Warren Jeffs, the leader of the polygamous break-away sects of Mormonism in Hildale, Utah and Colorado City, Ariz, has been convicted of being an accomplice to rape.
He married a 14-year-old girl against her will to a cousin she says she did not like. The courts have argued that he knew in a case like this that non-consensual sex would occur.
Of course, his lawyers plan to appeal. Unfortunately, they may have a case for appeal since the New York Times reports that the jury was deadlocked until an alternate jury was substituted for one of the original panel members for “reasons the court did not explain.”
If you want to watch a documentary about Colorado City and Hildale, the twin communities where members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints live, click here. You may have to become a member of Az news sources in order to watch the documentary. The documentary suffers from a one-sided perspective–the only people willing to talk to the reporters are disaffected members, those who have left or been barred from the community, and those like Flora Jessup who conduct an underground railroad where they help women escape. From this perspective, the only possible interpretation of the religion and its leaders and practices is characterized through such labels as “America’s Taliban” and “welfare state.” I don’t have a problem with those characterizations but I wish (and I’m sure the reporters who wrote the report wished) they could have had an “insider’s” perspective from someone who is still an active member of the church/community.