The Texas Third Court of Appeals issued a ruling Friday affirming the conviction of Allan Eugene Keate, 60, a member of Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, who was charged with sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl in 2004 when Keate was 53.
Keate was sentenced to 33 years in prison in December 2009. His case was appealed in February 2010.
A major point of the appellate case was that there wasn't enough evidence that the girl became impregnated through sexual assault.
Memorandum of Opinion: Texas vs. Keate
"He complains that the state's evidence is largely circumstantial and failed to eliminate the possibility that (the victim) could have become pregnant by artificial insemination," the opinion states. The court said that, to the contrary, "The state is not required to present direct evidence to establish guilt."
Keate also argued in his appeal that there wasn't enough evidence to conclude that the assault happened in Texas, which is an element of the crime that the state is required to prove.
"The evidence is sufficient to prove that Texas has territorial jurisdiction," the court opinion states.
Keate complained that FLDS church records that were used shouldn't have been admitted for constitutional reasons, but the court believed the documents had been properly authenticated and didn't violate any constitutional rights.
Additionally, Keate argued the testimony of two witnesses, former FLDS member Carolyn Jessop and clinical psychologist Larry Beall, was not good on grounds of relevance, prejudicial effect of the testimony, qualifications of the witnesses as experts, and reliability of the experts' opinions.
The court opined that their testimonies were good on all of those grounds.
The opinion did not focus on the suppression of evidence from the April 2008 raid on the Yearning for Zion Ranch by authorities who acted on allegations of sexual assault, having dealt with those matters in the judgment-affirmed appellate cases of two other FLDS members whose convictions of sexual assault and bigamy came from the same raid.
"We do not repeat them here," the appellate court opinion states about the evidence arguments.
Keate is among the 12 men indicted as a result of the raid on the ranch, including FLDS leader Warren Jeffs, who was convicted of child sexual assault of a 15-year-old girl and a 12-year-old girl, and who is serving a prison sentence of life plus 20 years in Palestine, Texas, for the crimes.
Wendell Loy Nielsen is set for trial Wednesday in Midland on three counts of felony bigamy, facing two to 10 years in prison.