Thursday, August 4, 2011

FLDS President Warren Jeffs Found Guilty On Both Child Sexual Abuse Charges In San Angelo, Texas; Faces Up To 119 Years In Prison

Update August 12th: On August 9th, Warren Jeffs was sentenced to life in prison for his assault on the 12-year-old. He received a 20-year sentence for the assault on the 15-year-old. The two sentences are to be served consecutively.

On August 4th, 2011, Warren Jeffs, the President of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS), was found guilty of one count of sexual assault of a child and one count of aggravated sexual assault of a child by a jury in San Angelo, Texas. The verdict was announced at 4:25 p.m. after only three hours and 45 minutes of deliberation. The charges stemmed from Jeffs taking two underage girls as brides in what the FLDS Church calls "spiritual marriages", although Jeffs' actions were a clear perversion of FLDS doctrine. The sentencing phase begins immediately and could take up to three days; he faces a maximum of 119 years in prison. Primary media stories from CNN and the San Angelo Standard-Times; KSL news video embedded below:

Video Courtesy of

The FLDS Texas blog contains more detailed summaries of the trial. One post documents how Warren Jeffs once allegedly admitted that he wasn't a prophet, and that William E. Jessop is the actual "key holder". Other sources of FLDS information include FLDS 101 and FLDS View.

Two factors laid the groundwork for Jeffs' conviction. First, prosecutors played audio recordings in which Jeffs was heard instructing young women on how to please him sexually. They also played an audio recording of what they said was him sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl; more detail on this part of the trial HERE. Prosecutors also used DNA evidence to show Jeffs fathered a child with a 15-year-old girl.

But just as instrumental in his conviction was Warren Jeffs' bizarre behavior during the trial. He threatened the judge and President Barack Obama with divine retribution more than once, and he refused to cross-examine the state's witnesses, delaying his opening statement until he began presenting his own defense. Then when it came time to present a closing statement, Jeffs merely stood silent before the jury for 24 minutes, gazing into space. Then he said, “I am at peace,” and stood mute another five minutes before sitting down.

Texas prosecutors aren't done with Jeffs yet. They say they will present evidence that a polygamist sect leader convicted of child sex abuse had 78 wives in addition to his legal spouse, and that 24 of those wives were under 17.

Reaction: Before the trial, a coalition of Utah polygamous groups denounced the acts of sexual assault for which Warren Jeffs has now been convicted. The Principle Rights Coalition represents five polygamous churches, along with others who practice polygamy but are unaffiliated with any church. In a statement on August 4th, the coalition says its members are devastated that abuse would be perpetrated under the cloak of their religion. It will be interesting to find out if the senior FLDS leadership steps up and formally "defrocks" Jeffs; there's no excuse not to now that he's been convicted.

An accompanying statement by the Apostolic United Brethren (AUB) said they were shocked and horrified by what has been revealed during Jeffs’ trial. "While we share common religious origins and history with the FLDS, we are and have been keenly aware of many of Warren Jeffs’ radical religious deviations and abuses of power under the false pretense of priesthood authority," the AUB release says. "We repudiate and denounce Warren Jeffs’ inappropriate actions in linking his despicable and unconscionable acts to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to Joseph Smith Jr. and Mormonism. Such acts and so-called ordinances are not and never have been condoned by the Gospel as it was established and restored by Joseph Smith." The Apostolic United Brethren are headquartered in suburban Salt Lake.


Danny Haszard said...

The definition of a destructive religious cult is like alcoholism-if alcohol controls you instead of the other way around you are an alcoholic.
If they try to ruin your reputation and break up your family for trying to get out then they are a cult!
Please examine the Jehovah's Witnesses pedophiles go door to door and come on our property.
Many court documents and news events prove that Jehovah's Witnesses suppress evidence when a child comes forward with allegations of molestation within the congregation.Whenever you surrender your logic and reason to anyone who asks you to trust them because they know better it's possibly a cult.
If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck....
Danny Haszard abuse victim -dannyhaszard(dot)com

Montana said...

This has been going on too long, it’s a good start but our law enforcement has a long way to go.

When I was a kid I lived in Utah, and the Boy Scouts was taken over by Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS Church). This, so called religion, practices underage polygamy, they send the boy s off on missions to divide the underage sisters among the dirty old men of the clan. Now when these underage girls get pregnant, these same dirty old men, send them to the state to get their welfare checks . You should see some of the palace homes that are paid with welfare checks. By the way this is the newest religion that was created right here in United States of America.

When someone hides behind religion to do or say something that is wrong we should stand up and point it out (right the wrong).