Prosecutor: No regrets on sect bigamy case

Abilene, USA - A Texas prosecutor says he has no regrets after unsuccessfully pursuing bigamy charges against a doomsday sect leader.

Callahan County, Texas, Attorney Shane Deel brought four counts of bigamy against Yisrayl Hawkins, 74, the leader of The House of Yahweh, a hellfire and Armageddon church near Abilene whose members are said to be convinced nuclear war is at hand.

The charges were dismissed last month and Hawkins instead pleaded no contest to four counts of child labor violations, the Fort Worth (Texas) Star-Telegram reported.

"When you look at what (the sect) is doing to the people in there, you have to try and address it some way," said Deel, who alleges he had a "mountain of evidence" that Hawkins has dozens of wives and promoted bigamy among sect members.

But Deel said he couldn't justify the $30,000 expenditure to bring the case to trial.

"I think he has done a lot of bad things to people, and not all of them are criminal," he told the Star-Telegram. "The way he treats people and takes their money and kind of intimidates them and ruins their lives is horrible."

Hawkins' attorney, John Young, denied the sect leader practices or encourages polygamy.