The Utah Supreme Court has validated a multi-million dollar lawsuit filed by a woman who claims that Fundamentalist Church of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS) leader Warren Jeffs forced her to marry her cousin when she was 14-years-old.
Free Confidential Lawsuit Evaluation: If you or a loved one has been sexually abused, molested or otherwise harmed by a member of the Mormon Church, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints (LDS) or Fundamentalist Church of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS), you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a suit and our lawyers can help.
Update: Teen Bride Awarded $2.75 Million Settlement from FLDS Trust
May 9, 2016 – Elissa Wall has been awarded a $2.75 million settlement ($1.5 million in cash and $1.25 million in property) from the FLDS United Effort Plan Trust, according to FOX 13. Wall says that she hopes the community can be rebuilt without the control of FLDS leaders, and that its focus should be on family, friendship and growth, “not the tall fences and secrecy” that currently shroud the complex.
What’s the Problem?
March 26, 2016 – The high court ruled on Wednesday that Plaintiff Elissa Wall can seek payment from the FLDS communal property trust, which is now controlled by the state of Utah, according to the Miami Herald.
Wall’s testimony helped convict Warren Jeffs in 2007 of being an accomplice to her rape, though the conviction was later overturned on a technicality. Jeffs is now serving a life sentence plus 20 years in prison for sexually assaulting underage girls he considered wives.
The Utah Supreme Court’s decision comes as the federal government goes after the FLDS on multiple fronts, including cases alleging food stamp fraud and child labor. A Phoenix jury also found that the twin polygamous towns of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Arizona, denied basic rights like running water and police protection to residents who did not belong to the church.
The identities of persons alleging sexual abuse are generally not made public, but Wall has spoken publicly and written a book about her experiences. Her former husband, Allen Steed, previously stated that their sexual relationship was not forced, but he agreed not to oppose her lawsuit if she sought a lighter plea deal to resolve a rape charge against him.
Wall claims Steed was 19 at the time of their 2001 marriage, and FLDS leaders who held power over him are to blame for what happened. The court ruled the agreement was legal and should not invalidate the complaint.
The case will now be transferred back to a lower court. While some have estimated potential damages of up to $40 million, a judge determined they will most likely top out at about $5 million.
Wall is suing United Effort Plan trust, which holds virtually all the land, homes and businesses in Hildale and Colorado City. Estimated to be worth about $110 million, the trust was formed by the FLDS so that all property would be held communally. The Utah Attorney General took over the United Effort Plan in 2005 amid allegations of mismanagement.
Claims Advance in FLDS ‘Child Bride’ Lawsuit
April 1, 2016 – The Utah Supreme Court has advanced claims made by a girl who says the Fundamentalist Mormon Church forced her to marry her cousin, according to Courthouse News Service. Plaintiff Elissa Wall alleges that FLDS leader Warren Jeffs presided over the wedding and repeatedly refused to grant her a divorce, though her husband raped and sexually assaulted her repeatedly. Wall sued Jeffs in 2007 along with Bruce Wisan, the man in charge of the church’s $110 million United Effort Plan Trust, which Utah seized in 2005.
Do I Have a Mormon Abuse Lawsuit?
The Sexual Abuse Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in FLDS lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new cases in all 50 states.
Free Confidential Case Evaluation: Again, if you or a loved one was harmed by the Mormon Church, LDS or FLDS, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a lawsuit and we can help.