A St. George judge has granted a high-profile Fundamentalist LDS Church member's request for a temporary restraining order against a private investigator.

The order bars Sam Brower from going within 500 feet of any property owned by Willie Jessop, as well as any contact with the FLDS spokesman or his family.

Jessop sought the restraining order after he said that Brower scaled a 6-foot tall fence and drove past marked "no trespassing" signs to photograph Jessop's family last month — with a TV news crew in tow. In court papers, Jessop said his family were frightened by the intrusion.

"We just want him to leave Willie and his family alone," said Rod Parker, Jessop's attorney.

In an interview with the Deseret News on Tuesday, Brower denied the allegations.

"I fully expect the FLDS and their attorneys to make desperate attempts to stifle me for my investigation into their activities," he said.

Jessop said Brower has a long history of harassing FLDS members. Brower has worked for attorneys suing the FLDS Church on behalf of ex-members, tracking down leaders and members in efforts to serve court papers.

He also recently filed an affidavit supporting a restraining order against Jessop, blocking him from having contact with a 16-year-old girl subpoenaed to testify before a Texas grand jury. Parker said Jessop's restraining order had nothing to do with the Texas affidavit.

The judge scheduled a July 23 hearing on whether to make the restraining order permanent. Brower said he welcomed it.

"Throughout the past several years, the FLDS have dodged subpoenas," he said. "Maybe this is an opportunity to go to court and get some truth."

E-mail: bwinslow@desnews.com