By John Dougherty and Kirk Johnson
ST. GEORGE, Utah, Sept. 25 — The polygamist Warren S. Jeffs, hailed by his followers as a prophet but denounced by critics as a tyrannical cult leader, was convicted here on Tuesday of being an accomplice to the rape of a 14-year-old church member.
The verdict, by an eight-member state jury here in Washington County, was a vindication of the prosecution’s argument — which some experts had thought might be hard to accept — that orchestrating a marriage of a young girl under duress made Mr. Jeffs culpable even though he was not present when the rape occurred.
This article is only tangentially related to love and relationships, but we figured it was a good follow up to yesterday’s Dish on honor killings in Syria. From the coverage we’ve read, this case is more about the prosecution punishing the leader of a rebel sect of the Mormon Church. We see this as akin to Al Capone going down for tax evasion. We’re just pretty sure that forcing a 14-year-old girl into marrying her cousin -- and all that that entails -- is a really awful crime, but it seems like the prosecution would have liked to get other things on him. There are only so many life sentences to serve, we suppose. It’s just a little strange that he was found guilty as an accomplice to rape when the man that committed the rape has not been prosecuted.