Some material in this page may contain graphically explicit material; this may upset certain viewers.
If you are 18 years or older or are comfortable with graphic material, you are free to view this page. Otherwise, you should close this page and view another page.
|“||I am not the prophet. I never was the prophet||„|
|~ Warren durring a prison interview|
Warren Steed Jeffs (December 3rd, 1955 - ) was the head of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (or FLDS ) and a convicted rapist.
Unlike the mainstream Mormon church, which had rejected polygamous marriage - especially marriage where one of the parties was underage, Jeffs and the FDLS practiced both. Jeffs first began leading the church in 2002 upon the death of his father Rulon. Jeffs believed himself to be a descendant of both Jesus Christ and Joseph Smith. Jeffs exercised almost complete control over the FDLS community as he set himself up as the sole person able to perform marriages, with the ability to punish disobedient men by taking their women and children and "assigning" them to someone else. Jeffs would at times exile members of the community - usually young men - because they were seen as competition by Jeffs and his supporters.
In March of 2006 Jeffs earned a spot on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted List when he fled Utah to avoid prosecution for arranging marriages between older men and underage women. He was captured in August 2006 in Nevada, and was taken to Utah for trial. In the Utah trial he was found guilty, but the convictions were reversed the following year because of incorrect jury instructions.
Following the reversal of the Utah charges, Arizona also dismissed their pending charges against Jeffs. However his luck would not continue to hold. Jeffs was charged with having intercourse with two underage girls. In the trial Jeffs represented himself, and generally made a thoroughly unlikeable ass of himself to both the judge and jury. He was found guilty in August of 2011. During the sentencing phase of the trial a niece and nephew testified about the years of abuse Jeffs had put them through. Jeffs was sentenced to life imprisonment.
In July 2004, Jeffs' nephew, Brent Jeffs, filed a lawsuit alleging that Jeffs had anally raped him in the FLDS Church's Salt Lake Valley compound in the late 1980s. Brent wrote the memoir Lost Boy, along with author Maia Szalavitz, which recounts alleged incidents of child sexual abuse inflicted upon him by Jeffs, his brothers, and other family members, committed when Brent was aged 5 or 6. Brent's brother Clayne committed suicide after accusing Jeffs of sexually assaulting him as a child. Two of Jeffs' nephews, and two of Jeffs' own children, have also publicly claimed to have been sexually abused by him.
In June 2005, Jeffs was charged in Mohave County, Arizona, with sexual assault on a minor and with conspiracy to commit sexual misconduct with a minor for allegedly arranging, in April 2001, a marriage between a then-14-year-old girl and her 19-year-old first cousin, Allen. The young girl, Elissa Wall (then known as "Jane Doe IV", and the younger sister of Rebecca Wall), testified that she begged Rulon Jeffs to let her wait until she was older or choose another man for her. The elder Jeffs was apparently "sympathetic", but his son was not, and she was forced to go through with the marriage. Wall alleged that Allen often raped her and that she repeatedly miscarried. She eventually left Allen and the community.
In July 2005, the Arizona Attorney General's office distributed wanted posters offering $10,000 for information leading to Jeffs' arrest and conviction. On 28 October, Jeffs' brother Seth was arrested under suspicion of harboring a fugitive. During a routine traffic stop in Pueblo County, Colorado, police found nearly $142,000 in cash, $7,000 worth of prepaid debit cards and personal records. During Seth's court case, FBI Agent Andrew Stearns testified that Seth had told him that he did not know where his older brother was and that he would not reveal his whereabouts if he did. Seth was convicted of harboring a fugitive on 1 May 2006. On 14 July, he was sentenced to three years' probation and a $2,500 fine.
On 5 April 2006, Utah issued an arrest warrant for Jeffs on felony charges of accomplice rape of a teenage girl between 14 and 18 years old. Shortly after, on 6 May, the FBI placed Jeffs on its Top Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list, offering a $60,000 reward. He was the 482nd fugitive listed on the list. The reward was soon raised to $100,000, and the public was warned that "Jeffs may travel with a number of loyal and armed bodyguards".
On 8 June 2006, Jeffs returned to Colorado City to perform more "child-bride marriages." On 27 May 2008, The Smoking Gun website released images of Jeffs with two underage wives, one of whom was 12 years old, celebrating one-year anniversaries in 2005 and 2006.