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Jeffs ordered to cooperate with ex-caretaker

SALT LAKE CITY — A judge ordered Warren Jeffs to cooperate with a nephew who is trying to see his toddler son.

Wendell Musser, who says he took care of Jeffs’ many wives when the sect leader was a fugitive, has seen his son, Levi, just once since his exile a year ago from the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Fifth District Judge James Shumate gave Jeffs one week to reunite Musser with Levi. If he doesn’t cooperate, Musser’s attorneys will be allowed to interview Jeffs in jail under oath on July 27, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.

In 2005 and 2006, Musser said he and his son and wife, Vivian, lived in a string of homes in Colorado with a rotating cast of Jeffs’ wives.

Jeffs, FLDS president, was on the run from criminal charges. He was arrested in August near Las Vegas and awaits trial on charges of rape as an accomplice in the spiritual marriage of a 14-year-old girl to her 19-year-old cousin.

Musser said he lost his family after his arrest for drunken-driving in Colorado in 2006. Jeffs, on the run at the time, ordered him back to Utah.

He said he wrote letters of repentance but was cut off from his wife and son, who turns 2 on July 30.

“Wendell respects whatever decision Vivian makes about her own life and religious beliefs,” Musser’s attorney, Roger Hoole, told the judge Thursday. “He needs contact with her regarding their son.”

Phone messages left for Hoole and Jeffs’ attorneys were not returned Thursday.

Musser had a 90-minute reunion with Vivian and Levi at an auto parts store in May. He wasn’t allowed to hold his son.

If Jeffs doesn’t cooperate with the judge’s order, Musser’s attorneys can assess a daily penalty of more than $600 against his jail commissary account, the cost of hiring a private detective to search for Vivian and Levi.

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