Friday, September 14, 2007
The Case of the Missing Slash of Polygamy
"Jane Doe" Testifies as Trial of Polygamist Leader Begins - Warren Jeffs (pictured with his lawyer), leader of a fundamentalist sect of latter day saints, is charged as an accomplice to rape. The victim's testimony focused on Jeffs use of his spiritual authority to coerce her, when she was a 14 year old bride, into having sex with her 19 year husband (also first cousin). Facts in issue apparently include - was the victim raped, discussed in this article only in the context of non consensual sex, and did Jeffs' pastoral guidance require the victim to have sex or just return to her husband in a more general way. Huh?????? Jeffs took the blushing bride and eager groom to Nevada where he married a fourteen year old girl to her nineteen year old first cousin, and no one seems to notice that this is odd. Is this marriage really valid? Why isn't the "husband" charged with statutory rape, eliminating issues of consent? There's an awful lot missing here, NY Times. As Good As News will watch for additional news and rest for now on four observations: 1) the prosecution is in serious trouble - how likely is a jury to convict Jeffs of abetting rape via spiritual counselling when the actual rapist/cousin/husband (now there's a noun we don't get to use every day, a veritable Cordell Stewart of polygamy- Cordell was once famous as a Pittsuburgh Steeler receiver/runner/passer, nicknamed slash) is not even charged with anything: 2) consider the photo, defense counsel seems to be angling for the coveted role of Mrs. Warren Jeffs #4, although she's a little confused about which finger the ring goes on; 3) Missy, our Canyonlands vacation tour guide, missed a lot, I mean a whole lot, of really interesting stuff on our trip through St. George, Utah; and 4) tough break for Mitt Romney -polls show many voters shaky on Mormons already - a barrage of weird press from this trial may actually doom Mitt's faltering campaign, but "Big Love" ratings bound to soar.