After the sentence was announced, Prosecutor Eric Nichols said Jeffs had “corrupted and perverted” his position of authority and the religious convictions of his own community to victimize women and children “to satisfy his own appetites and desires.”
Jeffs is believed to have 78 wives, 24 of them under age 17, according to prosecutors.
Rather than focus on Jeffs’s multiple marriages, prosecutors with the Texas Attorney General’s Office presented a case based on alleged violations of the laws of consent in Texas. Twelve- and 15-year-old girls are not old enough to consent to engage in sexual activities.
Under Texas law, any sexual activity between an adult and an under-17-year-old is a sexual assault even if the minor is a willing participant. The same activity with an under-14-year-old is aggravated sexual assault punishable by up to life in prison.
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