SALT LAKE CITY — A judge has refused to dismiss a multi-million dollar lawsuit filed by a woman against imprisoned polygamist leader Warren Jeffs, the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and others.
According to a report from Fox13Now, 3rd District Court Judge Vernice Trease rejected a motion by attorneys for the United Effort Plan Trust and ex-FLDS leader Wendell Nielsen to dismiss the lawsuit.
“This is a very important matter for our client and we think it’s important for everybody,” said Alan Mortensen, an attorney for a woman identified only as “R.H.” in court papers. “This kind of conduct cannot be tolerated.”
The young woman sued Jeffs and other FLDS leaders accusing them of “ritualistic sex abuse.” FOX 13 first reported on the woman’s lawsuit last year. She claims that as an 8-year-old girl, she was repeatedly taken from her home with a bag over her head, driven to an unknown location and then sexually abused. Jeffs is currently serving a life sentence in Texas for child sex abuse related to underage “marriages.”
Mortensen said Judge Trease has also ruled that Jeffs and other FLDS Church members named in the litigation were in default after they refused to answer the lawsuit, which seeks potentially millions in damages. (Nielsen has hired an attorney and responded to the lawsuit, as has the court-controlled UEP Trust.)
“Now, the only thing left for judicial resolution are how much the damages are for our client,” he said.
The lawsuit will proceed against Nielsen as well as the UEP Trust, which controls land in the border communities of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz. It’s where the bulk of the Utah-based FLDS Church’s assets are.
“We think it is disappointing that this plaintiff is trying to hold the Trust responsible for the misconduct of Warren Jeffs,” said Zachary Shields, an attorney for the UEP.
Read the full story here: Fox13Now.com.
Written by BEN WINSLOW, Fox13Now.com
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