A Washington County detective testified this morning in 5th District Court that a teenage girl never explicitly told Warren Jeffs that she was being forced to have sex in her arranged marriage to her first cousin.
Judge James L. Shumate is expected to rule later today on whether Jeffs, leader of the polygamous Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, should stand trial on charges of being an accomplice to rape.
The state alleges Jeffs, 51, committed a crime when he rebuffed a then-14-year-old Jane Doe’s protest that she was too young to marry, sealed her to her 19-year-old cousin and later instructed her to stay with her husband despite her complaints about engaging in “man-wife relations.”
Walter Bugden, one of Jeffs’ three attorneys, argues his client is a victim of religious persecution who gave the couple commonplace marital advice and urged them to “love one another and build a family.”
Washington County Sheriff’s Detective Shauna Jones spent 25 minutes on the witness stand this morning being questioned by Bugden.
Asked about her interviews with Doe, Jones confirmed the teen never specifically told Jeffs any details about her interaction with her husband, only that he “did things to her and touched her in places she didn’t feel comfortable with.”
Under cross examination by Washington County Deputy Attorney Ryan Shaum, Jones said Doe explained she never used explicit language because that was culturally unacceptable in the FLDS community, but that Jeffs knew what she was talking about.
There were 16 FLDS members, including five women, in court this morning. All stood when Jeffs entered and they exchanged smiles.
The court was in a short recess at 9:45 a.m. and closing arguments were expected when court reconvenes.
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