Authorities: Wife of Warren Jeffs flees church community

Polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs was convicted on two counts of sexual abuse of a child.

Story highlights

  • The woman is receiving medical treatment in a shelter, authorities say
  • Warren Jeffs led the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
  • He is serving a life-plus-20-year term for aggravated sexual convictions
One of the 78 wives of jailed polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs left the Arizona community of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints this week and is receiving medical treatment at a shelter, authorities said.
The woman, who is not being named by the Washington County, Utah, Sheriff's Department because she's considered a victim of abuse, was taken to the shelter after a tense standoff with church members Monday.
The woman fled to the home of Willie Jessop, a former top church associate expelled by Jeffs.
Jessop said the woman came there because she knew he would protect her.
The standoff began when men from the FLDS arrived at Jessop's office, wanting to take her back to the community, Jessop said. Detectives removed the woman and took her to the shelter.
Jeffs, leader of the 10,000-member Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is serving a life-plus-20-year term for sexual assault. He was convicted in early August of the aggravated sexual assaults of a 12-year-old girl and a 15-year-old girl Jeffs claimed were his "spiritual wives."
The FLDS is a breakaway Mormon sect that openly practices polygamy in the twin border towns of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Arizona, as well as on its Yearning For Zion ranch near Eldorado, Texas. The mainstream Mormon church renounced polygamy more than a century ago.