A Judge has ruled that a Mormon polygamist sect led by Warren Jeffs must pay damages to a young woman who was forced to marry her cousin at the age of fourteen. Her cousin was only sixteen years old at the time of their marriage.
A woman who was married to her cousin at age 14 in a ceremony overseen by polygamous sect leader Warren Jeffs has won a $16 million lawsuit against the group. Elissa Wall's lawyer said Wednesday that the decision lets attorneys investigate the secretive group's bank accounts and property held in states all over the U.S.
The victim, now an adult, also received a settlement last year from the group's communal property trust.
"Wall plans to use the money to help people leaving the group, which is based along the Utah-Arizona border and has a compound in South Dakota. "I can now close these chapters in my life and focus on building a better future for myself and my children," Wall said in a statement. Last year, Wall agreed to a $2.75-million settlement with the group's communal property trust, but her case against Jeffs and the group continued until Tuesday. Neither Jeffs nor his group got a lawyer or defended themselves in the case."