FLDS: end of Short Creek?

17 November, 2017

Screenshot 2017-11-17 at 8.03.45 AM - Edited

 

Their life in the hardscrabble region, where unpaved roads predominate, has always been half a century behind the rest of the US.

With the outside world descending on fundamentalist Mormons in Utah and Arizona, families struggle for basic needs: ‘Everything just shut down’

[August 1 2011 Warren Jeffs: Last four prosecution witnesses ]

 

warren jeffs 2011 - Edited

Warren Jeffs 2011 in Utah

In the trial of the State of Texas versus Warren Jeffs, the leader of the breakaway Fundamentalist sect of the Mormon Church known as the FLDS, [Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints FCLDS]
On Friday, mostly due to the unanticipated divine revelations of the defense, prosecutors were unable to get through the 10 witnesses they had hoped would testify. The testimony of the remaining four will start the day’s proceedings on Monday at 10 a.m. ET. cnn law blog

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Sioux Falls

 

 

The leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will serve no less than three years in prison for defrauding food stamps. As part of a plea deal with federal prosecutors, Lyle Jeffs also agreed to pay one-million dollars in restitution and in exchange, the feds dropped a money laundering charge. Jeffs also pleaded guilty to a failure to appear charge after being captured in South Dakota following a year on the lamb. In all, investigators believe the F-L-D-S defrauded more than 12-million dollars from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP.

 

 

[September 8 FBI has paid out a $50,000 reward ]

The FBI has paid out a $50,000 reward to two people who provided information that led to the June 14 arrest of Lyle Jeffs. The two men spotted Jeffs pawning tools at a Yankton, S.D., business, according to the FBI. One of them spotted Jeffs a second time July 23 and became suspicious, partly because Jeffs was wearing layers of clothing, a hat and sunglasses indoors. The tipster thought to note the partial license plate of the vehicle Jeffs was driving. That information was given to law enforcement and triggered an extensive search in the area, the FBI said.

[August 6 memory loss about crimes from Lyle’s accidents? ]

Lyle Jeffs’ public defender Kathryn Nester said a three-story fall onto concrete her client suffered in the mid-1990s and a car accident he had in 1998 may have left Jeffs with memory problems and wants him to receive a neurological exam and an MRI.
Nester said she does not think a professional will deem Jeffs incompetent to stand trial, but she wants to be able to explain to a jury why her client can’t remember key moments that relate to the crimes alleged by prosecutors. The first accident happened in 1997 when Jeffs fell three stories at a construction site, hit his head on concrete and rocks and was left unconscious, Nester said in a court filing. Doctors said he suffered traumatic brain injuries and could experience a personality change, the documents said.

A year later, Jeffs was in a car accident in the Salt Lake City area that left him unconscious with cuts on his forehead and required treatment for traumatic brain injuries, Nester said court documents.

Nester told the judge she is trying to obtain complete medical records about both accidents but said it’s difficult since they happened some long ago. Some records may have been destroyed, she said, justifying her request for a new neurological exam for Jeffs.

 

[July 17 Lyle’s trial to begin Sept. 18 ]

Lyle Jeffs entered a not guilty plea in federal court Salt Lake City July 10 on charges related to food stamp fraud and failure to appear in court.
Judge Wells scheduled a two-week trial to begin Sept. 18 for the matter to be heard in federal court. Wells ordered Jeffs jailed pending trial. Jeffs could face up to 10 years in prison on a failure-to-appear charge filed after his arrest.
The two other felony counts of benefits fraud and money laundering carry possible 5- and 10-year sentences.

Only one member of the FLDS, one of Jeffs’ nieces attended.   Last year, 20 to 30 people, including Jeffs’ sons and at least one of his plural wives, would attend his hearings.

Eleven co-defendants resolved their cases by pleading guilty to felony or misdemeanor charges. All avoided jail time or paying restitution.

 

[June 23 Lyle found in Yankton S.D. ]

A federal grand jury has issued a new indictment against Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints polygamous sect leader Lyle Steed Jeffs.   Jeffs has been charged with a new felony count for failure to appear. Prosecutors filed the charge in federal court in Salt Lake City on June 21.

 

 

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pawned Leatherman tools

Bishop Lyle Jeffs, leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was living out of his car for two weeks before his arrest in Yankton, South Dakota, an FBI official said June 15.   

A polygamous sect leader’s life on the run came to end June 14 after he hocked a couple pairs of pliers at a pawn shop in a small South Dakota town the day before.

Lyle Steed Jeffs sold the Leatherman multitools for $37 at River City Treasures and Pawn in Yankton, South Dakota, on June 13 using his last name as his first name, said owner Kevin Haug. Jeffs, he said, handed over his actual ID and filled out the form to complete the deal.

“That was Lyle’s master plan to avoid capture was telling that my first name’s my last name, I guess,” Haug said.

Haug wasn’t in the store at the time but said his employee thought Jeffs was “acting strangely” and Googled his name after he left. Jeffs came up wanted.

 

[December 22 2018 guilty plea by John Waxman]

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John Waxman

 

Speaking softly, John Wayman agreed to plead guilty to a single count of food stamp fraud.

“Has anyone offered you any inducements or threatened to get you to plead guilty?” Judge Stewart asked.

“No,” Wayman replied.

“Is it your intention to plead guilty of your own free will?”

“Yes.”
Wayman admitted that between 2011 and 2016, he knowingly facilitated Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits to non-beneficiaries. Federal prosecutors have charged 11 FLDS members with food stamp fraud and money laundering charges, accusing them of ordering followers of the Utah-based polygamous church to hand over SNAP benefits to leaders, to do with as they wish. The feds allege the scheme exceeds $12 million in taxpayer dollars.

But under the deal, Wayman gets released from jail immediately and has to pay no restitution. He also doesn’t have any probation and a $100 fine. The feds have also agreed not to indict him for any other crimes that they may be aware of. Federal prosecutors defended their plea bargain offer, saying they believe it sends a message to the “culture of fraud” within the FLDS community, resolves the religious freedom issues and obtains guilty pleas. They also appeared to acknowledge some difficulty in obtaining a plea deal.

“It’s a very unique case that has unique legal issues,” assistant U.S. Attorney Rob Lund told the judge.
Plea deals have been offered to other defendants in the case, with one already notifying the government he will accept it.

[December 12]

flds-kimball-dee-barlow

Kimball Dee Barlow

Kimball Dee Barlow will enter a guilty plea of a charge of conspiracy to commit fraud as a misdemeanor, Attorney Rudy Bautista says. The terms from there are, in addition to pleading to that, there would be no incarceration.
Lyle Jeffs is accused of escaping home confinement in june. The FBI has said he used olive oil to slip out of a GPS monitoring device. A $50,000 reward has been offered for information leading to his arrest
Lyle Jeffs is the brother of imprisoned polygamist leader Warren Jeffs, who is serving a life sentence in a Texas prison for child sex assault related to underage “marriages.”

 

August 30 Lyle Jeffs,SHOULD BE CONSIDERED ARMED AND DANGEROUS ]

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Lyle Jeffs [FBI]

On August 29,, the FBI announced the agency is offering a reward of up to $50,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Lyle Jeffs, 56, who might try to change his appearance, is considered armed and dangerous and should not be approached.

Date(s) of Birth Used January 17, 1960, January 19, 1960
Place of Birth Utah
Hair Brown
Eyes Brown
Height 6’1″
Weight 210 pounds
Sex Male
Race White
Nationality American
NCIC W136539035
Reward:

The FBI is offering a reward of up to $50,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Lyle Steed Jeff

SHOULD BE CONSIDERED ARMED AND DANGEROUS

Submit a Tip:

If you have any information concerning this person, please contact your local FBI office or the nearest American Embassy or Consulate.

Field Office: Salt Lake City
https://www.fbi.gov/wanted/wcc/lyle-steed-jeffs

 

 

 

[August 9 Short Creek FLDS reorganized ]

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Nephi Jeffs

 

 

Warren Jeffs has named a new bishop of Short Creek, replacing one brother, Lyle, with another, Nephi.

Warren Jeffs noted in his lengthy instructions to Nephi that each of Short Creek’s recent bishops had failed: “Each one has had the great sin of finding comfort in women’s attention,”

[March 8 FLDS towns will pay $1.6 million in civil rights trial

Colorado City camera

Colorado City camera

In a civil rights trial, the jury reached a verdict on its fourth day of deliberations, and awarded $2.2 million to six residents eligible for damages. But the towns will only have to pay $1.6 million because lawyers negotiated a settlement over that part of the case.

The judge will now decide what other punishments to impose. Federal authorities could ask for the Colorado City Marshal’s Office to be disbanded and for its duties to be handed over to local sheriffs. Federal attorneys describe the local police force and FLDS Church’s security operation as paranoid entities that worked to violate the rights of nonbelievers. Witnesses for the government said church security spied on people with cameras placed around the towns and positioned themselves to keep an eye on who was arriving.

The former head of church security described elaborate cloak-and-dagger efforts taken to avoid scrutiny from outside law enforcement, such as using “burner” cellphones, encrypted radios and driving 40 miles to make phone calls out of fear that a local cell tower was being monitored by investigators.

[March 1 FLDS : only one defendant, Kimball Dee Barlow, 51 at large  ]

Church leaders arrested

Church leaders arrested

On February 26, a judge in Salt Lake City ordered defendant John Clifton Wayman, 56, detained, finding that he presented a risk to flee. Seth Steed Jeffs, 42, of Custer, S.D., appeared February 29 in a federal court in South Dakota, where a judge ordered him to remain in custody , too, and to be transferred to Utah by federal marshals. As of February 29, only one defendant, Kimball Dee Barlow, 51, had not been apprehended or surrendered.

February 26 SNAP fraud indictments in Colorado City, Ariz.
Prosecutors believe leaders of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints diverted funds from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, and ordered church members to use the benefits to place goods in a communal storehouse to later be distributed among church members.
A two-count indictment charges 11 leaders and members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (FLDS Church) with conspiracy to commit Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering. The defendants include leaders of the church.Charged in the indictment are Lyle Steed Jeffs, age 56, John Clifton Wayman, age 56, Kimball Dee Barlow, age 51, Winford Johnson Barlow, age 50, Rulon Mormon Barlow, age 45, Ruth Peine Barlow, age 41, and Preston Yates Barlow, age 41, all of Hildale; Seth Steed Jeffs, age 42, of Custer, South Dakota; and Nephi Steed Allred, Hyrum Bygnal Dutson, age 55, and Kristal Meldrum Dutson, age 55, all of Colorado City.
The indictment alleges that in March 2015, using SNAP fraud proceeds, Kimball Barlow signed a check for $16,978 to Orchid’s Paper Products Company for the purchase of paper products. During the period May 31, 2013, through September 22, 2014, the indictment alleges Ruth Barlow signed five checks totaling $13,561 made payable to John Deere Financial. The SNAP fraud proceeds were used for installment payments on a 2013 John Deere load tractor. SNAP fraud proceeds were also used for 16 checks totaling $30,236 payable to Ford Motor Credit for installment payments on a 2012 Ford F-350 purchased by Winford Barlow about Sept. 29, 2012.
The violations included in the indictment are especially egregious since they allege that leaders of the conspiracy directed others to commit crimes, for which only certain people benefited,”

[February 8 federal jury trial against Colorado City, Ariz. and Hildale, Utah ]

Joseph F. Smith family

This turn of the century family portrait was taken close to the time Joseph F. Smith succeeded Lorenzo Snow as president of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints in October 1901. Besides Levira, with whom he had no children, Joseph had five other wives and forty-eight children. His wives are (L to R seated by Joseph): Mary Taylor Schwartz (married, 1884, seven children); Edna Lambson (married 1871, ten children); Julina Lambson (married 1866, thirteen children, including Joseph Fielding Smith—top row, center); Sarah Ellen Richards (married 1868, eleven children); Alice Ann Kimball (married 1883, seven children); circa 1904

 

 

PHOENIX (CN) – The former chief marshal of two towns run by a fundamentalist Mormon sect testified February 3 that he looked the other way when men in Colorado City, Ariz. and Hildale, Utah took underage girls as their “spiritual wives.”
The Department of Justice sued the twin towns in 2012, claiming they denied non-church members police protection, water and housing. The towns are dominated by members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, whose leader, Warren Jeffs, is serving life in prison for sexually assaulting 12- and 15-year-old girls, whom he called his spiritual wives.
A federal jury trial against the two towns began in January and is expected to last through the end of February.
The government accuses the Colorado City Marshal’s Office of selectively enforcing “laws and regulations against non-FLDS individuals on the basis of religion.”

[September 16 2015 Floods catch 16 near FLDS center ]

Hildale • Washes divide Hildale, Utah, and adjoining Colorado City, Ariz. A big one, called Short Creek Wash, is supposed to act like a big drainage ditch and runs at almost a 45-degree angle through the community.

Smaller washes connect to Short Creek Wash. At about 5 p.m. Monday, 16 people — women and children — were caught when water rushed from one of those smaller washes into Short Creek Wash.

[March 24 2013 FLDS home covered in surveillance cameras]
read

Colorado City camera

Colorado City camera

The twin towns of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz., known collectively as “Short Creek” and home to the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is covered in surveillance cameras.
“Our idea was to stop the underage marriages, and I think we’ve done that,” said Gary Engels, a Mohave County investigator who spearheaded the crackdown. “But, if anything, the community has become a lot more closed to society. The people have become a lot more paranoid. map

[March 17]

Willie Jessop, ex-FLDS activist

Willie Jessop, ex-FLDS activist

Willie Jessop, former member of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, walks down the hallway following a hearing Tuesday, March 5, 2013, in Salt Lake City. A 3rd District Judge has given initial approval for the eventual creation of a board of trustees to take over homes and property belonging to a polygamous sect led by Warren Jeffs on the Utah-Arizona border. Judge Denise Lindberg approved the plan during a hearing Tuesday morning in Salt Lake City. Her approval is not a final decision, but rather permission to explore this option. Any action is pending the Utah legislature paying $5.7 million it owes in professional fees to a trust created in 2005 to handle the properties Willie Jessop, said he’s confident a board can be created that does what’s best for everybody.
“There is enough compassionate people in the community that understand the importance of protecting their neighbors’ interests, even if their neighbor is required to answer them nothing,” Jessop said.

[February 14]

Second Ward fundamentalist Mormons

Second Ward fundamentalist Mormons

Members of the fundamentalist Mormon group in Centennial Park are behind the new grocery store off of AZ Highway 389 and say they will allow anyone to shop there.

The Centennial Park group broke away from the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in the mid-1980s and has prospered with a pro-business and welcoming mind-set.

The FLDS-controlled CMC Food Town, the only grocery store in Colorado City and its twin city of Hildale, Utah, abruptly closed in November. The towns’ lone hardware store and RadioShack also closed.

FLDS Church leader Warren Jeffs, 57, is imprisoned in Texas on convictions of sexually assaulting two underage girls.

Even while behind bars, Jeffs is said to still release edicts to his followers, including recent strict food restrictions and many believe he is behind the closing of the stores.

Controlling food is just one more way for Jeffs to control his people and punish outsiders as only FLDS faithful are allowed to get food from what’s called the Bishop’s Storehouse.

“You can only survive off the storehouse,” Knudson said. “There are absolute two societies now. If you are not in with them they don’t even talk with you.”

Humanitarian groups have been concerned over the closing of the grocery store and welcome the news of the new store in Centennial Park.

“This is great news,” said Paul Murphy, spokesperson for the Utah Attorney General’s Office. “People have literally been bringing truckloads of food into this area making sure families are fed.” On 13 May 1984 the portion of Johnson’s followers who were dismissed or left on their own, held their first Priesthood Meeting just outside of town. They named their group the “Second Ward” in contrast to those following Johnson, whom the Centennial Park group refers to as the “First Ward.” Initially they met in the home of Alma Timpson.
By 27 September 1986, the Centennial Park group had built a meeting house and later, in 2003, a charter school was built for the town’s growing elementary-age population.
Most of this group lives in Centennial Park City, Arizona (36°57′21.96″N 112°58′59.64″W), a town approximately 3 miles (5 km) south of the twin communities of Colorado City, Arizona and Hildale, Utah,[1] with a small number living in the Salt Lake Valley.

[February 6]

Ruby Jessops, children and sister

Ruby Jessops, children and sister

[January 22]
PHOENIX (AP) _ Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne says there is an ongoing criminal investigation into a polygamous sect along the Utah-Arizona border.
The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints’ leader, Warren Jeffs, is jailed in Texas for life after being convicted of sexually assaulting two of his underage brides.
A 26-year-old woman who claims Jeffs forced her into marriage at age 14 has now fled the group. She says she and her six children were held against their will for years.
Horne says her allegations of forced underage sex, among other things, are part of the ongoing case, but he declined to provide details.
Jeffs was convicted in Texas after similar allegations were leveled against him and others following a 2008 raid on an FLDS ranch in Texas.
Ruby Jessop escape from Colorado City, Ariz. along with her six children ages 2 to 10.
“ She went to court in Kingman and got a court order to bring her children out. I talked to her for a bit his morning. The kids were huddled around a TV, which they have seldom if ever seen before. “

[October 11,’11]

Some wives of Warren Jeffs

Some wives of Warren Jeffs

The woman had been living with her parents, and ran to the home of Willie Jessop, former spokesman for the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, who currently supports a rival seeking to replace Jeffs as prophet..
Washington County sheriff’s deputies helped one of the wives of polygamous sect leader Warren Jeffs leave the sect’s home base community along the Utah-Arizona border Monday.
The sheriff’s deputies helped diffuse what had become a standoff with FLDS men outside Jessop’s office, after a manhunt was launched, the woman was taken to a shelter. Deputies arrived on a ‘keep the peace’ call at about 3pm.
She asked for assistance in leaving the community,.
They are looking into allegations she was held against her own will and even drugged.

Polygamy Town

Hildale Urah

Elissa Wall’s personal injury lawsuit has been playing out in 3rd District Court in Salt Lake City for a decade. In May, after Jeffs failed to respond to the lawsuit, a judge allowed for her to collect default damages, which were expected to be millions of dollars. Judge Keith Kelly waited until Monday to hold the hearing on damages to give Jeffs and his attorneys another chance to respond if they wanted to.

At Monday’s hearing, the table where Jeffs’ attorneys would have sat remained empty as no one from his side attended.

“He is ignoring the legal process,” Wall’s attorney, Alan Mortensen, said following Monday’s hearing.
She told the judge that through her personal contacts, she learned that child marriages briefly stopped after authorities raided the church’s YFZ Ranch in Texas in 2008, ultimately leading to Jeff’s conviction and life prison sentence for sexually assaulting two underage followers he took as brides.

But many women and children were sent deep “underground,” to exclusive compounds where a “whole other layer of very perverted teachings are being given.”

Based on Jeffs’ writings seized in Texas, underage marriages are still happening and there’s “nothing to suggest they will ever stop,” according to Wall.

Jeffs, she said, believes the younger the girl, the more pure she is.

 

[October 14 2011 No charges in wife’s flight from Warren Jeffs community ]

WireAP_d97d0305134a4bdba3596d53d97a7a51.jpg (2592×1738)

Warren Jeffs compound Holdale 2013

 

Warren Jeffs community, Hildale, Utah

Warren Jeffs community, Hildale, Utah

Washington County Attorney Brock Belnap said he was not sure if criminal charges will be filed in the case.

“It all depends upon what she wants to do. She’s an adult and we have to respect her choices. Right now we don’t know what she will say or do that could possibly lead to charges,” Belnap said, adding that Utah officials were not sure how many of Jeffs’ wives were in Utah or the area.

Jeffs, 55, has at least 78 plural wives, according to court documents. In August, he was convicted in Texas of sexually assaulting two of those wives when they were ages 12 and 15. According to evidence prosecutors presented at trial, Jeffs “trained” his wives to be comfortable naked and participate in group sex. He frequently moved them to “lands of refuge” like the group’s Yearning for Zion Ranch in Texas or to “houses of hiding” scattered throughout the West.

Very few, if any, of the women he has taken as wives are known to have left the community.

USDC CDDU: Polygamy ruled legal

USDC CDDU: Polygamy ruled legal

Plural marriage case reversed as moot

The Utah County Attorney’s Office (“UCAO”) subsequently closed its file on the Browns and adopted a policy (“the UCAO Policy”) under which the Utah County Attorney will bring bigamy prosecutions only against those who (1) induce a partner to marry through misrepresentation or (2) are suspected of committing a collateral crime such as fraud or abuse. The Browns fall into neither category. Nonetheless, the district court denied the Utah County Attorney’s motion to dismiss the case as moot and instead granted summary judgment to the Browns.
The district court erred by proceeding to the merits. Federal courts are courts of
limited jurisdiction. They lack power to decide issues—however important or fiercely
contested—that are detached from a live dispute between the parties. Following adoption of the UCAO Policy, the Browns’ suit ceased to qualify as an Article III case or
controversy. Their suit was moot before the district court awarded them relief, and the court therefore lacked jurisdiction to decide the Browns’ claims.

https://www.ca10.uscourts.gov/opinions/14/14-4117.pdf

 

 

[December 19 2013  ]


A coalition of polygamous groups in Utah have issued a joint statement, praising the ruling by a federal judge that basically decriminalized polygamy in the state.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/192358547/Order-in-Kody-Brown-polygamy-lawsuit
<http://www.lds.org/topics/plural-marriage-and-families-in-early-utah?lang=eng&query=plural+marriage

[October 3]

Warren Jeffs lived here before imprisonment

Warren Jeffs lived here before imprisonment

William E. Jessop, who is leading a group of dissidents who have left the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, is trying to move into the house on the corner of Academy Avenue and Barlow Street in Colorado City, Ariz. Its current occupant is Seth Jeffs.

He’s the brother of Warren Jeffs, the imprisoned leader of the FLDS. Seth Jeffs was arrested in October 2005, carrying money and letters meant for his brother Warren, who was still a fugitive at the time.
On paper, the home belongs to the United Effort Plan, the trust holding much of the property here and in Hildale, Utah, that is currently in receivership. Jessop built the house and lived in it for years. The trust fiduciary, Bruce Wisan, has typically tried to return homes to people with reasonable claims on them.
But there’s no indication Seth Jeffs plans to leave soon.

   FLDS member Mary Harker, right, speaks with UEP trust administrator Bruce Wisan following a 2009 court hearing.


FLDS member Mary Harker, right, speaks with UEP trust administrator Bruce Wisan following a 2009 court hearing.

FLDS member Mary Harker, right, speaks with UEP trust administrator Bruce Wisan following a 2009 court hearing.
[February 15, 2012]
Utah’s attorney general has 90 days to pay off more than $5.5 million in debts incurred by managers of a communal land trust once run by jailed polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs.

United Effort Plan Trust — the $114 million communal property trust

United Effort Plan Trust — the $114 million communal property trust

Third District Judge Denise Lindberg set the deadline in an order issued February 13.
The money is owed to Salt lake City accountant Bruce Wisan, his attorneys and other firms hired to assist with management of the United Effort Plan Trust — the $114 million communal property trust of Jeffs’ Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
The trust holds the land and homes of FLDS members in the twin border communities of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz., and in Bountiful, British Columbia.
No trust bills have been paid since 2008.
“We are disappointed in the ruling and are reviewing our options for appeal,” Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff said. “We believe it is important to have the decision reviewed as expeditiously as possible.”
Utah seized control of the trust in 2005 amid allegations of mismanagement by Jeffs and other Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints leaders. The Arizona Attorney General’s Office backed the effort.
Wisan was to be paid from the sale of trust assets, but a string of pending lawsuits, including one pending before Denver’s 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, has blocked any land sales. back

Yearning For Zion Ranch 2008

Yearning For Zion Ranch 2008

Agents from the Texas Department of Public Safety have taken possession of Yearning for Zion (YFZ) Ranch, the FLDS compound, near Eldorado Texas on a court order from a petition from Texas Attorney General in November, 2012 , a 1,600-acre property in West Texas where multiple children were sexually assaulted by members of the FLDS. Online records from the Schleicher County Appraisal District indicate a dozen pieces of property at the ranch’s address that are owned by the trust and total 1,691 acres. Combined, the most recent appraised value of the properties is $33.4 million.
FLDS’s leaders illegally structured financial transactions to evade law enforcement oversight, and describes how Warren Jeffs personally toured the YFZ Ranch before subsequently authorizing its purchase. Based on a thorough financial audit of the FLDS’s bank accounts, the affidavit details how the purchase of the ranch itself and the construction of a massive compound on ranch property were financed with the proceeds of illegal money laundering.

[December 2 2013]
Texas moved a little bit closer to seizing the sprawling, polygamous Yearning for Zion Ranch. During a Nov. 4 hearing in Schleicher County, a pair of lawyers from the Texas Attorney General’s office told a judge they have served Isaac Steed Jeffs and Keith Dutson Sr. with papers relating to the state’s efforts to take the ranch, according to Texas AG’s spokeswoman Lauren Bean.

Officials still need to serve James Jerry Jessop. However, at the Nov. 4 hearing the attorneys told the judge they could not find Jessop and filed a “motion for substitute service.” Bean said the motion is used to serve papers to a person who cannot be located. It offers attorneys other options for serving papers and moving forward with the case, though Bean did not provide details about those options.

The judge granted the motion for substitute service but did not set a new hearing date.

[August 1 2011]
The state continued building its case against Warren Jeffs Monday afternoon, calling Texas Rangers who were involved in the YFZ Ranch raid to establish continuous custody of evidence and a former FLDS member to explain the significance of the documents.

Rebecca Musser, a former FLDS member, testified about the importance of record-keeping in the sect, saying individual members receive an enormous amount of training in religious doctrine. Musser said she was educated in the Alta Academy, a Salt Lake City institute where a generation of FLDS children was indoctrinated. Warren Jeffs taught and acted as principal at the academy from 1976 to 1998.
A DNA expert testified that Warren Jeffs is almost certainly the father of a male child born to the girl he is accused of sexually assaulting in 2005. Amy Smuts, called by the prosecution Monday, said DNA evidence provided 99.99996 percent certainty that the boy is Jeffs’ child. Prosecutors presented the testimony as proof that Jeffs had sex with the girl, who was 15 years old at the time.

Jeffs is charged with two counts of sexual abuse of a child.

The ecclesiastical head of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Days Saints is standing trial before a Tom Green County jury of 10 women and two men after being extradited from Utah in November. The charges are based on evidence seized from the FLDS community in Schleicher County, the YFZ Ranch, in April 2008.

The allegations against Jeffs are that he had sex with a 15-year-old girl in 2005 and a 12-year-old girl in 2006 on the ranch after participating with each of them in “celestial marriages,” a ceremony unique to the FLDS that allows the sect to exercise its polygamous beliefs without running afoul of bigamy statutes.

Colorado City, Arizona

Colorado City, Arizona

The House recently defeated the bill championed by Attorney General Tom Horne, but it’s alive again. That’s after the Senate on Thursday inserted it into another law enforcement bill already approved by the House.

The maneuver is being attempted as legislators try to end their annual session.

Horne says Colorado City officers who are members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day flout the law and are simply replaced by other followers of imprisoned FLDS leader Warren Jeffs if removed individually.

Critics say the bill unfairly targets Colorado City and that current officers haven’t done anything wrong.

[April 29]A sharply divided Arizona House on April 25 rejected a bill to allow Mohave County officials to abolish the police department in a northern Arizona community with a polygamous enclave. The House voted 28-25 against the bill as a lawmaker who represents the remote area on the Arizona-Utah line called Colorado City “a different type of community” while acknowledging that some residents practice a form of polygamy. They are married to one individual and the others are celestial, spiritual wives,” said Rep. Doris Goodale, R-Kingman.
[March 5]The attempt to disband the Colorado City police department, in a town populated by followers of polygamous sect leader Warren Jeffs, is proceeding in the Arizona legislature. The proposal would dismantle any department where more than half of the officers have been disciplined in a four-year period
Legislation in Arizona has passed the Senate unanimously and is set to be heard soon in the House, said Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne.

He said he is backing the bill after a law enforcement task force “agreed unanimously the first priority was to get objective police who would uphold the law rather than people who would uphold the authority of Warren Jeffs.”

Arizona’s bill proposes disbanding any department where more than half of the officers have been decertified in the past eight years — a designation that applies only to Colorado City. The bill has emergency status in Arizona, which, if it passes, would make it law immediately after the governor signs it, bypassing a typical 90-day waiting period. A similar bill for adjoining Utah town has died.

United Effort Plan communal land trust

United Effort Plan communal land trust

As the year comes to an end and the followers of Warren Jeffs await the apocalypse he has predicted, they’re living under a challenging edict: they’re forbidden to have sex until Jeffs is sprung from a Texas prison.

“He has predicted that the walls in the prison where he’s at will fall and crumble,” said Joni Holm, who has many relatives in the polygamous FLDS faith.

most severe punishment, excommunication, if they conceive a child.

It’s one of the strangest edicts in a season full of them. Jeffs has issued a stream of revelations, prophecies and orders to his congregation in the border community of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz.

The recent edicts from Jeffs’ prison cell seem to be having two contradictory effects. Many are leaving the FLDS faith in disgust. Those who stay are reported to be increasingly devoted to a man who is serving a lifetime sentence for raping underage girls.

According to numerous critics and outside observers, the imprisoned FLDS leader has sometimes acted through his brother Lyle and other times has spoken directly to his congregation over the phone from prison. He recently banned many of the things his followers enjoy: bicycles, ATVs, trampolines, even children’s toys. But the sex edict reaches into the bedrooms of all his devoted followers.

Did Jeffs give Christmas Sermon from Prison?

A court-appointed accountant can threaten eviction to try to get payment from residents of the border towns of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz. Most of the property in the two cities is owned by the United Effort Plan communal land trust, which was once run by Warren Jeffs, the imprisoned leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.Those who don’t pay would be evicted and replaced with other qualified trust beneficiaries who are willing to comply with the rules, including paying monthly occupancy fees.

“Our goal is not to evict a single person,” Shields said Thursday. “Our goal is to have the people who are already there to pay. There are more beneficiaries than there are houses … the guy who is willing to pay the taxes ought to be able to get one.”

Shields said letters detailing the plan and its consequences should go out before the end of the year. The effort to collect has to begin now, so that money can be collected well before the 2013 deadline, he said.

Salt Lake City attorney Rod Parker, who represents the FLDS, agrees that taxes should be paid, but objects to the plan.
A judge has rebuffed the Utah attorney general and affirmed a ruling ordering the state to pay more than $5 million to the court-appointed administrator of a polygamous sect’s property trust to cover outstanding debt.