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Cranbrook, B.C. • A prosecutor says members of religious sect in British Columbia carried out the instructions of a now-imprisoned polygamous leader to the letter, and could infer they were taking girls to the United States for a sexual purpose.
Peter Wilson told a B.C. Supreme Court judge in closing arguments on Monday that records from Warren Jeffs, the president of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, show he told Brandon Blackmore that a 13-year-old girl "belonged" to Jeffs.
Wilson described co-accused Gail Blackmore as a "willing participant" in the girl's marriage to Jeffs.
Jeffs, now 60, was convicted in 2011 and sentenced to life in prison in the United States for sexually assaulting two girls he claimed were his "spiritual" wives.
Much of the evidence in the case against the Blackmores and James Oler came about through a U.S. investigation into Jeffs. All three members from the polygamous community of Bountiful, B.C., are accused of taking girls into the United States for a sexual purpose.
Wilson told the court that border records from late February 2004 show the Blackmores, who are now separated as "celestial" husband and wife, and another woman crossed into Idaho, but the 13-year-old girl was "conspicuously absent."
He said the girl must have crossed the border somehow because right after the Blackmores were given orders by Jeffs, priesthood records show the polygamous leader married the teen on March 1 of that year.
The possibility that the events could have been a coincidence is "simply too remote to be entertained," Wilson said.
Wilson added that it's not necessary for the prosecution to prove the defendants acted with "motive or desire" that sexual activity take place between Jeffs and his young bride, but only that they could foresee that being a likely consequence of their actions.
The judge heard earlier in the trial about the beliefs around sex and marriage in the church from former members of the sect.
Women were required to be obedient to their fathers and husbands, and plural marriage was a key tenet of the religion. Women were to bear as many children as possible, the trial heard.
Witnesses said sex was not to take place before marriage, but as soon as possible after the ceremony. The court heard the sole purpose of sexual intercourse for the church's members is procreation, and women are not allowed to turn away their husband's advances.
"All of these things lead to the inference that sexual contact between (the 13-year-old) and Warren Jeffs was a certain or substantially certain consequence of marriage," Wilson said.
Oler faces the same charge of taking a girl into the United States for a sexual purpose, but in connection to a 15-year-old girl to be married to James Leroy Johnson in 2004.
Wilson described for the court how instructions from Jeffs regarding the marriage were "carried out to the letter."
Justice Paul Pearlman ruled earlier in the trial that priesthood records dictated by Jeffs and found in a secure vault on a church ranch are trustworthy and can be used in the criminal proceedings of the three accused.
As Wilson summed up his case, Brandon Blackmore sat quietly and looked ahead, while Gail Blackmore and Oler read he from a tablet device and she from what appeared to be a thick religious text.
Gail Blackmore and Oler have chosen not to have a lawyer represent them in the trial..flds