$16 million awarded to former FLDS child bride

Imprisoned FLDS leader Warren Jeffs and the Fundamentalist LDS Church have now been ordered to pay a former child bride $16 million between general and punitive damages. The judge presiding over the case wrote that Jeffs had exercised "absolute control, power and authority" over the life of Elissa Walls, who was forced into marrying Allen Steed, 19 at the time, an adult member of the church and also Wall's cousin, when she was only 14 years old. She was then forced by the church to live with steed and told to "produce children."

The judge did not mince words in his sentencing of Jeffs and the church, claiming that ""the conduct of Warren Jeffs and the FLDS Church, as alleged herein, was outrageous and intolerable in that it offended the generally accepted standards of decency and morality." For his role in presiding over the illegal marriage, Jeffs was convicted in 2007 as an accomplice to rape. However, the case was ultimately overturned by the Utah Supreme Court in 2010 based on a ruling that jury instructions had been faulty when they had been given.

Despite that case being overturned, Jeffs is now serving a sentence of life plus 20 years in a Texas prison, following his conviction in 2011 on two counts of child sexual assault.

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