Note: You are viewing the unstyled version of CBC.ca because you can not see our css files, or because you do not have a standards-compliant browser or you are a mobile user.
Welcome to CBC.ca
On August 29, 2006 after being on the run for two years, Warren Jeffs, leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS Church) and two other people were arrested while driving through Nevada.
In May and July of 2007 the State of Arizona charged Jeffs with eight additional felony counts—including sexual conduct with a minor and two counts of incest as an accomplice in two separate cases.
Warren Jeffs’ trial began on September 13, 2007 in St. George, Utah. It lasted less than a month. On September 25, 2007, he was found guilty of two counts of being an accomplice to rape for arranging the marriage of a 14-year-old girl and her 19-year-old cousin.
On November 20, 2007, Jeffs was sentenced to two consecutive prison terms of five years to life. The consecutive sentences mean Jeffs will serve at least 10 years. The exact amount of time he serves will be determined by the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole. (read a CBC.ca news story)
He is currently serving his sentence at the Utah State Prison.
On April 3, 2008, Texas authorities including State Troopers, Texas Rangers, and 200 investigators from Child Protective Services raided Warren Jeffs’s 1,900 acre compound, 256 km NW of San Antonio. A 16-year-old girl, in several whispered phone calls to a local family violence shelter, had reported that her 50-year-old husband had physically and sexually abused her. A court affidavit revealed that the girl reported she was several weeks pregnant and the mother of an eight-month-old baby. She asked for help to leave the ranch.
She said that she had been taken to the ranch by her parents when she was 13 and that when she turned 15 she was forced to marry the older man, making her his seventh wife. Under Texas law, girls under the age of 16 are prohibited from marrying, even with parental approval.
Based on information provided by the 16-year-old, Texas officials petitioned a judge for a warrant to search the ranch and investigate the allegations. During the search of the ranch, investigators saw young girls who appeared to be pregnant and several teenage girls who had already given birth.
By Saturday April 5, 2008, State Troopers sealed off the compound and child welfare workers started to remove the children.
Sect leaders originally refused to let authorities search the compound and that led to a stand-off between authorities and church members which lasted hours. Sources reported that local Volunteer Firefighters were called in during the temple raid to open the doors with the mechanical device known as "Jaws of Life".
On Monday April 7, authorities continued to search for children hidden in the compound. A judge ordered every child to be removed from the ranch because they were deemed to be either victims of abuse or at imminent risk of harm.
In all, authorities removed 133 women and more than 400 children from the compound. Women and children were taken to temporary shelters in the San Angelo coliseum and the Fort Concho historic site in San Angelo, Texas. The men were not allowed near them. A number of men were being held at the ranch while officials searched for evidence of abuse. Two men from the ranch were arrested for interfering in the search. (read a CBC.ca news story)
It will be determined at a court hearing if the children should be taken into permanent custody. The 16-year-old girl who made the call was not found during the four-day raid. According to a search warrant, authorities are looking for Dale Barlow, 50. They suspect he married and fathered a child with the 16-year-old whose call prompted the raid.
A lawyer for the FLDS group asked for a restraining order against the state.
The FLDS bought the property in 2004 for $700,000. It was named the YFZ Ranch (Yearning for Zion).