How Willie Jessop Was Blinded by His Belief in Warren Jeffs

Season 5 Episode 416
Aired on 03/22/2015 | CC tv-14
After being arrested by federal authorities in 2006, Warren Jeffs, the leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS), was tried and convicted in 2011 of the sexual assault of two underage girls. Willie Jessop, a former FLDS member and spokesman, says Jeffs has now spent more time in prison than he did on the outside as a prophet. "Yet, he still has thousands of followers today because of how powerful the indoctrination was," Willie tells Oprah.

For many years, Willie was in charge of Jeffs' security, and now he says he feels complicit in Jeffs' crimes against children. "Being the head of, you know, the security detail, it's almost like my job is to protect the Oval Office from being intruded in, not patrolling what's inside the Oval Office," Willie says. "We created the environment that he was allowed to do this in, but what we were looking for was an outside attack. We had no idea that we were being eroded morally from within."

Watch as Willie tells Oprah how he—and many other FLDS members—were blinded by their faith. Plus, find out what signs they ignored.

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