Utah looking into Jeffs' trial evidence

Aug. 10, 2011 at 10:10 PM   |   Comments

ST. GEORGE, Utah, Aug. 10 (UPI) -- Utah prosecutors say they're looking into evidence from the Texas trial of polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs to see if he should be charged in Utah.

Jeffs, 55, who was sentenced to life in prison in Texas after being convicted of sexually assaulting two girls, ages 12 and 15, who he called wives, will be investigated by Utah police because of at least one allegation that surfaced in Texas, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.

The Tribune said a woman, now 28, testified during Jeff's sentencing that he molested her when she was 8 at Alta Academy, where he was then principal. She had testified she first reported the alleged abuse to Texas rangers in 2008.

"I'm very interested in the material that has been uncovered in Texas and I look forward to reviewing it as soon as they feel comfortable releasing it to us," said Washington County (Utah) Attorney Brock Belnap.

Utah legal authorities will investigate the woman's claim, state Attorney General Mark Shurtleff said. But he said Texas authorities have told him there is no evidence Jeffs had sex with some of his teenage brides in Utah.

During Jeffs' trial, prosecutor Eric Nichols told the jury the leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints had "perverted a religion to his own ends" and treated women and children as "property for sexual gratification and child bearing."

Prosecutors told jurors Jeffs' wives included 12 he married at age 16 and 12 he married at age 15 or younger.

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