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Polygamist leader pleads not guilty

From Times Wire Reports

A polygamist church leader accused of forcing a 14-year-old girl to marry and have sex with an older cousin pleaded not guilty in state district court in St. George to two counts of rape by accomplice.

Warren Jeffs, 51, the leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, could face up to life in prison if convicted. A trial was set for April 23.

Prosecutors said the girl had no choice but to obey Jeffs, whose influence over his followers has been described as extraordinary, dictating decisions such as where to live and whom to marry.

The alleged victim, now 20, did not attend the hearing.

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