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US cult leader jailed for child sex offences -

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US cult leader jailed for child sex offences

Broadcast: 30/08/2006

Reporter: Tom Iggulden

In the United States, one of the FBI's ten most wanted men is behind bars tonight. Warren Jeffs was
wanted for child sex offences and is the leader of a religious cult claiming links to the Mormon


TONY JONES: In the United States, one of the FBI's ten most wanted men is behind bars tonight.
Warren Jeffs is the leader of a religious cult claiming links to the Mormon Church. He's been on
the run from police, who've charged him with a string of child sex offences. But many of Jeffs'
10,000 followers have remained loyal and claim he's being persecuted. Tom Iggulden reports.

TOM IGGULDEN: The FBI hasn't been the only one looking for the man regarded as one of America's
most dangerous criminals.

AMERICAN REPORTER: Can you tell us where to find Warren Jeffs?

CULT MEMBER: Just go to hell.

TOM IGGULDEN: Since going underground two years ago, he's been harboured by the estimated 10,000
members of the cult, based in isolated communities throughout the Rocky Mountains. The cult
practises polygamy. Jeffs has 75 wives, some of whom he inherited from his father, who founded the
cult and died four years ago. He's wanted for sexually assaulting his teenage brides and for
arranging forced marriages of other under-aged wives.

RECORDING OF WARREN JEFFS: And ladies, build up your husbands by being submissive.

TOM IGGULDEN: There's been a $100,000 reward for his capture, but in the end, his downfall was the
eagle eyes of a Nevada highway patrolman who noticed his license plate was smudged. An inspection
of the car revealed all the signs of a man on the run.

STEVE MARTINEZ, FBI: Everything from a large number of cellular telephones, laptop computers, three
wigs, quite a bit of cash in excess of $50,000 in cash.

TOM IGGULDEN: After giving a false name, Jeffs came quietly.

STEVE MARTINEZ: We are very, very pleased that this was resolved without any violence.

CULT MEMBER: You back off! Back off!

TOM IGGULDEN: In recent months, the fundamentalist Church of Jesus and Latter Day Saints has become
a target of authorities, especially in Utah where the legitimate arm of the Mormon Church has
rallied against its fundamentalist offshoot. The Attorney-General there has confiscated $100
million of the group's assets and put them in a public trust. Now, he's hoping the arrest of Jeffs
will undermine the cult even further.

MARK SHURTLEFF, UTAH ATTORNEY-GENERAL: I think what it will tell them is he is human, he is subject
to police authority, he is not invincible.

TOM IGGULDEN: This woman was a former child bride, forced to have sex with older male cult members.

FLORA JESSOP, FORMER CHILD BRIDE: We have the American Taliban right here. And this is Jihad on the
streets of America.

TOM IGGULDEN: The cult is large and well resourced, despite the poverty of its followers, who have
resented the recent intrusion into their lives.

CULT MEMBER: I have a right to worship any damn thing I want and wear any damn clothes I want and
I'm sick of hearing how stupid and retarded we are!

TOM IGGULDEN: TOM IGGULDEN: And that has many fearing a repeat of the 1993 standoff between the FBI
and the Branch Davidian cult that left 74 dead. Tom Iggulden, Lateline.