Warren Jeffs,the American leader ofa polygamous sect that includes about 1,000 followers in Bountiful, B.C., has been indicted on eight new sex offence counts in Arizona.

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Warren Jeffs, arrested in August 2006, faces eight new sex offence charges for allegedly forcing underage girls to marry adult relatives. ((Laura Rauch/Associated Press))

The self-described prophet, 51, heads the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which broke away from the Mormon church when the latter disavowed polygamy more than a century ago.

Jeffs is already incarcerated in a Utah jail, where he is awaiting trial on two felony counts of rape as an accomplice. He is alleged to have forced a 14-year-old girl to marry and then have sex with her adult cousin in 2001.

The latest batch of charges stem from his alleged role in arranging marriages between underage girls and adult men, Mohave County Attorney Matt Smith said Thursday.

The new indictments were handed up by two separate Mohave County grand juries involving two separate women. Jeffs is now also charged with:

  • Two counts of incest for allegedly forcing a 17-year-old girl to marry a male relative in his 50s (each charge carrying a maximum 3 3/4-year prison sentence).
  • Two counts of being an accomplice to sexual conduct with a minor (each chargecarrying a maximum sentence of two years in a prison).
  • Four other identical felony counts for a separate case, also involving an adult man accused of having sex with a relative who was a teenage minor.

Jeffs was served with the eight new indictments on Wednesday, while he was in his jail cell in Hurricane, Utah.

Nevada police arrestedJeffs in August 2006 after he had been on the run for more than two years, appearing on the FBI's Most Wanted List.

Jeffs took over the leadership of the sect in2002.

With files from the Associated Press