Facing life for sex abuse, the monster church leader with 24 child ‘wives’ who he told would find ‘favour with god’
Jury took only three hours to find polygamist leader guilty
Court had heard tape of him having sex with 12-year-old girl
Leader claimed he was victim of ‘religious persecution’
By Tom Leonard In New York
6th August 2011
The leader of a polygamist Mormon sect has been found guilty of sexually abusing girls aged 12 and 15 among his two dozen child ‘wives’.
Warren Jeffs, 55, faces a possible life sentence.
The self-proclaimed prophet and head of the shadowy Fundamentalist Church of Jesus of Latter Day Saints told females in his 10,000-strong flock they would find favour with God if they pleased him sexually.
He defended himself and spent much of his trial in west Texas angrily claiming he was being religiously persecuted.
Prosecutors said they will present evidence to his sentencing hearing that he had 78 so-called ‘spiritual wives’ – 24 of them under 17 – in addition to his legal one.
They said they would also show how Jeffs either witnessed or performed more than 500 unlawful polygamous marriages, as well as 67 others involving under-age girls.
Jurors were given DNA evidence showing that Jeffs had fathered a child by the 15-year-old.
And prosecutors reduced some jurors to tears when they played an audio tape of Jeffs, breathing heavily and panting as he had sex with the 12-year-old…..
The FLDS, which has at least 10,000 members, is a radical offshoot of mainstream Mormonism and believes polygamy brings exaltation in heaven. They see Jeffs as God’s spokesman on earth…..
Seven other leaders of the sect, which broke away from the official Mormon church over its insistence that polygamy brings exaltation in heaven, have already been convicted of similar offences.