A woman left the community of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints last week with the help of authorities.
The 25-year-old woman, whose name was not released because she is considered a victim of abuse, sought assistance from the police and is now in police custody.
The New York Times, citing the Associated Press, reported that the woman fled a Colorado City home and sought help from the FLDS church’s former spokesman Willie Jessop, who no longer follows jailed FLDS leader Warren Jeffs. Jessop then contacted the authorities, but he declined to provide more details.
Although authorities did not disclose the identity of the woman, and Washington County sheriff’s detective Nate Abbott did not confirm her relationship with Jeffs, some media assumed and reported that she is one of Jeffs’ wives, according to the New York Times.
ABC news reported that the woman is now undergoing counseling and psychiatric care at a women’s shelter. She was reportedly barefoot when she was found.
Jeffs is the leader of the FLDS Church, which split from the mainstream Mormon church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, about a century ago over the issue of polygamy. The LDS Church does not have any tie with the polygamy sect, and according to a media letter issued in 2008, it “absolutely condemn arranged or forced ‘marriages’ of underage girls to anyone under any circumstances,” which is being practiced among FLDS memberss.
Jeffs, now 55 years old, is sentenced to life in prison in August for sexual assault of an underaged follower he took as bride and a 20-year sentence for the sexual assault of a 15-year old girl.