SAN ANGELO, Texas — Polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs was quietly extradited yesterday from Utah to Texas, where he was arraigned on charges of bigamy and sexual assault.
Jeffs, 54, who was indicted more than two years ago, appeared during a brief hearing in San Angelo wearing glasses, orange jail pants, and a gray sweatshirt, a spokesman for the Texas attorney general’s office said.
Texas authorities have charged the ecclesiastical head of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints with felony bigamy, aggravated sexual assault, and assault. Prosecutors plan to try Jeffs on the charges separately, with the first trial scheduled to begin Jan. 24.
The charges stem from the 2008 raid of the Yearning for Zion Ranch in Eldorado, where authorities seized more than 400 children and placed them in state custody on suspicion that the girls were being sexually abused and the boys were being raised to be sexual predators.
Most of the children were eventually returned to their families, but several men in the sect who see Jeffs as their spiritual leader were charged with child sexual assault and abuse.