Mounties head to U.S. as part of polygamy probe

The Province, Canada/August 10, 2011

The RCMP are preparing to send officers to the U.S. to investigate allegations that two young girls were smuggled from Bountiful, B.C., to be married to the head of a polygamous sect, various news media reported Tuesday.

Warren Jeffs, 55, leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS), was sentenced to life in prison Tuesday following his conviction in a Texas court last week for having sex with girls aged 12 and 14.

Regarded as a “prophet” by his followers, Jeffs assaulted the girls at his sect’s Texas ranch.

He fathered a child with the older girl.

In an affidavit filed in B.C. Supreme Court in February, the Ministry of the Attorney-General said it received information from a Texas prosecutor about the alleged child smuggling.

The prosecutor told B.C. officials that two 12-year-old girls from Bountiful were reportedly “celestially married” to Jeffs in 2005.

The prosecutor in Jeffs’s trial told the 10-woman two-man jury this week he “played a sick game of child molestation under the guise of religious ceremony.”

“Justice has arrived for Warren Steed Jeffs,” said assistant Texas attorney-general Eric Nichols, who prosecuted the case.

The sentencing came a day after Jeffs was heard on audio recordings telling groups of young teen girls that they would be “rejected by God” if they refused his sexual advances.

After the sentencing, a crowd of hecklers gathered on the sidewalk behind the courthouse in San Angelo, Texas, as Jeffs was placed into a police car.

“Do you still think you’re the prophet?” one woman yelled.

Jeffs, who represented himself at trial, had argued in loud outbursts that the Texas court was trampling on his religious rights by trying the case.

His polygamist sect has been condemned by the mainstream Mormon Church and is accused of promoting marriages between older men and girls.

His conviction stems from a raid on the sect’s Yearning For Zion compound in Eldorado, Texas, in which authorities took temporary custody of some 400 children. They were later returned to their families.

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