The woman identified as “Jane Doe” in a rape prosecution of polygamous sect leader Warren S. Jeffs is also “M.J.,” the plaintiff who has filed a civil lawsuit against Jeffs, her attorney has confirmed.
Roger Hoole, a Salt Lake City attorney, said Tuesday that his client would hold off on pursuing her lawsuit against Jeffs, the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and the property trust it once operated while the criminal case proceeds.
Hoole’s comments came at a hearing before 3rd District Judge Denise Lindberg on matters related to the property trust.
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The Lost Boys allege they were driven out of their families and the community by Jeffs, while Brent Jeffs alleges his uncle sexually abused him years ago. Hoole said both cases are close to settlement.
Hoole said that while it might be advantageous for M.J. to move forward with her civil lawsuit, doing so might jeopardize the criminal case.
“We have to be sensitive about the criminal trial and she is sensitive about the criminal trial,” he said.
The woman is expected to testify during a preliminary hearing in the criminal case on Nov. 21.
Hoole filed the personal injury lawsuit on behalf of “M.J.” in December 2005 in 5th District Court in Iron County. Four months later, Washington County leveled two first-degree felony charges of being an accomplice to rape against Jeffs in 5th District Court in St. George.
Court filings in the two cases tell similar stories but include different details.
In the lawsuit, for example, the woman alleges she was forced into> a spiritual marriage with a man who was “many years her senior” who is identified only by the initials “S.J.” Her age at the time or the location where the ceremony took place are not listed.
In the criminal case, the woman is described as being between 14 and 18 when she was spiritually married to a “John Doe” who was three years or more older in a ceremony that took place in Nevada.
Such marriages typically took place at a motel in Caliente, Nev.
In both cases, the woman alleges Jeffs “instructed and commanded” the couple to “multiply and replenish the earth” and that she subsequently had nonconsensual sexual intercourse.
“The nonconsensual ‘spiritual marriage,’ the required sexual relations and M.J.’s resulting pregnancies have been physically painful and emotionally devastating to M.J.” the civil lawsuit states.
The lawsuit stops short of specifying the rape allegation that is the basis of the criminal case. Instead, it alleges Jeffs participated in a “calculated plan” that led to battery and sexual abuse of a child and behavior that is “beyond all possible bounds of decency and is regarded as atrocious and utterly intolerable in a civilized society.” The criminal charge contains more description of the then- teenager’s objections to the union as well as Jeffs’ alleged instructions that she submit to her husband.
According to court documents, she remained in the marriage because she feared loss of her heavenly salvation.