Samuel Goldberg has been a Massachusetts criminal defense attorney for 20 years. Prior to that, he was a New York state prosecutor. He has published various articles regarding the practice of criminal law and frequently provides legal analysis on radio and television, appearing on outlets such as the Fox News Channel, Court TV, MSNBC and The BBC Network. To speak to Sam about a criminal matter call (617) 492 3000.

Polygamist Warren Jeff’s Criminal Trial is About to Begin

Warren Steed Jeffs, the leader and prophet of the country’s biggest polygamist sect, is about to stand trial for accomplice to rape. Jeffs’s accuser, a woman under police protection, was 14 years old when Jeffs forced her to take part in a “spiritual marriage” with her 19-year-old first cousin-despite her wish that she not marry him. Jeffs married the couple in Las Vegas. The marriage, however, was not sanctioned by the state of Nevada.

Jeffs is charged with two felony counts of rape as an accomplice. If convicted, he could spend the rest of his life in prison. The fourth day of jury selection ended today.

The girl told police that she was uncomfortable with her husband’s sexual demands, but that Jeffs advised her that to obey him was her spiritual duty. According to Jeffs, not obeying her spouse would cause her to lose her salvation. He also referred to her husband as her spiritual leader.

Jeffs is the head of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FDLS). There are more than 8,000 FDLS members. Many girls, as young as age 13, are forced to marry men chosen by FDLS leaders. Men need at least three wives to get to heaven and women must have one baby a year.

About 70 followers are listed as possible witnesses for his trial. Former FDLS followers say that child molestation, incest, and spousal abuse are common within the FDLS community.

For 115 days, Jeffs was included on the list of the FBI’s Most Wanted. He was apprehended in Las Vegas in August 2006. Following his trial in Utah, Jeffs will have to answer to arrest charges in Arizona.

Accomplice to Rape
Being charged as an accomplice to rape means that Jeffs isn’t’ charged with physically rape the girl. He is charged because he forced a minor to marry an older man.

Polygamist prophet is now a criminal defendant, CNN.com, September 12, 2007
Prophet or accomplice to rape?, Winnipeg Free Press, September 9, 2007
Polygamist in Utah court on Rape charge, USA Today, November 22, 2006
Polygamist Leader Warren Jeffs Appears in Court, CNN, November 21, 2006

Related Web Resources:

Wanted by the FBI, FBI.gov
In Massachusetts, being charged with any kind of sex crime is a very serious matter that comes with severe penalties if a person is convicted. Also, once you are convicted of committing a sex crime, your name will be registered on the Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry for the rest of your life.

At Altman & Altman LLP, we are committed to aggressively defending our clients that are charged or under suspicion of committing crimes in Massachusetts. You deserve a team of criminal defense attorneys that are committed to your defense and freedom.

Contact Altman & Altman LLP today and ask for your free case evaluation.

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