Friday, August 5, 2011

Warren Jeffs' Sexual Assault Convictions - Behind the Headlines

Yesterday FLDS Prophet Warren Jeffs was convicted by a Texas jury of 2 counts of sexual assault of underage girls.  Its been quite a ride for Jeffs since his 2006 highway stop arrest when he was on the FBI's Most Wanted List.  WNL has collected a couple of sources if you'd like to know more details beyond the conviction headline.

  • A guest post by true crime author Cathy Scott writing for Forbeswoman blog has additional details and background, (now paywall protected) including copies of these sad wedding photos of Jeffs and his 12-year-old "comfort wife", pictures which remind me of nothing so much as junior high father-daughter event photos.

  • The day before the verdict, Anderson Cooper interviewed Arizona investigative reporter Michael Watkiss and reporter Gary Tuchman, who attended the trial.  Both had some excellent on the scene observations which they shared in this CNN News video.  An audiotape, recorded by Jeffs himself, of his sexual initiation of his little child bride, in front of a cadre of FLDS witnesses, had just been played for the jury and those in the courtroom.
  • WSJ's Law Blog asks the question "Would Jeffs Have Fared Better With a Lawyer at his Side?"  Jeffs started out with lawyers aplenty, but fired them all, representing himself at the end.  The article looks at conviction statistics for those who go it alone versus those defendants with lawyers, finding there is surprisingly little difference between the two groups.  
"Texas prosecutors look to be ready to lay out not only Jeffs' polygamous and underage marriages, but 22 years of misdeeds, including the whole of his 8-year-plus leadership of the FLDS Church.
That includes, according to Nate Carlisle's great story today in the Salt Lake City Tribune: "breaking up 300 families by re-assigning wives and children, and taking property; expelling young men from FLDS to have more girls for himself and his inner circle; having 'contempt for the law of man;' creating refuges to hide women from law enforcement; and evading law enforcement himself.""

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