Warren Jeffs - Sex Crime Allegations and FBI's Most Wanted

Sex Crime Allegations and FBI's Most Wanted

In July 2004, Warren Jeffs' nephew, Brent Jeffs, filed a lawsuit against him alleging that in the late 1980s his uncle sodomized him in the Salt Lake Valley compound then owned by the FLDS Church. Brent Jeffs said he was five or six years old at the time, and that Warren Jeffs' brothers, also named in the lawsuit, watched and participated in the abuse. Two of Warren Jeffs' other nephews also made similar abuse claims against him. One of the alleged victims, Clayne Jeffs, committed suicide with a firearm after accusing Warren Jeffs of sexually assaulting him as a child.

In June 2005, Jeffs was charged with sexual assault on a minor and with conspiracy to commit sexual misconduct with a minor for allegedly arranging, in April 2001, a marriage between a 14-year-old girl and her 19-year-old first cousin, Allen. The girl, Elissa Wall (then only known as "Jane Doe IV") testified that she begged "Uncle Rulon" to let her wait until she was older, or choose another man for her. Rulon Jeffs was apparently "sympathetic", but Warren Jeffs was not, and she was forced to go through with the marriage. The 14-year-old alleged that her new husband raped her repeatedly and that she repeatedly miscarried. She eventually left Allen and the community. Jeffs faced the above charges in Mohave County, Arizona. In July 2005, the Arizona Attorney General's office distributed wanted posters offering $10,000 for information leading to Jeffs' arrest and conviction.

In late 2005, Jeffs was put on the FBI's most wanted fugitive list, offering $60,000 for information leading to his arrest. Shortly after being placed on the FBI list, Jeffs was featured on the television program America's Most Wanted.

Around this time, Warren Jeffs' brother, Seth, was arrested under suspicion of harboring a fugitive. During a routine traffic stop on October 28, 2005, in Pueblo County, Colorado, police found nearly $142,000 in cash, about $7,000 worth of prepaid debit cards, and Warren Jeffs' personal records. During Seth Jeffs' court case, FBI agent Andrew Stearns testified Jeffs had told him that he did not know where his older brother was and that he would not reveal his whereabouts if he did. He was convicted of harboring a fugitive on May 1, 2006. On July 14, 2006, he was sentenced to three years' probation and a $2500 fine.

On April 5, 2006, the state of Utah issued an arrest warrant for Jeffs on felony charges of accomplice rape of a teenage girl between 14 and 18 years old. Shortly after, on May 6, 2006 the FBI placed Jeffs on its Top Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list. He was the 482nd fugitive listed on that list. In addition, the bounty on his head was raised to $100,000, and the public was warned that "Jeffs may travel with a number of loyal and armed bodyguards".

The updated posters warned that Jeffs had ties to Utah; Arizona; Texas; Colorado; South Dakota; British Columbia, Canada; and Quintana Roo, Mexico. There was also information that he had ties to some rural farms run by some of his followers near Pioche, Nevada, as well as construction companies in Mesquite, Nevada.

On May 27, 2006 Bruce Wisan, the court-appointed accountant in charge of the FLDS' trust fund, filed civil suits against Jeffs. Wisan claimed that Jeffs is responsible for "fleecing trust assets". Along with church leaders, former trustees Truman Barlow, Leroy Jeffs, James Zitting, and William Jessop were also named as defendants. "We feel that they've taken things from the trust," Wisan said. "Their actions have caused harm to the trust."

On June 8, 2006 Jeffs returned to Colorado City to perform more "child bride" marriages.

On May 27, 2008 the Smoking Gun website released images of Jeffs with two under-aged wives, one of whom was 12 years old, celebrating one-year anniversaries in 2005 and 2006.

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