Victim's Sisters Testify in Jeffs Trial

Victim's Sisters Testify in Jeffs Trial

Save Story

Estimated read time: 4-5 minutes

This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

**AP Photo/Douglas C. Pizac**Sam Penrod Reporting

The star witness against polygamist leader Warren Jeffs endured two and a half hours of grueling cross examination Monday, as the defense tried to find holes in her story.

The defense had to wait all weekend to cross examine the woman known as Jane Doe. And on Monday the witnesses brought new insights into the inner workings of the polygamist leader.

It was a critical day in this trial, as the defense cross-examined the woman. It became contentious at times. The defense team had tough questions for her, as they try to raise doubt with the jury, because a conviction in this case could send Warren Jeffs to prison for life.

A defense attorney asked the woman, "Isn't it true that Mr. Jeffs never told you to have sexual intercourse with (husband)?"

The alleged victim answered, "We didn't use the word sexual intercourse in that society."

The attorney continued, "He never told you to go have sex with (husband) did he?"

The woman answered, "He wouldn't have told me something we didn't use."

The victim seemed to hold her own against the hard questions from the defense. Although, she did acknowledge there were others involved, including her sister, mother and step-father, in pushing her to get married when she was just 14 years old.

Prosecutors are trying to prove Jeffs committed the crime of rape as an accomplice by performing the marriage and encouraging the woman to consummate the marriage.

The alleged victim, who is now 21 years old, continued to say she was forced to marry her 19-year-old first cousin, and points the finger at Warren Jeffs for coercing her through religious pressure to submit herself to her husband.

During cross examination, the defense showed love notes the husband sent to her, trying to show he was interested in a loving relationship as husband and wife.

When they asked her if she was raped by her husband, she testified that she was and told the jury she agreed to the marriage only because it was impossible to stop the ceremony from happening. She said she agreed "as much as someone can agree against their will."

Another question focused on a photograph of the victim on her honeymoon, which brought a contentious exchange. "That was all fake, is that right? That smile wasn't real?" a defense attorney questioned. "I was on a honeymoon after I had been married to my first cousin at 14 years of age. I was scared. I had never felt so much pressure in my life and I was on this trip with a man who I was scared of and had a really hard time being close to. So you ask me, am I smiling? Yes, I'm smiling. Is that how I felt inside? Absolutely not," the victim responded.

Jeffs' alleged victim also admitted during cross examination that eventually she used sex in their marriage to get things she wanted, such as money and privileges.

The most stunning moment today came as the accuser's older sister, who at the time was one of the young brides of Rulon Jeffs, the prophet of the FLDS Church until 2002, testified how Warren Jeffs tried to marry her shortly after his father's death.

She was staring Jeffs down this afternoon as she spoke. "I had told him no, I would not choose any of them. And he pointed his finger directly at me and I quote, said, ‘I will break you and I will train you to be a good wife. You've had too much freedom for too long. And regardless of who you marry, it doesn't have to be me, I will always have jurisdiction over you,'" the sister testified.

She left the FLDS church a week later.

The defense team attempted to raise doubt with the jury over the accuser's motivations in pursuing criminal charges.

They pointed out that the alleged victim went first to civil attorneys, who are helping her sue Warren Jeffs, before she ever went to prosecutors or the police with the allegations.

The trial is moving slowly. There are still many potential prosecution witnesses before the defense will gets its turn.

Jeffs was flown back to the Purgatory jail for the night. His transportation to and from the courthouse continues to be unpredictable for security reasons.

More prosecution witnesses will be called Tuesday.

Related links

Most recent Utah stories

Related topics



Get informative articles and interesting stories delivered to your inbox weekly. Subscribe to the Trending 5.
By subscribing, you acknowledge and agree to's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

KSL Weather Forecast