Ex-husband Charged with Rape of Teen Bride Arrested, Released

Ex-husband Charged with Rape of Teen Bride Arrested, Released

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- A man charged with rape in an arranged marriage to a 14-year-old cousin appeared in court Thursday, hours after his release from jail, authorities said.

Allen Steed, 26, is charged with raping the girl during their relationship, which was arranged in 2001 by leaders of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Steed was charged last week, a day after a jury convicted Warren Jeffs on two counts of rape as an accomplice for his role in overseeing the union.

Elissa Wall, now 21, said she was forced into marriage and sex against her will while a member of the FLDS church.

She was the key trial witness against Jeffs, 51, the FLDS president, who faces five years to life in prison on each count when sentenced Nov. 20.

Steed testified on behalf of Jeffs, saying he never forced Wall to have sex, nor did he recall that she had sobbed during the couple's wedding in a Nevada motel room or had to be coaxed to say "I do."

Jeffs granted the couple the FLDS equivalent of a divorce in 2004, after Wall became pregnant with another man's child. She left the church and remarried.

The FLDS church, centered in the border towns of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz., practices polygamy in marriages arranged by the sect's president, who is known as the prophet.

The Associated Press generally does not identify people alleging sexual abuse, but Wall has made a number of public appearances in which she has allowed her maiden name to be used. She and her lawyer have refused to disclose her current name.

Steed was booked into the Purgatory Correctional Facility in Washington County at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday MDT. But because of 19 other bookings at the jail, he wasn't released until early Thursday, sheriff's Lt. Jake Adams said.

A $50,000 bail sought by prosecutors was reduced to $5,000. The next court date is Nov. 2, said defense attorney Jim Bradshaw, who declined further comment.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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