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article imageFLDS leader Warren Jeffs convicted of child sex abuse

By Joan Firstenberg     Aug 5, 2011 in World
San Angelo - The leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Warren Jeffs, has finally been convicted of child sex abuse through audio tapes, pictures and DNA evidence.
It took a West Texas jury just three hours to convict Warren Jeffs, the polygamist leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints of sexual assault involving two children. NPR reports that compelling DNA evidence that showed that Jeffs and a 15-year-old girl were the father and the mother of a baby boy was a clear deciding factor. The jury was told that the margin of certainty of the evidence exceeded 99.99 percent.
The Palestinian Herald reports that Jeffs stood stone-faced and mostly silent as the verdict was read except for one moment when he mumbled more to himself than anyone else.
“I am at peace.”
But Jeffs was not very quiet before and during the trial. In the six months leading up to the proceedings, he fired seven lawyers, then told the court he would be acting on his own behalf. He began his vow of silence with a nearly hour long speech in which he defended polygamy. Twice he issued threats to the judge and the entire court warning them that they would be punished by God.
The state ended their case by playing an audiotape of Warren Jeffs having sex with a 12-year old victim. During it, he says her name several times. The Salt Lake City Tribune published this Op-Ed article today with the headline, "Jeffs Guilty".
"The case against Warren Jeffs was never about polygamy, although he tried to make it about that. It was about pedophilia. The evidence revealed Jeffs to be a sexual predator dressed in religious garb. But no amount of religious claptrap from Jeffs during the trial could disguise the disgusting essence of what he did. The audio tapes provided the sounds of a sexual predator grooming his victims, as pedophiles do."
Jeffs now faces 119 years behind bars. The sentencing phase of his trial began after the verdict was announced. The judge says the sentencing could take up to three days.
More about Polygamy, Warren Jeffs, Under age brides, Flds
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