US polygamist leader guilty of child sex

2011-08-05 11:01

San Angelo - US polygamist leader Warren Jeffs, who heads a breakaway Mormon sect, was found guilty on Thursday of child sexual assault for his "spiritual marriages" to two underage girls.

A Texas jury convicted the 55-year-old Jeffs of child sexual assault and aggravated child sexual assault over his relationships with the girls, aged 12 and 14, at his sect's Texas ranch. He faces up to 119 years in prison.

Jeffs is considered the spiritual leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and has argued in outbursts that the Texas court was trampling on his religious rights by trying the case.

The polygamist sect, which experts estimate has 10 000 followers in North America, has been condemned by the mainstream Mormon Church and is accused of promoting marriages between older men and girls.

"This is taking down the head of the snake," former sect member Flora Jessop said of the verdict, handed down after about three hours of deliberations.

Religion attacked

Throughout his trial Jeffs repeatedly said that his religion was being attacked, a notion rejected by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, whose office prosecuted the case.

"What was on trial here wasn't anybody's faith, wasn't a church, wasn't a concept," Abbott told reporters after the verdict outside the county courthouse in San Angelo.

"There was only one thing on trial here, and that was Warren Jeffs and his actions to sexually assault two young girls. Our job is to prosecute crimes like that, and not to engage in religious persecution."

Abbott said he expected the punishment phase of Jeffs' trial to take several days.

Assistant Texas Attorney General Eric Nichols took seven days to put together a case against the self-proclaimed "prophet and elect of God" of his FLDS sect, which says plural marriage is the pathway to heaven.

DNA evidence

Among the evidence used to convict Jeffs was a picture of him passionately kissing the younger girl, and DNA evidence that he fathered a child with the 14-year-old.

Prosecutors also presented a scratchy audio recording of what they said was Jeffs raping the younger girl.

Jeffs, in what was to have been his closing argument, simply stood silently in the courtroom for more than 20 minutes before quietly saying: "I am at peace." He then sat down.

Jessop, a former sect member who ran away from a forced marriage to a much older cousin, said the church would go on despite Jeffs' conviction, but she hoped some followers would get out.

"Maybe they will think now about the types of crimes that he [Jeffs] has committed," she said.

Represented himself

Jeffs had represented himself after firing his attorneys. He called as a witness one of the followers of his religion and questioned him for over four hours about the Book of Mormon and FLDS beliefs concerning plural marriage.

State District Judge Barbara Walther ultimately halted Jeffs' presentation, saying it was irrelevant to the charges.

Jeffs' sister Elaine, who grew up in the FLDS church as the daughter of long-time "prophet" Rulon Jeffs but has left the community, said she was not surprised by her brothers' defence.

"He has not said one word in defence of the assault charges," Elaine Jeffs said outside the courthouse.

Jeffs is also awaiting trial on a charge of bigamy, which is a felony in Texas. That case is expected in October.

  • sean - 2011-08-05 11:12

    Sick Prick ! ! !

      Krush - 2011-08-05 11:32

      Disgusting. These paedophiles should be castrated and sit in solitary confinement for the rest of their existence.

      Matt :-) - 2011-08-05 11:36

      Just FYI: one part of Mormon doctrine says you MUST practice polygamy and another part says you MUST NOT. Hmm, very sound... not! Joseph Smith has a lot to answer for...

      OnlyaGinger - 2011-08-05 11:38

      Matt, how do you feel about the fact that of the 1.8billion Christians in the world, only a fair few qualify in your eyes as true Christians?

      Matt :-) - 2011-08-05 11:47

      @ OnlyaGinger - well, it's not nice... but what can one do? Btw, definition of Christian is accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. If a church adds other requirements and doctrine, even other deities, and teaches stuff that goes against scripture, we'd be within our rights to say they're not Christian. The world will classify anyone as Christian simply because they say they are - but that doesn't make it so! EG Christian Science, that is so far removed from Christianity, it's shocking - basically the church of "mommy kiss it better" and built on Eastern ideas, but hey they use the word "Christian" so it must be then hey... even Satanists believe in Jesus, does this make them Christian too? Er, no... so yeah, there are clear differences which many people gloss over, but that doesn't make them any less different!

      Matt :-) - 2011-08-05 11:52

      @ OnlyaGinger - regarding Mormons; they also consider themselves Christian and even have an offshoot called Jesus Christ Church of Latter Day Saints - many Christians get confused by the name and go without realising they're Mormons! (that's just deceitful). But what about other telltale signs of not being Christian... well, Zion is in Missouri apparently; apparently Adam is God and every Mormon is first born in Heaven as a spirit baby; if you're a good spirit baby, you're then born on earth as a white person (and guess the rest - their doctrine not ours). Plus they may use the Bible (version edited to suit their doctrine) BUT they use the Book of Mormon instead... How were they founded? Well, a chap in USA called Joseph Smith went into the woods one day, ran back into the village and claimed God spoke to him one night, he went there and found golden tablets with new rules. When the villagers went to find them, they weren't there. But he said they WERE there at some stage and they believed him. Then he wrote down what the golden tablets said. Simple as that...

      Risen Ape - 2011-08-05 12:26

      Religious leaders have been raping children for thousands of years. They do it because people view them as morally outstanding citizens and they think they can get away with it. A good rule of thumb in life is to never trust a religious person. It's a lesson my father drilled in my head from a young age. The greater their faith in deities, the more careful you need to be.

      Epicurius - 2011-08-05 12:43

      @ Matt - Darn those pesky mormons for trying to replace your guilt-based fairy story with their guilt-based fairy story. How dare they!! The very fact Joseph Smith pulled off what he pulled off and, even more recently, what L Ron Hubbard pulled off, is clear evidence how credulous people can easily be indoctrinated. What's the difference between these more recently hatched cults and yours? Oh yes, your largely fictional book was cobbled together before their largely fictional book was cobbled together, so yours trumps theirs.

      Epicurius - 2011-08-05 13:09

      @ Matt - about hijacking books for their own agenda, what did Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron do to the Origin of Species? Good old Ray Comfort, the man who had to retract his claims about bananas being absolute proof of intelligent design when he found out they have only been the shape we see today due to cultivation - ooooh Ray Comfort had to acknowledge a type of evolution ie unnatural / artificial selection. Ray actually described the banana as the atheist's worst nightmare. Humans effectively 'designed' modern bananas. I use the term 'designed' very loosely. Wild bananas bear little resemblance to the banana we buy at the grocery store. Disclaimer - Origin of Species is also not regarded as a religious book, in case somebody tries to latch onto that. And yes, its full title was 'On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life' before that gets latched onto as well.

      Matt :-) - 2011-08-05 15:49

      @ Epicurius - "Humans effectively 'designed' modern bananas. I use the term 'designed' very loosely. Wild bananas bear little resemblance to the banana we buy at the grocery store. " Yes, but what was the end result of whatever humans "designed"?

      Matt :-) - 2011-08-05 15:56

      @ Epicurius - how far do you want to go on the Origin of Species? It appears the book is merely Charles Darwin plagiarising his grandpa Erasmus Darwin... and although the actual book may not be religious, the theory sure as heck has become religious. The zeal with which it is rammed down our throats, ignorant of the facts or cognisant + lying, it's a religious belief. Otherwise, besides you mocking our NON fictional book (generally the MO is to accuse it, get counterproof and then mock/ignore that), I agreed with that point about how gullible people are. I have had the unfortunacy of having to get a woman rescued from a sect hours before near-certain rape (there's a sect run by Pieter L White based about 100km from Ceres, the Falcons are watching him). It's terrible what they do. They aim for sad, lonely people, shower them with love, get them to their "camp" (in this guy's case, a farm) and then just try to get away... then turn them against their friends and family, fill their head with muck... and Scientology as you mentioned is just a seriously sad case. The dude openly said he did it to make money but still people go for it. There's a chap in Primrose Hill (near where I stay) driving around with a big "Dianetics" sticker on his car door. There are Dianetics places in Hillbrow where they try to lure new victims. Terrible...

      Epicurius - 2011-08-05 16:34

      @ Matt - 'The zeal with which it is rammed down our throats, ignorant of the facts or cognisant + lying, it's a religious belief' I'll agree with your description of religious beliefs, but I'll disagree that the theory of evolution fits that description. If you don't mind, I'd like to borrow your criteria for defining a religious belief. As for the banana - the banana you buy in Checkers or Pick n' Pay is the end result of the cultivation and artificial selection processes which have been applied to the wild banana. Erasmus Darwin's 'Zoonomia' contained some early ideas about the concepts of evolution, but nothing that could be considered a self-contained theory as the ideas weren't nearly as refined or structured as Charles Darwin's theory. If anything, Charles Darwin was simply standing on the shoulders of a giant, so to speak. We may well have Erasmus Darwin to thank for influencing Charles Darwin. The theory has been further refined over time since Darwin's death as well. It's simply how science works. I'll agree with you on the predatory tactics of some of the 'fringe' groups such as those you described and will concede that this is not typically the Modus Operandi of the general community based churches and congregations I have had dealings with.

      BrixtonBriefcase - 2011-08-10 12:47

      Matt: You say with certainty that the bible is NON fiction. Prove it! Forget about your elaborate reasons why everyone else is wrong, and tell us why you're right. Personal feelings of being saved (from whatever you needed saving from, yourself most probably) and hunches need not be mentioned, because they are irrelevant. And don't use the bible to prove itself. That's just silly.

  • Martin du Plessis - 2011-08-05 11:17

    ""He has not said one word in defence of the assault charges," Elaine Jeffs said outside the courthouse." Goingggg, down?

  • MissGremlinSays - 2011-08-05 11:25

    Good. filthy bastard.

  • nicola - 2011-08-05 11:31

    Religious rights don't exist if they are contrary to human rights. This is something the catholic church needs to learn.

  • lollie sue - 2011-08-05 11:51

    Sick sick evil, castrate and hang. He should be ashamed of himself using God's name in abusing these poor children.

      Martin du Plessis - 2011-08-05 12:02

      Hang him by his goolies. It'll result in castration eventually.

  • JustinD - 2011-08-05 11:59

    Death penalty

  • frodosfool - 2011-08-05 12:13

    He is just a pervert trying to hide behind his religion. How any adult can be sexually attracted to a child in the first place is just wrong on so many levels. Something is definitely wired wrong in his brain. Off with his head!

  • king stukie - 2011-08-05 12:21

    Funny how main stream press never mentions the Talmudic Jewish Rabbis who are guilty of this almost daily. Not to mention the harvesting of organs all sanctioned in the Talmud.

      Matt :-) - 2011-08-05 15:58

      There are about 5 or 6 quotes in the Talmud (definitely in the Sanhedrin, have seen the actual pages in the book) where it says the age of consent is THREE. How does that work?!

  • Jou Ma - 2011-08-05 12:30

    Keep Sweet!

  • JMan - 2011-08-05 12:37

    Again...all in the name of religion. I rest my case.

      Oxygen - 2011-08-05 13:06

      @JMan Love the way they get pissed off when the fingers turn to point at them.

      Matt :-) - 2011-08-05 15:59

      In the very secular and increasingly atheist Holland, thanks to a loophole you can have intercourse with a 12-year-old without prosecution. But hey, you don't hear me professing this in the name of atheism now do you...

      BrixtonBriefcase - 2011-08-11 02:25

      So Matt, where have atheists claimed that their beliefs (or lack thereof) have instructed them to sleep with children? I'm not aware of any sexual offences that have been committed in the name of atheism. Perhaps by atheists - but not because of what they believe. Compare that to the sexual dysfunction we see every day within religious organizations. What your one track christian mind just cannot seem to comprehend is that a constitution and the laws of the land, and religious doctrine are not intertwined. They're two completely different things. South Africa is known as a christian country, does that mean that corruption and rape is a christian attribute - because there are a hell of a lot of loopholes in our judicial system for those who dabble in those sort of activities.

  • RationalistPabi - 2011-08-05 12:57

    Maybe God told him to do it, who are we to judge and question the inerrant and infallible doctrine, right?? Of the thousands of religions out there, he might be even lucky enough to be following the 'correct' religion, to take him to heaven or paradise, who knows.

  • vickifourie88 - 2011-08-05 13:09

    wow, this is just so sad. There is the history of this story in the book i read called escape. Written by a lady that ran away and that was forced to marry the Jessop father. Such a sad book but si glad tat she is out. It is worse than terrible. there whole child life is stolen from them!

  • Munchkin30 - 2011-08-05 13:48

    @ Matt :-) - The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has the KING JAMES BIBLE; sure there is the Book of Mormon but the MAIN book is the BIBLE. Stop bashing the Mormons/ Latter Day Saints. This guy HAS nothing to do with the Mormon religion... THESE ARE SECTS AND ARE NOT CONNECTED TO THE LATTER DAY SAINTS AT ALL!! Warren Jeffs is a sick man who used his Sect as a front to do his deeds. His poor followers were so brain washed that they didn't know right from wrong; it was as though Jeffs was their "God".

      deidre.botes - 2011-08-05 14:31

      Please Munchkin, you know as well as I do that the only reason the mainstream Mormons left polygamy and marrying young girls is due to pressure from the American govt. They still believe that this will be re-established in the hereafter. Joseph Smith did exactly this and he is the founder of the Mormon church and all the breakaways. Their main book is definitely the Book of Mormon as they see it as'the most correct book on earth'and the Bible is only true 'as far as it has been translated correctly'.

      Matt :-) - 2011-08-05 16:11

      OK, so here's a couple of honest questions to a Mormon / LDS: * Do Mormons believe Adam is God? * Do Mormons believe that when they die and "return" to heaven, they become little gods? * Do Mormons believe they are first born in heaven as spirit babies? * Do Mormons believe that a good spirit baby is born white on this earth, and a bad spirit baby born black? * Do Mormons believe (or, have believed before) that black people are inferior because of the "curse" of the "mark of Cain"? * Have Mormons ever murdered white people for having relations with black people in recent history? Even if a Mormon uses the KJV (great!), there's still the small issue of the Book of Mormon. BTW the definition of a cult = when you have a few people who take a holy book, write a book of their own interpretation, twist the holy book's writing to suit their beliefs, and the followers follow the doctrine of the guys' writing rather than the actual holy book... (and what about the "Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible"?) I've done study on most religions, I'm not the "copy paste" or "google, wikipedia" type. But I have checked and all you need to do is type in a host of stuff - like "mormons and racism" and get shocked. Or check this one: (direct quotes!)

      Matt :-) - 2011-08-05 16:15

      @ Munchkin30 - and I didn't write that to attack you in any way. I love everyone, even the atheists on News24 who persistently spew religious hatred. I have a long-lost aunt who's a Mormon, two in-laws who are JWs and my own parents are atheists. Alas, but their choice. I don't wish to engage in religion-bashing for the sake of bashing, rather that from 6 years I've seen the contradictions, whereas I am yet to find one in Christianity (ie accepting Jesus as Lord and Saviour, and the KJV Bible which is the only version anyone should ever read, though one can get saved from other versions by all means, I did)...

      BrixtonBriefcase - 2011-08-11 02:34

      Matt: If you haven't found a contradiction in christianity, you don't want to find one. Simple as that. You say that mormons have been racist murderers in recent times. Why is it frowned upon for mormons to be racist, but okay for christians to be homophobic and sexist? Since you're not South African, you might like to know that up until after 1994, black people weren't really welcome in most of SA's christian churches. The general feeling was that they were society's curse. They developed their own breed of christianity involving ancestral spirits in the townships because of it. So...if you want to do some research on discrimination within religious organizations, you need look no further than your own.

  • Jakob - 2011-08-05 17:56

    i knew these mormons were part of freemasons.. all clearly luciferians

      Jakob - 2011-08-05 18:10

      +that include u christians... i don't know how ur brains work, to be so gullible. Revelation 22:16 - "I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star." Now everyone know the morning star is venus, also known as the angel thrown out of heaven or as u christians would name him satan/lucifer. so u actually praying to jesus who is the morning star who is lucifer. smoke that one. go insane. shoot urself, but wouldn't advise that, BUT yes u hav prayed "THROUGH" the devil to God all the time! now thats a lol... njoy ur weekend + remember to keep ur SABBATH holy, that's tomorrow 4 those of u who don't know. peace out!

      Messenger - 2011-08-05 19:21

      Jakob, slanderous statement you made there. Nice try, but an obvious misinterpretation.

  • Jakob - 2011-08-05 19:49

    slanderous and misinterpretation? i have done my research and know the truth. i don't need to accept lies, but u can continue 2 if u want.

      Messenger - 2011-08-05 22:09

      So, tell me about that research you have done. I'm curious.

  • flyswat - 2011-08-05 20:11

    OMG, religion being the root of evil again.

  • Anri - 2012-01-24 11:51

    Matt I like your logical thinking. The truth is that God, the Creator God, said in His law that we should not bear vflse witness or dragg His name through the mud. Most so called christians and churches do by not being true to His design and moral law! God has alot to say about these 'false shepards'!!!! 2 Peter 2 (the false teachers and their false doctrine) 2 Thess 2 and 1 Tim 1 and chapter 4. It states in the Bible that these kind off thing will happen more and more in end times we life in. But that will not deterr me from worshipping the true God and, with His help, keeping His Moral law of love. He is coming back soon and only truth and only the real folowers will stay standing.

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