Judge rules on anonymity of woman suing Jeffs, FLDS over alleged sex abuse

FLDS children on a berm outside the Dairy Store in Hildale, Utah, Feb. 23, 2016 | File photo by Kimberly Scott, St. George News

ST. GEORGE, Utah — Attorneys clashed in 5th District Court over whether to publicly reveal the identity of a woman who has filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against polygamist leader Warren Jeffs and the Fundamentalist LDS Church, accusing them of “ritualistic sex abuse.”

In a hearing on Tuesday, lawyers for ex-FLDS leader Wendell Nielsen and the court-controlled United Effort Plan Trust sought to have the alleged child rape victim’s name made public, according to a report by Fox 13 They argued that it has been difficult to defend against her accusations when they have been bound by a nondisclosure agreement to even utter her name.

But attorneys for “R.H.,” as she’s known in court documents, told the judge that publicly disclosing her name presented significant security concerns.

“We’re not trying to prevent them from defending their case. What we’re trying to do is protect our client’s safety,” said Alan Mortensen, an attorney for “R.H.”

Judge G. Michael Westfall appeared sympathetic, but uneasy with the whole situation.

“What I’m looking for is a solution that addresses your concerns but addresses their concerns as well,” the judge said. “I don’t have heartburn about designating her as ‘R.H.’ But in terms of them being prohibited from disclosing her name to anyone else, I do have concerns about that. It handcuffs them as far as presenting a defense.”

Westfall ultimately prohibited any court filings from disclosing any identifying information about R.H., but also allowed lawyers to use her name when questioning any potential witnesses.

Read the full story here:  Fox13Now.com.

Written by BEN WINSLOW, Fox13Now.com

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Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright 2019, KSTU. A Tribune broadcasting station

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