Judge orders Warren Jeffs to pay $16 million to former FLDS child bride

Foreground: Warren Jeffs booking photo circa 2008. Background: stock image | Booking photo courtesy of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A Utah judge has ordered imprisoned FLDS polygamist leader Warren Jeffs, as well as the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints itself, to pay a former child bride $16 million in general and punitive damages after Jeffs reportedly forced her to marry an adult church member when she was 14 years old.

Concluding a case first filed in Washington County in 2005, 3rd District Judge Keith Kelly awarded Elissa Wall $4 million in damages and $12 million in punitive damages Tuesday in the lawsuit she filed against the self-proclaimed prophet of the FLDS church.

In a statement issued Tuesday, Wall said the following:

The judgment handed down by the Court is a big step forward in the fight for a strong and unmovable statement to the world that no one, especially children, can be sexually exploited and abused in the name of religion. Today is a victory for many thousands of victims of abuse. Many of us have stood up in our own way to fight for justice and further the protection of children.

Neither Jeffs nor the FLDS church obtained a lawyer or defended themselves against Wall’s lawsuit, which claimed that she had been forced to marry her 19-year-old cousin, Allen Steed, when she was 14 years old, according to court documents. She was then required by Jeffs and the FLDS church to fulfill her religious duties by having sex with her husband and “to produce children.” Wall went on to have miscarriages and a stillbirth.

Judge Kelly wrote that Jeffs had exercised “absolute control, power and authority” over Wall’s life “so that he could require her, as a young girl, to enter into an unlawful spiritual marriage. … The conduct of Warren Jeffs and the FLDS Church, as alleged herein, was outrageous and intolerable in that it offended the generally accepted standards of decency and morality.”



Jeffs was convicted in 2007 as an accomplice to rape for presiding over the illegal marriage, but the case was overturned by the Utah Supreme Court in 2010 in a ruling that improper instructions were given to the jury during his prosecution.

Steed pleaded guilty to a third-degree felony count of solemnization of a prohibited marriage and pleaded no contest to to a third-degree felony count of unlawful sexual activity with a minor. He received 30 days in jail and three years of probation as part of a plea deal.

Wall has spoken publicly and written a book about her experiences entitled “Stolen Innocence.”

Jeffs is currently serving a life sentence plus 20 years in a Texas prison after being convicted in 2011 of sexually assaulting underage girls he considered brides.

According to court documents, as of two years ago, the polygamist group’s communal property trust was worth more than $110 million.

Email: kscott@stgnews.com

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8 Comments

  • ladybugavenger September 7, 2017 at 12:19 pm

    I hope she gets the money.

    $110 million. Holy cow! And they are on food stamps. Ohhhhhh their little food stamp scam that they got away with was larger than $10 million, it appears to be closer to $100 million.

  • Honor1st September 7, 2017 at 3:11 pm

    2005 to 2017 = 12 Years of court hearings !
    I doubt I will ever understand why it takes so many years to hear a case . . .

  • Kilroywashere September 7, 2017 at 4:54 pm

    16 million dollars is not enough.

  • DRT September 7, 2017 at 7:21 pm

    Does anyone actually think she has any chance to collect even one dollar out of this?
    I’m sure they will all appeal this decision, giving some BS excuse why they didn’t have legal representation at the trial, and this decision will be overturned.
    Or, if they don’t fight it, they just won’t pay for it at all. What are they going to do to Jeff’s, put him in a smaller cell?
    And we’ve already seen what our “justice system” in Utah will do. Little to nothing.

    • ladybugavenger September 8, 2017 at 8:19 am

      No, I really don’t think she will get a dime. It’s already been 12 years. Jeffs is in prison and the FLDS will say they aren’t responsible for this. Perhaps the judgment was more of a statement then an actual pay out. I just hoped she would DRT.

      Her statement was beautiful.

      But this child abuse still goes on in the name of religion

  • utahdiablo September 7, 2017 at 8:47 pm

    Yeah, like Jeffs will ever pay that “Tab”….your dreaming Judge

  • comments September 8, 2017 at 1:01 pm

    Warren Jeffs actually is the modern day Joseph Smith. But I think if Smith were around in modern times there’d have been lots of cocaine and hookers involved. I somewhat doubt that Smith would have been quite the pedophile that warren is, but we’ll never know for sure. It’ll be interesting to see if they get any money out of the FLDS. Might be possible to get ownership of a lot of their assets with a judgement like this.

    • Gcia September 10, 2017 at 10:26 am

      You sound like such an idiot

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