Polygamist leader Warren Jeffs, who was sentenced to life in prison Tuesday for sexually assaulting an underage follower he married in a "spiritual marriage," will probably continue to lead his church while he is in prison.
Jeffs, the head of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, also received a 20-year sentence for sexual assault on a 15-year-old girl. Jeffs received the maximum sentence on both counts.
Jeffs' followers will continue to believe in him despite evidence that he sexually assaulted little girls as young as 12, former church members and experts told CBS News.
Jeff's was also reaffirmed last week by the Utah Department of Commerce as head of the corporations that make up the FLDS.
In 2007, after Jeffs became convicted in Utah on sexual assault charges, he continued to provide spiritual guidance and lead Sunday services by telephone.
Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman Jason Clark said that Jeffs will become eligible for parole when he is at least 100 years old. Needless to say, he will probably never see the light of day again.
Jeffs, 55, said that he was being persecuted for his religious belief but prosecutors maintained that he was a sexual predator.
"The evidence in this case shows that this isn't a prosecution of a people," prosecutor Eric Nichols said in a closing argument. "This is a prosecution to protect people," he added.
Prosecutors used DNA evidence to prove that Jeffs fathered a child with a 15-year-old girl and presented an audio recording of him sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl.
Prosecutors played tapes of Jeffs instructing as many as 12 of his young wives to fulfill his sexual needs. "If the world knew what I was doing, they would hang me from the highest tree," Jeffs said in a 2005 note found in his Texas home.
Followers are convinced that Jeffs is the spokesman for God and an earthly channel to salvation.