Naked City

Polygamy-Practicing 'Prophet' Indicted

A Mohave Co., Ariz., grand jury on June 9 indicted Warren Jeffs, the head of the polygamy-practicing Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS), on two counts of sexual conduct with a minor, and conspiracy to commit sexual conduct with a minor, for his efforts to arrange a marriage between a 16-year-old girl and a man who was already married. Jeffs is the "prophet" of the FLDS, a fundamentalist sect that broke from the mainstream Mormon church in 1890, when the church outlawed polygamy. The central belief of the FLDS is that salvation is available only for men with at least three wives. The FLDS church was headquartered in the twin border cities of Hilldale, Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz. (an area known as Short Creek), until last year, when Jeffs began moving the FLDS faithful to the sect's new 1,671-acre citylike compound outside Eldorado in Texas' Schleicher Co., about 50 miles south of San Angelo. Schleicher Co. Sheriff David Doran told the Salt Lake Tribune that he has no plans to raid the compound. That comes as good news to FLDS watchdogs who fear that any attempt to arrest Jeffs would likely result in a standoff similar to the one with the Branch Davidians at Mt. Carmel in 1993, or, perhaps worse, a tragedy similar to the mass suicide in 1978 at Jonestown in Guyana.

Texas Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Tela Mange said Texas Rangers have been in contact with Doran and with "the folks out there at the ranch," but that "at this time we have no plans to go in after him." It's unclear whether Jeffs is even at the Eldorado ranch/compound. Doran told The Eldorado Success that he doesn't know where Jeffs is, and that he has "no reason to believe" that Jeffs is on the ranch.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints, FLDS, Warren Jeffs, Eldorado Success, David Doran, Tela Mange, Texas Dept. of Public Safety, DPS

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