Roy Jeffs, who accused polygamist leader dad of abuse, kills himself
A son of convicted polygamist leader Warren Jeffs who accused his father of molesting him as a child has killed himself, some four years after speaking out against the alleged abuse, a relative said.
Roy Jeffs, 26, was found dead Friday in his Salt Lake City home, his half-sister, Rachel Jeffs, told the Salt Lake Tribune. Rachel Jeffs blamed his death on the alleged molestation he endured as a child at the hands of the polygamous sect leader, who reportedly has as many as 70-plus children.
“Father didn’t love him,” Rachel Jeffs told the newspaper. “[Roy] knew it. All of us knew it. We all got told Roy was a bad boy.”
In 2015, after leaving the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Roy and Becky Jeffs publicly accused their father of molesting them as children. Warren Jeffs, 63, had already started serving a life sentence — plus 20 years — in 2011 after being convicted in Texas of sexually assaulting two teen girls he married, claiming they were his “spiritual” wives.
“One of my earliest memories is of him sexually abusing me,” Roy Jeffs told CNN at the time. “I was about 4 or 5 years old and this is where my dad did it. I remember him telling me, you should never do this … then he did it to me.”
Becky Jeffs told CNN she realized she wasn’t the only child her father had victimized after telling a sister about the alleged molestation.
“Where does it end?” she asked. “If he had this in him, how can I trust him? How is he really our prophet?”
Another one of Warren Jeffs’ daughters, Rachel Jeffs, then wrote a book in 2017 accusing him of sexually abusing her beginning when she was 8. The abuse lasted until Rachel Jeffs confronted him about it in a letter when she was 16, she detailed in “Breaking Free: How I Escaped Polygamy, the FLDS Cult, and My Father, Warren Jeffs.”
Roy Jeffs — the oldest of Warren Jeffs’ four children with Gloria Barlow, Jeffs’ third wife — ultimately left the church in 2014. He was earlier sent off to a ranch in Wyoming after being separated from Barlow at age 14 following a confession to his father about his sexual urges, including being attracted to some of his stepmothers, the Salt Lake City Tribune reports.
Roy Jeffs, then 23, said in 2015 that he didn’t file a police report against his father because Warren was already imprisoned, but finally left the church after being assigned to work in construction crews across the country as atonement for his admission. Roy Jeffs also said he realized he’d never meet his father’s standards.
“I just want the truth to be out there,” Roy Jeffs told the Associated Press. “I want that information to be there so when people are questioning things and they are looking around, my story is there.”
Funeral services for Roy Jeffs — who died Wednesday, according to his half-sister — will be held Saturday in Sandy, Utah. He had been most recently working for a solar panel installation business, Rachel Jeffs told the Salt Lake City Tribune.
“I’m proud of Roy for the courage he’s shown in being the first of my siblings to leave the FLDS cult and trying to figure out life the best he could,” she posted on Facebook Friday. “Roy was fun and loving and always enjoyed a good laugh. You will be remembered and missed brother!”
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