Polygamist's Trial Closes with Emotional Testimony
SCOTT SIMON, Host:
But first, a dramatic testimony in the trial of polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs yesterday. Mr. Jeffs is the leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which has an estimated 8,000 members. He is charged with two counts of accomplice to rape in the case of a 14-year-old follower. That young woman, now 21, has been on the stand testifying for the prosecution, trying to send Mr. Jeffs to prison for life.
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WADE GOODWYN: The young woman testified that at the wedding, she refused to say I do until goaded by FLDS leader Warren Jeffs. After the ceremony, she locked herself in a room and refused to come out. For days, she fought off the sexual advances of her new husband. Her sexual instruction was so lacking, she didn't know what sex was or even how children were conceived. But her cousin's patience with her reluctance finally ran out. He got her in their bedroom and undressed her as she pleaded.
SIMON: And I've said I can't do this, please just don't. And I was sobbing, and my whole entire body was just shaking because I was so scared. And he didn't say anything. He just laid me on the bed and have sex.
GOODWYN: The girl's ongoing resistance is a vital element of the prosecution's case against Jeffs. In order to convict, they must convince the jury the girl was raped. Her emotional testimony about her humiliation left the courtroom stunned and subdued.
SIMON: I laid there completely numbed and shocked. I felt dirty and used. I just curled up in a ball and lay there for a long time and just tried to forget.
GOODWYN: The girl got off the bed, went into the bathroom and closed the door.
SIMON: And there was a couple of bottle of pink cologne at the counter. I drank both bottles. The only thing I wanted to do was to die. I just wanted to die.
GOODWYN: The teenager didn't die. She just got violently ill. In desperation, she went to Warren Jeffs and once again pleaded with him, this time to release her from her marriage. Jeffs was unmoved.
SIMON: He told me that I needed to go home and give myself to my husband, mind, body and soul, and obey without question.
GOODWYN: Wade Goodwyn, NPR News, St. George, Utah.
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