Elissa Wall Speaks Out About Her 'Stolen Innocence'

"He was the one that would teach in school that boys are poisonous snakes and that we were to keep away from them," Wall said. "I had no idea what husbands and wives did. When I was married I truly did not know that people did more than sleep in bed."

"He started to touch me and it was extremely uncomfortable for me. Every night would get a little bit more and [then] he started on my private areas. For a young girl, I was very innocent. I just felt horrible and violated."

For weeks, Wall tried to resist her cousin's advances but she also didn't want to go against her prophet Jeffs. Church doctrine dictates that followers obey priesthood commands.

"He had complete control over me mentally and therefore because I was his property and I was his, he was able to do what he did to me," she said as she described the alleged rape she received at the hands of her cousin. "At the time I did not know that. It was many years later that I realized the weight of what had happened and the true meaning of rape."

Breaking Free

For years, Wall said she kept quiet and endured the sexual assaults. She was unable to turn to her mother, sisters or anyone else for help, as no one would dare defy Jeffs' will.

To avoid her husband, she spent nights out in the desert, huddled in the cab of her pickup truck. On one of those nights she said she suffered a miscarriage, her fourth.

"I was lying there on the ground and I saw these headlights coming up the road," Wall said. "I just thought, 'Oh great. Here it is. I've been caught and they're going to turn me into Warren.'"

It turns out those headlights were a blessing. The driver was Lamont Bartow, a recent outcast from the church. "I had just been told by Warren that I had no place in the priesthood or with the people," Bartow said.

Wall said Bartow, who became the new love of her life, "was there and he ultimately saved me."

The couple's affair caused Jeffs to finally end Wall's marriage to Steed.

According to Wall, the prophet congratulated Steed saying, "Job well done," an insult that propelled her to become the first of Jeffs' followers to pursue criminal charges against him. The church community immediately lashed out against her.

"They prayed for my demise," she said. "In their minds, testifying against their prophet was the worst thing I could have ever done. And therefore, I was one of the worst people on this earth."

After making the FBI 10 Most Wanted List, Jeffs was arrested and charged with two counts of rape by accomplice. At the trial, Steed vehemently denied all the allegations against him and swore his allegiance to Jeffs.

But the defining moment came when Wall took the stand and went face to face with the man behind all of her suffering.

"I looked him right in the eye and I would not break. Ultimately, finally, it was him that shook his head and just looked down," said Wall, who described the experience as cathartic. Jeffs was found guilty and sentenced on each count to five years to life.

Steed, now 27, was also charged with rape and has yet to go to trial. His attorney has objected to Wall's book, saying it could influence the jury when his client's trial is scheduled.

Wall is now married to Bartow, and the couple has two young children.

Seven years after the beginning of her ordeal, Wall says she finally has the life she now hopes for all the child brides still living in Colorado City, Ariz.

-- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 4863899. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 4863899. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 4863899. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 4863899. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 4863899. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 4863899. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 4863899. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 4863899.
Page
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
null
Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...