are still women who support Warren Jeffs. We have to wonder, are they brainwashed, are they too fearful to say something? Or should they be held accountable as accomplices in some cases to rape?
Now, I want to remind people that Flora and Kathy Jo will be back out here in a few minutes. They will be rejoining us.
Also, I have Carolyn Jessop, who`s the author of "Escape: Life After the Cult." She is a former FLDS member.
I also have another former FLDS member, Elissa Wall. She is author of "Stolen Innocence."
I want to start with you, Elissa.
You and I were chatting a little bit off the air and something very vivid happened. You were telling me about how your family was just torn asunder, just ripped apart for some reason, and moved around. Tell me about that.
ELISSA WALL, FMR. FLDS MEMBER: I was actually born in Salt Lake City, Utah, and we were all part of the FLDS community. And that was one of my early moments where I realized how bad it really was. And that was a moment --
PINSKY: The fact that they tore your family apart?
WALL: -- that a question entered my mind even as a child that my father, at just any moment, at the direction of the prophet and Warren Jeffs, could have his women taken from him and his children move to hundreds of miles away. And my mother was ultimately married to another man.
PINSKY: And I said, you know, that sounds like what they used to do with slaves. They would just -- no regard for the individual, just tear families apart. And you said something really striking back to me.
WALL: My journey in this has brought to me a sad reality, and that is this problem is very akin to that of sex slavery and human trafficking. It`s under the umbrella of religion, but that is the brutal reality.
PINSKY: I mean, that is such a profound statement. And I think it does bring this whole thing completely into focus and why it is so unsettling.
You have women and children who are carted around to be sex slaves to a bunch of screwball men that need to be held accountable and have not been. That about sums it up, doesn`t it?
WALL: It is. And it`s a tough reality for a lot of people to grasp at the end of the day.
PINSKY: Especially those men are your dads and things, right? I mean, these are people that, one level, you love at the same time.
WALL: Absolutely. And if you think about it, it`s your family. It`s your brothers. It`s your cousins. For some people, it`s their very own son. And it`s a hard problem that we have to deal with right now.
PINSKY: How bad did it get for you there?
WALL: For me, I was forced to marry at 14. And I was like many girls. And we`re seeing that this evidence is coming out, that girls were just getting younger and younger.
And for me, I was married to my first cousin. I wasn`t married to an older man. But it was just as brutal and it was just as hard.
I fought the marriage, which was very different for women within that community. Our entire life we`re groomed and indoctrinated to just follow along and be so grateful that God is having a revelation. And for me, to not want to be married and to fight that, and beg to not be married, was against the grain for women within that society.
PINSKY: Did you have some view of the outside world, or were you completely closed off to it?
WALL: I did have exposure from time to time in my life. My dad was a convert, actually. I had grandparents who were on the outside. But as time went on, it got so much more secluded, and we got so much more cut off from the outside world, that even in a time of my actual forced marriage, I couldn`t go to the outside world.
PINSKY: How bad did it get for you and how did you finally find a way out?
CAROLYN JESSOP, FMR. FLDS MEMBER: It got really bad for me. I was never happy in my relationship.
I was given to a man when I was 18 years old, I had no say in the marriage. I did not know this man. He was 50 years old, 32 years older than me, and he had three other wives.
During the time that I was with him, he ended up with seven wives. He was one of the more powerful men in the community.
It is Frederick Merrill Jessop. He was the one in charge of the YFC ranch. And he`s also the father of the 12-year-old that was raped that put Warren behind bars for 99 years. He gave his 12-year-old daughter to Warren.
I was very unhappy. He was giving very young girls that were his daughters to Warren.
When my daughter was 13, I realized I could not protect her when she turned 14, because the age of marriage was down to 14. And that was my terror.
I had to find a way to protect her from her father and from this society. And the only way to do that was to escape it. It was to find a way out and find a way to get away from them.
PINSKY: Well, and Carolyn, you bring up a really interesting and important point. And I want to ask Elissa the same question.
Given that you were aware and had the presence of mind to realize there was something wrong, and you had to do something about it, do we hold accountable those that don`t, the ones that are left behind and are passively participating in this?
Elissa, do we hold them accountable in some way?
WALL: You know, I had a rare, unique opportunity to watch my mother through when I was being forced to marry, and even earlier than that, and watching how she had to abandon a lot of her sons. And she had to go against I think her very maternal instincts.
And I remember watching -- it was like a part of her cutting herself out. But still, I do firmly believe as a mother myself, we have a responsibility to step up for our children. And that`s what really this is about, is it`s going to take the mothers, the men, the brothers, the sisters. It`s going to take it on a personal level for them to step up and stop this from happening.
Yes, I do believe that there is a lot of responsibility that has to be accounted for, and it`s time for society to step up and say enough is enough.
PINSKY: But it`s easy for those of us outside to see it and try to do something.
Carolyn, what about those left behind inside? How culpable are they?
C. JESSOP: Well, I think there is different levels. For instance, the two -- the three women that were involved with the rape of the 12-year- old and helped to participate in that rape in holding her down, I think that they have some incredible accountability for what they were involved in.
For the mothers that are aware that their young children or daughters are being married, and their boys are being thrown on streets, society needs to hold them accountable. Because if they don`t, these crimes will not stop.
And accountable may not look like jail time in some of these cases. I think that you have to look at the individual. You have to look at their emotional health, you have to consider the circumstances and the pressures they were under.
I think those things need to be addressed. But at the same time, it may look like they need some counseling and they need to be monitored in how they`re dealing with their children, because a front line defense for a child their parents. Primarily, their mother. And when that fails, society needs to look at, why did that fail for an entire community?
And we have a breakdown here where this has been failing for a community, not just one family. So what is creating this? And we need to look at that and we need to get in there and get some support. We need to get some help, and it may be counseling. In some cases, it may be some criminal charges.
PINSKY: Well, that`s exactly where we`re finally getting to here.
We have just a few seconds left, Elissa. I want to ask you, how tough is it for an abuse survivor to speak out? What do you have to say perhaps to people out there who are themselves abuse survivors that can help them speak out?
WALL: You know, it`s the hardest journey you`ll ever make. It really is.
First of all, accepting the fact that you were abused. It took me a very long time to realize what had happened, how I was sexually abused, physically abused, and mentally abused, how that affected me, and that it had actually happened.
And the biggest thing, the message I have, is step up for yourself. At any point in time it is going to be hard, it`s going to be horrendous. But at the end, the truth is worth it.
And you are your voice, and you are your soul. And you`re really fighting for really your freedom. And it`s absolutely worth it. And step up.
PINSKY: Mackenzie Phillips was in here talking with us the other day. She too had to speak out and was hoping that her speaking out would serve people who have been in this situation.
Next, we have a lot of questions for our guests, and you have more questions than I do. We`re taking your calls.
And later, what happens now? The so-called prophet is gone, but who has taken his place? And what is the law doing about the continued abuse, allegedly, taking place on other compounds in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, Utah? What are our legislators doing with this?
Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRENT JEFFS, WARREN JEFFS` NEPHEW: This day has come, and I cannot tell you how joyous I am of finally seeing this man put where he belongs. I was a victim of him, but now I can stand 10 feet tall and say you are where you belong, and I am able to let go of all of this and move on with my life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: Welcome back.
I`m joined by all of my guests once again for this special "On Call" segment. Now, many of you have questions for the FLDS women and what it was like on the compound and why they didn`t leave sooner, and who is helping the women and kids that are left behind. And what about the young men?
Let`s go to the phones.
This is Andrea in California.
Andrea, go ahead.
ANDREA, CALIFORNIA: Hi. I was a reporter in Salt Lake City for years. And since 1997, I was reporting on the polygamist cults and the crimes and abuses long before Warren became the prophet and long before they moved to Texas.
I now have a master`s degree in psychology. And I can tell you that there are women and survivors from many of the other groups, as well as the FLDS. Warren and the FLDS are just the tip of the iceberg.
These groups and some of the independent families that are living like this are in 32 states. So it`s good to remember that there are -- that this is a national problem, it`s not located in just Texas or just in Utah and Arizona.
PINSKY: You guys have reaction to that?
F. JESSOP: I think she`s absolutely right.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
PINSKY: That this is a bigger problem?
F. JESSOP: It`s growing fast. When you take the numbers of the children these families are having, it grows exponentially. This is not having one child a year. These families are having five and six kids a year.
PINSKY: And Kathy, you were telling me the story about how they do that. They actually time the ovulation for these women and nonsense.
NICHOLSON: As a matter of fact, yes. My dad, one of his wives was selling those. Well, actually, they would receive bulk shipments --
PINSKY: Of ovulation kits?
NICHOLSON: Of ovulation -- yes, test kits. And they would distribute them among the community, and when a woman`s time came, when she was ovulating, the wives who were more trusted, or the older wives, would police that woman, whether or not she wanted it to be known she was ovulating or not. The call would go into the husband and he would come to wherever she was -- excuse me -- and --
PINSKY: Do his thing.
Hey, listen out there. Does anybody have any outrage, any women`s rights reactions to this? My guts are twisted hearing these stories.
Janis is in North Dakota.
Go ahead. You`re on the line.
JANIS, NORTH DAKOTA: Hi, Dr. Drew. Hi, ladies.
JANIS: I just have a quick question. Now that Warren Jeffs is a convicted sexual predator and pedophile, would it be possible for his organization to lose their tax exempt status for being considered a religion?
PINSKY: Yes, that`s one of the parts that is really kind of disturbing about this, that our tax dollars are supporting all this.
Is she -- does she have a point there? Do any of you know anything about this?
F. JESSOP: We would love to get that tax exempt status pulled.
PINSKY: Is that cruel though for the women and children left behind? That`s the question that my viewers ask me.
WALL: That is the hard reality, is we have to remember, at the end of the day, we`re talking about women and children. We`re talking about women and children that can`t go out and make their own money right now. They haven`t been given the life skills or the ability to even adjust to normal society.
PINSKY: So we`re pulling the rug out from under them if we do remove their tax exempt status.
F. JESSOP: Well, I don`t think we should remove their welfare, but I think their tax exempt status as a church, that`s what we`re talking about taking away from them, because it`s ridiculous that they have the tax exempt status. They get religious exemptions under the law, and they shouldn`t be receiving those.
PINSKY: To support this kind of --
F. JESSOP: Of abuse.
PINSKY: -- sexual trafficking and abuse of women.
F. JESSOP: Absolutely.
PINSKY: Got to go here.
Next, the head of the snake has been cut off. Warren Jeffs is locked away forever. But how can we as a society put an end to the abuse of children? Who can we ask for help?
We are talking to the Texas attorney general to get some answers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY (voice-over): Warren Jeffs will likely die in prison, but where do we go from here? Thousands of women and kids are still living in the FLDS. Does the abuse have to continue? Are adults still raping children? What is law enforcement doing to help? What are the states doing? What are the feds doing? What can we do and how do you undo an epidemic that took decades to create?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY (on-camera): Polygamists have been free to organize in this nation for over 100 years. Yet, religious tyrants like Warren Jeffs have survived and thrived using different tactics, those employed by manipulating tyrants, let`s say. While there are laws on the books that outlaw polygamy and pedophilia, obviously, they are not routinely enforced on FLDS compounds, leaving thousands of women and children essentially without resort and held captive.
Joining me now is Greg Abbott, the attorney general for the state of Texas, who, as I keep saying, is my personal hero, and Carol McKinley who has reported extensively about all of this for "The Daily Beast." Carol, I want to start with you. When you were researching the FLDS and what was going on in the compound, my understanding is you discovered something rather shocking.
CAROL MCKINLEY, REPORTER, "THE DAILY BEAST": Well, I did. It`s in "The Daily Beast" today. What we found is, despite the fact that we`ve heard about Warren Jeffs and his escapades with little girls, despite the fact that his own nephew says he raped him when he was just a little boy, despite the fact he`s ripped apart 300 families, the FLDS has been working on a statue of Warren Jeffs. It is not just a little statue. It`s 38 feet tall, so about three stories.
And I just found out today there are some drawings of this statue that some of my sources have seen down in San Angelo, Texas. And you won`t believe this, but the statue, if it goes in its current form and in its current plan, will be warren Jeffs holding a book of Mormon, holding the hand of a little girl.
PINSKY: It`s -- you know, whenever I report on this case, I become speechless or stunned when I hear new information about the -- I guess, the level of depravity going on within the compound. And, you know, I guess, I understand the people inside still feel like he is the god on earth, and this is part of some conspiracy brought about by the evil forces, those of us in civilized society. Do you find any erosion of those attitudes on the compound?
MCKINLEY: Not really. They did not pay attention to the trial. They were ordered not to. Warren Jeffs banned the internet for all of his people. And most of them did not follow the trial. A lot of them still might not know that he`s now in Huntsville, Texas, you know, in prison and intake right now. So, at this point, they still think he`s the purest man on earth. They think the fact that this trial even happened was a government conspiracy. The tapes we`ve heard about, well, his followers say that they were doctored by the government.
PINSKY: Well, I guess we have a little testimonial here from former FLDS member. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAURIE ALLEN, FORMER FLDS MEMBER: If a woman is being beaten or her daughter is being raped, if she calls the police in that town, the police is FLDS. And he follows the orders of the prophet, not of the state. So, that woman is reported to her husband, and her sister wives, and is even more abused than she was abused before she made the call to the police. There`s no protection. It`s nothing but corruption. It`s a cult.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: So, Attorney General Abbott, you`re saying that that may be these isolated incidents, but that`s not the prevailing issue on these compounds?
GREG ABBOT, TEXAS ATTORNEY GENERAL: Right. We know for a fact that has not happened here in Texas. in fact, the moment an outcry took place is the moment where there was this massive investigation into the widely (ph) compound, and you remember the scenes all too well about the 400 children dressed in prairie dresses along with their mothers being escorted out of that compound. That was as a result of the initial outcry that took place at the YFZ ranch.
So, what we do know for a fact is that if there is anyone in danger in Texas, and there is any public discussion of that danger, we have proven that we can swiftly sweep in and conduct an investigation and remove children from a harmful situation.
PINSKY: So, Attorney General Abbot, I have sort of a broad question, which is, what`s next? How do we, you know, how do we get at the people that may be perpetrating, God knows what, in these close compounds? And then, what should other states do?
ABBOT: Well, there`s a couple of what`s next on the horizon. Most importantly on the horizon is going to be both the appeal of the Warren Jeffs case as well as the appeals of the other convictions that we have obtained in addition to the other cases that we need to prosecute. So, we still have miles to go to ensure that justice is achieved with regard to the crimes that took place at the YFZ compound.
Belatedly, there`s already been an outraged by officials in Utah, asking to see evidence that was used in this case because of some interest by officials in Utah that may have an interest in prosecuting Jeffs or maybe others who are involved in the FLDS. The state of Texas is ready, willing, and able to cooperate to the extent we can to assist anybody else in any other state who wants to investigate and prosecute any similar crimes occurring in their states.
PINSKY: And attorney general, I must tell you, you know, I`ve sung your praises and said huzzah to your efforts, and I continue to do so, but just a concerned citizen, this thing is so outrageous just to sit and watch go down. It`s just stunning. It`s -- I`m speechless when I learn more and more about what`s happening. What do you suggest the rest of us should do that are just concerned citizens to make sure that when the media spotlight moves on to something else, this thing just doesn`t just become yesterday`s news.
ABBOT: Well, it is important when you`re dealing with a broad-based culture like this that -- to understand for one, we`re not prosecuting culture, but we are prosecuting criminals, and if anybody, anywhere in any state has any information whatsoever about a child being harmed or adult being harmed, they need to let law enforcement know as quickly as possible, feel free to let the media know so that we can shine a spotlight on these crimes, and so, we can rescue the victims and prosecute the wrongdoers.
PINSKY: And then finally, I kind of have a question that you may not be able to answer. And that is, Carol, feel free to ring in on this, too, if you think -- you have an answer. But should the Mormon Church be involved with this? Should they take a position? I don`t want anyone to speak on their behalf, but it seems like it would be helpful, helpful to them as well as -- to those of us that are concerned citizens to, at least, remove some of the cloak that used to hide some of this nonsense.
ABBOT: I really can`t speak on behalf of the Mormon Church. I would assume what they would say is that, A, the FLDS is a breakaway from the Mormon Church, but B, even members of the FLDS will say that what Warren Jeffs was doing, what the men we prosecuted were doing, and what others may be doing is different from the fundamental principles they stand for. Again, we`re here to prosecute criminals as opposed to cultures. And as a result, we really can`t speak on behalf of the church itself.
PINSKY: Carol, any last words?
MCKINLEY: Well, I would like to say that, you know, the FLDS people are hard working people. Many of them had no idea what Warren Jeffs was doing.
PINSKY: Well, thank you, Carol. And thank you to our Attorney General Abbot. Once again, three huzzah to you, sir. Keep up the great efforts. At least, you`ve been effective in getting the head of the snake taken away here.
Next, the former FLDS members will be back, and we`ll talk about what we can do to help other women and children who are still too afraid to leave, and maybe, even those around you who are not FLDS members who may be afraid to peak up about abuse or tyrants in their own life. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ABBOT: If someone comes to this state and sexually assaults a 12- year-old and a 15-year-old, you`re going to be found guilty. And you`re going to be put behind bars.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: Enough said. And why am I not hearing that from the attorney general in every state where this is going on, and the legislators that have been looking the other way for 20 years? Why? Why does that have to be my hero? I get one. One hero? Come on. Your other attorney generals have to step forward. Now, I want to remind people that Warren Jeffs trial is not about religion or about consenting adults and a certain lifestyle. Polygamy is illegal in the United States.
This is about children, and it is about sexual trafficking and abuse of women. If you`re committing a violent act against children, you cannot hide behind religion. You are a felon, and you should be prosecuted. It`s not OK. It affects all of us. We can`t stand by and let this happen to families, women and kids.
I`m back with my panel. This is FLDS survivors, Kathy Jo Nicholson, Elissa Wall, Flora Jessops, and Carolyn Jessop as well. You guys were looking at these pictures that I was just showing you. I want to show them again of Warren Jeffs, basically, his mug shot, and it triggers huge reaction in you guys. Kathy Jo, you`re still having a reaction. What is that you`re experiencing?
KATHY JO NICHOLSON, FORMER FLDS MEMBER: That picture? Well, I don`t know. You can move past me.
PINSKY: Elissa, you also had a reaction to it, and then, something happened between you two. What was that?
ELISSA WALL, FORMER FLDS MEMBER: Honestly, for me, it`s -- this has been such a long road. I`ve been involved in this for so long, and there has been so many people in front of me who have stepped up to see truth come. And for me to see Warren, someone who, at a point in time in my life, not only was he a god to me, but he forced me into some of the worst years of my life.
It is a little jarring to see him and to see that we`re finally here. And I think that`s where the emotion comes for me is -- it feels like, finally, the world sees him as what he really is, and that is a felon.
PINSKY: Kathy Jo, you`re having a slightly --
NICHOLSON: You know, it makes me feel really, really ashamed that I followed that.
PINSKY: Kathy Jo.
NICHOLSON: I mean, I`m not -- not now. I just --
PINSKY: This is the work. This is the work that one must do. Flora, help me with this, because this is the work. You feel responsible. Abused victims feel responsible for the abuse.
FLORA JESSOP, FORMER FLDS MEMBER: Absolutely.
PINSKY: And that to me is the tragedy of this. It is the sick of this. It is why that guy that we`re all looking at doesn`t deserve to -- I don`t want to say it.
FLORA JESSOP: It`s always our fault. When they abuse us, it`s always our fault. If we would have just made the mashed potatoes better, they wouldn`t have had to beat us, you know? Growing up in these families, people need to understand what abuse does to a child. When a child is victimized by someone in their family, our monsters aren`t in our closets. They`re the people that are supposed to be protecting us.
My monster was not the Boogie Man. It was my dad. And the other monster in the house wasn`t the Boogie Man, it was my mom for standing outside the door and letting it happen.
PINSKY: That must tear children apart. Carolyn, you wanted to say something.
CAROLYN JESSOP, FORMER FLDS MEMBER: Yes. I was going to comment. I think the reaction here, the emotional reaction that everyone is having, is that those of us who know Warren, we know that look. That look is the look we all got when we -- when somebody was standing up to him or not doing what he wanted. It`s the look of anger. It`s the look of defiance. It`s the look of you are going to get it.
And to see him in jail and he still has that expression on his face, like, this is not over. All of you that put me here, there is going to be consequences. And, even though, we know he`s behind bars, we still recognize that look. It`s a registered fear. It`s programmed in our subconscious. It`s hard to move away from.
PINSKY: Kathy Jo, does that sound familiar?
NICHOLSON: It`s very familiar. And it rings true. And I just -- my heart is breaking for the people that are still inside. I`m just -- I`m so worried because I can go back to the hotel that we have here, and thank you so much for having us here, and letting us -- but not everybody has this, you know? I don`t know how to get on the inside. And I think -- I`m so really, really angry about --
NICHOLSON: The legislators. You know, the attorney general in Utah, I have been begging him for years about my brother`s death. This thing is -- it`s layers and layers and layers deep. I would like to say, please, please, everybody out there, take a look at the website, beyondthereach.com. My brother, I believe, was murdered inside the FLDS. It happened in 2004, and it`s been buried. I would like for someone mentioned -- it was you, we only get one hero. We only get Texas. That`s all we get. You know what, there`s so much more to address.
PINSKY: Kathy Jo, well said. And Flora, my fear from hearing what Carolyn was saying and watching Kathy Jo`s reaction is that he will be able to exert terror from behind bars.
FLORA JESSOP: And he will be. He`s got 15,000 people following him that are willing to jump at his beck and call.
PINSKY: Did you hear about this statue? Sounds like a pagan icon they`re building with him holding a little girl`s hand? Did you hear about this?
FLORA JESSOP: No, I haven`t heard about that, but --
PINSKY: It` just disgusting. It is disgusting. And is -- but, how are we going to prevent this guy from terrorizing behind closed bars? Behind the bars? Is there something I can do, something we can do here that are watching this program?
FLORA JESSOP: Everybody can do something. Everybody can step up and write their legislators, write their congressmen, write their attorneys generals, get on the ball and do something about this. And also, protect your own children in your own homes. You know, children are very vulnerable, and we teach them to become victims by not teaching them proper boundaries. And I have a book that I found several years ago, and it`s called "Those Are My Private Parts".
PINSKY: Hold it. There you go. Hold it up. Camera, get in there on that, please.
FLORA JESSOP: This book is --
PINSKY: There it is. Hold it up a little higher.
FLORA JESSOP: Is extremely important in protecting your children. It reads like Dr. Seuss, and yet, it gives your children the permission to say no.
PINSKY: Fair enough.
FLORA JESSOP: To somebody that`s hurting them. Please, read this to your children.
PINSKY: Does it also give them the chance to speak up about it.
FLORA JESSOP: Yes. It teaches them to speak up.
NICHOLSON: I read that to my son, and it`s very easy to do. It`s not embarrassing. It`s an excellent book. And then listen, just listen to what they have to say afterwards. Kids have so much to say if you just let them feel comfortable saying it.
FLORA JESSOP: Yes.
PINSKY: So true. You know, in the control room, can you, guys, throw up some more of the Facebook questions for us. I know a lot of people have questions for this panel. These guys have been great in terms of taking questions. Here now is Karen on Facebook. She writes, "Is there an obvious, so to speak, prophet to take the place of Warren Jeffs? What`s next? Is somebody else going to step in? Or are they in for something worse?"
WALL: The reality, I believe, with the chain of command is Warren created a lot of mini-monsters. He created a lot of men that he put in place in these different compounds, all over from South Dakota, Colorado, all these different places to be under him. The problem we have is Warren is not going to just step down as the prophet. He is going to have control behind bars, but these men are going to use him as the silent out of sight, out of mind.
Everything is going to be done under the direction of Warren, but they`re just going to continue in their own little way of power. And it`s something that we have to realize is on the ground level. And it`s going to have to be changed by educating the people.
PINSKY: We got to infiltrate with law enforcement. Carolyn, you wanted to say something, too.
CAROLYN JESSOP: Well, actually, you know, right now, Lyle Jeffs is in full control down there. He has been ever since Warren was taken to Texas, and he was making progress before that. It`s my belief that he is taking over this group. The other thing about the statue that you mentioned, Warren was teaching before I left that he was Christ incarnate.
He was the second coming of Jesus Christ. Warren going to jail to the FLDS is like another -- another crucifixion of Jesus Christ in this time the world did it again. And I believe that`s what the statue is really all about.
PINSKY: OK. Then, my thing is, in addition to my sort of challenge to the attorney generals out there, let me challenge the Christian believers, are you disgusted by that? Isn`t that an outrage? Aren`t we all sort of violated by that nonsense, and particularly, LDS community, shouldn`t you be speaking up about this?
Lisa writes something to us. "I`m wondering why there seems to be no accountability for the parents or the state for these children`s education?" In other words, how do they get around that? We have kids that are not educated. Flora, I`ve got less than one minute. Tell me about that. Isn`t there a basic right and a commitment to educating children?
FLORA JESSOP: You have to give your kids education. They teach education breeds rebellion. You know, having knowledge breeds freedom. And people need to take that seriously. Educate yourselves. Go out. Buy Elissa`s book.
PINSKY: But how do they get around in the FLDS community not giving real education to those kids?
FLORA JESSOP: Home schooling. They`ve all pulled their kids out and put them into home schools.
PINSKY: OK. Well, my entire panel stays with me. When we come back, we`ll continue the discussion about the FLDS community and how you and I can help the women and children who are still living behind compound walls. Stay with us.
PINSKY: Elissa Wall was 14 when she was taken to a motel and forced to marry her own cousin. Flora Jessop was 15 when she escaped her ordeal living at an FLDS compound. Kathy Jo Nicholson has lost her brother. Carolyn Jessop suffered years of abuse. They escaped the FLDS, but they have not forgotten those left behind. And I think, Elissa, that was something you wanted to bring home before we close this program out.
WALL: I really do believe that it`s wonderful we`re finally seeing this as a problem, but at the end of the day, what really matters is the people, the people within, the women, the children, the men. And even though they had a horrible leader, there are good people inside, and we cannot vilify them. We can`t throw all of them out with the dish water.
WALL: And it`s important that we have to realize we have to give them the opportunity to gain life skills, to gain education, to make their own decision of whether or not they`re going to continue this chain of abuse or whether they`re going to step up like many of us and say enough is enough.
PINSKY: And Kathy Jo, we were talking at the break that you identify so strongly with the powerless ones left behind.
NICHOLSON: Absolutely. My friend gave me a book that it`s lunch meat and life lessons. Her father was a butcher. He passed away, and she was telling about how he taught her so many things, and the one thing I hang on to from the book was learn something from everybody you meet. And I`ve been doing that, and it`s so valuable.
I`ve learned a lot from you. I appreciate you so much. Also, I wanted to say that they don`t -- they only meet one person, Warren. They don`t even get to talk to each other. Everybody is pitted against each other. They don`t learn anything. They need to learn.
PINSKY: And, Flora, you`re told they`re not only pitted against each other but told to distrust everyone. And so, you are saying that the three of you getting together and having a unified voice is already amazing.
FLORA JESSOP: It`s absolutely amazing. You know, we don`t -- coming out, we`re all fighters in our own way, but we don`t even realize that we have each other to turn to in a lot of ways. So, this has been really fabulous. I mean, me and Elissa are step-sisters and, you know?
PINSKY: And you were afraid of each other.
FLORA JESSOP: You know, they do. They teach you to be afraid of each other, and you`re scared to trust people when you come out of this. And that`s just -- it`s wrong. We`re family, and it`s great.
PINSKY: And Carolyn, you`re at a distance. I want to give you the last word. You got about 30 seconds.
CAROLYN JESSOP: Oh, I just think that it`s so great to finally see people finding out what`s been going on inside the FLDS, and I hope that we can have a change in the collective conscience in this nation, and we can have something done about this problem.
PINSKY: And remember, conceptualize it this way to my viewers, it`s human trafficking. It`s sex slavery we`re talking about here and abuse of children, and it`s not just in the FLDS. There`s a lot of this going on in other contexts in other families, and there`s a ton to learn here. I`ve got something more to say about that statue that Warren Jeffs is having. Imagine, he`s the one that set it up from himself.
He`s holding the book of Mormon in one hand, a little girl in the other hand. Come on! The FLDS specifically forbids idols. Hypocrites. Act with the law. Society requires participation in the law. Secretive acts, illegal behavior, not OK. Fear for the women, we can fear for those women and innocent children left behind. We can say stop it all day long, but unless there is a relentless effort on our part to go after the criminal activity, and again, as you heard these ladies say, don`t vilify everyone there.
We want to help the people there and get them out, get them educated. Let them have their faith and community. We heard, there may be a new church being formed, cool, fantastic. I want to say thank you and say huzzah, huzzah, huzzah, for the Texas attorney general and challenge the other attorneys general to step forward and the legislators, get off your butts. Thank you for watching. We`ll see you next time.