Elissa Wall, a.k.a., Warren Jeffs' Jane Doe...
Pardon me if I crow like the Feathered Bastard that I am, but what was all over the news last night but 21-year-old Elissa Wall, formerly known as Jane Doe in the press, addressing a horde of reporters? This was, of course, following the conviction of Warren Jeffs for abetting her rape by her cousin when she was 14. She began by paraphrasing a line from Edmund Burke, stating,
When I was young my mother taught me that evil flourishes when good men do nothing. This has not been easy for us. The easy thing would have been to do nothing. But I have followed my heart, and I've spoken the truth. Lamont and I would like to convey our love to our families. Mother, I love you and my sisters unconditionally. I will go to the ends of the earth for you. I understand and respect your convictions, but I will not give up on you. I have very tender feelings for the FLDS people. There is so much good in them. I pray they will find the strength to step back, and reexamine what they have been told to believe and follow their hearts. This trial has not been about religion or a vendetta. It was simply about child abuse and preventing further abuse.
She had words of encouragement for women and girls still under the thumb of the FLDS cult, and thanks for Washington County prosecutor Brock Belnap's work. She closed with a quote from Emily Dickinson, "Opinion is a fleeting thing, but truth outlasts the sun."
Moving stuff, to be sure. So why am I crowing? Because back in December I revealed Wall's name in the post "Warren Jeffs' Jane Doe," and I predicted that she would talk to the media after the trial. This, despite the fact that at the time the press was withholding her name, which I regarded then (and still do) as silly. Though Wall was 14 when Jeffs married her off against her will to a 19-year-old, she's certainly an adult now. And since her identity was known by the FLDS, the court, and every reporter covering the case, it was hypocritical to keep her name a secret, especially since with a trial of this importance, a post-verdict press conference was almost inevitable.
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I caught a tiny bit o' hell for it back in December, and a little more this Friday when I announced that Utah's Deseret Morning News had published a photo of Wall when she was 14, along with her name. Both the photo and the name were released by Wall's attorney, though I'm certain the Deseret Morning News was aware of her name and likely already had photos of her.
To the Friday post, reader Tom wrote, "Today you have gone after a woman who has done no one any harm, except those that deserve it. Today a little shine has gone off New Times' star. Commenter Zoey was more direct, "This article shows just how despicable this so-called `newspaper' really is. What an asshole!"
An asshole I may be, but at least I'm not a hypocrite. I'll be really surprised if Wall avoids going on Oprah or Larry King. And I'll be equally surprised if she doesn't write a book about her experiences. When these things happen, I suspect Tom and Zoey and all the rest -- me included -- will watch her heart-rending interview by one of the big TV talking heads, and maybe will even read her book. Hey, call me the Carnac of the PHX. Just remember, you heard it here first.
You can watch the full video of Wall's press conference, here. Look down to the right and click on the entry for Wall.