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Polygamist Leader Missing At Sentencing Hearing

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SAN ANGELO (AP) – A polygamist group leader convicted of child sexual assault is boycotting his sentencing hearing in Texas.

Warren Jeffs walked out on his sentencing in protest Friday and has been held in another room in the courthouse while the hearing continues. He can return to the courtroom whenever he wishes.

Jeffs had been acting as his own lawyer, but once he left in protest, the judge ordered his stand-by counsel to represent him.

The 55-year-old is the ecclesiastical head of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which believes polygamy brings exaltation in heaven.

He faces up to 119 years in prison after being convicted on two counts of sexually assaulting underage followers he had taken as brides.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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