Warren Jeffs sentenced to life in prison for sexual assault
August 9th, 2011
12:21 PM ET

Warren Jeffs sentenced to life in prison for sexual assault

Warren Jeffs was sentenced to life in prison on Tuesday after a jury deliberated for only 30 minutes.

The polygamist sect leader was convicted last week on two counts of sexually assaulting a 12-year-old and a 15-year-old who were his "spiritual wives." The jury sentenced him to life in prison for the first count of aggravated sexual assault and 20 years for the second count of sexual assault plus a $10,000 fine. The sentences were the maximum allowed for each count. The judge ruled that the sentences be served consecutively.

On Monday, the two sides rested their cases, without the defense calling any witnesses.

Earlier Monday, jurors weighing punishment for Jeffs heard audio recordings that prosecutors say show he had sex with underage girls and encouraged group sex.

At times difficult to hear, one of the tapes recorded sounds of two people apparently engaging in intercourse. Other recordings captured Jeffs instructing what prosecutors say were underage girls in how to please him. Girls could be heard giggling in the background.

Jeffs, the leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was charged after a 2008 raid on a ranch his church operates near Eldorado, Texas.

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soundoff (501 Responses)
  1. Vicki

    Go Texas! I am a proud Texan and proud of this AG, thankful for this jury, and thankful this pervert has received justice, finally, after all the years of terror to which he subjected his followers! Why are we not prosecuting the parents who gave to and/or watched their daughters with this monster? Where's Willie Jessop now? During the raid, Ol' Willie was ready to start a shootout! Perverted hypocrites!

    August 9, 2011 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Amigwyn

    It baffles me that everyone is so worried about his religion. Who cares what his "religion" is? He took a religion and corrupted it so badly that it doesn't even resemble anything a sane person would call a religion to fit his own twisted and sick desires. This man and his "flock" are NOT religious.

    August 9, 2011 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • CTYank

      Seems to me that only you and Warren are concerned about what he calls his "religion." He wouldn't know what it means, except that he puts himself in as god. Absolutely and totally delusional.
      Keep some Vaseline handy, Warren, for Bubba.

      August 9, 2011 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
  3. yada

    This is fantastic news! Hope it starts a real trend in justice with these sick pieces of garbage!

    August 9, 2011 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Neutral

      A "trend"? That's what we've been doing: locking up perverts. Where have you been?

      August 9, 2011 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Poolchick

    RIH- Rot In Hell Jeffs! I hope you get it 10 fold while in prison and hope they record you crying like a baby after getting a new one ripped.

    August 9, 2011 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
  5. conoclast

    Come on reverend, you know the score now: it's the rest of your life with nary a child in sight. Show that you do actually have a grip on your own reality by offing yourself; nobody will miss you, that's a promise!

    August 9, 2011 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Liza

    How on earth did he support this huge commune and over 50 women? Welfare? Just curious.

    August 9, 2011 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Staci

      Yes, all the women in the FLDS collect welfare, foodstamps, WIC, and all other government services. They are able to do this because these are not "legal" marriages.

      August 9, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Julie

      Liza, I live near their Utah/Arizona compound. Only the first wife is legal per everybody but them, so the rest of the "wives" are able to get welfare to help with their kids. Some of the women do work outside the home. I'm glad to see Jeffs FINALLY get some justice ... still disappointed we couldn't take care of it in Utah!

      August 9, 2011 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jay Beswick (fincenMIB)

    Time to address the politicians, judges and lawyers that used their influence in Utah to block any serious investigations of Jeffs or the FLDS 10 years ago! They share the guilt of 10 years of abuse, victims from the last 10 years. Warren was pure EVIL, but his power was the lawyers he paid off, influential names the world will recognize. Noteable politicians! Then there are 3 dozen such groups, the FLDS were the largest, but there are hundreds of other victims!

    August 9, 2011 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • diane

      Name them.. once something gets put on the internet its there forever. Anytime someone googles their name it will come up. We need to start somewhere.

      August 9, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • jennyy

      Agreed! But that will never hapen in mormon utah.Utah is a church state with almost all politicians mormon, the lds run the state.Things wiil not change anytime soon out hear unless the feds step in.Until that time the mormons in utah will continue to secretly practice polygamy

      August 9, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • LDSMember

      I'm so sick of hearing about the Mormon State then in that case The Vatican is the Catholic state and anywhere else that a church headquarters automatically have the most numbers. Just a bit of facts. There are more members of the LDS church out of Utah than in it. Just cause we settled Utah doesn't mean its a Mormon state. Vegas was originally settled by members of the LDS church but its Sin City.

      August 10, 2011 at 8:02 am | Report abuse |
  8. rocentric

    Ok, I'm getting tired of people on here asking "what about Freedom of religion"......what he did was WRONG, now he's paying for it....why not let him live at your house, then we'll how you feel about "freedom of religion", taking this crap too far!

    August 9, 2011 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • zeke

      good one, sorry, but I clicked on Report Abuse by mistake, lol.

      August 9, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      Molesting children is not included in freedom of religion. Any religion that says its okay to molest kids is not a religion so much as a excuse to commit crimes.

      August 9, 2011 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Soul912

    Columbus was the first illegal emmigrant on this land. The rest of us are immigrants as well (without the accent) that have made ourselves comfortable on the stolen land and have the nerve to judge the others and call names. Get real people....America's cancer is not immigration.

    August 9, 2011 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Law Abiding Immigrant

      I couldn't agree more!
      The cancer is not immigration!
      The cancer is ILLEGAL immigration.
      Folks who follow the law to get here should be welcomed w/ open arms! Folks who break the law to get here should go home and come back legally.

      August 9, 2011 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Arpaio

      Illegal immigration is a cancer, idiot.

      August 9, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nan

      Everyone in North America is an immigrant. We all arrived here from other continents. No humans evolved here. All humans started in Africa! We are all immigrants everywhere else. We just keep moving around all the time, seeking better opportunities.

      August 9, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • jk

      You said it! I get when people say go back to your country f you don't like it here but I don't get when people are upset by people emmigrating into our stolen nation...

      August 9, 2011 at 11:00 pm | Report abuse |
  10. banasy

    I just don't get one thing:
    Why did Jeffs even go to trial if his defense didn't call any witnesses?

    August 9, 2011 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • mort

      obviously he was waiting for his god to rescue him – which of course couldn't have possibly happened.

      August 9, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • LLBD

      Jeff's didn't call witnesses, because most were afraid to be witnesses and they were kept from the public eye. But Jeff's also wanted the spotlight on himself. He was a "Savior" according to himself.

      August 9, 2011 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kt

      He was his own defense lawyer and he did call witnesses for the trial phase. The judge appointed a lawyer for the penalty phase, who called no witnesses. Texas has an unusual penalty phase in which other victims can tell their stories, as well as supporters tell their side. No one stepped up to the plate to defend him. Try to keep up.

      August 9, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
  11. mort

    Now the taxpayers have to pay for his upkeep. He should be forced to fork over $$ to cover the costs of keeping him in prison for the rest of his life. Hopefully it won't take long before he is "taken care of" in prison.

    August 9, 2011 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Annie, Atlanta

    Life in prison with or without parole? I can't find that answer anywhere.

    August 9, 2011 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gort01

      federal system has no parole.

      August 9, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Annie, Atlanta

      Ok, I just found life plus 20 years plus a $10,000 fine, as noted in this story.

      August 9, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • jan

      after 45 years he can ask to be paroled..lets hope he doesn't live that long

      August 9, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Gabbi

    God on earth was Jesus Christ he never touched a child except a child and he would shed and does shed tears over this treatment of children. youve been brainwashed.

    August 9, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marion

      Wow and you believe that. Talk about brainwashed.

      August 9, 2011 at 9:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark L.

      "God on Earth was Jesus Christ..." WHAT ??? ROFLMAO...You're as blind as all those Warren Jeffs, Reverend Jim Jones, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh and David Koresh followers...Oh, you poor thing...LMAO...Yeah, "God on Earth was Jesus Christ..."....LMAO...And I am the King of England....ROFLMAO...

      August 10, 2011 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
  14. LLBD

    II'm from Texas, and find Jeff's behavior disgusting and unacceptable. Clear and simple, he's a pedophile, just using religion as an excuse to get his hands on the children. When it comes to religion, believe as you wish, 1 wife or 50 but let them be adults and make the decision for themselves. BUT... leave the children alone. You mess with children, you take their childhood away from them. You mess with their minds and their souls. We get to be a child for such a short time, then you become an adult, of which you are an adult for the rest of your life. Leave the children alone!

    August 9, 2011 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gort01

      Te great State of TEXAS needs to get off its collective behind and do something. Why cant they use RICO statutes ? The cult is using and standing behind the veil of religious freedom while it "bleeds the bease"...aka, raping children, no parental responsibility for taking care of older young boys, and what happened to not getting welfare if you dont name the father...DNA testing is available...cmon Texas...show us whatchya can do..please

      August 9, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
  15. joann

    What,Jeffs is doing,is called BIGAMY.And,that is againist the law,for the "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints,and the Funddamental.Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints,and other religions.I,am so glad that Jeffs was convicted. JoAnn Bartholomew

    August 9, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
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