Jeffs due to face secret witness
Warren Jeffs, the one-time fugitive and now jailed leader of the FLDS Church was due to appear Tuesday in Utah District Count before Judge James L. Shumate for a preliminary hearing. Jeffs is charged with acting as an accomplice to rape and conspiracy to commit sexual conduct with a minor in connection with a marriage he arranged and performed in his capacity as Prophet of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
Jeffs is expected to be faced for the first time by ‘Jane Doe 4’ a woman whose identity has been meticulously protected by prosecutors who feared she might cave-in to pressure from family and friends who remain loyal to Warren Jeffs.
The FLDS church represents the largest of several groups of fundamentalist Mormons that broke away from the mainstream Mormon Church in 1890 over the practice of polygamy. Members of the FLDS church continue to believe in and practice plural marriage, but it isn’t the group’s penchant for multiple marriages that landed Prophet Warren Jeffs in jail. It was, instead, his insistence on arranging and performing marriages between his male followers and under-aged girls.
Jeffs faces accuser in Utah courtroom
Warren Jeffs, president of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) and the self-proclaimed prophet of nearly 10,000 fundamentalist Mormons who make their homes in and around Colorado City, Arizona, appeared Tuesday, November 21, 2006, before Utah District Judge James L. Shumate for scheduled preliminary hearing.
Seating in the courtroom was limited, far short of the number who wanted a glimpse of the one-time reclusive prophet who earned a spot atop the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives List. But in the end, it wasn’t Jeffs’ appearance that held observers spellbound, but the testimony of Jeffs’ anonymous accuser, a young woman known only as Jane Doe IV.
TCEQ hits YFZ Ranch with more environmental fines
YFZ Land, LLC, a Texas corporation known locally as the YFZ Ranch, has reached an agreement with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to settle a third round of environmental violations on YFZ property.
According to an ‘Agreed Order’ released Tuesday by the agency, YFZ Land, LLC, has agreed to pay $4,503.00 as an administrative penalty for violations uncovered in December of 2005.
At that time, TCEQ personnel cited the ranch for failing to obtain a license before engaging in landscape irrigation. Specifically, the YFZ began construction of a lawn sprinkler system at the FLDS temple before obtaining a license.
The ranch was also cited for failing to prevent an unauthorized discharge of wastewater from a wastewater holding tank. The citation notes erosion and saturated ground were documented surrounding the riser of a holding tank at a residential structure immediately east of the temple.
Judge rules Hildale police officer must answer questions on missing UEP property
Cop must also pay court costs
Deputy Town Marshal Helaman Barlow of Hildale, Utah must respond to lawyers’ questions about property allegedly removed from land owned by the United Effort Plan Trust, the financial arm of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. He must also pay court costs, as much as $10,000.00, incurred as he sought court protection in hopes of avoiding those questions.
Utah District Judge Denise Lindberg not only denied Barlow’s motion to stop the questions, she ruled in favor of an opposing motion that Barlow be compelled to respond to questions.
At one point in the proceeding Judge Lindberg commented that at times Barlow was being “deliberately obtuse,” in his attempts to sidestep questions about missing UEP property.
The FLDS church lost control of the UEP last year when the courts stripped the church’s leader, Prophet Warren Jeffs, of his power over the trust when accusations arose that trust assets were being diverted away from the trust. Judge Lindberg then appointed Salt Lake City accountant Bruce Wisan to act as Special Fiduciary for the trust and to oversee its day-to-day operation. Shortly after that, UEP assets began disappearing. In a notable incident, a large building once occupied by Cozy Log Homes, was dismantled and removed from UEP property while Hildale police looked on.
Jeffs due back in court today
Warren Jeffs, the self-proclaimed prophet of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, is due back in a Utah Courtroom today before Judge James L. Shumate. The judge is charged with determining if enough evidence exists to bring Jeffs to trial.
Jeffs, who has many followers living on the YFZ Ranch near Eldorado, stands accused of two counts of Rape as an Accomplice in connection with a marriage he arranged and performed between a 14-year-old girl and her 19-year-old cousin.
The victim, identified only as Jane Doe IV, was one of the first witnesses to appear when the hearing began on Nov. 21, 2006. She was pregnant at the time of her testimony and was due to have the baby before the second day of testimony begins today.
Jeffs ordered to stand trial in April
Utah District Judge James L. Shumate ruled last Thursday that Warren Steed Jeffs, the self-proclaimed prophet of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, will stand trial on two felony charges of Rape as an Accomplice.
Shumate then scheduled the trial for April 23 - May 4, 2007.
The judge’s ruling came at the end of a two-day long preliminary hearing in which attorneys for both sides presented evidence and sought testimony. In the end, Judge Shumate found the testimony of a woman identified only as Jane Doe IV to be compelling enough to send the case to trial.
Ms. Doe, the victim in the case, was not present to hear Judge Shumate’s ruling, but Warren Jeffs was. The religious leader offered no reaction to Shumate’s decision.