Sect Leader Convicted of Accessory to Rape

Warren Jeffs looks over at the jury during his trial on Tuesday in St. George, Utah.

Warren Jeffs looks over at the jury during his trial on Tuesday in St. George, Utah. Douglas C. Pizac/Pool/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Douglas C. Pizac/Pool/Getty Images

The leader of the polygamous Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was found guilty Tuesday of being an accessory to rape when he forced a 14-year-old follower to marry her 19-year-old cousin.

Prosecutors had maintained that Warren Jeffs, 51, used his religious authority to compel the girl into marriage and sex against her will.

He could receive up to life in prison when he is sentenced on Nov. 20 in St. George, Utah.

Jeffs Found Guilty on Accomplice to Rape Charges

A jury in St. George, Utah, has found polygamous sect leader Warren Jeffs guilty of two felony counts of being an accomplice to rape for performing a wedding between a young man and a 14-year-old girl.

Prosecutors say Jeffs forced the girl into marriage and sex against her will. She was married to her first cousin, who was 19 at the time.

Jeffs, who leads the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, will be sentenced at a later date. His punishment could be life in prison. As NPR's Wade Goodwyn tells Melissa Block, the verdict came as a stiff blow to Jeffs.

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