Two sets of parents from Bountiful, B.C., drove their 12-year-old daughters across the U.S. border in 2005 to marry a 49-year-old fundamentalist Mormon leader, according to court documents.
The documents, filed Friday at B.C. Supreme Court by lawyers representing the provincial government, say a 13-year-old girl suffered the same fate one year earlier.
The man all three girls were forced to marry was Warren Jeffs, then 49, the proclaimed prophet of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
Jeffs is in custody in Texas, awaiting trial on charges of sexual abuse of minors and bigamy.
The documents said the two 12-year-old were driven across the U.S. border south of Bountiful by their fathers and then to Short Creek, Arizona, where a FLDS official then drove them to Texas, where the marriages to Jeffs took place.
Evidence of the marriages turned up during a U.S. search of a polygamist ranch in Texas and did not come to the attention of B.C. government lawyers until Feb. 10, the documents said.
The names of the girls and their parents were not revealed in the documents filed Friday, but their identities are known to investigators.
Arguments will be heard Feb. 25 by B.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert Bauman about including the documents in evidence in the reference case Bauman is hearing on the constitutionality of Canada’s law against polygamy.
Court arguments had ended on the case in early February and the chief justice had earlier ruled that he would accept no more documents for his consideration.
The court heard nearly three months of testimony in the hearing, including both opponents and proponents of Canada’s polygamy law.
The reference case was prompted by the B.C. government following failed efforts to prosecute polygamy charges against Winston Blackmore and James Oler, two Mormon leaders in Bountiful.
Final arguments are scheduled for the end of March.
It’s expected that no matter how Bauman rules in the reference case, the question of the constitutionality of the law will end up with the Supreme Court of Canada.