Polygamous couple from Bountiful, BC jailed for luring child bride

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James Oler arrives at the BC Supreme Court in Cranbrook, British ColumbiaImage source, Reuters
Image caption,
James Oler arrives at court for polygamy trial

A man and a woman from a polygamous Canadian cult will go to jail for luring a 13-year-old girl to the US.

Brandon and Gail Blackmore were convicted in February of taking a child across the border for sexual reasons.

They were sentenced on Friday in British Columbia to a total of 19 months in jail.

The girl was married to Warren Jeffs, the leader of a Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, based in Bountiful, British Columbia.

Brandon Blackmore, 71, was sentenced to 12 months in jail by Justice Paul Pearlman, while his former wife Gail Blackmore was sentenced to seven months; the pair were also given 18 months' probation each.

A third defendant, James Oler, was found not guilty of transporting a 15-year-old girl during the trial, but he was convicted of polygamy in July alongside Brandon Blackmore's brother Winston Blackmore.

Jeffs, 60, had referred to himself as a prophet, and the Mormon breakaway sect he leads believes polygamy is the path to heaven. The sect's Texas compound was raided in 2008 and Jeffs was charged with sexually assaulting a 12-year-old and a 15-year-old, the latter with whom he fathered a child.

He was sentenced to life in prison by a Texas court in 2011.

Polygamy is illegal in Canada and across the Western world.

Image source, Reuters
Image caption,
Police holding the arms of Warren Jeffs

Brandon and Gail Blackmore brought the 13-year-old girl to Utah to marry Jeffs in 2004.

When police raided the Texas ranch in 2008 they found women dressed in frontier-style dresses and underage girls who were clearly pregnant.

The 10,000-strong sect, which dominates the towns of Bountiful, in British Columbia, Colorado City in Arizona, and Hildale, Utah, split from the mainstream Mormon church more than a century ago.