The jury threw the book at Jeffs today- and it wasn't the Holy book. From the Salt Lake Tribune:
Jurors deliberated for 40 minutes before ordering Jeffs to serve life in prison on one count of aggravated sexual assault of a child and 20 years in prison on one count of sexual assault of a child. They also determined Jeffs must pay a $10,000 fine.
During the sentencing phase, the prosecution informed the jury that Jeffs had over 78 wives, 12 of whom were under 15 when he married them. (One of the defendants in the case was a girl he assaulted just 33 days after her 12th birthday.)
Jurors were also told about the beds in the huge white limeston FLDs chapel. These beds were positioned so that observers could watch the sexual acts performed on the new wives and record them for posterity. From the Daily Mail Online:
Other pictures revealed to the court today showed beds where ritual sex sessions were carried out in front of a church audience.
State witness Rebecca Musser - a former FLDS member - 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 told the court 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.
Jeffs' nephew and niece had testified Saturday about the alleged abuse they suffered at his hands.
Brent Jeffs, 28, told jurors that his uncle raped him when he was 5 years old.
Three jurors wiped tears from their eyes as Brent Jeffs spoke, his voice breaking with emotion.
Several also cried during the niece's testimony, in which she described an incident that allegedly occurred between her and Jeffs when she was 8 years old.
"He made me sit on his lap," she testified, and did "inappropriate things to me."
According to FBI testimony, Jeffs planned ahead once he became a fugitive (in 2005), arranging for a series of safe houses equipped with willing young wives. At times Jeffs seemed almost overwhelmed with the bounty of his sexual harvest. Quoting from Jeffs' journal, an FBI agent read:
"Things are happening so quickly. There is an even younger girl that the Lord wants me to take. She is 13. For some reason the Lord is sending me these girls that can be worked with."
After being "sent by the Lord," the girls were then handed over by their own fathers, according to ABCnews:
FBI agent John Broadway testified that fathers who gave their young daughters to Jeffs were rewarded with young brides of their own. Girls who proved reluctant to have sex with Jeffs were sent away, according to excerpts from Jeffs' journals that prosecutors showed to the jury.
Jeffs is the latest conviction stemming from evidence taken in the 2008 raid of the YFZ ranch. From NPR:
Seven other FLDS men were convicted of sexual assault and bigamy charges in Texas. Jeffs and some of his followers faced similar charges in Utah and Arizona but prosecutors in Texas have been more successful in obtaining convictions. That's because the Texas cases are bolstered by detailed and incriminating diaries, photographs, recordings and other documents seized in a raid on an FLDS ranch in Texas in 2008.