Search warrant accuses Warren Jeffs of more child-bride marriages

SAN ANGELO, Texas — Fundamentalist LDS Church leader Warren Jeffs is accused of sexually assaulting more child brides in a search warrant affidavit seeking his DNA.

“Warren Jeffs sexually assaulted a 12-year-old child … on or about July 27, 2006, in Schleicher County, Texas,” Kingman, Ariz., police officer Dennis Gilbert wrote in the warrant.

A copy of the warrant was obtained by the Deseret News on Friday. The warrant’s affidavit was co-signed by David L. Boatright, the chief of the criminal investigations division for the Texas Attorney General’s Office.

A DNA sample was collected from Jeffs at the Mohave County Jail in Kingman, Ariz., on Thursday. It included a pair of cheek swabs and digital photos of the process.

DNA samples were collected from 603 adults and children involved on the raid at the YFZ Ranch to determine parentage, but the Texas Attorney General’s Office said Jeffs’ sample is not related to the custody case.

“That was related to the criminal procedures,” attorney general spokeswoman Janece Rolfe said of Jeffs’ sample. “That’s a separate process.”

A criminal investigation into abuses at the FLDS property has been quietly progressing at the same time the CPS case has imploded.

The warrant affidavit said that investigators seized marriage records and photographs during the raid on the FLDS Church’s YFZ Ranch last month.

“Upon review of the marital records, also referred to as Bishop’s Records, by investigators, said records reveal that Warren Jeffs married (name removed) at age 14, on or about January 18, 2004, in Utah,” Gilbert wrote.

Investigators said the records and photos also provided evidence that in October, another girl gave birth to a child believed to have been fathered by Jeffs. At the time of conception, police said the girl was approximately 15 years old.

“The two are depicted at the birth of their child,” Gilbert wrote. “In said photograph (name removed) is seen with Jeffs holding a newborn child wrapped in a blanket.”

Law enforcement claims that Bishop’s Records show a July 2006 marriage between a 12-year-old girl and Jeffs. Photos matching the marriage date were put into courtroom evidence in a custody battle here in Texas involving a baby born to a couple who lived at the YFZ Ranch.

The photos showed Jeffs cradling the girl and kissing her in a manner that Texas child welfare authorities described as “how a husband kisses a wife.”

“Affiant has learned from investigators that Warren Jeffs ‘married’ two other children at the YFZ Ranch in addition to his purported marriage to (named removed) and (name removed),” Gilbert wrote.

Records seized from the YFZ Ranch also indicate Jeffs married a 14-year-old while at the FLDS property, the affidavit said. A marriage in April 2005 suggests another girl was 12.

“Based on all of the above, affiant believes that Warren Jeffs has committed the felony offense of sexual assault of a child,” Gilbert wrote, adding that Texas authorities were seeking DNA samples to help determine whether Jeffs fathered any children born to underage mothers.

Rod Parker, a Salt Lake attorney acting as a spokesman for the FLDS, said he wanted to see what particular evidence law enforcement had of criminal activity.

“The question is, do they have any evidence of sexual activity with minors and Warren Jeffs?” he said. “I don’t know if they do or not. I don’t see how DNA, by itself, proves that one way or another.”

Jeffs was convicted in Utah of rape as an accomplice for performing a marriage between a 14-year-old girl and her 19-year-old cousin. He is facing charges of sexual misconduct and incest as an accomplice in Arizona, accusing him of performing more child-bride marriages.

Jeffs is also facing a federal grand jury indictment in Salt Lake City, charging him with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution — stemming from his time on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list.

• The Deseret News is owned by Deseret News Publishing Company, a subsidiary of Deseret Management Corporation, which is a for-profit business holdings company owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormon Church).
• Religion coverage at The Deseret News include the Mormon Times — news and information for and about members of the Mormon Church, published every Thursday.
• Deseret News Religion & Ethics section


(Listed if other than Religion News Blog, or if not shown above)
Ben Winslow, The Deseret News, May 31, 2008,

Religion News Blog posted this on Saturday May 31, 2008.
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