NEW YORK – The woman who was forced to marry her cousin at 14 by a polygamous sect leader said Monday that she wants to set up a fund to help young girls escape polygamy if she wins her civil lawsuit.
"I would love to create a fund and a way for young girls who want to make different choices, to be able to make that possible for them, because it's extremely hard to make that step," Elissa Wall, now 21, told ABC's "Good Morning America."
Last week, Warren Jeffs, 51, leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, was convicted of two counts of rape by accomplice for using his religious authority to pressure Wall and her cousin, Allen Steed, then 19, into a "spiritual" marriage.
Looking at her wedding pictures, Wall recounted what she had been thinking then.
"I was very young at the time, so it was overwhelming and extremely scary," she said. "And I was just numb. By that point, I was numb, and I was a young 14-year-old trying to do just what everyone told me to do."
The Associated Press generally does not identify people alleging sexual abuse, but Wall has now made a number of public appearances in which she or her lawyer have allowed her maiden name to be used. It is not the name she now goes by. Both she and her lawyer have refused to disclose her current name.
She has a civil lawsuit pending against the church and Jeffs, using the initials M.J.
"My goal is not for money," she said. "My goal is to give young girls and women the opportunity I didn't have as a 14-year-old girl being forced and placed into that kind of a position."
Wall left the church in 2004.
Wall was joined by her husband Lamont Barlow on "Good Morning America."
Asked what sort of justice should be visited upon Warren Jeffs, Barlow said:
"I think that if Warren Jeffs was to receive one month in jail for every family he destroyed, and I mean a family unit, I think he would spend the rest of his life in jail."
Jeffs is scheduled for sentencing Nov. 20. He faces 5 years to life for each of the two counts.