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Jury indicts polygamist sect members

world Updated: Jul 23, 2008 09:11 IST
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A Texas grand jury has indicted polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs and four of his followers on charges of felony sexual assault of a child. Another was indicted for failing to report child abuse.

Attorney General Greg Abbott said the five men are charged with one count of sexually assaulting girls under the age of 17. One of them, but not Jeffs, faces an additional charge of bigamy.

Abbott said a sixth member of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is charged with three counts of failure to report child abuse.

Jeffs, already convicted of being accomplice to rape in Utah and awaiting trial in Arizona on other charges related to underage marriages, is accused of assaulting a girl in Texas in January 2005, according to the indictment issued yesterday.

"Our investigation in this matter is not concluded. This is an ongoing investigation that we intend to continue," said Abbott, whose office is acting as the special prosecutor in the case.

The grand jury in this tiny western Texas ranching community will continue consideration of other possible criminal charges on Aug 21, according to a source who spoke on the condition of anonymity because proceedings of the panel are secret by law.

The identities of Jeffs' followers who were indicted in addition to him were not released yesterday because the indictments remain sealed until authorities can arrest the men.

"There will be an aggressive effort to apprehend them," Abbott said when asked whether he was concerned the men may have fled Texas.