Family Law Prof Blog

Editor: Margaret Ryznar
Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Slap on the Wrist for Warren Jeffs Follower

From ABC News:

A follower of Warren Jeffs who admitted during the
trial of the polygamist sect leader that he had sex with
his child bride cousin will get off with just 30 days in
jail as a result of a plea deal. Allen Steed, who was
originally charged with first degree felony rape,
pleaded guilty to a charge of solemnizing a
prohibited marriage, and a St. George, Utah, judge
Friday sentenced him to 30 days, followed by 36
months of probation. Fifth District Court Judge G.
Rand Beacham ordered Steed to report Monday to
Washington County's Purgatory Correctional Facility.
If he does not violate the probation, another charge
of unlawful sex with a minor will be dropped from a
felony to a misdemeanor, sparing him from having to
register as a sex offender, the judge said. Steed, who
was 19 in 2001 when Jeffs married him to his 14-
year-old cousin, Elissa Wall, could have faced five
years in prison for each of the two charges. Had he
been convicted of the original rape charge, he could
have been sent to prison for life. Jeffs, who was the
leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter Day Saints, was convicted in September 2007 of
being an accessory to rape for marrying the couple
and then coercing Wall to fulfill her religious duties
by having sex with her husband. That verdict was
overturned on appeal, but while Utah prosecutors
decide whether to retry Jeffs, the former FLDS leader is
jailed in Texas, where he faces trial in July on charges
of sexual abuse of a child and bigamy. It was Wall's
story that sparked the case against Jeffs. At his trial,
she testified that Jeffs used his power as a religious
leader to force her into a marriage in which he knew
sex would be expected.

Read more here.


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