US sect leader Warren Jeffs seeks new judge in child-sex case
Wednesday 03 August 2011
The American polygamist sect leader, Warren Jeffs, has made a third appeal for the removal of the Texas judge overseeing his child-sex assault case, this time claiming God himself demands the change.
The head of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints filed a motion on Monday purporting to quote God as saying state District Judge Barbara Walther should "step away from this abuse of power against a religious and pure faith in the Lord". The judge ruled the trial would continue.
A forensic analyst, Amy Smuts, testified that a DNA sample collected from Mr Jeffs had 15 major markers that matched a sample taken from a girl born to a 15-year-old. Ms Smuts said that made her more than 99.99 per cent certain that Mr Jeffs fathered the child, born in October 2005.
Mr Jeffs, pictured left, is accused of sexually assaulting two girls, aged 12 and 15, he took as brides in "spiritual marriages". His church is an offshoot of mainstream Mormonism that believes polygamy brings exaltation in Heaven and followers see Mr Jeffs as God's earthly spokesman.
The lead prosecutor, Eric Nichols, showed a series of pictures in which Mr Jeffs, 55, is seen cuddling and kissing a 12-year-old girl. Some of the public gasped, but there was no visible reaction among jurors.
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