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A list of additional bad acts prosecutors may use against polygamous sect leader Warren Jeffs was entered in a Texas court under seal Wednesday, along with the witness list for Jeffs' sexual assault and bigamy trial, according to the Standard-Times of San Angelo.
Meanwhile, Canadian court documents filed earlier this month revealed new allegations of additional underage marriages within the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, including four to Jeffs.
A total of at least 14 pre-teen and teenage girls were taken from an FLDS settlement in British Columbia to be married in the U.S. between 2003 and 2006, according to evidence seized by Texas authorities and presented this week in a case weighing whether the Canadian law banning polygamy is unconstitutional. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police has previously said they are investigating.
Eleven of those girls were married to men within the sect, including two to James Oler, then the bishop of the settlement known as Bountiful, according to the affidavit written by Texas Ranger J. Nick Hanna. The document also alleges four marriages of underage girls to Jeffs: two 12-year-old Canadian girls, one 13-year-old Canadian girl, and a 14-year-old apparently American girl. It details a shroud of secrecy Jeffs, 55, allegedly ordered around two of his 12-year-old brides as their fathers drove them down from Canada to his home in Texas in 2005.
One father was told to keep the marriage quiet, even from his family, according to the affidavit. Another was told to destroy two prepaid cell phones as he crossed the U.S. border. The girls were allegedly transported in a trailer equipped with a bathroom so they would not have to use public bathrooms.
These marriages do not appear to be the same alleged marriages one to a 12-year-old, another to a girl under 17 connected to bigamy and sexual assault charges against Jeffs in Texas. Jeffs is estimated to have at least 80 wives.
The evidence, however, comes from the same place hundreds of boxes of documents, including Jeffs' dictations, marriage and birth records, that were seized during a massive raid on the FLDS' Yearning for Zion Ranch in April 2008.
Jeffs is now in jail awaiting trial in Texas. In a preliminary hearing Wednesday, his final pretrial court hearing was pushed back to June 16, the Standard-Times reported. Jeffs' trial is now scheduled for July 25 on two of the charges; the second trial is scheduled for Oct. 3.
Legal control of FLDS church in question
Wednesday marked Jeffs' first court appearance since an FLDS church elder, William E. Jessop, filed paperwork to remove him as president. Jeffs did not sign that paperwork, which installs Jessop as president of the FLDS Corporation of the President and as presiding bishop. The new filing came just over a month after Jeffs himself reclaimed control of the Corporation.
If Jeffs chooses to challenge Jessop, the Utah Department of Commerce would put a hold on Jessop's paperwork and give the two men 15 to 30 days to work out who is in control, said department spokeswoman Jennifer Bolton.
"If Jessop could not prove he was the in the right to claim the presidency and could not provide a court order supporting his actions with the Corporation, then the Utah Division of Corporations would revert the FLDS documents back to the original president, Warren Jeffs," she said in a press release.