Polygamist leaders accused of sexual assault in lawsuit
July 29, 2004
ReligionNewsBlog.com • Friday July 30, 2004
A former member of a polygamous sect on the Utah-Arizona border on Thursday accused three of his uncles, one of them considered the group’s prophet, of sexually assaulting him when he was a child and referring to the abuse as “God’s work.”
Salt Lake County resident Brent Jeffs also claims in a lawsuit that the trio of leaders in the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) – president Warren Steed Jeffs and his brothers, Blaine Balmforth Jeffs and Leslie Balmforth Jeffs – described the offense as a way to make him a man.
“Those defendants explained to Plaintiff that it was ‘God’s will’ that he never disclose the abuses to anyone, and if he did, it would be upon pain of eternal damnation,” 21-year-old Brent Jeffs said in his suit, filed in 3rd District Court. “Thus, for many years, the frightened child remained silent.”
Jeffs alleges the sexual abuse occurred in the 1980s at Alta Academy, the church’s now-closed private school in Salt Lake City, when he was 5 and 6 years old. He is seeking unspecified damages from his uncles and the FLDS, claiming the organization’s leaders knew of the “perversity and sexually predatory acts” but did nothing to stop them.
In addition, Jeffs is asking for reimbursement of all money he and his parents paid into church trusts and an order stopping FLDS leaders from disposing of any assets.
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