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Warren Jeffs Pleads Not Guilty To Child Rape In West Texas

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Warren Jeffs, ecclesiastical head of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, appeared in a San Angelo courtroom today.

The Associated Press reports the polygamist sect leader stood silently during a hearing in a West Texas court Wednesday. The court entered the not guilty pleas on his behalf.

The 55-year-old Jeffs faces charges of bigamy and sexual assault of a child.  He’s scheduled to stand trial for the aggravated sexual assault charge January 24th. The AP reports says he plans to hire a Texas attorney but doesn’t have one yet.

Charges against Jeffs stem back to the state's 2008 raid on the polygamous community's Yearning For Zion ranch near Eldorado, a small community outside San Angelo. More than 400 children were taken from their parents, but most were ordered returned to their families by the State Supreme Court. The court ruled that state child welfare authorities should not have treated the entire community as a single household in justifying the seizure of children.

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