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Bin Laden Speaks; Missing Madeleine; Fallen Prophet: Polygamy on Trial

Aired September 7, 2007 - 23:00   ET


OSAMA BIN LADEN, AL QAEDA LEADER (through translator): ... clear to you and the entire world the impotence of the democratic system, and how it plays with the interests of the people and their blood by sacrificing soldiers and populations to achieve the interests of the major corporations.


RANDI KAYE, CNN ANCHOR: And late today, President Bush weighed in.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I found it interesting that on the tape, Iraq was mentioned, which is a reminder that Iraq is a part of this war against extremists.

If al Qaeda bothers to mention Iraq, it's because they are -- they want to achieve their objectives in Iraq, which is to drive us out.


KAYE: Bin Laden also praised the work of Michael Scheuer, who oddly enough made a career out of trying to capture or kill him. He is the former head of the CIA's bin Laden unit. We spoke earlier tonight along with CNN Terrorism Analyst Peter Bergen.


KAYE: Peter, let's start with you.

No overt threats in this tape, but several mentions of September 11, references to politics in the U.S. What makes this tape different in terms of message?

PETER BERGEN, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: Well, it's a kind of strange tape, Randi, compared to most of his other output.

For a start, it was stripped of most of the religious content. Usually, bin Laden lards his tapes up with a lot of references to the Koran, to the Hadith, the sayings of the Prophet Mohammed, and these kinds of things. This was more much of a politicized -- it read like a kind of neo-Chomskyite critique of the American body politic, talking about how corporations dominate the politics of the United States, stuff that bin Laden hasn't really talked about before. He even mentioned at one point the Kyoto Treaty.

So, it was kind of a sort of leftist critique of the United States and its politics, some -- not an area that he's usually engaged in and -- and, in that sense, unusual.

KAYE: And Michael, in the tape, bin Laden also makes mention. He says Americans should convert to Islam if they want the war in Iraq to end. You see a threat in that message to convert. How so?

MICHAEL SCHEUER, FORMER CHIEF OF CIA BIN LADEN UNIT: Well, the Prophet Mohammed was very clear in his direction to Muslims, before they attack, to offer a truce, to warn the enemy very carefully, and to offer them a chance to convert to Islam. If they did that, there would be no more need to fight.

And we will -- and we have already the president, Mr. Chertoff have kind of brushed that away. But bin Laden's audience in -- for that is the Muslim world. What he wants Muslims to see is that he's gone the extra mile, that he has offered the Americans every chance not to be attacked again inside of America.

And so, implicit in the offer of conversion is, if you don't convert, 9/11 is going to happen again, at a worse level.

KAYE: And what do you make of his new look, Peter, the -- the darker beard? Last time we saw him, it was gray, practically white.

BERGEN: Well, vanity knows no boundaries, right?

I mean, so bin Laden wants to look younger. He celebrated his 50th birthday this year. He has tended to look considerably older than that. And, in an effort -- here we see him from October 29, 2004. And here he is in 2007. So, he's dyed his beard. Maybe he's trying to look -- you know, regain his youth. Who knows?

KAYE: And Peter, bin Laden, he points to what he calls this -- this biased campaign being waged against Muslims by politicians and the media. What do you make of that?

BERGEN: Well, and he also threw in Hollywood as being a particularly egregious example of bias against Muslims.

You know, bin Laden as media critic, this also is somewhat new. In the past, you know -- and I think Mike would agree here, that, you know, it's usually a -- a very straightforward foreign policy critique of the United States dressed up in religious terms.

This kind of -- this recent speech is a little -- qualitatively, a little different. The -- the Associated Press is reporting that perhaps the American Adam Gadahn had a role in -- in making this speech, and that -- that seems quite a plausible idea to me. KAYE: Michael, you were mentioned by name in this tape.

Bin Laden said, quote, "If you would like to get to know some of the reasons for your losing of your war against us, then read the book of Michael Scheuer in this regard."

For those who haven't read your book, just tell us briefly what he's referring to.

SCHEUER: Well, he's just referring to the basic fact that our political leaders on both sides of the aisle have kind of misled, deliberately, the American people about our enemies' motivation.

We continue to hear that it's about freedom and liberty, and they hate women in the workplace, or the fact that I might have a beer after work, and that has nothing to do with it. What we're at war about is the impact of our policy in the Islamic world. That -- that's what motivates al Qaeda and its allies. And that is what gives al Qaeda and its allies unity.

And that's not to say we should change our policy. But, unfortunately, we're fighting an enemy that doesn't exist, the people who hate democracy. What we're fighting in reality is people who are resisting our policies. And until we understand that, America won't be defended adequately.

KAYE: Peter, this tape is going to be analyzed over and over and over again. What will authorities be looking for, and where do you think that bin Laden is?

BERGEN: Well, I mean, you know, there are -- there's really no information about where bin Laden is. But I mean, there's informed hypotheses.

And people I have talked to in the intelligence community believe that he's in Pakistan, in the tribal areas, fairly up -- far up north here. Here, we are seeing pictures of, I believe, Chitral. He might be an near there called Bajur.

So, you know -- but these are informed hypotheses. There's no -- there hasn't really been good -- good intelligence about bin Laden's location since the Battle of Tora Bora, where he disappeared back in December of 2001.

KAYE: Peter Bergen, Michael Scheuer, thanks so much for your insight tonight.

SCHEUER: Thank you, ma'am.


KAYE: So, bin Laden is back and it's far from the first time he has resurfaced. Here's the "Raw Data."

Since the September 11 attacks, the al Qaeda leader has been featured in 18 propaganda messages. Fourteen were audiotapes. Four contained video of the al Qaeda leader. But the last time he appeared before a camera was nearly three years ago, in October 2004.


KAYE: Our other big story tonight concerns a major break in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. She vanished on a family vacation in Portugal back in May. Her parents say she was kidnapped.

Tonight, though, it appears the police think otherwise. They're focusing their attention on the McCanns.


KAYE (voice-over): Whistles and boos greeted Kate McCann as she entered a Portuguese police station for a second straight day of questioning. Her husband, Gerry, followed a short time later for his latest official interview.

Tonight, we can confirm both are no longer witnesses in the disappearance of their daughter, Madeleine. They are suspects. It is a stunning turn of events in a mystery that has made headlines around the world.

According to a family spokeswoman, police found traces of Madeleine's blood on a car the family rented more than three weeks after the toddler was reported missing. There's more.

Gerry's sister delivered a bombshell of her own, claiming Kate was offered a plea deal.

PHILOMENA MCCANN, GERRY MCCANN'S SISTER: Part of it is that they're trying to get Kate to admit to having accidentally killed Madeleine and disposed of her body, hidden and disposed of her body, which is complete nonsense, has no factual basis whatsoever.

KAYE: In exchange for pleading guilty, McCann's family says Kate would serve two years or less in prison. Kate and Gerry have not been charged with any crime and maintain their innocence.

The allegations have shocked Kate's mother, who says her daughter is being framed.

SUSAN HEALY, KATE MCCANN'S MOTHER: She knows perfectly well that if this evidence exists, then it is proof that there is somebody inside out of the police department or who's had access to their apartment and their belongings and who's -- who's planted this evidence.

KAYE: Kate and her husband, Gerry, have never wavered from their assertion that Madeleine was kidnapped.

The British couple, who are both doctors, took Madeleine and her two-year-old twin sister and brother on a vacation to a resort in Portugal.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gerry, we're on holiday. KAYE: On the night of May 3, they said they left the children sleeping in one bed to have dinner at a poolside tapis restaurant about 300 feet away. When they returned, Kate checked on the children to find Madeleine gone, with the window open.

KATE MCCANN, MOTHER OF MADELEINE MCCANN: Please, please, please do not hurt her. Please don't scare her. Please tell us where to find her.

KAYE: Police searched the resort and surrounding area. They followed numerous leads. One British national who was staying near the hotel was named a suspect. But no charges have been filed against him.

The McCanns' pleas for help have led to press conferences across Europe. They have also traveled to the U.S., and had a private meeting with the pope. The case has also attracted a celebrity following.

DAVID BECKHAM, PROFESSIONAL SOCCER PLAYER: If you have seen this little girl, please, could you go to your local authorities or police and give any information that you have?

KAYE: All along, the McCanns have never been under a cloud of suspicion, until now.


KAYE: And now, for more on the investigation, let's go to CNN's Paula Hancocks, in Portugal.

Paula, can you tell us what is the pulse there, in the community? Are they turning against the family which they've been supporting there?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, certainly, we did see, Randi, as both the McCanns were walking in at separate times, that some of the locals turning against them. There was some whistling, there was some jeering, but at the same time, there were always British holiday makers that were here that were actually shouting things like, we believe you, Kate. Keep going, Kate.

So there's certainly a split decision at this point. But this is a holiday area. Some of the locals are worried that they have stayed here for so long, they wanted them to go back to Britain. This is very bad publicity for them.

And the fact that this is just so widespread, so many people know about this little girl, Madeleine, and certainly for this particular area, that doesn't bode well.

KAYE: As you've been reporting, forensic tests show that Madeleine's blood was found in this rental car that her parents rented about 25 days after they first reported her missing. How do authorities think that that blood got there? HANCOCKS: Well, we're not hearing from the authorities themselves. They're keeping very tightlipped. We're hearing this from the McCann family. And what this spokesperson has said is that they believe that it was in this car. It may have been blood, it may have been body fluids.

But of course, the actual evidence that the Portuguese police have is not available. How strong is that evidence? Is it consistent with what they have said in the past? Because, of course, in the past they have always said that the McCanns are being interviewed as witnesses, not as suspects. That all changed within about 24 hours. Twenty-four hours ago, the two McCanns walked in here as witnesses, now they're suspects.

KAYE: Paula Hancocks, live for us live tonight in Portugal, thank you.

Earlier in the program tonight, we heard Madeleine's aunt staunchily defend the family. Now let's hear from John Walsh, host of "America's Most Wanted." He talked with CNN's Tom Foreman.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, what do you make of these latest developments in this case?

JOHN WALSH, HOST, "AMERICA'S MOST WANTED": Well, I hope the media doesn't rush to judgment here. This is a normal consequence, to look at the family, to look at them closely.

And the Portuguese police have never dealt with a case of a missing child. They just don't have the experience. They have made a ton of mistakes, and there's been worldwide scrutiny on them.

Now, I'm not saying there's not a possibility of the family being involved. But this family has been all over the world. They met with the pope. They have celebrities in England. The father came to the America -- came to America to go to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. That's not the normal behavior.

If you remember Susan Smith, who killed her two boys and said that it was a -- an African-American carjacker, she and several other cases I have worked on, they don't come to the media after two or three days. They don't keep this relentless search going.

So, there needs to be a parallel investigation ongoing. Look at the family. Re-interview the family, yes, but don't eliminate the possibility it could have been a predator that took this little girl.

FOREMAN: Isn't it a natural thing, though, John, right away to look at parents? Because, statistically, parents kill children more than other people.

WALSH: Oh, absolutely. The parents have to be eliminated.

But this police agency never had any experience. It's a small police agency in Portugal in a little resort town. They should have called in Scotland Yard. They should have brought in other consultants to help them with this case, but huge mistakes were made.

And I still say this -- this is what happened in the JonBenet Ramsey case, where the police just totally focused in on the Ramseys, and never, ever pursued a parallel investigation.

I have done many, many cases on "America's Most Wanted" where the parents were suspects, and, years later, it was proven they had nothing to do with the abduction of their child. I say, don't rush to judgment.

And Portuguese law says that this police agency, or any police agency in Portugal, can't talk to the -- to the media without going to jail. They have got huge scrutiny on them. This is -- this is not unusual, for a small agency to say, well, we're going to go back and look at the parents; they're the focus of our investigation, when they have made huge mistakes in the beginning.

I -- I say we shouldn't rush to judgment here.

FOREMAN: Even if we're not rushing to judgment, though, John, how much do we have to take seriously the notion that -- that there's now this notion of blood evidence in this car that would possibly link them?

WALSH: Well, let the police or somebody clarify that. This speculation, innuendo is almost like a tabloid feeding frenzy.

Let them tell us. Is it human blood? Is it blood that has DNA related to the mother and father? Or is it a guy that got a nose bleed in a rental car? I mean, I don't get...

FOREMAN: Well, I know one of the issues, John, always seems to be that, with parents, we're always around our children when they do have nosebleeds and they have scrapes and cuts. And I know, in many cases like this, that's one of the issues, isn't it? A family's DNA is very much mixed up.


WALSH: Absolutely.

Let's -- let's say that the McCann family had nothing to do with this, and it was a sexual predator that took this little girl and killed her and buried her in the roadside. And the whole focus of this investigation, for the police to cover their butt or for the -- to get the media off their back, they refocus in on the family.

And the law in Portugal is, now that the McCanns, the mother, is named a suspect, she can get a lawyer and look deeper into what the police are doing. We -- the jury is not out yet.

FOREMAN: John, it seems like, in this case, like so many others like it, even though they are rare, gosh, right now, it looks like this could very well turn into one of those enduring mysteries, where we never get an answer. Is that your suspicion?

WALSH: Oh, I -- I hope not. I really pray, because some things come to light years and years later.

We did a case on "America's Most Wanted" where a family in Rochester, New York, were the total focus of the investigation, and nine years later, after they were divorced, after they were both in psychiatric counseling, a pedophile admitted that he had taken their daughter off the front yard, and had put her in an air-conditioning coolant tank.

That family was destroyed by the innuendo. So, I still say they need to be doing a parallel investigation here.

FOREMAN: Thanks so much, John Walsh. Always good to get your perspective.



KAYE: We'll be following this developing story closely.

And just ahead, a 360 special report, "Fallen Prophet: Polygamy on Trial." Warren Jeffs, the former fugitive polygamist leader is finally about to stand trial.

Coming up, all of the angles, including the case against Jeffs and a rare look inside the secretive world of his sect. What's it really like for the young girls growing up there, and the women forced to share their husbands.

Plus, young boys forced out of the sect, cut off from their families, and now struggling to build new lives. What they witnessed and why they had to leave.

All that and more, next on 360.



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to this 360 special report, "Fallen Prophet: Polygamy on Trial."

By now, the name Warren Jeffs is familiar to you. To his followers, he's a prophet who holds the keys to salvation. To his accusers, however, he is pure evil.

Now either way, his fate is about to be decided in a courtroom in southern Utah. The polygamist leader and one time fugitive is accused of arranging the marriage of a child bride, which prosecutors say makes him an accomplice to rape.

Jury selection for Jeffs' trial begins next week. In the hour ahead, we're going to look at the case against Jeffs and hear from the prosecution's star witness, a brave young woman now under police protection.

We'll also go inside the secretive sect that Jeffs leads. Is it a cult or a calling? We'll hear from women and men who managed to break free from the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints.

Plus, the elusive, some say sinister figure at the center of all of it -- Warren Jeffs. Who is he really? And why do thousands of people believe that God speaks through him?

All of that is in the hour ahead. We begin with Warren Jeffs' sect -- FLDS, a group that split from mainstream Mormonism more than 100 years ago over the issue of polygamy.

(voice-over): It's a religion that began not in ancient times, but in 1820 in upstate New York, when a boy named Joseph Smith said he had a revelation from God.

RICHARD BUSHMAN, AUTHOR, "JOSEPH SMITH, ROUGHT STONE ROLLING": As he began to have visions from heaven, evidences of angels.

COOPER: Among the revelations, instructions to write down what would become the Book of Mormon. Seven years later, the book was published and the Mormon faith was born. Smith and his followers were persecuted for their controversial believes, which included polygamy. Another godly revelation, according to Smith.

THOMAS ALEXANDER, BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY: Joseph Smith was certainly persecuted for his beliefs and that's one of the reasons that the members of the church had to move from one place to another.

COOPER: Smith died in jail, murdered by an angry mob. A new leader emerged, Brigham Young, and the church's members moved to a more permanent home, Salt Lake City, Utah. But there was trouble ahead for this fast-growing faith when the federal government outlawed polygamy and the mainstream Church of Latter Day Saints renounced the practice more than a century ago. The church split and the FLDS was born.

JOHN LLEWELLYN, FORMER FLDS MEMBER: The fundamentalists sunk their roots deep. They bred like flies. They were like rabbits. They incorporated cities, established communities until they are a bona fide movement right now. They're a subculture of the LDS church. They have their own prophets, their have their own communities, their own literature. And I'm afraid they're here to stay.

COOPER: Members of the FLDS, or the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints, created their community in the twin cities of Hildale, Utah and Colorado City, Arizona. There, they practice their beliefs, that polygamy is mandated by God, that they're ruled by a prophet, a direct descendant, they believe, of Jesus Christ. And women -- even underage girls -- could be ordered by the prophet to marry much older men. How many wives could a man marry? That, too, was determined by the prophet. LLEWELLYN: There's no rule that says how many wives you must have, there's no rule that says how old the wife must be or whether you even have to provide for them. The one rule is that you must live plural marriage in order to be exalted.

COOPER: The prophets rule their followers with iron fists, overseeing all aspects of their lives, dismissing anyone who dared to disobey them.

John Wye Barlow was the first prophet. Then Joseph Musser. After another split, again over polygamy, Leroy S. Johnson became the prophet, succeeded by Rulon Jeffs. When Jeffs died in 2002, his son Warren announced that he was the new prophet.

LLEWELLYN: People can't pick their leader. God does that through revelation or the prophet picks his successor.

These people in Colorado City and Hildale, Utah, have a huge investment in their lifestyle. They've never known anything else. They're not about to change.

COOPER: But despite a series of scandals, the FLDS seemed to have found its haven on the Utah/Arizona border, a place where they could practice their faith in relative peace, that is, until now.

Well, the turning point was last year when the FBI put Warren Jeffs on its most wanted list. He hadn't been seen by anyone outside of his sect for almost two years and he was facing state and federal arrest warrants. The poster said that Jeffs should be considered armed and dangerous and they also offered a $50,000 reward. That's when the rest of the world began to take notice of Jeffs and his devoted flock.

Here's CNN's Gary Tuchman.

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When Warren Steed Jeffs made the FBI Ten Most Wanted list, most people saw the face of a fugitive. But to his followers, it was the face of one of God's prophets, a blood descendant of Jesus Christ. His supporters think the quest to imprison him is blasphemous.

What do you think of him?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's a great prophet. And you're damn fools for bothering him. Because your ass is going to get burned one of these days when you look up from hell and look at him in the face.

TUCHMAN: Three months after making the FBI list, Jeffs was nabbed, pulled over on a Nevada highway by a state cop. In the vehicle, his brother, one of his dozens of wives, $55,000 in cash, four computers, 16 cell phones and numerous disguises, including many wigs -- all of those items forbidden fruit to his followers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I noticed Warren was extremely nervous. He was sitting behind the right front passenger's side and wouldn't make contact with me. TUCHMAN: Warren Jeffs, the self-described prophet, president, seer and relevator of the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints church was flown in a chopper under intense security to a jail in Utah with the ironic name of Purgatory, where he awaits trial.

Walter Pluckton (ph) is one of his lawyers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does your client view this as a religious persecution?


TUCHMAN (on camera): Warren Jeffs leads the largest polygamist community in North America, most of whom live here in the twin border communities of Colorado City, Arizona and Hildale, Utah.

(voice-over): Jeffs was on the FBI list, not because he's a polygamist. It's because he is accused of performing marriages of children to older men.

This is Marvin Wyler.

MARVIN WYLER, FORMER JEFFS FOLLOWER: Up there, Leann, Ross, Margo, Stephen.

TUCHMAN: He has 34 children and two wives. A third wife passed away. They still live in Colorado City, but have left Warren Jeffs' church.

WYLER: I think he's hurt so many people that I'd hate to be in his shoes when God judges him.

TUCHMAN: Ten of their children who are still in the church are ordered to no longer talk to their mothers and father, which devastates these parents. But as much anger as they have toward Warren Jeffs, Charlotte Wyler's feelings about whether she wants him to be found guilty are surprising.

CHARLOTTE WYLER, FORMER JEFFS FOLLOWER: It's just scary to have somebody in our religion put behind bars forever.

TUCHMAN (on camera): You're still saying our religion and you're not part of it.

C. WYLER: Yes. I know. Yes.

TUCHMAN: It's hard to get out of it, isn't it?

C. WYLER: It is. It's very hard.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Warren Jeffs has pleaded not guilty to charges of rape as an accomplice. His demeanor in court has ranged from smiling and alert to dazed and drooling on himself.

His followers have appeared at court hearings and have said that prison bars or not, Warren Jeffs remains their prophet. (on camera): Tell me what you think of the man.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I -- I really I honor him, look up to him and I'd stand and uphold him 101 percent.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): A martyr or a criminal or, perhaps, is he both?

Gary Tuchman, CNN, Colorado City, Arizona.

COOPER: Some people believe that Warren Jeffs will win no matter what the jury eventually decides. If he's acquitted, they say Jeffs' standing as a prophet will be strengthened. And if he's convicted, he'll become a martyr.

Joining me now is CNN's Senior Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin and Reporter Mike Watkiss, who spent years investigating Jeffs and his sect.

Good to have you both on the program.

Mike, for many years, you know, the FLDS members of the sect really left to their own devices. How did they get away with this for so long?

MIKE WATKISS, KTVK INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: Because they have operated in secrecy, and that's to their advantage. They have gone out and tried to create this community in this very remote and desolate corner of the great American landscape because they know that polygamy throughout history has not stood up very well to public scrutiny or to the light of day, and they have, in fact, tried to cover themselves in this closed and secretive community that has served them well because they don't want prying eyes in there looking, people like me and now the media, the hoards of media that are now investigating. This has not been good for them, and it is because, in essence, polygamy has gotten them in trouble from the opening days when Joseph Smith first started this practice more than 150 years ago.

COOPER: But, you know, Jeffrey, it's interesting, I mean, after operating kind of in the shadows for a long time, it did kind of blow up. The FBI put Warren Jeffs on the most wanted list. Traditionally, though, I mean, he's not the kind of guy you usually see on that list.


COOPER: Right.

TOOBIN: Well, you know, ever since J. Edgar Hoover started the Ten Most Wanted list, the FBI has been acutely aware of public perception. And this case started to get a lot of attention and the crime, while not conventional, is one that offends a great many of people, and it involves harm to children. And the FBI decided, look, it's time to really put a stop to it. And eventually, after a long time, they arrested Warren Jeffs.

COOPER: Mike, before Jeffs was arrested, before he was, you know, caught, a highway patrol basically pulled his vehicle over, a lot of people thought his capture would have a violent ending. Why do you think they thought that and why didn't it?

WATKISS: Well, because Mr. Jeffs is known to travel with bodyguards. I've encountered these guys over the years. And they are certainly capable of doing something to defend Mr. Jeffs, but Mr. Jeffs himself is a very meek and mild person. He rules in many ways in a more sort of surreptitious way where he threatens people in a way that is not overtly physical.

So, you know, there's always that potential, and there are a lot of young men in that community who would certainly do something -- perhaps, lay down their lives if they thought the prophet instructed them to do so or if he was in jeopardy.

But in many ways, it was the best case scenario. They picked him up on that highway, outside of Vegas, a heads-up state trooper pulled him over, and Mr. Jeffs was traveling only with one of his brothers and one of his wives. And it was the best-case scenario for law enforcement. They picked him off without incident. And that was the good news of that capture.

COOPER: The home base for these folks, Hildale, and you know, it's these twin cities that straddle the border between Utah and Arizona, does that present specific challenges in terms of actually prosecuting?

TOOBIN: A huge challenge. And frankly, Anderson, I've never even heard of this problem.


COOPER: The state line there was all but ignored between these two towns.

TOOBIN: Right. But Arizona can only prosecute crimes that take place in Arizona. Same, of course, for Utah. And with the two states bringing separate prosecutions, as they have to, the defendants have taken advantage of the fact that it's ambiguous where criminal conduct, if any took place, did take place. And this has created a big problem for prosecutors in establishing that the crime charge took place in the state that charged it. I've never heard of this before.

COOPER: Interesting.

Mike, the FLDS has been in existence, I guess for over a century now. A lot of former followers say when Warren Jeffs became the leader, back in 2002, that really the nature of the sect changed. How so?

WATKISS: In so many ways. Mr. Jeffs is really sort of a unique prophet. Most of the previous prophets had been dirt farmers who have come from that landscape where they settled. Mr. Jeffs has certainly taken this -- what many people perceive as a bad situation and made it a lot more sinister when his father had a stroke and he in essence assumed power. His first official act was pull all of the children out of public education. I think many of us who were observing over the years recognized that this was sort of a sinister turn. Then started kicking out men and basically telling the outside world that he would not be lectured to about when celestial marriages would be performed, saying that this was divinely inspired. And he didn't care what Utah and Arizona officials were saying. He was going to marry these girls when he wanted to.

COOPER: Mike Watkiss, from KTBK, thanks. You've been reporting on this for years. Appreciate your expertise.

Jeffrey Toobin as well.


COOPER: The key witness who will soon testify against Warren Jeffs and managed to break free from his sect. So have others and we're going to hear from some of them tonight.


COOPER (voice-over): Women taught from birth to serve men.

KAYE: What was the general attitude toward women in your home?

SARA HAMMON, LEFT FLDS COMMUNITY: They were second-class citizens to my -- to my father.

COOPER: Young girls forced to marry older men and become mothers, some of them still teenagers.

KAYE: Why do the women stay?

GARY ENGELS, MOHAVE COUNTY INVESTIGATOR: If they can get them married young enough and get a couple of children, then it makes it very difficult for them to leave.

COOPER: A rare look inside Warren Jeffs' polygamist sect.

Also ahead, the key witness who could keep Warren Jeffs in prison for life. Her identity is a secret. We can only let you hear her voice.

VOICE OF JANE DOE, PROSECUTION'S WITNESS: He said I've always wanted to see a woman naked. And I was so embarrassed. I was so embarrassed.

COOPER: What she says happened when she was just 14. Next, on this 360 special, "Fallen Prophet: Polygamy on Trial."



COOPER: In the sect that Warren Jeffs leads, it's called the Law of Placing, and it means that Jeffs, who's considered a prophet by his followers, chose husbands for every woman and young girls in his sect. He also literally took wives from their husbands and gave them to others, depending on their worthiness. Jeffs says that God told him who should marry who, but his control over the sect went even further.

With that, here's CNN's Randi Kaye.


KAYE (voice-over): As a young girl in a polygamist home, Sara Hammon knew her future. She'd be forced to marry, likely a man twice her age. She'd been taught he would be her ticket to heaven, but she didn't feel that way.

SARA HAMMON, LEFT FLDS COMMUNITY: It was like marching to the guillotine.

KAYE: Sara grew up in Colorado City, Arizona, a polygamist community. Her father had 19 wives. She had 74 siblings.

(on camera): What was the general attitude toward women in your home?

HAMMON: They were second-class citizens to my -- to my father. These women have no voice.

KAYE (voice-over): Sara calls it mind control. She says her mother had more than two dozen nervous breakdowns.

HAMMON: I don't know how a woman can allow another woman to come into her home and cook some supper up with the family for her and go to bed with her husband that night and respect herself.

KAYE: When Warren Jeffs became prophet, he closed the schools. Children were no longer educated. Instead, girls were taught to cook and keep house.

Listen to this rare recording of one of Jeffs' sermons.

WARREN JEFFS: Dear wives, realizing happiness is only in being a part and a strength to your husband.

KAYE: Sara learned her place at a painfully young age. Before she'd even turned 5, she says her father and other members of her family had begun sexually abusing her.

That sense of power and entitlement followed Sara's father to his death bed. Before his last breath, she says, he tried to put his hand up her skirt.

HAMMON: He knew he was dying. Instead of at that moment being connecting and, you know, a child and her father, it was -- it was abuse.

KAYE: Investigator Gary Engels knows about the abuse in the community and illegal marriages involving underage girls. The challenge is getting women to talk about it. They're so afraid, he says, it can take years for them to open up.

(on camera): Why did the women stay?

GARY ENGELS, MOHAVE COUNTY INVESTIGATOR: If they get them young enough and get a couple of children, then it makes it very difficult for them to leave. And the fact that the women are not educated or taught how to deal or take care of themselves in the outside world is another issue.

KAYE: Many women don't even know they have options, that another life exists. Those trying to help them are in the process of putting up billboards like this one which, when complete, will let women know that they have a right to education. And if they need help, it's out there.

(voice-over): At age 14, Sara found that help. A couple she'd been baby-sitting for outside the community agreed to take her in.

HAMMON: I was the first 14-year-old girl to successfully leave the community.

KAYE: Nearly 20 years have passed. Yet Sara still struggles with her place in society.

(on camera): Have you been able to date? Is that too personal?

HAMMON: I don't date much. I watched my mom just die emotionally, and I relate that to marriage. I still have never been able to undo what I absorbed as a child, that once a man and a woman become a unit, the man's up here, and the woman's down here.

KAYE (voice-over): Sara will forever wonder who she might have been, she says, had she been born into a normal family.

Randi Kaye, CNN, Colorado City, Arizona.


COOPER: But it's not just girls who suffer in Warren Jeffs' sect. Just ahead, we'll hear from young boys cut off from their families and struggling to build new lives. Some were exiled from Jeffs' sect, others left to escape the abuse they say they endured. What leaving them has cost them.

Also, the case against Warren Jeffs, how strong is the evidence really? What is his defense going to be? And why some believe he'll win even if he's convicted. When the special edition of 360, "Fallen Prophet: Polygamy on Trial," continues.


COOPER: Warren Jeffs' alleged victims aren't just young girls. Jeffs' church teaches that men need at least three wives to get into heaven, and that belief creates a problem of supply and demand. Girls are potential wives, while boys and even adult men are competition. Some are literally kicked out of the sect. Others leave on their own. Most of them have struggled to try to build new lives.

Here's CNN's Dan Simon.


DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Music, video games, an unmade bed. Typical for a 20-something guy. Except Franky is anything but typical. At 18, he left his home, his family and his faith.

FRANKY, FORMER WARREN JEFFS' FOLLOWER: My dad got kicked out two weeks previous to me leaving. And I don't want to become 50 years old and have my family pulled away like that.

SIMON: Franky's family was pulled away on orders by Warren Jeffs. By leaving, he became a so-called lost boy, one of the roughly 400 young men who were kicked out of the sect or, like Franky, left on their own.

Some lost boys claim they were banished to allow the older men to have more wives.

When he said good-bye, Franky left behind three mothers and nearly three dozen siblings. And two of his sisters happen to be married to Warren Jeffs.

SIMON: He wouldn't be happy with you now?

FRANKY: No, he wouldn't. In fact, he would be very angry that I'm talking to you.

SIMON: Franky says when he first left, he hardly spoke.

FRANKY: I'm not supposed to be talking to you outside people. You Gentiles, or whatever, however they word it. It's very twisted. And because of that, learning to trust people on the outside world is very hard.

SIMON: Dozens of lost boys gather in houses like Robbie Holm's, to blow off steam and drink. Franky and others say others some even turn to drugs.

ROBBIE HOLM, FORMER COLORADO CITY RESIDENT: They're going to do what they feel is good to them. And drinking and alcohol and drugs are one of those things they want to do.

SIMON: Of the so-called lost boys, how many of them do you think are doing drugs?

FRANKLY: At least 98 percent.

SIMON: Franky's habit eventually led to a conviction for drug possession.

GREG HOOLE, LOST BOYS ATTORNEY: It's almost a natural consequence for them to get involved to some extent or another with alcohol and drugs.

SIMON: It's clear these boys could use some help.

(on camera): Here's the problem, when the kids leave their structured religion-driven lives, they find themselves totally unprepared for normal society. Most have no money, no real education and, worst yet, nowhere to live.

Well, one group is trying to change that. This home is the first of its kind dedicated to helping the lost boys find their way.

(voice-over): St. George, Utah, has become an epicenter for lost boys. When this house is completed next month, it will become home and haven for 10 lost boys.

Michelle Benward, a psychologist and activist for lost boys, leads the project.

MICHELLE BENWARD, NEW FRONTIERS FOR FAMILIES: So it's really a transitional home. It's an opportunity for them to have a place to stay, food to eat and a time to sort of adjust. We like to think of it as a bridge in between the two communities.

SIMON: Franky, who works in construction, spends his free time helping with the renovation. He hopes the home will smooth the transition from the madness of Colorado City to mainstream society.

FRANKY: This is the Holy Bible.

SIMON: Franky is still struggling to understand the faith he left behind. He doesn't condemn Warren Jeffs and the polygamist-based religion. In fact, in some ways, he admires Jeffs.

FRANKY: Warren, to me, would be like a psychiatrist to 15,000 people. Does that make sense? He -- he figured out how to distill people's hearts into loving one another unconditionally.

SIMON: He does sometimes long for his old life.

FRANKY: I miss the society of it as far as somebody that cares, somebody that you know that you can go home and have a good plate of food, home-grown cooking sat in front of you.

SIMON: But Franky is not going back on his decision. Even if he did, his family would not accept him. Lost boys are not welcome back.

Dan Simon, CNN, St. George, Utah.


COOPER: Well, the case prosecutors in Utah have built hinges on the testimony of a woman who was forced to marry her older cousin.


COOPER (voice-over): Her identity is a secret. We can only let you hear her voice.

VOICE OF JANE DOE, PROSECUTION'S WITNESS: He said I've always wanted to see a woman naked. And I was so embarrassed. I was so embarrassed.

COOPER: What she says happened when she was just 14. Next on this 360 special, "Fallen Prophet: Polygamy on Trial."




COOPER (on camera): That song is so creepy. It is actually a recording by Warren Jeffs himself.

The fact that Jeffs is about to stand trial is amazing to many people. As you've seen tonight, for years Jeffs managed to allude the law, living under the radar and on the run, protected by his loyal followers.

Now, the man they consider a prophet, will be judged by a jury of mere mortals.

Once again, here's CNN's Gary Tuchman.


TUCHMAN: For the thousands of people who regard Warren Jeffs as a prophet, watching television is verboten.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you Warren Jeffs?


TUCHMAN: But these days, it would be the only way for most followers to see him.

Jeffs remains behind bars and could spend the rest of his life there if a jury finds him guilty. But the people in charge of his defense promise to go on the offense.

WALTER BUGDEN, WARREN JEFFS' ATTORNEY: We're going to confront the witnesses against us and there will be spirited cross-examination.

TUCHMAN: Jeffs is charged with being an accomplice to rape. Something prosecutors say he did by commanding girls under the age of 18 to marry older men, men who would then consummate their marriages.

(on camera): Authorities say Jeffs performed many marriages of underage girls to older men. But the prosecution's case will rely on one particular marriage and one star witness.

(voice-over): She is known as Jane Doe, 14 years old when forced to marry her 19-year-old first cousin. We can only let you hear her voice because the court isn't allowing pictures of her.

VOICE OF JANE DOE, PROSECUTION'S WITNESS: He said I've always wanted to see a woman naked. And I was so embarrassed. I was so embarrassed.

TUCHMAN: Jane Doe testified at a preliminary hearing and is being given security protection to testify at trial against the man who she used to regard as a prophet and who performed her wedding ceremony.

VOICE OF JANE DOE: The entire time that I was there, I was crying, and I just -- I honestly just wanted to die because I was so scared.

TUCHMAN: Attorney Greg Hoole represents Jane Doe. He believes she is a courageous hero for coming forward to help in the prosecution of Jeffs.

GREG HOOLE, ATTORNEY FOR JANE DOE: He's a tyrant. I think that this is more about control than it is about sex. This is about a person who will do anything to control the lives of other people and keep himself in a position of power, even if that means destroying countless families and individuals.

TUCHMAN: But Jeffs' attorneys give no indication they feel sorry for people like Jane Doe.

Do you think she wanted to married? That's all.

BUGDEN: Mr. Jeffs is not charged with arranging a marriage. That's not the charge. He's charged with rape, with all of the emotional connotations of the charge of unconsented sexual intercourse, being an accomplice to that conduct, and he is not guilty of that charge.

TUCHMAN: Jeffs' most fervent followers see nothing criminal about his alleged actions.

(on camera): What about the allegations that he's arranged marriages to younger girls. I mean, that's not right, right? To do something like that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Like I say, I uphold him. I know what he's doing is right.

TUCHMAN: Even marriages to girls under 18?


TUCHMAN: Really?


TUCHMAN: You think that's OK?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If it's what he's inspired to do, I know that's -- I know it's right.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): But this former follower says it's wrong.

RICHARD HOLM, FORMER FLDS FOLLOWER: I have 59 siblings, brothers and sisters.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You were the 60th?

HOLM: Pretty close.

TUCHMAN: Richard Holm will also be a prosecution witness during the trial and a bitter one. He says Warren Jeffs took his three wives and his children away from him.

HOLM: He's considered the mouthpiece of God on the earth and considered as speaking for God in whatever he says, it's the final.

TUCHMAN: Holm has been asked by prosecutors not to do interviews for now. But when we talked to him last summer, he told us Warren Jeffs is...

HOLM: An extreme religious zealot that includes being a pervert.

TUCHMAN: Prosecutors hope former followers like Richard Holm and Jane Doe can help put Warren Jeffs behind bars for a long time. His current followers pray their prophet will soon have his freedom.

Gary Tuchman, CNN, Colorado City, Arizona.


COOPER: We'll of course be following Warren Jeffs' trial as it unfolds. We've been covering the story for more than a year now and we're expecting some dramatic testimony from the Jane Doe witness you heard from tonight. We also expect many of Warren Jeffs' followers and former followers to take the stand as well. We'll have a team in the courtroom covering it all.

Thanks for watching.