and rightly labeled a pedophile in today’s Christian Science Monitor, in connection with his conviction for sexually assaulting one of the underage girls he “spiritually married”.
For the second conviction, he got 20 years in prison.
Prosecutors had asked the jury for the life sentence after presenting their painstaking and sometimes graphic case, and rejected Jeffs’ contention that he was being persecuted for his religious beliefs.
“The evidence in this case shows that this isn’t a prosecution of a people,” prosecutor Eric Nichols said in his closing argument. “This is a prosecution to protect people.”
During the trial, prosecutors used DNA evidence to show Jeffs fathered a child with the 15-year-old and played an audio recording of what they said was him sexually assaulting the 12-year-old.
Could not be a more appropriate end to a twisted, vicious career.
With any luck at all the TDCJ facility awaiting this sick “preacher” will NOT be one of the hospitals or asylums that are part of Texas’ prison system. Given his notoriety it’s likely he won’t be in the general population for very long, if at all.
This monster boasted of his 78 “wives” and taped his instructions to a 12-year-old, among a group of underage girls he was preparing for molestation, on how to “please God” by doing the things Jeffs’ twisted sexual appetites demanded. The Monitor article says, “Rather than focus on Jeffs’s multiple marriages, prosecutors with the Texas Attorney General’s Office presented a case based on alleged violations of the laws of consent in Texas. Twelve- and 15-year-old girls are not old enough to consent to engage in sexual activities.
Under Texas law, any sexual activity between an adult and an under-17-year-old is a sexual assault even if the minor is a willing participant. The same activity with an under-14-year-old is aggravated sexual assault punishable by up to life in prison.
During the penalty phase of the case, prosecutors played an audio tape of Jeffs allegedly preparing five other young girls to have sex with him. He encouraged his “child brides” to set aside all their inhibitions.”
Will he appeal his conviction? Who can say? Clearly the jury didn’t believe Jeffs’ first amendment rights to “freedom of religion” included the sacrilege he committed when he turned child rape into a sacrament for his cultists.
Meanwhile, his successor as “Prophet” of the FLDS is planning changes to the site of the raid where Texas law enforcement and social services professionals discovered this sorry excuse for a human being’s criminal behaviors, and obtained evidence leading to his conviction. First thing on the church’s list, though, isn’t turning its back on Jeffs’ twisted policies. It’s making their compound look different:
FBI agent John Broadway testified that fathers who gave their young daughters to Jeffs were rewarded with young brides of their own. Girls who proved reluctant to have sex with Jeffs were sent away, according to excerpts from Jeffs’ journals that prosecutors showed to the jury.
Police raided the group’s remote West Texas ranch in April 2008, finding women dressed in frontier-style dresses and hairdos from the 19th century as well as seeing underage girls who were clearly pregnant. The call to an abuse hotline that spurred the raid turned out to be a hoax, and more than 400 children who had been placed in protective custody were eventually returned to their families.
Jeffs is the eighth FLDS man convicted since the raid on Yearning For Zion, in the town of Eldorado, 45 miles south of San Angelo. Previous sentences ranged from six to 75 years in prison.
The church’s traditional headquarters is along the Utah-Arizona border, but it established the Texas compound in 2004. Jeffs once faced criminal charges in Arizona and was convicted of accessory to rape in Utah in 2007. But that was overturned by the state Supreme Court and he was extradited to Texas in December.
Willie Jessop, a former FLDS spokesman, who railed against the raid but has since disavowed Jeffs, said the first priority of the church would be tearing down the guard tower and the gate at the ranch.
During his trial Jeffs had claimed God demanded the removal of District Judge Barbara Walther from the bench. Apparently Jeffs never figured out the voice in his head might not be who he thought it was.