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Polygamist leader convicted of child sex assault

By Will Weissert

Associated Press

Published: Friday, Aug. 5 2011 1:05 a.m. MDT

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott responds to a reporters question after making a statement regarding the two guilty findings against Polygamist religious leader Warren Jeffs outside of the Tom Green County Courthouse Thursday Aug. 4, 2011, in San Angelo, Texas.

Tony Gutierrez, Associated Press

SAN ANGELO, Texas — As a prophet of his polygamist church, Warren Jeffs documented everything he did. He kept track of every marriage he performed, every young woman he wed. He even taped intimate moments.

Those records helped Texas prosecutors secure convictions Thursday against the 55-year-old Jeffs on child sexual assault charges. On Friday, jurors will begin deciding his fate. Prosecutors want a life prison sentence.

Jeffs was found guilty of sexually assaulting two girls, ages 12 and 15, whom he'd wed during so-called "spiritual marriages." Jeffs leads the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which believes polygamy brings exaltation in heaven.

Jurors will now hear about scores of alleged crimes not mentioned during trial. For example, prosecutors say Jeffs had more than 70 wives, including two dozen under age 17.

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