A Texas jury convicted polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs of child sexual assault Thursday in a case stemming from two young followers he took as brides in what his church calls "spiritual marriages."
Prosecutors used DNA evidence to show Jeffs fathered a child with a 15-year-old girl and played an audio recording of what they said was him sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl. They also played audio recordings in which Jeffs was heard instructing young women on how to please him sexually.
Jeffs stood mute and expressionless, staring at the floor, for all but a few seconds of the half hour he was allotted for a closing argument on Thursday. At one point he mumbled, "I am peace," and said no more.
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Jeffs has claimed he was the victim of religious persecution. The FLDS, which has at least 10,000 members nationwide, is an offshoot of mainstream Mormonism.