Jury to return Monday in polygamist-sect leader’s trial

first_imgThe young woman spent nearly three days on the witness stand, sobbing as she recalled how she pleaded to avoid the marriage and begged Steed to end his sexual advances. Prosecutor Brock Belnap said Jeffs was in a position of “special trust” – a key phrase that is part of the jury instructions. “Warren Jeffs was a principal and a teacher and religious leader in that community for 20-some-odd years, teaching young girls that they must keep the bars up and treat boys like snakes. But when they get married, to let the bars down,” Belnap told the jury. During the marriage ceremony, Jeffs told the couple to “go forward and multiply and replenish the Earth,” Belnap said. “He was commanding them to have sexual intercourse and it was without her consent.” Bugden, however, said the woman waited several years before talking to police.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Warren Jeffs, 51, president of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, is charged with two counts of rape as an accomplice. Prosecutors claim he used his authority to demand the teen bride enter a ceremonial marriage in 2001 and have sex with her cousin, who was 19. In closing arguments, however, a defense attorney said Jeffs is a victim who was pursued by authorities because of his religion. “His church, his religious beliefs is what’s on trial here, and it’s being dressed up as a rape,” Wally Bugden told jurors. The arguments followed five days of testimony in which the young woman, now 21, and her former husband, Allen Steed, gave conflicting accounts of Jeffs’ influence over them, especially in sexual matters. By Jennifer Dobner THE ASSOCIATED PRESS ST. GEORGE, Utah – A jury went home Friday without reaching a verdict in the trial of a polygamous-sect leader accused of sex crimes related to the arranged marriage of a 14-year-old girl and an older cousin. The jury of five men and three women deliberated for roughly two hours and will return Monday to southern Utah’s 5th District Court. last_img read more