ST. GEORGE – In an episode of CNN’s “This is Life” that aired Wednesday, TV journalist Lisa Ling interviews two of Warren Jeffs’ children who, for the first time, publicly detail life with their prophet father and allegations that Jeffs sexually abused them. An encore presentation of the show will air Saturday.
Becky and Roy Jeffs, children of imprisoned Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints prophet Warren Jeffs, both recently left the FLDS church, bringing the total number of Warren Jeffs’ ex-FLDS children to four, according to CNN.
The two Jeffses spoke candidly with Ling as the episode was taped. In a CNN video package, Ling says speaking publicly about these matters wasn’t easy for the two, but they want the world to know the truth about their father.
“They knew that we were going to treat them and their stories with dignity, and so they really allowed us into their worlds,” Ling said, “and they shared with us things that they literally have not shared with some of their closest family members.”
“They want the world to know, and particularly they want people who are still in the FLDS to know – people who still regard Warren Jeffs as the prophet,” Ling went on to say.
Warren Jeffs had approximately 60 children with his estimated 78 wives, according to CNN.
When Warren Jeffs began taking over leadership of the FLDS church, he started taking girls as young as 12 years old to wife. In 2011, Warren Jeffs was sentenced to serve a prison sentence of life plus 20 years for sexually assaulting two of his underage brides. But Warren Jeffs’ victims went far beyond those two girls.
Becky and Roy Jeffs are not the first of Warren Jeffs’ relatives to come forward with allegations that the FLDS prophet sexually abused them. The documentary film “Prophet’s Prey,” which was shown at the DOCUTAH film festival this year, features interviews detailing many alleged sexual crimes Warren Jeffs perpetrated against young victims – both family members and young members of his church.
In the CNN special, Roy Jeffs tells Ling he remembers his father molesting him when he was 4 or 5 years old.
“One of my earliest memories is of him sexually abusing me,” Roy Jeffs said.
“I remember him telling me, ‘You should never do this,’ and then he did it to me,” he went on to say.
CNN reports the network reached out to Warren Jeffs’ attorney, who “did not have an immediate response from his client.”
An encore presentation of “This is Life with Lisa Ling: Children of the Prophet” will air Saturday at 8 p.m. EST on CNN, or the episode can be viewed online via CNNGo.
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