Polygamist Jeffs hospitalized after fast

Aug. 29, 2011 at 4:28 PM
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SAN ANGELO, Texas, Aug. 29 (UPI) -- Warren Jeffs, the polygamist sect leader and convicted child rapist, was in critical condition at a Texas hospital Monday after a fast, prison officials said.

"Jeffs has not been eating/taking in fluids as he should," Texas prison spokesman Jason Clark said in a press release. "He indicated he was not on a hunger strike but fasting. The inmate also has other medical conditions that have risen to the level of needing hospitalization."

Jeffs, 55, was flown to East Texas Medical Center in Tyler Sunday night from the prison in Palestine, but officials said they could not comment on other conditions because of confidentiality rules, the San Angelo Standard Times reported.

About two weeks ago, a jury found Jeffs guilty of sexually assaulting two girls, ages 12 and 15, whom he took as polygamous wives, and sentenced him to life in prison.

He was being held in a solitary cell because of media attention and because he could be a target of violence because he committed his crimes against children, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.

The Standard Times said while in prison in Mohave County, Ariz., from 2008 to 2010, he had practiced what the newspaper called "ascetic malnourishment" and was hospitalized and that he had a history of behavior that injured himself after being arrested in Nevada in 2006.

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."

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