Cult leader Warren S. Jeffs has been moved to a West Texas jail that is closer to his group’s Yearning for Zion Ranch in Eldorado but allows somewhat fewer opportunities to communicate with the outside world.
The Salt Lake Tribune reports:
The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints leader was taken from the Reagan County Jail in Big Lake, Texas, to the Schleicher County Jail in Eldorado on April 20, said Schleicher County Sheriff David Doran.
Though he declined to specify why Jeffs was transferred, Doran said the move makes it easier for authorities to bring Jeffs to San Angelo, Texas, for court appearances. […]
Though the change will put Jeffs, 55, closer to followers at the ranch, it will also limit his communications. In Reagan County, Jeffs had unlimited access to a telephone in the four-person cell where he was housed, Reagan County Sheriff Jeff Garner told The Salt Lake Tribune.
Jail records show Jeffs made more than 600 phone calls in March alone, though just under 500 of those calls were completed. He bought a total of 447 phone cards, at a cost of $18 each, to pay for those calls as of March 23, according to jail records. Each long-distance minute costs an extra 60 cents.
Former members of the sect say he used the calls to control affairs within the sect, excommunicating at least 30 men, including top leaders, and dictating sometimes apocalyptic proclamations. Jeffs relinquished authority over the FLDS’s legal entity after he was convicted on accomplice to rape charges in Utah in 2007 but reclaimed control in February.
His conviction was overturned last summer.
Jeffs is the the eighth of 12 FLDS men who were indicted on various charges as a result of evidence collected during the April 2008 raid on the sect’s Yearning for Zion Ranch.
Jeffs faces sexual abuse and bigamy charges. A list of additional crimes prosecutors may use against the cult leader was entered in a Texas court under seal last March.
The cult leader was extradicted to Texas several month after the Utah Supreme Court overturned his conviction on a technicality.
A power struggle is currently taking place in the cult, between those who continue to see Warren Jeffs as a prophet established by God, and a group of men ousted by Jeffs as ‘apostates’.
Jeffs has trial dates of July 25 for the count of sexual assault of a child and Oct. 3 for felony bigamy.