Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Be Thankful You are Not Warren Jeffs, Allen Steed, Elissa Wall of A Latter Day Saint


Legal Pub opines many reasons to be thankful this holiday season. Begin by being thankful you are not part of the Utah T.V. reality show that has dominated a lot of news time. The blow up of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and the Jeff, Steed, Wall soap oprah has forever changed many lives, starting with Jeff's. The polygamous-sect leader, Warren Jeffs, 51, was convicted this fall of two counts of "rape as an accomplice" because he arranged the marriage of a 14-year-old follower and her 19-year-old cousin in 2001. Jeffs has now been sentenced to two consecutive terms of five years to life in prison. A Utah parole board will ultimately decide how long he actually stays in jail but an average sentence for sex related crimes is around seven years. The parole boards first opportunity to review the length of actual incarceration will be in 2010.

Jeffs' attorney, Wally Bugden, unsuccessfully argued for concurrent sentences. "This was all about religion... The foundation of this case was the prosecution of Mr. Jeffs because of placement marriages," exclaimed Bugden.

As head of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Jeffs often participated in arranging polygamist marriages that sometimes involved placing young girls with older men. Prosecutors claimed Jeffs enticed Elissa Wall (ABC photo above) into marriage and sex against her will saying that the relationship was commanded by God.

A 14-year-old can consent to sex if it is consensual and the other partner three years older.
Wall, now 21, testified that Jeffs failed to help her when she protested the marriage and when she later asked for a divorce from Allen Steed (now 26). Steed claims it was Wall who initiated sex and denied that she had cried during their wedding. Wall had the right to receive $5,000 in restitution from Jeffs but she declined the compensation. Judge James Shumate presided over the hearing.

Jeffs has been quoted from his jail cell as saying that he had not been worthy of the "priesthood" for decades. Allen Steed was charged with rape and his case remains pending. Walls is hitting the media circuit speaking out against cults and offering support to victims. Seems that all of those involved have been touched by this apparent tragedy originally masked in the holy bliss known as matrimony.
4-5-08 Update: Fifty two children, including eighteen girls have been removed from a Texas compound of followers of Warren Jeff. Eighteen girls are in the temporary custody of the state according to Child Protective Services spokeswoman Marleigh Meisner. At least one suspect is being sought by police. A Child Protective Services spokesman, Darrell Azar, said the 18 girls appeared "...abused or were at immediate risk of future abuse."

13 comments:

g.n. said...

.



Two stories in a row about religion out of controll!


G.N.

g.n. said...

.



Two stories in a row about religion out of controll!


G.N.

Anonymous said...

OR thankful you are not Harrell Braddy, or O.J. Simpson!

Anonymous said...

Wonder what Wall looked like as a 14 year old? If she was a true believer as were her parents, I do not understand why it was a crime.

Confused in Utah

Anonymous said...

This is ludicrous. How can you rape your wife. Simply stupid. It is a witch hunt to end sects that promote polygamy!

Anonymous said...

Yes it is an attack on polygamy and many of us offer no execuses, just justification.

colleency said...

I too think it's a round-about attack on polygamy. (but I also believe a 14-year old should NOT be married).

Maybe, with more discussion on what marriage is, and who is entitled to marry, there will be some inclusion of polygamy.

(sorry to say my state of VA has passed a constitutional ammendment defining marriage as being between one man and one woman)

My motto: Human Rights for Human Beings.

Legal Pub said...

Actually Colleency, I favor defining marriage as five year renewable partnership agreements with specific liquidation clauses explaining what happens at the end of the contract or if there is a breach of contract. It would eliminate much of the uncertainty of divorce and encourage participants not to take their partner for granted.

colleency said...

Fascinating idea, LP ... I'll have to think about that!!!

It's sad, though, that "till death do us part" becomes "as long as you're still worth it in 5 years" ... But the latter is probably a more accurate reflection of today's reality.

Jeremiah said...

What happened with the constitutional guarantee of separation of church and state. Clear example of the government saying what religions can and can't do.


Jeremiah

Legal Pub said...

Eighteen girls have been placed in the temporary custody of the state under a court order, said Child Protective Services spokeswoman Marleigh Meisner.

Authorities said they continue to search the 1,900-acre YFZ ranch, and at least one suspect is being sought by police.

Meisner said troopers and child welfare officials arrived at the secluded ranch Thursday evening with arrest and search warrants. They were responding to a report of "physical abuse" and neglect involving a 16-year-old girl.

Another Child Protective Services spokesman, Darrell Azar, said the 18 girls were placed in state custody because it appeared they "had been abused or were at immediate risk of future abuse."

Anonymous said...

Scandal?

Updater said...

He was found guilty in 2011.