SAN ANGELO, Texas — Jurors got a closer look at life in the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints when they heard from a former church member in the eighth day of the trial of Keith Dutson Jr.
Dutson, an FLDS member, has been convicted of sexual assault of a child. His trial is now in the sentencing phase, and the jury can give Dutson two to 20 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine with the possibility of probation.
The trial is in recess until 9 a.m. Monday.
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On Thursday, the jury heard from former FLDS member Rebecca Musser.
“They stopped all of the dancing,” Musser said about life before and after FLDS leader Warren Jeffs took over.
Musser has been labeled an apostate in an FLDS document, which refers to a person who has left a religion and is hostile to it.
She affirmed what lead prosecutor Eric Nichols read from a book that was projected on a screen for the jury.
The book was titled “Purity in The New and Everlasting Covenant of Marriage.”
The passages described the relationship of women as subservient to men and stressed the importance of marriage and having children.
“Is this related to the concept that a girl placed with a man is to give comfort to that man?” Nichols asked Musser, having defined “comfort” as sexual relations.
“Yes,” Musser said.
Musser, under questioning from one of Dutson’s attorneys, Stephanie Goodman, said she didn’t know if the girl married to Dutson had received training from the book.
More of Musser’s testimony, under the questioning of the defense and the prosecution, related how she had lived as a spiritual wife — what the FLDS calls its plural marriages — with then-prophet and leader Rulon Jeffs, an 86-year-old man.
The state also put on evidence to show that Dutson was present with Warren Jeffs when Warren Jeffs was wanted by law enforcement. They had an officer describe Dutson as passive-aggressive when getting his picture taken during an April 2008 raid on the FLDS-owned Yearning for Zion Ranch.
Jurors began the day with more testimony from Larry Beall, a clinical psychologist who specializes in trauma.
“They have the characteristics of a cult,” Larry Beall said of the FLDS.
Brandon Hudson, one of Dutson’s attorneys, had Beall point out similarities between the FLDS and Beall’s faith. Beall is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, from which the FLDS separated primarily because the FLDS sanctions polygamous marriage and the LDS does not.
Religion News Blog posted this on Friday November 5, 2010.
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