[Guest post by DRJ]
An Eldorado FLDS member set to stand trial on Monday on charges that he sexually assaulted a child has plead guilty:
“Michael Emack, 59, of Eldorado, entered the plea in district court to sexual assault of a child, said court administrator Irene Devore. Under Texas law, someone younger than 17 cannot generally consent to sex with an adult. Emack had been set to go to trial Monday. His attorney did not immediately return a Friday call from The Associated Press.
Emack’s plea marked the third sexual assault of a child conviction for a resident of the Yearning for Zion Ranch in Eldorado, said Jerry Strickland, a spokesman for the Texas attorney general’s office. Nine other suspects, including sect leader Warren Jeffs, are awaiting trial on charges including sexual assault of a child and bigamy, Strickland said.”
Emack acknowledged that in August 2004, he “‘spiritually’ married a 16-year-old girl, who then got pregnant with his child that October when she still was 16.” At the time, Emack was already legally married in Utah and had two other spiritual marriages.
An FLDS spokesman said Emack wants to “move his case into what he believed would be a neutral court, the court of appeals.” It appears Emack admits the factual allegations underlying the charges but plans to contest on appeal the lawfulness of the search warrant (because it was based on a hoax call) and the grand jury composition (because he claims it underrepresents Hispanics).
Following his plea, the Judge sentenced Emack to 7 years in prison. In addition, the State and Emack’s attorneys have already agreed to a 7-year sentence on pending bigamy charges, to be served concurrently.