Sleazy rider: Photos show polygamist Warren Jeffs on the run with his favourite bride... riding on a Harley Davidson

Mail, UK/August 11, 2011

As the self-proclaimed prophet and leader of a fundamentalist church, Warren Jeffs preached segregation and modesty, forcing his underage wives to stay inside and dress in a dull, ill fitting uniform.

But as has become very clear in recent weeks, there was one rule for his community and quite another for himself.

Astonishing pictures have emerged showing the Texan polygamist, who was sentenced this week to life in prison for sexually abusing children, dressed in mainstream clothes while on the run with one of his favourite young wives.

Clad in leathers, Jeffs can be seen perched on a motorbike with young follower Naomie Jessop clutching his waist.

Evading capture as one of the FBI's Ten Most Wanted criminals, he can be seen posing by landmarks in St. Louis, while in others Miss Jessop smiles for her leader's camera, dressed in shorts, a tank top and socks under sandals.

Jeffs, the 55-year-old self-proclaimed prophet of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, coldly used his position as religious leader and supposed spokesman for god to prey on his young congregants.

After being convicted last week of two counts of sexually assaulting a child - one 12 and one 14-year-old - Jeffs was sentenced on Tuesday to the maximum possible time behind bars for his crimes. The Texas jury took less than half an hour to decide on his fate.

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Jeffs was given life behind bars for the first count of aggravated sexual assault and an extra 20 years, to be served consecutively, for the second count of sexual assault - the maximum allowed for each count. He was also handed a $10,000 fine.

Prison booking photographs which were released yesterday, however, show the rapid fall of a man who thrived on power - shaved, skinny and pale, Warren Jeffs looked a broken man as he stared blankly towards a future locked behind bars.

The religious leader, who defended himself for most of the trial, had walked out on the sentencing portion of the case in protest after reading out a statement threatening a 'whirlwind of judgement' from god if his 'humble servant' was not released from custody.

By submitting to his sexual needs in sessions Jeffs branded 'heavenly' or 'celestial', the girls were told they were thereby pleasing god and helping to atone for the sins of their community.

'If the world knew what I was doing, they would hang me from the highest tree,' Jeffs wrote in a chilling journal entry from 2005 - one of thousands of pages of notes seized by authorities.

During the trial Jeffs called just one witness - an elder from the church who read from scripture.

Various other church members testified against their former leader, including his nephew, niece and one of his father's former child wives.

In order to maintain power, he was said to have excommunicated 60 members who he worried threatened his leadership, 'reassigning' wives and children from 300 families.

'Mr. Jeffs had his big house, where he chose to warehouse hundreds of girls and women for his sexual gratification. The state of Texas has a big house too, and that is where Warren Jeffs should spend the rest of his days,' Assistant Texas Attorney General Eric Nichols told the jury during closing arguments.

'Warren Jeffs made himself into something that harms each and every person he touches,' he added.

Defence attorneys said after the sentencing that they would not be handling Jeffs's appeal, but that there were legitimate grounds for one, stating that evidence in the case had been gathered during a 2008 raid based on a false abuse report.

Jeffs's conviction stems from a highly publicised raid on the sect's Yearning For Zion compound in Eldorado, Texas, in which authorities took temporary custody of some 400 children.

They later returned them to their families after an investigation and DNA tests.

Some legal experts have said that because the raid was triggered by a false report, the evidence gathered there could be disallowed.

But Judge Barbara Walther, who has presided over the case in her San Angelo courtroom since the raid, allowed evidence prosecutors said proved Jeffs abused his position in power to have sex with girls as young as 12.

Shocking photographs that have emerged since the trial offer insight into the world of subjugation with which he surrounded himself.

In one, 50 of Jeffs's young brides can be seen posing as if for a school yearbook, their smiles every bit as uniform as their pastel outfits and tightly coiffed hairdos.

Their innocent enthusiasm is focussed on one goal alone - worshipping the man framed behind them, who has cruelly bred them for manipulation.

Jeffs's wives were both the victims of his abuse and the accomplices, subjected to a cruel world of worship and sexual abuse, while also proving their worth to their leader by holding down their peers while they were assaulted.

He was on the FBI's Most Wanted list but had evaded arrest for years before his capture in 2006, surrounding himself with doting believers and underage wives who he bred to service his sexual desires.

Of his 78 wives, 29 are said to have been former stepmothers - having previously serviced Rulon Jeffs, Warren Jeffs's father and predecessor as the church's ecclesiastical leader.

56 of the girls were each other's sisters and 24 were under the age of 17.

Over the course of the trial, the jury in Texas has heard a series of depraved insights into the world of the dictatorial leader of a polygamist sect, which has more than 10,000 members worldwide.

One of Jeffs's nephews testified that he was raped by the supposed prophet when he was just five-years-old. He said Jeffs instructed him to keep the assault secret because it is 'between you, me and god'.

Jeffs's niece has since described in detail the way in which Jeffs cruelly assaulted her and swore her to silence with the promise of a place in heaven.

Jerusha Jeffs said she was called to her uncle's office when she was just seven years old, where he raped her.

'Warren told me to come sit on his lap and I didn't know why,' she told ABC News while fighting back tears.

'He said: "You're a special girl" and that he would help me to go heaven. And he had a certain way of making me feel like I was special and he told me I'll go to heaven if I, for sure, just don't tell anybody.'

Miss Jeffs, who is now in her 20s, kept the assault secret for almost two decades out of fear of reprisals.

'All of his rules were to be obeyed. Nothing that he did was wrong, ever,' she said. '[But] I feel a lot stronger now that I've put the man that needed to be put in prison in prison.'

The niece said her childhood was generally a happy one but added: 'I just wish everybody could feel the feeling that I felt you know, all the people that he's hurt. I wish they could feel that same feeling.'

It appears the religious leader's sexual hunger has not abated behind bars.

One of his former prison guards, Rick Bradley, said the child molester, who used to preach to his congregants about abstaining from the act, masturbated continuously while in custody.

The officer, who serves at the county jail where Jeffs was held awaiting trial, said he would pleasure himself about 15 times a day in full view of the jailers.

Meanwhile, he would eat barely 'enough to stay alive', consuming just a samll amount of bread, water, and peanut-butter crackers, according to the Daily.

Other witnesses spoke out during the trial, describing a world of manipulation and control, where Jeffs banned followers from 'parades, dances, music, and even the colour red'.

Perhaps most shocking of all has been the revelation that some of the young wives assisted the paedophile with his sexual assaults.

In a confused world where they were brainwashed to service the demands of their leader, however abusive, three of Jeffs’s wives were said in court to have held down the 12-year-old victim while Jeffs raped her.

One of the girls bound the child's arms and legs to stop her moving, tapes seized from the compound where they lived in Eldorado, Texas, revealed.

It is unclear whether the women will be prosecuted for their roles in the abuse. Many argue their submission was borne out of a deeply engrained fear of Jeffs, who took over the community in 1998 from his father, who had raised him to believe the women were rightfully his to abuse as a birthright.

As sect leader, Jeffs 'documented everything he did, keeping track of every marriage he performed, every young woman he wed, even recording his intimate moments.'

During a 2008 raid, these recordings, which helped secure his conviction, were seized by authorities. The explicit tapes, when played in court, caused shocked jurors to break down in tears.

One was 'a 20 minute audiotape that began and ended with a man saying a prayer' before sexually assaulting the 12-year-old in front of three other of his wives, according to prosecutors.

In another, Jeffs can be heard instructing his young wives how to please him sexually and telling them god would 'reject them' if they did not comply.

Softly telling five girls to 'set aside all your inhibitions', the convicted paedophile was heard giving the young girls detailed pointers during a graphic ten-minute tape played for the Texas jury.

The audiotape from 2004 was played in court before another, made within hours of the first, in which prosecutors say Jeffs can be heard having sex with all the girls at the same time.

In one tape, he is heard telling the girls they 'need to be excited'. Jurors also heard him tell the girls that if they refused to please him in what he dubbed the 'heavenly sessions', they would be 'rejected by God'.

In a cruel irony, the girls were encouraged by Jeffs by being told their compliance would help atone for the sins of their community.

Other shocking photographs have also emerged, including ones showing Jeffs holding and passionately kissing an underage female church member and one revealing a bed where ritual sex sessions were carried out in front of a church audience.

State witness Rebecca Musser - a former FLDS member who was married as a young girl to Jeffs' father - told the court she had received training about how beds in the temple were to be used in sexual rituals before it was built.

Miss Musser said beds inside the temple were arranged so that witnesses could see the abuse and that a special seat was placed for someone to record the sexual acts.

While they have suffered under his dictatorship for years, It remains to be seen how women in Jeffs's community will react to his conviction and sentencing.

Seven other men in the church have already been prosecuted, with each receiving convictions and sentences ranging from six to 75 years. There is now no obvious heir to Jeffs's role as prophet.

Several times in his journals, Jeffs wrote of God telling him to take more and more young girls 'who can be worked with and easily taught'.

After a lifetime of abuse and indoctrination, reaction from the women is 'both elation and fear at the same time', Flora Jessop, a former member who escaped from the church in the 1980s, said.

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