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Entries in Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (2)

Monday
Aug292011

Warren Jeffs in Coma, May Not Survive: Source

TRENT NELSON/AFP/Getty Images(HOUSTON) -- Warren Jeffs, the polygamous sect leader and convicted child rapist, is in a coma and may not survive, a source close to Jeffs tells ABC News.

Jeffs, 55, had been fasting for the past three days and became so weak that doctors at the Texas prison where he is serving a life sentence induced a coma, according to the source.

The leader of a radical polygamist sect of Mormonism known as the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints (FLDS), is scheduled to go on trial a second time in October to face charges of first-degree bigamy. Conviction would be punishable by up to 99 years or life in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.

Jeffs was moved last Tuesday to a solitary cell at the Powledge Unit in Palestine, Texas, because of the large amount of media coverage surrounding his case, prison officials said.

He is now being treated at the East Texas Medical Facility in Tyler, Texas, the nearest major medical center to the Powledge Unit, Michelle Lyons, spokesperson for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, told ABC News.

Lyons said Jeffs is in "critical but stable condition," but she added, "I cannot confirm that he is in a coma."

Prison officials are prohibited from releasing the specific medical conditions for which Jeffs is currently receiving treatment due to the federal health privacy policies.

"He did indicate to staff that he was fasting, but he is currently being treated for other medical ailments and conditions," she said of Jeffs.

A Texas jury found Jeffs guilty Aug. 4 of forcing two teenage girls into "spiritual marriage," and fathering a child with one of them when she was 15.

He was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 45 years. Jeffs must serve at least 35 years of a life sentence on one of the child sex charges, and at least 10 years on the other.

During the trial, prosecutors presented DNA evidence showing Jeffs fathered a child with a 15-year-old girl who lived at a Texas compound raided by police in 2008 where Jeffs ran the FLDS sect. Prosecutors also played audio recordings of a sexual encounter between Jeffs and a 12-year-old girl.

Jeffs accused police of discriminating against the West Texas compound because his followers looked and acted differently than mainstream society. Officials denied it.

Jeffs' sect broke off from the mainstream Mormon Church 72 years ago. His 10,000 followers across North America consider him a prophet who serves as God's spokesman on Earth.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Feb202011

Admitted Teen Rapist Gets Slap on Wrist

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(ST. GEORGE, Utah) -- A follower of Warren Jeffs who admitted during the trial of the polygamist sect leader that he had sex with his child bride cousin will get off with just 30 days in jail as a result of a plea deal.

Allen Steed, who was originally charged with first degree felony rape, pleaded guilty to a charge of solemnizing a prohibited marriage, and a St. George, Utah, judge Friday sentenced him to 30 days, followed by 36 months of probation.

Fifth District Court Judge G. Rand Beacham ordered Steed to report Monday to Washington County's Purgatory Correctional Facility.

If he does not violate the probation, another charge of unlawful sex with a minor will be dropped from a felony to a misdemeanor, sparing him from having to register as a sex offender, the judge said.

Steed, who was 19 in 2001 when Jeffs married him to his 14-year-old cousin, could have faced five years in prison for each of the two charges. Had he been convicted of the original rape charge, he could have been sent to prison for life.

Jeffs, who was the leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, was convicted in September 2007 of being an accessory to rape for marrying the couple and then coercing the young girl to fulfill her religious duties by having sex with her husband.

That verdict was overturned on appeal, but while Utah prosecutors decide whether to retry Jeffs, the former FLDS leader is jailed in Texas, where he faces trial in July on charges of sexual abuse of a child and bigamy.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio