LAWFUEL – The Legal Newswire – U.S. polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs was convicted on Tuesday of being an accomplice to rape for arranging a marriage between an unwilling 14-year-old girl and her 19-year-old first cousin, Reuters report.
Jeffs faces five years to life in prison for each of the two felony charges of accomplice to rape. No date was set for sentencing.
The self-described “prophet” of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints showed no expression as the verdict was read to a court packed with his supporters.
The trial has riveted Utah, the western state with a majority Mormon population. Jeffs’ sect is not associated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, whose members are called Mormons.
Polygamy was one of the early tenets of the Mormon religion, but was rejected in 1890 as Utah sought statehood and it is now rejected by Mormons.
Prosecutors argued during the two-week trial that Jeffs knew when he arranged and presided over the 2001 marriage, in which the girl was an unwilling partner, that forced sex would follow.