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August 31st, 2011
02:53 PM ET

Polygamist leader hospitalized

Polygamist leader Warren Jeffs remained in critical condition in a Texas hospital on Tuesday, but was not in a coma and is expected to recover, state prison officials said.

Jeffs fell ill while fasting in a prison in Palestine, Texas, where he is serving a life-plus-20-year term for sexual assault, Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman Jason Clark said.

But while a source familiar with Jeffs' condition told CNN Monday that the leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was in a coma, Clark said Tuesday that Jeffs was conscious. 

"He's somewhat sedated, but he is responsive," Clark wrote. 

And Michelle Lyons, another press officer for the department, said Jeffs "is expected to make a full recovery." Lyons said that in addition to not eating, he had "bigger issues that required medical attention." 

Prison officials have not elaborated on those conditions, citing inmate privacy rules. 

Jeffs was convicted in early August of the aggravated sexual assaults of a 12-year-old girl and a 15-year-old girl he claimed were his "spiritual wives."  His church is a breakaway Mormon sect that practices polygamy, which the mainstream Mormon Church renounced more than a century ago. 

CNN’s Gary Tuchman reports on Jeffs’ polygamist sect.

Filed under: Gary Tuchman • Warren Jeffs