FLDS leader gets served, but lawyers claim his brother is in hiding

SALT LAKE CITY — Imprisoned polygamist leader Warren Jeffs has been served with papers in a multi-million dollar lawsuit accusing him of ritualistic sex abuse.

FLDS Church leader Warren Jeffs with two young women believed to be his wives, in an image provided to FOX 13. (Faces have been blurred to protect the identities of any alleged crime victims.)

Court documents filed in 3rd District Court show the Fundamentalist LDS Church leader was served at the Texas prison where he is serving a life sentence for child sex assault, related to underage “marriages.” However, attorneys have been unable to find his brother, 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.”

Mortensen is asking a judge to allow him to serve Seth Jeffs by alternative means, which could mean just posting the lawsuit on the door of his last known address or in a classified advertisement in a newspaper.

A mugshot of Seth Jeffs, provided by the Weber County Jail.

FOX 13 first reported last year on the lawsuit filed by a woman known only as “R.H.,” accusing leaders of Utah’s largest polygamous church of years of sexual abuse in ritualistic events.

In the lawsuit, R.H. alleged she was taken from her home with a bag over her head, driven to an unknown location, then disrobed and sexually abused by Warren Jeffs, some of his brothers, and Wendell Nielsen. She alleges that others would watch the abuse.

Seth Jeffs was a key figure in the federal government’s case against leaders of the FLDS Church alleging food stamp fraud. In December 2016, he struck a plea deal with prosecutors and was released from jail immediately with no probation or restitution.

He was said to have led the FLDS Church’s sprawling compound in South Dakota.