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Plea Agreement Could Resolve FLDS Man’s Rape Case

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) – A plea deal could be in the works for the southern Utah man whose “spiritual marriage” to an underage girl was the basis for Utah’s criminal prosecution of polygamous sect leader Warren Jeffs.

Defense attorney Jim Bradshaw says he’s been in discussions with Washington County prosecutors about a plea agreement for Allen Glade Steed.

Steed is scheduled for a resolution hearing Friday before 5th District Court Judge G. Rand Beacham in St. George.

A member of Jeff’s Fundamentalist Church, Steed was charged with first-degree felony rape in September 2007 –one day after a jury found Jeffs guilty of two counts of rape as an accomplice for his role in Steed’s marriage to Elissa Wall. If convicted of the charge, Steed could spend the rest of his life in prison.

Steed was 19 and Wall just 14 when their marriage was arranged by FLDS church leaders.

Jeffs performed the religious marriage ceremony in a Caliente, Nev., motel and later counseled Wall to be obedient and give herself to her husband “mind, body and soul” in order to make an unhappy marriage work.

Washington County prosecutors used the marriage as the basis for filing criminal charges of rape as an accomplice against Jeffs in 2006.

During the trial and later in her book, “Stolen Innocence,” Wall said she objected to the marriage and was forced into sexual relations with her husband.

The Associated Press does not typically name victims of alleged sexual assault, but Wall has frequently spoken publicly about the case and published the book about her experiences.

Steed, now 29, testified on Jeffs’ behalf at the trial, saying his sexual relationship with Wall was never forced.

Last year the Utah Supreme Court overturned Jeffs’ convictions on appeal citing faulty jury instructions and ordered a new trial. State prosecutors sought a rehearing, but were denied and have not yet decided whether to retry the church leader.

Steed’s case has lagged while prosecutors and defense attorneys haggled over its details, including whether or not the statute of limitations on the alleged crime had expired even before the case was filed.

Steed and Wall were married April 23, 2001. Wall reported the alleged crime to police and prosecutors in January 2006, after filing a multimillion civil lawsuit against Jeffs and negotiating an agreement with prosecutors that dictated how the information would be used.

Steed and Wall were granted an FLDS church divorce, known as a release, in 2004, after Wall became pregnant with another man’s child. She has since left the faith.

Steed remains a member of the church.

Jeffs was extradited to Texas in November to stand trial on charges of aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault and bigamy. Texas prosecutors say Jeffs had sex with two children, one under age 14 and the other under age 17. The allegations stem from information in church records seized by authorities during a 2008 raid on a church-run ranch near Eldorado.

Federal prosecutors also have a fugitive charge pending against Jeffs. It stems from a 16-month period when Jeffs was considered a fugitive and was listed on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list. Jeffs was arrested in August in a Las Vegas traffic stop.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


One Comment

  1. davidwr says:

    Memo for members of the FLDS and similar religious groups:
    If you have a “spiritual marriage” to someone underage, you should confine your sexual activity and for that matter all other aspects of marraige to the “spiritual plane” and wait until her body is of legal age before engaging in “bodily sexual relations.” This means the younger person – usually the girl – continues to live at home and grow up and have a somewhat normal adolescence until she is old enough to legally get married. THEN if all parties still want to marry and they are truly exercising their free will, they go get their “earthly” marriage licenses and have an “earthly” marriage. Only then should they live as a couple.

    In other words, think of a “spiritual marriage” where one person is under-aged as a moral commitment by the families and the individuals to get married later, one that can be broken or consummated when the younger person comes of age without any social or other penalty. One practical significance of such an arrangement would be merely to tell all other potential suitors “she’s taken – she’s off limits until she comes of age and by that time she’ll likely be off limits for good, so don’t even think about dating her until then.” Another practical significance is that the couple’s families would be expected to be treated like extended families, and the couple wold be encouraged to get to know each other well and be counseled to accommodate each others’ differences or recognize that they are not compatible so the “spiritual marriage” can be annulled – basically, pre-marital counseling

    Yes, I am very aware that the Warren Jeffs branch of the FLDS was and may still be a patriarchal society where women are basically powerless and adolescent males are seen as competition. This also needs to change, it’s un-healthy in a Christian church.

  2. smoke some now says:

    just a bunch of inbread pedifiles!

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