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Judge closer to deciding amount in lawsuit against FLDS Church

MATHESON COURTHOUSE – A former FLDS child bride who is suing church leader Warren Jeffs and two corporations within the church is one step closer to getting a multi-million dollar settlement.  Jeffs, however, isn’t acknowledging the lawsuit.

On one side of the courtroom was Elissa Wall and her attorneys.  On the other were empty chairs.  Wall’s attorney, Alan Mortensen, says, “A complaint was served against him, and he refused to answer.  So, he’s ignoring the legal process.”

Judge Keith Kelly asked for more materials to be submitted before he could decide on what the punitive damages would be.  He gave Mortensen two weeks to do so.  However, until a decision is made, Mortensen is being tight-lipped about it. He adds, it would be inappropriate for us to comment today.”

Mortensen is hoping that the punitive damages will be large enough to convince the FLDS Church to change its practice of marrying young girls, which, he believes is still happening.  “The goal is to punish and penalize the church,” he says,” to deter this conduct from happening.  It’s the only way that people listen.”

Inside the courtroom, Wall spoke to the judge about how she was assigned to marry her first cousin, Allen Steed, and pleaded with Jeffs to allow her out of the marriage.  She says the sexual assaults she went through have had a crippling effect on her relationships with men and with her children.