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FLDS Leader Warren Jeffs Back In San Angelo Court On Child Rape Charge

Image courtesy Reagan County Sheriff's Department
Warren Jeffs, ecclesiastical head of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, in a photo dated December 1, 2010. Jeffs is facing a pre-trial hearing today in San Angelo.

A pre-trial hearing is scheduled today in the West Texas town of San Angelo for Warren Jeffs, a spiritual leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS).

The FLDS practices polygamy, and its Yearning For Zion Ranch in West Texas was raided by Texas child welfare authorities in April 2008.  More than 400 children were seized by the state, but most were eventually returned to their families under a Texas Supreme Court ruling that found the state overstepped its authority by treating the entire community as a single family.

Jeffs was extradited from Utah to Texas to face trial on charges of sexual assault of a child and bigamy. You can read some of the gruesome details in the Schleicher County indictment. The trial is slated to begin on January 24, despite requests from Jeff's Nevada attorney that the date be pushed back.

As Salt Lake City's Deseret News reported last month, Jeffs has encountered problems finding an attorney in Texas. But CNN reports that Jeffs said he would have one in time for today's pre-trial hearing.

Here's a CNN video from a few days ago with visuals and background.

Nathan Bernier is the transportation reporter at KUT. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @KUTnathan.
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