From: CBS News
The Texas attorney general moved Wednesday to seize ownership of Warren Jeffs’ ranch where the polygamist sect leader and his followers are accused of sexually assaulting dozens of children.
A judge will determine whether to grant the state control of the nearly 1,700-acre property owned by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints(FLDS). Tax records put the land’s value at over $33 million.
In their seizure case, prosecutors allege that Warren financed the property through money laundering. The sect bought the land for about $1.1 million in 2003, according to an affidavit filed Wednesday.
Texas Rangers raided the ranch in April 2008 following a call to a domestic abuse hotline that turned out to be false, and took 439 children into state custody. Last year, Jeffs was convicted of sexually assaulting two minors whom he described as his spiritual wives. At trial, prosecutors presented DNA evidence to show he fathered a child with one of those girls, age 15.
Jeffs, 56, is serving a life prison term in Texas. He has continued to try to lead his roughly 10,000 followers from behind bars. The sect is a radical offshoot of mainstream Mormonism whose members believe polygamy brings exaltation in heaven.