Tuesday, November 26, 2013

#804: Warren Jeffs

Warren Steed Jeffs is the former leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and a  polygamist (he is said to have at least 85 wives) and child-molester who made it onto the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List in 2006 when he tried to escape prosecution for arranging illegal marriages. According to himself he is a prophet, of course. More here.

In August 2011 he was convicted of two counts of sexual assault on a child and was sentenced to life plus 20 years in prison. During the court case – in which he represented himself, of course – he threatened the judge and jury with divine punishment, but to his dismay they didn’t budge (he also unsuccessfully tried to get the judge to recuse herself on the grounds that God had told him that she should do so). His defense was primarily based on claiming that his arrest was an attack on his religion, and that presenting evidence of his erotic antics was “breaking a sacred trust”. The case was an easy one since Jeffs tended to tape his sexual encounters with minors (though Jeffs and his supporters employed some rather scary strategies in their defense work). Once in jail, he stepped it up a couple of more notches, threatening a variety of countries with divine punishment, and went on a hunger strike, again with rather feeble results.

Diagnosis: Since his church had some 10,000 members the process of healing may take some time. At least the deranged figurehead seems neutralized. 

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