Warren Jeffs has been sentence to 10 years to life in prison for forcing a 14 year old to marry her first cousin. The leader of FLDS was given five years to life for both of the felony convictions of being an accomplice to rape.
Jeffs is the leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints which believes in polygamy.
The sentences are to be served consecutively and it will be up to a state board of pardons to determine how much time he will actually spend behind bars.
For 15 months Jeffs eluded the police while on the run and was on the FBI’s Most Wanted List. He was captured in August of 2006. His trial ended with a conviction in September.
The victim is now a 21 year old who has remarried. She sat on the front row during the sentencing after addressing the judge before his final decision.
“Jeffs and his influence over me, as a 14-year-old girl, affected me and my family in so many ways,” said Elissa Wall, her voice trembling with emotion.
Jeffs led his followers in Utah and Arizona. He was considered infallible by those in his flock and thought of as delusional by outsiders.
His sect taught women to be submissive to their husbands who were allowed to have more than one wife.
Jeffs still faces charges in Arizona for sexual abuse in addition to federal charges.
“Thousands of children can sleep safer tonight with Jeffs in jail,” former church member Flora Jessop said outside the court house.
“It is a positive first step, although much more needs to be done … to protect women and children who want out of the community,” she added.
The sentencing comes just days after it was revealed that Jeffs had attempted suicide in January. He had attempted to hang himself in his cell. He also revealed to his brother that he was “not the prophet” which has the potential to damage the FLDS.
The members of the church though have been instructed not to watch television or read news on the Internet.