May 28th, 2008
11:46 AM ET

Court evidence shows Warren Jeffs Kissing Young Girls

You can view court evidence here.
You can view court evidence here.
David Mattingly
360° Correspondent

There's only one way to describe these pictures of Jeffs. They are disturbing. I'm sure that's the reaction the attorneys for Texas child protective services was going for when they showed them to the court. The state later successfully retained custody of one of two babies born to FLDS mothers while in foster care.

According to testimony, one of the girls seen kissing Jeffs was the baby's aunt, lived in the same home with the parents and was only 13. The state provided no context for the photos–we don't know why they were taken or where authorities found them. But, it's clear, these pictures had an impact on this hearing and proved to be an effective weapon for the state when they try to prove the existence of a pervasive pattern of abuse at the Yearning for Zion Ranch.

Melanie Whitley
CNN National Desk

The pictures are of Warren Jeffs and 2 minors...

These pictures were entered into evidence on Friday for the Jessops custody hearing but also released to the media...

Here is what we know about one of the girls in the photos

  • Lived on the YFZ Ranch in the same building with the Jessops
  • Is a minor
  • Was supposed to testify in the Jessop's custody case, or called as a witness, but the two parties reached an agreement before that happened

Filed under: David Mattingly • FLDS update
soundoff (39 Responses)
  1. Sandra

    To me, the picture of Jeff's carrying the little girl "spiritual bride"– she looks pregnant.

    May 29, 2008 at 6:44 am |
  2. bea

    PS. I absolutely can not believe any human person with a conscience could would should believe that :
    A. Warren and his perverted cronies are not molesting girls and boys under pretense of their evil mind control that they call religion.
    B. Given all the new documentaries and books by women who have escaped this CULT that this a "faked photo"
    C. "Nothing is wrong with the greedy sexually perverted ways of PIGamy better known as polygamy"
    For those people i say why don't you go and join their CULT and see how you find it!

    May 29, 2008 at 3:28 am |
  3. bea

    Gut wrenching! UN-believable!!! Makes you wonder who PAID OFF the texas idiot on the court who decided to return some of these children.
    These are certified sick perverted ANIMALS!! And don't forget "the O' So Sweet Mothers" who sit by and let this happen to their daughters, granddaughters,ect. They should ABSOLUTELY never ever get their children back. Lock them all up and throw away the keys!!

    May 29, 2008 at 3:13 am |
  4. iyapo kontar

    As bad as those picture are they are not important because Jeff is in jail.
    That doesn't say all other men are guilty

    May 29, 2008 at 1:58 am |
  5. Carol, California

    I would be willing to bet that next week there will be a blog headline telling us that these pictures were photoshopped.

    May 28, 2008 at 11:54 pm |
  6. Diana

    Can someone explain how the mothers get welfare without having to divulge the father's name and if so, why don't the state go after them for child support or deny welfare? That's the way it's done in Alabama.

    May 28, 2008 at 11:52 pm |
  7. Sabine /Canada

    The pictures are looking strange , they look as if they are manipulated
    Pictures or not ,I think we all know what goes on begind the gates of those communities.They need to be closed down ,including Bountyful the one near Creston in B.C. Canada since they are working hand in hand. together.
    They are all " one happy family " most of them have the same faces .
    There are so many woman that have left this cult or what ever you want to call it. it is time to start believing them.
    I do .

    May 28, 2008 at 11:45 pm |
  8. Susan

    There is a book about the FLDS that everyone should read – "Stolen Innocence" was written by Elissa Wall. Elissa, at age 14, was forced by Jeffs to marry her first cousin, who then repeatedly raped and abused his underage "spiritual wife" Her testimony helped put Jeffs behind bars. It is a revealing look inside the sect that gives underage girls to old men as a reward for following the Prophet – Warren Jeffs.

    May 28, 2008 at 10:28 pm |
  9. Tracy D. MI

    I've noticed that many of the "women" being interviewed on t.v. look alot alike each other. They also resemble Warren Jeffs a little too much.... I wonder how much incest is going on there. and do they even realize it??!!! Those children don't have a chance, it's sad. And were are all the little boys?? all you see and hear about is the little girls....

    May 28, 2008 at 9:57 pm |
  10. Annie Kate

    How disgusting. Why would anyone question after these kinds of photos that there is something seriously wrong with the environment these children are living in? I hope the CPS is allowed to continue with their parenting classes, etc. before the parents get their children back and that they can maintain oversight of the children after they go back to their parents. However, I expect the FLDS will just move to another state and start up their sick environment again.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    May 28, 2008 at 9:54 pm |
  11. Karen

    Thats how it's pronounced in the ghetto... you learned something today.

    May 28, 2008 at 9:32 pm |
  12. bob

    Maybe Cooper won't edit this comment out: I saw the picture. I doubt it is real. It does not even look like Jeffs to me. There are lots on people posting fake pictures and videos of the flds on the web. It appears they find humor in it. The government does not know where the supposed Jeffs picture came from? Yet they use it as evidence?? WOW!!! Sounds like the phone call that was used to get the search warrant!!

    May 28, 2008 at 8:48 pm |
  13. Loopy

    I just have to wonder what kind of brain washing, drugs, or whatever it is that these women are on. Each them tends to repeat the same statements over and over again (We want our children....Our children say, "Mother" why are they taking me). Sorry folks, I would not be that calm if my children had been taken away. I would not wither up and cry.....I would be out there fighting and doing whatever it took to get my child back. These women seem so submissive...."Stepford Wife-ish" and scarey at the mind control the men must have over them.

    May 28, 2008 at 7:58 pm |
  14. KarenD


    What exactly is a petophile? I have heard of a pedophile, but never a petophile.

    May 28, 2008 at 7:18 pm |
  15. Nathan

    (Greg, PA May 28th, 2008 2:23 pm ET

    These people are brainwashed by dirty old men that just want to have sex with teenage girls. I feel so sorry for these girls.)

    And that's how I feel about people who believe in god... Its so sad that people actually fell for that crap. My parents attempted to raise me as Mormon, but the whole god thing was less believable then Humpty Dumpty to me.

    May 28, 2008 at 6:43 pm |
  16. Nathan

    Its funny that in the land of the free, being able to practice whatever religion you see fit, and this is how we treat people? There are many other places in the world where its perfectly normal to wed a young girl and have children. Just let them be, we let you raise your child under your stupid religion, let them raise their child how they see fit. Teaching the children young marriage is OK is not abuse that's no different then tricking yours to believe in god. Mental abuse and physical abuse is one thing, them joining willingly into marriage is not wrong... besides arranged marriage has been around forever, get off your high horse and accept people choose to raise their family's different then the main stream moron.

    May 28, 2008 at 6:40 pm |
  17. KarenD


    Hello! Polygamy is NOT the same thing as child abuse, rape, or arranged marriages. Those things exist with or with polygamy and polygamy exists with or with them.

    As for the picture, I have not seen it, but it would be difficult (as Texas CPS has discovered) to tell a person's exact age just based on a photo. If she was under age and they can prove something more than a kiss, by all means, prosecute. But if they cannot, then it is not valid evidence of wrong doing.

    May 28, 2008 at 6:00 pm |
  18. Tammy, Berwick, LA

    Ew. It looked like prom pictures from Little House on the Polygamists' Prairie (except for the fact that face sucking isn't allowed in school prom pics and there wasn't a cool castle backdrop behind them). Does the state of Texas need any more proof that there might be an issue here? Come on. No brainer people.

    May 28, 2008 at 5:44 pm |
  19. Kay Green

    We've known all along this goes on. I hope more proof is found so not only can the children be protected but the men can be found and prosecuted. It is absolutely sickening that these men and women (yes, the women too because they won't stand up to these disgusting men) can hide behind their "religion" to basically run their own type of prostitution ring. People are quick to act like it is nothing but in reality if they would research the FLDS and study it they would see how warped it is.

    May 28, 2008 at 5:37 pm |
  20. Karen, Sunrise, FL


    May 28, 2008 at 4:49 pm |
  21. liz toledo ohio

    Predator hiding behind religion

    May 28, 2008 at 4:01 pm |
  22. Kay

    what took so long for these photos to surface? If cps had used them earlier, it probably would have gave them better leverage with the courts. Warren Jeffs is a disgusting criminal.

    May 28, 2008 at 3:42 pm |
  23. EJ (USA)


    May 28, 2008 at 2:46 pm |
  24. Kathie,Ontario. Canada

    I hope the appeals court that sent those children back to their parents in Texas are ashamed of themselves after seeing these pictures.
    This man is their messiah , they live the way he tells them to and
    he tells them to emulate his beliefs and lifestyle.. In fact he doesn't
    just tell them he orders them who to marry and when to marry.
    How anyone can defend these people and the lifestyle and allow
    them to get away with it by calling it a religion is disgusting.

    May 28, 2008 at 2:30 pm |
  25. jan

    What a sicko. To the state having discovery of the facts; your obligation is to protect the innocent children; you are their voice if the parents are just as messed up as the person doing the shameful deed, and for goodness sake, hold the parents accountable as well. These photos go beyond suspicion and clearly demonstrate evil. Please stop allowing these predators to hide behind a veil they blindly call 'freedom of religion'.

    May 28, 2008 at 2:27 pm |
  26. Greg, PA

    These people are brainwashed by dirty old men that just want to have sex with teenage girls. I feel so sorry for these girls.

    May 28, 2008 at 2:23 pm |
  27. Alice

    Two words. Life Sentence!

    May 28, 2008 at 2:12 pm |
  28. Aaron

    I think this whole thing is very sick indeed, and I can't believe they are willing to release these children back into their brain-washed community of child molesters and woman beaters, with incestual intensions (gross). But non-the-less the courts seem to be siding with their so called church and with lack of physical evidence it's going to be hard to get these kids as much help as they need. They have no concept of what right and wrong is, they haven't been allowed to be with people unlike themselves. How are they supposed to know how they are being treated is it good or bad? They don't know so how are we supposed too. All of the leaders of this church should be put on trial take lie detectors and have the public watch all of it and they should decide how this trial should end. I tell you what I think it would be much better of a trail. This kind of thing has to stop and thats not being decriminate to another church because they are not reconized and are illegal because of the insest and raping of young girls. This whole this is sick and I wish it would go away more quick than it's goin too. POLYGAMY SHOULD BE ELIMINATED....

    May 28, 2008 at 1:52 pm |
  29. Kent, Illinois

    And................we have people wondering why......oh why.............they have taken the children away......sob,sob. The picture answers the question accordingly.

    May 28, 2008 at 1:41 pm |
  30. AmyBeth22

    Our government should be careful to monitor "religions". This is SICK and not one of those children should be returned. We have to break their cycle of mass breeding for the male pedophile's pleasures. Unfortunately the women will begin breeding ASAP to replace the missing children. The government should take away the tax status and deem them a "cult". That word should be used over and over. CULT CULT CULT. Call a spade a spade.

    May 28, 2008 at 1:31 pm |
  31. Mike in NYC

    Cindy wrote:

    "These pictures are just absolutely sickening!! I hope that they can be used against Jeffs to get him on more charges. He is disgusting and needs to spend the rest of his life behind bars!"

    Outrage tap opened to "full."

    Only one of those pictures can even be remotely described as such.

    Clearly, the government's going to drag this case out as long as they can.

    May 28, 2008 at 1:27 pm |
  32. Jean V

    Just another little 13-year-old being "groomed" by Jeffs for her fate as an FLDS plaything from some older man.

    I need to go vomit now.

    Anyone who defends these monsters needs their head examined.

    May 28, 2008 at 1:19 pm |
  33. Laura

    It's so sad, I wonder if the Mothers who have stated they've never
    seen a minor in a sexual relationship with an older man, actually they all used the same phrase "not to my knowledge", I wonder if there are any consequences for them. I understand they are victims as well, but if a society is incapable of discerning right from wrong because they are all victims, then clearly they aren't capable of healthy parenting until they receive help.

    In Canada (British Columbia) the other cheek seems to be turned to
    the polygamous community that resides there. As a Canadian I find it horrifying that nothing is done to help these children. Do we really live in a society that values their children so little?

    May 28, 2008 at 1:09 pm |
  34. Carol, CA

    Statistics of child sexual abuse in the US show that approximately 1 out of every 4 girls will be sexually abused before the age of eighteen and 1 out of every 6 boys will be sexually abused before the age of eighteen.

    Please curb your sensationalism – 2 kids out of a group of 450+ is not shocking. I am not defending it or saying it is ok, but you could get this same storyline (or worse) in any city in the country.

    Why don't you give up beating this dead-horse, FLDS story. If you are genuinely concerned about kids in danger, there are millions in the US that are suffering abuse every day. It is not confined to this one group.

    May 28, 2008 at 1:08 pm |
  35. bob

    Sounds like another phone call from a 33 year old 15 year old. The pictures look staged and fake. Authorities don't know where they came from???? Give me a break!! Texas needs to face the music! They made a huge mistake that is going to cost them big $$$$.

    May 28, 2008 at 1:03 pm |
  36. Carol B., Virginia

    Good God, what other *PROOF* do you need? This is their "prophet" and the FLDS members follow suit. Peepaws dating girls under 18 don't mix.

    May 28, 2008 at 12:53 pm |
  37. Peter F

    I just threw-up my lunch....

    May 28, 2008 at 12:40 pm |
  38. Betty Ann, Nacogdoches,TX

    Thanks for turning my stomach so early in the morning~
    TX Gov. Rick Perry can "kiss it" for giving the children back~

    May 28, 2008 at 12:36 pm |
  39. Cindy

    These pictures are just absolutely sickening!! I hope that they can be used against Jeffs to get him on more charges. He is disgusting and needs to spend the rest of his life behind bars!

    May 28, 2008 at 12:05 pm |