Polygamist Cult Leader Accused of Rape Found in Minnesota

Polygamist Cult Leader Accused of Rape Found in Minnesota January 17, 2019
Seth Jeffs Mugshot

After being on the run for more than a year attempting to avoid a lawsuit, Seth Jeffs was formally served in Minnesota. Seth Jeffs, the brother of Warren Jeffs and leader of the Fundamental Church of Latter Day Saints (FLDS), had been hiding since December 2017. The lawsuit filed in Utah alleged that Seth Jeffs participated in the ritual sexual abuse of a victim for more than six years.

Local NBC affiliate KARE broke the story earlier today. Reporters from KARE followed Utah attorney Alan Mortensen to serve Seth Jeffs.

According to Mortensen, he had been attempting to locate Seth Jeffs for nearly 13 months. In December 2017, Mortensen filed a lawsuit on behalf of his client R.H. The lawsuit alleges that Warren Jeffs along with his brothers and Seth Jeffs participated in the rape and sexual abuse of R.H.

R.H. alleges that the men placed a bag over her head and brought her to an undisclosed home. When she arrived at the house, Warren Jeffs and his brothers assaulted her. R.H. claims men that were not participating in the abuse watched and did nothing to stop them.

The abuse started when R.H. was eight years old and lasted until she turned 12. The sexual assaults occurred five to six times a week. During some of the rituals, the men required R.H. to document the abuse of other victims.

After filing the suit in court, Mortensen served Warren Jeffs in prison. Additionally, Mortensen served the FLDS church.

However, Mortensen told the court in December 2017 he could not locate Seth Jeffs,

“Plaintiff’s counsel believes Mr. Jeffs is in hiding,” the woman’s attorney, Alan Mortensen, wrote in a motion to the judge. “Information about Mr. Jeffs cannot be ascertained with reasonable diligence.”

At the time, Mortensen asked the judge to allow him to serve Seth Jeffs in alternative ways. Unfortunately, the judge did not grant the request.  So for 13 months, Mortensen worked to track down Seth Jeffs.

Finally, Mortensen received a tip earlier this month that Seth Jeffs might be hiding in rural Northern Minnesota. Mortensen told KARE that the tip said Seth Jeffs was working as a handyman and remodeling a cabin.

Public Records obtained by KARE showed a company, that lists Seth Jeffs as a “Managing Member,” had purchased 40 acres of land between Lutsen and Grand Marais on the Lake Superior North Shore of Minnesota.

Additionally, KARE found a building permit Seth Jeffs received to build a 5,700 square foot building.

Concerned that Seth Jeffs may be attempting to relocate his sect to Northern Minnesota, Mortensen traveled to Minnesota to find Seth Jeffs. After searching the remote Northern Shore, Mortensen could not find Jeffs.

KARE reporters found business records of Jeffs which provided a home address in the Twin Cities. Mortensen traveled to the Bloomington home and promptly located Jeffs. Jeffs was formally served in the lawsuit.

After serving Jeffs, Mortensen placed liens on the multiple properties owned in Minnesota by Jeffs. Mortensen believes Jeffs used church money to buy the properties.

If Jeffs used church money, Mortensen would attempt to collect on the judgment from another lawsuit. Mortensen represented another victim, Elissa Wall in a case against Jeffs and the FLDS. Wall won her case in 2017, and the court ordered a $16 million judgment against the church and Seth Jeffs.

Any properties purchased by Seth Jeffs with church money will be subject to forfeiture. Mortensen will need to work with the court to determine if the property can be seized.

Residents of the North Shore told KARE they were happy to hear that Seth Jeffs had been served. Residents feared Jeffs might be attempting to relocate his church to their area. Now residents are hopeful that Jeff’s plans will never come to fruition.

Now that Jeffs has been served, the lawsuit can move forward. Mortensen says that his client wants justice for the abuse she endured. Hopefully, R.H. is one step closer to holding these monsters accountable for their crimes.


*Katie Joy is a blogger and freelance writer. Her work is featured on Upworthy, Huffington Post, Yahoo Parents, Mamamia, Daily Beast, Cafe Stir, Newsweek, Jezebel, and The Daily Mail. She writes articles on parenting, disability advocacy, debunking pseudoscience, atheism, and crimes against women and children.

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  • CamasBlues

    Wow. Warren Jeffs has abused many children, one of the other brothers was arrested for welfare fraud. Seth Jeffs also an abuser. Is every last one of these brothers a creepy abuser and criminal? I am beginning to think…yes.

  • persephone

    It’s very common in polygamist Mormon groups. They’re extremely patriarchal, to the point that the men abuse their own children, as well as children of other members of the family, and most of these groups are made up of only a few families, with intermarriage extremely common. I heard somewhere that there are only like five surnames in the FLDS. The girls are often married off while underage, since the marriages are never reported or recorded. And, of course, the young men who just disappear.

    There’s a book called God’s Brothel that was independently published (I loaned a copy to someone and never got it back. Argh) that covers various polygamist groups and the abuses reported by former members. It’s beyond horrifying and less than 10% of it has ever made it into the news.

  • Qbird

    So he’s been served, not arrested, because this is a civil case not a criminal case; what’s to stop him from running & hiding like he’s done for the past 13 months? What happens next?

  • Anything he purchases with church money can be seized

  • Qbird

    Good — I truly hope it is seized. Thank you for the reply.

    They must follow the money with regards to this criminal organization known as the FLDS — cloaked & protected beneath the veil of religion.
    Following in the depraved footsteps of their founder, Joseph Smith, Jr. What a piece o’ work this guy was.

    $88,000 was paid for this 40 acres. At present, there is quite a bit of heavy equipment sitting idle on the land… one local contractor told me what’s sitting there is worth about $200,000. He received permits from Cook County to lay in a 900 foot road & also a “pole barn” with living quarters. Now, how was he identified? He had been here working on the land himself since last August.
    Neighbors, few & far between, noticed the activity.
    He, himself, the dumbass, drove a skidder right into an old beaver pond & got stuck. They, the neighbors, helped him to get it out.
    I say dumbass because he also put in a culvert on top of the road he was clearing. smdh, idiot!

    Now I’m guessing, he, being of the ‘pure blood’ upper echelon, was never required to work like the other FLDS boys are made to do, relying instead on the ill-gotten gains tithed to his family by other members of his group — the followers of Warren Jeffs. Well isn’t that special.

  • Qbird

    On October 28, 2005 Seth Steed Jeffs was arrested in Colorado. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/0293c0899441afd921a49a8e5ad1e18e3ac663cae0e23a7bb933f37c945db894.png
    There were originally 2 charges — look at the one that was dropped in exchange for his plea bargain.

    This happened before the arrests in South Dakota.
    The answer is a definitively YES… !