No deal on polygamous sect rape charge

The Salt Lake Tribune/July 22, 2009

Attempts to settle a rape charge against an FLDS man, whose marriage to Elissa Wall led to the conviction of sect leader Warren S. Jeffs, have so far failed and his attorney now plans to ask a Utah judge to dismiss the charge.

During a brief hearing Tuesday in St. George, defense attorney Jim Bradshaw questioned whether the statute of limitations had expired, thus preventing the state from prosecuting Allen G. Steed for rape. He told 5th District Judge G. Rand Beacham he will seek to have the case dismissed.

Steed and Wall were married in 2001. He was charged with rape Sept. 26, 2007 -- a day after a St. George jury convicted Jeffs of rape based on various actions related to the marriage.

Wall testified during the trial she told Jeffs and other church leaders she objected to the marriage, which took place when she was 14, but was pressured to go ahead with it.

Wall said that nonconsensual intercourse occurred about three weeks later and continued throughout the marriage, which ended in 2004.

Steed, who was 19 at the time of the marriage, also testified during Jeffs' trial and said that Wall initiated the intimacy and their later encounters were consensual.

Wall, using the pseudonym "M.J.," filed a civil lawsuit against Jeffs, the FLDS church and the sect's communal property trust in December 2005. Washington County filed criminal charges against Jeffs based on Wall's allegations in April 2006.

The case against Steed will now hinge on which time frame for bringing a rape charge applies. In 2001, the statute of limitations was four years. In 2005, the law was modified to allow charges to be filed up to eight years after an alleged offense provided the crime is reported to law enforcement within four years of the incident.

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