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Warren Jeffs jurors hear tape of polygamist instructing teen wives on sex

Polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs arrives at the Tom Green County Courthouse, Thursday, July 28, 2011, in San Angelo, Texas. AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez

Warren Jeffs
Polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs arrives at the Tom Green County Courthouse, Thursday, July 28, 2011, in San Angelo, Texas.
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
(CBS/AP) SAN ANGELO, Texas - Texas prosecutors played an audio recording Tuesday of polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs instructing his 14-year-old "spiritual wife" on how to please him sexually, and thus please God.

Jeffs, 55, is head of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which believes polygamy brings exaltation in heaven. He is accused of sexually assaulting two girls, ages 12 and 15, he took as brides in "spiritual marriages."

A doctor and a forensic analyst testified Monday that Jeffs was the father of the 15-year-old's child. Prosecutors played the tape of Jeffs talking to the girl when she was 14 after Texas Ranger Nick Hannah testified about documents and electronic files seized during a 2008 police raid at the church's remote compound in West Texas.

Among the documents seized was a record of Jeffs' spiritual marriage "for time and all eternity" with the 14-year-old in January 2004. An excerpt from hundreds of pages of Jeffs' personal journals said the child was "pure and innocent and willing to obey" and he summoned her parents and "informed them of their girl belonging to me."

Hannah read from Jeffs' journals, which said he took the 14-year-old the night after their wedding with him and another of his new wives on a car ride outside the church's headquarters along the Utah-Arizona border for "training." There, he instructed them on their responsibilities as his wives and had the session taped. The recording was transcribed and placed in church records later seized by police.

Lead prosecutor Eric Nichols played the tape for jurors, who followed along using transcripts. The recording was difficult to understand due to traffic noise, and the transcript wasn't made public.

"A good wife is trained for her husband and follows the spirit of peace," Jeffs is heard saying. He also makes reference to "drawing close" or "being close," which is how church members refer to sex. Two female voices are heard saying "OK."

In writing about the session in his journal later, Jeffs said he told his wives they were "honorable vessels, property of your husband's kingdom and the Kingdom of God on Earth."

Jeffs has represented himself since firing his high-powered attorneys last week. He objected half a dozen times to the tape being played, arguing that the training session was protected by religious privacy rights. State District Judge Barbara Walther overruled him.

When prosecutors played a tape of a second training session later in the day, Jeffs stood up and talked over it.

"I am but a mortal man seeking peace," Jeffs said as the tape played. "I am not a threat to anyone. My faith is my only weapon."

Nichols said Jeffs was interrupting too much and shouldn't be allowed to represent himself. Walther let Jeffs continue but admonished him.

"Mr. Jeffs, I do not want you to be removed from this courtroom," the judge said. "But you are jeopardizing your right to represent yourself with your continued behavior."

Followers see Jeffs as a prophet who is God's spokesman on earth.

Complete coverage of Warren Jeffs on Crimesider

  • Barry Leibowitz

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