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Lawyer accuses sect leader of intimidating teen

  • Story Highlights
  • Request for restraining order accuses Willie Jessop of harassing her and sect teen
  • Lawyer Natalie Malonis says Jessop is turning teen against her
  • Malonis says Jessop may be trying to prevent teen's grand jury testimony
  • Jessop allegedly told Malonis that the teen needed a lawyer to advocate for sect
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(CNN) -- A lawyer for a teen member of a polygamist sect has accused a sect leader of harassing and intimidating them both in a request for a restraining order filed Friday.

A mother and son are reunited two months after the FLDS raid in Texas.

A mother and son are reunited two months after the FLDS raid in Texas.

Natalie Malonis filed the request for the restraining order against Willie Jessop in District Court in San Angelo, Texas. She is an attorney ad litem on behalf of the 16-year-old girl, who has been named in court documents as the daughter Warren Jeffs, the imprisoned "prophet" of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

In the documents, Malonis suggested that Jessop may be trying to prevent the girl's testimony before a grand jury.

Jessop's conduct, "if allowed to continue, will impede the investigation of a report of child abuse or neglect," she said.

There was no immediate response from Jessop to the court filing.

The girl was among more than 400 children that state child welfare workers seized from the FLDS's Yearning for Zion Ranch in April. View a timeline of the raid »

The children were returned to their families after the Texas Supreme Court ruled that the state had no right to remove the children because it lacked evidence to show that they faced imminent danger of abuse.

The girl's return to her mother was delayed after her attorney said she was a victim of sexual abuse. Eventually, she was allowed to return to her mother under certain conditions, including that she be kept away from Jeffs and the YFZ Ranch.

Since Jessop has inserted himself into the case, Malonis said, her excellent attorney-client relationship has deteriorated, and she has not been permitted to speak to the girl without him being present.

According to court documents, Jessop told Malonis that the girl needed an attorney who would advocate for the FLDS church and the members' lifestyle.

Malonis said the Texas attorney general's office told her the girl will be called to testify before a grand jury in the next few weeks. On Thursday, she said in the application, authorities attempted to serve the girl with a subpoena but could not find her.

In addition, Malonis said, the girl has expressed anger and hostility toward her, which she believes Jessop instigated.

The application is attached to a letter from the girl that says she wants Malonis released as her attorney because she has said "untrue statements about me and has tried to make me admit things that did not happen."

"I believe that [the girl] was avoiding service because of coercion and improper influence from Willie Jessop," Malonis said.

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"Based on my dealings with Willie Jessop, I believe he exercises a great deal of control over [the girl], and I am certain that he is interested in protecting the church's interests," Malonis said.

"I believe that [the girl's] best interests and her legal interests require that she be free from the influence of Willie Jessop."

All About Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day SaintsTexas Supreme Court

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