Ex-sect members to testify at trial

ST. GEORGE, Utah -- Two former members of a polygamous sect will be allowed to testify at the trial of leader Warren Jeffs next month, a judge decided Monday.

At the hearing in 5th District Court, Richard Holm testified that Jeffs controlled just about every aspect of the lives of members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, The Spectrum in St. George reported on its Web site.

Holm, a former sect member, told the court that Jeffs even determined when and why couples could have sex.

Jeffs, 51, is charged with two counts of rape by accomplice for his role in the religious marriage of a 14-year-old girl and her 19-year-old cousin in 2001.

Earlier in the day, another former FLDS member, Jethro Barlow, also testified that Jeffs had such a strong hold over his followers that he even controlled intimate behavior between husbands and wives in the polygamous community, The Spectrum reported.

Barlow testified that Jeffs used threats and promises to wield "absolute control" over marriages, the dissolution of marriages and even the intimate acts between husbands and wives.

The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has about 10,000 members, most of them living along the Arizona-Utah border.


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