The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Statement
For immediate release: Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Clergy sex victims applaud Jeffs’ sentence
Statement by Barbara Dorris, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314-503-0003, SNAPdorris@gmail.com)
We are thrilled and grateful that this dangerous predator will be kept away from girls for life. That's the only real way to keep children safe from such a cunning serial child molester.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 23 years and have more than 10,000 members. Despite the word
“priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, SNAPclohessy@aol.com), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747, SNAPblaine@gmail.com), Peter Isely (414-429-7259, firstname.lastname@example.org), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com)
Warren Jeffs gets life in prison for sex with underage girls
By Lindsay Whitehurst
The Salt Lake Tribune
Published: August 9, 2011 10:20AM
Updated: August 9, 2011 12:13PM
San Angelo, Texas • A jury on Tuesday sentenced polygamous sect leader Warren Jeffs to life in prison for having sex with underage girls.
Jurors deliberated for just under 30 minutes before ordering Jeffs to serve life in prison on one count of aggravated sexual assault of a child and 20 years in prison on one count of sexual assault of a child. They also determined Jeffs must pay a $10,000 fine.
Jeffs, 55, must serve half of each of those sentences — a total of 45 years — before he could become eligible for parole if he lived to the age of 100.
In a closing statement given Tuesday morning, prosecutor Eric Nichols told the jury the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints leader was a man who “perverted a religion to his own ends” and treated women and children not as human beings but as “property for sexual gratification and child bearing.”
“Evidence is this case shows this is not the prosecution of a people, this is a prosecution to protect a people,” Nichols said.
Following the sentencing, Nichols said “this justice has been long in coming.”
“Rarely in the state of Texas justice system have we ever encountered a person such as Warren Jeffs whose crimes span decades...and involve hundreds of victims,” he said.
Reacting to the sentence, former FLDS spokesman Willie Jessop said “everyone in the church has to take responsibility.”
“We built this golden calf,” he said of Jeffs. “Now we have to decide do we love god or do we love this golden calf.”
Former FLDS member Rebecca Musser said while she celebrated the verdict and the sentence, it “does not bring back the innocence stolen or free those in bondage.”
Brent Jeffs, who testified he was molested by his uncle, Warren Jeffs, as a child said following the sentencing: “I finally feel justice has been served.”
Prosecutors rested their case against Jeffs in the sentencing phase of his trial on Monday. Jurors last week convicted Jeffs in connection with two plural marriages to girls ages 12 and 15.
During the sentencing phase, prosecutors presented evidence of other so-called bad acts committed by Jeffs. Jurors were told Jeffs took a total of 78 plural wives, including 12 girls he wed at age 16 and another 12 he married at age 15 or younger, according to evidence and testimony presented in court Monday.
Jurors heard several audio recordings of what prosecutors said was Jeffs giving sexual instruction to underage wives and even having intercourse in a baptismal font inside a temple at the sect’s Yearning for Zion Ranch in Eldorado.
Jeffs represented himself during the guilt or innocence phase of his trial and chose not to attend his sentencing hearings. After prosecutors rested their sentencing case against Jeffs on Monday, new Jeffs defense lawyer Jed Silverman of Houston, declined to call any witnesses.
Trial judge Barbara Walthers on Tuesday released Silverman and two other Jeffs attorneys — Emily Detoto and Deric Walpole— from representing Jeffs. A separate bigamy trial for Jeffs in Texas is scheduled for October.
The Polygamy Blog: http://www.sltrib.com/Blogs/polygblog
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests