Lawsuit accuses FLDS church leaders of ritualistic sex abuse

This February 2016 file photo shows FLDS children on a berm outside the Dairy Store in Hildale, Utah, Feb. 23, 2016. A judge recently ordered the FLDS church, bishop Lyle Jeffs and business associate | Photo by Kimberly Scott, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — High-ranking leaders of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints are accused of carrying out a “calculated plan” of ritualistic sex abuse involving girls as young as eight years old in a lawsuit filed last week against FLDS President Warren Jeffs, along with other officials in the church and its former land trust.

Named as defendants in the lawsuit filed in 3rd District Court Wednesday are the United Effort Plan Trust, Warren Jeffs, his brothers Lyle Jeffs and Seth Jeffs, former FLDS leader Wendell Nielsen, and the FLDS Church.

As part of their FLDS beliefs, sex between underage girls and priesthood leaders took place, the lawsuit alleges, noting that after President Rulon T. Jeffs suffered a stroke in August 1998, much of his power and authority was delegated to his son, Warren S. Jeffs, who began a new practice involving ritualistic sexual intercourse with young girls in the FLDS Temple and other FLDS properties.

Sex with girls, ages eight to 14 years old, was initiated by Warren Jeffs, along with leadership of UEP Trust and the FLDS Church, including the Twelve Apostles of the Church engaging in and witnessing the sexual relations between Warren S. Jeffs, Lyle Jeffs, Seth Jeffs and Wendell LeRoy Nielsen and other John Does viewing, watching, taping, participating in and documenting these sexual encounters with underage girls.”

The lawsuit’s plaintiff — a 21-year-old woman identified as R.H. — alleges she was given a number by which she was known during these religious rituals and she was never called by name, but only by number.

“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,” according to the lawsuit.

Once reaching the unknown location, the bag would be taken off the girl’s head and she would be disrobed and required to engage in sexual acts with the defendants while others watched as part of the ritual, R.H. contends in the lawsuit.

Warren S. Jeffs told (R.H.) that if she told anyone of these encounters, God would destroy her and her family immediately,” the lawsuit states. He also reportedly said that if she cried during the ritual, “God would punish her.”

The rituals reportedly occurred five to six times a week until the woman turned 12. When she was 14 years old, the lawsuit alleges, she was required to witness and document other girls’ ritualistic abuse with church leaders.

“The existence of this religious doctrine and rituals is verified in the evidence that was found in the FLDS Church’s Temple in Eldorado, Texas,” the lawsuit alleges. “Defendant Warren S. Jeffs has been convicted in Texas of engaging in such conduct in the FLDS Church’s Temple in Eldorado, Texas.”

R.H. contends the abuse continued when she turned 16 and began taking part in “Ladies Class” to learn how to be a good wife. During those classes, R.H. alleges, Lyle Jeffs would escort her out of class and into his sound-proof office, where he would sexually assault her “under the guise of further teachings” in the class.

Members who questioned the FLDS leader’s absolute power, control and authority would suffer the loss of their homes, families and support through expulsion from the UEP Trust and FLDS Church.

“(FLDS leaders) taught that FLDS church members and UEP Trust participants should follow the laws of God, not man, with respect to laws prohibiting sexual relations between underage girls and adult men (and) … 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.”

R.H. has asked for a jury trial and is requesting physical and emotional damages as well as attorney fees and any other relief as the court deems reasonable, according to the lawsuit.

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Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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  • Not_So_Much January 3, 2018 at 3:54 pm


  • Craig January 3, 2018 at 4:23 pm

    Isn’t this more akin to earlier times when they were part of the LDS church which in the early years espoused polygamy and allowed marriages between men and young girls?

  • Tim January 3, 2018 at 7:08 pm

    Wow with this new lawsuit i would be curious to see if Jeff’s condemns himself as a fallen prophet? ….again….

  • PlanetU January 3, 2018 at 8:41 pm

    TOO DISGUSTING! In the name of religion? A … load of pedophiles and nothing to do with God.
    Ed. ellipsis.

  • ladybugavenger January 4, 2018 at 6:06 am

    Everyone knows its true, even the people denying it.

    • theone January 4, 2018 at 8:59 am

      Hey bug,
      Where was your god when these religious leaders were raping these kids?
      I hope these people get locked up.

    • ladybugavenger January 4, 2018 at 11:53 am

      Still on the throne my friend.

      Satan is alive in people’s hearts.

      • theone January 4, 2018 at 2:42 pm

        So god finds it useful to just sit on a throne and watch while these kids live a life a depression, anxiety, loss of trust, and reliving the suffering over and over while the bad guys do it to someone else.
        Not very powerful this god of yours.

        • ladybugavenger January 4, 2018 at 5:50 pm

          The devil is going to hell and he’s taking as many as he can. Deceiving the masses.

          The power is when the devil has destroyed you and you turn to God and depression turns into joy, despair into deliverance, anxiety into peace. Your science and meds can’t do that.

          They have all been deceived. And use the name Jesus in their cult.

          And you and the rest of Utah watch it happen. Watch the injustice. Watch the abuse. Watch them shopping in the stores. Y’all just watch.

        • ladybugavenger January 5, 2018 at 6:38 am

          All you gotta know theone, because you love me ?, is that with all the mental trauma and all the evil that was placed upon me as a child and young adult. With all the thoughts of suicide I use to have..I stand here today believing Jesus died for my sins. I stand here with joy, without those ugly thoughts. I stand here still alive. And if I’m murdered or die today- you’ll be sad, but rejoice that I’m in heaven. Rejoice that i’m with God. This world is temporary, this is my temporary home and only God knows when I get to leave. As i sit here wating for that day, I tell you, Jesus is the truth, the life, and the way.

          What kind of loving God wouldn’t give you a choice? You’ve made your choice theone. It hasn’t been because you haven’t been told. ❤ladybug

        • Rob83 January 7, 2018 at 7:51 am

          At Theone; the children think everything that is going on around there is normal. In reference to God just let’s bad things happen; it is called free agency, he let’s men make their own choices, and yes, allows Satan to tempt us and of course bad things happen. It all started when Eve took the bit from the apple. God loves us and feels sorrow when these things happen. I believe he wants everyone to love one another, but he will not force it, we must all learn it ourselves and teach one another through showing love and kindness to all. It’s not easy, we are human and are all tempted by Satan and his demons…

  • Travis January 4, 2018 at 6:28 am

    Mr. Trump: Do something about this. Or do you personally have no problem with Jeffs, just like Moore.

    • ladybugavenger January 4, 2018 at 8:27 am

      Really? You through trump into this. Try bashing your local officials who have done nothing to get these people arrested for sexual abuse. It’s very sad.

    • ladybugavenger January 4, 2018 at 8:31 am

      The state of Utah should be sued! Horrible that you let this go on and on in the name of God. This is a cult and so is LDS. Y’all should be ashamed of yourselves

  • Real Life January 4, 2018 at 7:55 am

    Anywhere else, and the FLDS would have been eradicated a long time ago, as it should have been.

  • comments January 4, 2018 at 1:27 pm

    This is actually the main reason mormons were driven from other states and ended up in middle-of-nowhere utah in 1847. The reason: THE SEXUAL PERVERSIONS OF THE MORMON LEADERSHIP. As I’ve said many times the LDS religion was founded as a sex cult. And, as stated above, the sex cult that is the F-LDS mormon church could really only thrive as well as it has in a place like utah. Our state’s leadership and legal systems have long turned a blind eye to the child rape and molestation that’s been widely know to occur in the plyg enclaves. And the official LDS mormon church has never wanted the publicity that would come from a wide-scale prosecution of child rapists within the FLDS mormon church, so they’ve used their immense political power in this state to keep it from happening. One of the most disturbing things about these mormon cults is that the women of the cult know that their little girls (and boys) are being raped and abused, and they allow it to happen; some are probably fine with it. There is no one to protect these little children from being raped by the F-LDS prophets and leadership. It’s the darkest part of human nature being allowed to run wild in this wonderful mormon mecca that is Utah.

  • Billy January 4, 2018 at 2:47 pm

    This is what true Mormonism is, every Mormon would be doing the same thing if the government would allow it.

    • Rob83 January 7, 2018 at 8:14 am

      Billy, There are a tremendous amount of people with big hearts and good souls in this town. Mormon or not mormon, people have been deceived big time in mormon church and they are told not to search out the truth but to only listen to their leaders. Well I searched out the truth and found it. I was shocked, hurt at first that I had been living a lie and that lead me to really question God/Jesus/Holy Spirit and is how I fell in love with him and found peace in knowing Jesus died for all men sins so we can live with him again in heaven. Lies come so close to the truth it makes it so easy to decieve the people, but Jesus should always be in the lessons being taught in church, not some prophet from the old days, why should a man get more recognition than Jesus? Lastly, Christians are Christians, God wants us to preach his word John 3:16, that is most important along with showing love and kindness to others. But serving everyone else and putting your family on the back-burner makes no sense to me.

  • SteveSGU January 5, 2018 at 12:38 pm

    As usual, there are a lot of nonsensical comments from people who don’t know what they’re talking about. We know from the raid in Texas that certain sexual abuse of minors took place with witnesses, and it’s likely more happened that has not been prosecuted. But why this case is a lawsuit rather than a prosecution of rape makes it more questionable. If the young lady has no corroborating witnesses, it could be very difficult to prove in court.

    This article doesn’t do a good job of explaining how the FLDS leadership developed over time and how the practice of marrying underage girls developed. And the UEP has no responsibility for the actions of FLDS people in such horrible acts. The inclusion of the UEP in the lawsuit makes me wonder if this is just about trying to get money. If this particular young lady was truly abused, I pray she is able to find healing and move on with her life. However, money doesn’t heal anything.

    • Rob83 January 7, 2018 at 8:01 am

      Steve, all I can think is that taking anything to court under rape charges are even harder to prove, it’s a huge accusation and would need serious proof of these actions. I am glad this lady came forward with the information. Not that marriage with a young child is OK what-so-ever, but this information takes it to a new low, can’t believe it.

  • youcandoit February 1, 2018 at 2:24 am

    These are sick and twisted people they do not live by God they clearly made up their own rules. It’s evil I don’t understand why our government allows this. Our president Trump is clearing the bad people out of the government MAGA.

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