9/25/07

Mormon Polygamist Guilty of Rape


Yet another religion that promotes violent crimes.

Sect leader found guilty of aiding rape of 14-year-old

Suzanne Goldenberg in Washington
Wednesday September 26, 2007
The Guardian

The leader of a breakaway polygamous sect of Mormons was yesterday convicted of abetting in the rape of a 14-year-old girl who was forcibly married off to a cousin.

Warren Jeffs, 51, is the leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and revered by his followers as God's prophet.

He was convicted by an eight-member jury in St George, Utah, on two charges of being an accomplice to the rape of the girl, who was one of the followers of his church. She was married despite her objections to a cousin who was 19 years old.

In testimony, the forced bride, now 21, told the court she had wept in despair as Jeffs presided over her "celestial marriage" at a Nevada hotel. She had told Jeffs and her mother that she did not want to be married.

She said she had been raised in such isolation that she knew nothing of sex, and had to be coaxed to kiss her husband. A month after they were married, her husband told her it was her duty to have sex with him.

"My entire body was shaking. I was so scared," she testified. "He just laid me on the bed and had sex."

Immediately afterward, she retreated into the bathroom and took two bottles of pain reliever. The woman's husband, Allan Steed, has not been charged with any crime.

Yesterday's verdict brought a rare spotlight on the continued practice of polygamy by a community of 10,000 which appeared to live under Jeffs's complete control. The splinter group has been disavowed by the mainstream Mormon church, which renounced polygamy more than a century ago.

Testimony revealed a society that operated like a cult, where Jeffs wielded all power, and routinely assigned young girls to marriages against their will, or ripped families asunder when he believed the unions should come to an end.

In the communities governed by the church, in border areas of Utah, Colorado and Arizona, the word of Jeffs was law. "Everyone should now know that no one is above the law, religion is not an excuse for abuse and every victim has a right to be heard," Utah's attorney general, Mark Shurtleff, who had supported Jeffs's prosecution, told the court.

Lawyers for Jeffs claim that he is a victim of religious persecution.

Yesterday's verdict arrived after more than 17 hours of deliberation, and only after one juror was replaced by an alternate for reasons that were not disclosed.

It brings to an end Jeffs's domination of the church he has led since 2002, dictating even the most minor details in the lives of his followers.

The charismatic church leader is also charged in Arizona with being an accomplice to incest. He was captured at a routine traffic stop in Las Vegas after more than 18 months on the run.

But Richard Holm, a former member of the sect, said he did not believe the conviction would have much impact on the sect or polygamy in Utah.

"He will be regarded as a martyr. There is a power base and system in place to carry on," Holm said.

But Holm was relieved with the guilty verdict. "I think he [Jeffs] saw an opportunity to take glory, credit and power for himself ... In doing so, he abused and hurt a lot of people," he said.

6 comments:

bryce said...

"Yet another religion that promotes violent crimes."

I'm sure the fellow who chose that headline has no bias.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Jeffs is a leader of the Reformed Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in St. George, UT not to be confussed with the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Manti, Utah or the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Independence, Missouri; or even The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Salt Lake City, Utah. All of these religions call themselves Mormons. Dont' get to confused about it. Next time, simply state which city their headquarters on at.

Anonymous said...

Jeffs has nothing to do with mormonism. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is what most people call mormons all the other are not recognised as mormons or members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Anonymous said...

MR. Kennedy
I just wanted everyone to know that a mormon is not a polygomist they are two very diff religions the fundamentalist broke away from the church of jesus christ of latter day saints and carried with them the name with fundamentalist in front. were the word mormon actually comes from a book that the LSD church has called the book of mormon and he was actually a prophet in that book. so the fundamentalist took the book with them as part of their religion, this is a relative subject to catholic religion and any other religion that brooke away from them if that makes any sense just thought i would fill everyone in. thanks for reading.

canyontrail said...

The picture, the headline and the article are incongruous.

Hey, Facts are facts.

NO, he is not a Mormon Polygamist! The case of Warren Jeffs is very sad and reprehensible. But he is NOT a MORMON.

Now, if you want or need an interesting overview of Mormonism, little known facts and bios, see this site www.historymormon.com.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure many people have already pointed this out, but I hope you realize that the people who did this are not mormons. The broke off from the church a hundred or so years ago. Mormons are NOT polygamists.