FLDS Church leaders facing lawsuit for sexual 'religious rituals' with underage girls

Leaders with the Fundamentalists Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are being accused of sexual "religious rituals" with underage girls.

Court documents filed Wednesday say a victim came forward and told state officials leaders of the FLDS church watched, taped, and participated in several sexual encounters with underage girls between five and six times a week. The victims ages ranged from 8 years old to 14 years old.

To read the charging documents click here *Warning graphic content

"This horrific religious doctrine and religious rituals as performed on Plaintiff consisted of Plaintiff, beginning at the age of 8, having a bag placed over her head, led out of her house by representatives of the Defendants, placed in a vehicle, and being driven to an unknown location,' court documents said.

The victim was given a number she was known as during these "rituals". Court documents say she was called by number only. Once she arrived to the secret location the victim claimed she was required to engage in sexual acts with the leaders. She was told if she said anything about it "God would destroy her and her family immediately".

Court documents later say Warren Jeffs told the victim if she was suffering pain "it was because God was unhappy with her and that if [she] cried during these encounters, God would punish her."

The victim said once she turned 14 she was required to become a witness and scribe for these "rituals". 

Evidence for these acts was found in the FLDS church's temple in Eldorado, Texas, according to charging documents.

At the age of 16, the victim said she was required to go to "Ladies Class" to "learn how to be a good wife." During class, the victim said Lyle Jeffs would take her from class into a sound proof office and sexually abuse her "under the guise of further teachings in the 'Ladies Class'," documents say.

Members believed if they disobeyed orders, especially one that involved sex with leaders, they stood at significant risk of losing his or her family or home, charging documents explain.

Every president since the formation of the church have been involved with sexual relations with underage girls, the court documents say. 

Members were taught that the underage girls should engage in sexual intercourse to accomplish the doctrinal goal of the FLDS Church to raise up good priesthood children.

The victim is asking the court for a trial by jury. These claims have been filed against Warren Jeffs, Lyle Jeffs, Seth Jeffs, Wendell LeRoy Nielsen, the FLDS Church, the Corporation of the President of the FLDS Church, the Corporation of the Presiding Bishop of the FLDS Church, and the United Effort Plan Trust.

 

If you suspect child abuse or neglect is occurring, call the Child Abuse/Neglect Hotline 855.323.3237.

 

If you or someone you know needs help, call the toll-free Statewide 24-hour Sexual Violence Crisis and Information Hotline at Rape & Sexual Assault Crisis Line 1-888-421-1100. Click here for a list of Rape Crisis Resources in Utah.

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