SAN ANGELO, Texas – Shocking photographs surfacing last week show polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs kissing and hugging young girls, one alleged by Texas Child Protective Services lawyers to be a 12-year-old "bride."
The disturbing images, dated July 2006 and January 2005, were entered into evidence last Friday in a case stemming from the April 3 raid on the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) compound in Eldorado, Texas. The state is seeking custody of the 1-week-old baby boy born to compound residents Louisa Bradshaw and her "husband," Dan Jessop.
In one set of photos, Jeffs appears with a girl identified as "Loretta" under the label of "First anniversary," dated Jan. 26, 2005. The second set show Jeffs and a girl named "Merrianne," dated July 27, 2006.
Protective Services lawyers would not reveal how they obtained the photos, but are using them as evidence that the culture at the compound is abusive, and forces young girls to become child brides, the Deseret News reported.
The photos show Jeffs kissing the girls in a manner that Protective Services lawyers describe as "how a husband kisses a wife."
When asked if he thought the photos were evidence of sexual abuse, Jessop told the court, "I do not consider a girl kissing a man sex abuse," the newspaper reported.
Jeffs was convicted in Utah of rape as an accomplice for performing a "marriage" between a 14-year-old girl and her 19-year-old cousin. He is awaiting trial in Arizona on similar charges.
FOX News' policy is not to identify possible underage victims of sexual crimes.