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Jeffs follower charged with rape of child bride

  • Story Highlights
  • NEW: Man whose arranged marriage led to conviction charged with rape
  • Allen Steed is accused of having sex with the girl, 14, against her will
  • Steed testified at sect leader's trial that he didn't force sex on new wife
  • FLDS leader Warren Jeffs convicted Tuesday of rape by accomplice
  • Next Article in U.S. »
From Amanda Townsend and Gary Tuchman
CNN
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ST. GEORGE, Utah (CNN) -- A young man whose arranged marriage to a young cousin led to the conviction of polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs was charged Wednesday with her rape.

Prosecutors filed the rape charge against Allen Steed, 26, a day after a jury found Jeffs guilty of two rape-accomplice counts in connection with Steed's ill-fated 2001 marriage to Elissa Wall.

Jurors found that Jeffs used his authority as leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, or FLDS, to push the girl into a marriage she did not want.

Steed was 19 and his bride, who also was his first cousin, was 14 when Jeffs "sealed" them in spiritual marriage at a motel in Caliente, Nevada, where many FLDS weddings were performed. Three other couples also were married that day in separate ceremonies, according to testimony.

Steed is accused of having sex with the girl against her will several weeks into the marriage.

Steed testified for the defense at Jeffs' trial. He said his new wife was affectionate to him in private, but cold in public. He denied that he or Jeffs had forced sex on her.

Wall agreed to be identified publicly as the trial ended in hopes of encouraging other women who feel trapped by polygamy to come forward. Video Watch Wall urge other girls to be brave »

She testified that she told Steed she was not ready and that her first sexual encounter made her feel dirty, used and trapped.

Her pleas to church leaders to end the marriage were ignored, and Jeffs told her to submit "mind, body and soul" to her new husband, Wall told the jury.

Her sisters testified that most of the women in the family also opposed the marriage but were powerless to stop it.

According to the criminal complaint, the trial established that the pair had sex and that the young woman had convinced jurors she did not consent.

Wall left the marriage and the FLDS in 2004. She is now remarried.

An attorney for Steed could not be reached.

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Jeffs, 51, leads the 10,000-member FLDS, which is based in the twin border towns of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Arizona. Followers believe him to be God's prophet, who can lead them to eternal salvation. Listen to an example of Jeffs' preaching »

Jeffs could be sent to prison for the rest of his life when he is sentenced November 20. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

All About Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day SaintsWarren Jeffs

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