Arizona polygamous leader had more than 20 wives, including children, feds claim

A “self-proclaimed prophet” had more than 20 wives, including children, and said it was the “Heavenly Father’s will” he participate in sex acts with them, according to an FBI affidavit.

According to an FBI affidavit, a “self-proclaimed prophet”, had more than 20 wives (including minors) and claimed that it was the will of God for him to engage in sex acts together with them.

According to an affidavit filed in federal court in Washington’s Eastern District, Samuel Rappylee Bateman of Colorado City, Arizona stated that God wanted to encourage his followers to engage in sexual acts, according to Friday’s filing.

According to the affidavit, Bateman was the leader of a Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints branch.

After authorities had tracked down eight girls who were under Bateman’s custody but were taken into state custody in Arizona, the affidavit was filed at an Airbnb in Washington. According to the affidavit, the girls had escaped their Arizona group homes.

According to the affidavit, nine girls were taken into Arizona Department of Child Services custody on Sept. 14. According to the affidavit, none of them “disclosed any actual sexual abuse by Bateman”, but at least one admitted being present, partially nude, for sex orgies.

According to the affidavit, eight of the nine girls ran from their group homes on Nov. 27, where they were being held in state custody.

According to the affidavit, a Spokane County Sheriff’s Office sergeant spotted a vehicle driven in part by Bateman’s wife. The vehicle contained all eight missing girls.

In the affidavit, Bateman’s wife was named as a defendant in an ongoing criminal case for obstruction and kidnapping.

Bateman was not charged with any sex crime, but the affidavit stated that there is probable cause that he engaged in sexual activity in connection with minors who were moved between Arizona, Utah and Nevada in 2020 and 2021.

Bateman lawyers could not be reached immediately Tuesday

Bateman was 18 when the affidavit named a defendant as a wife to Bateman. According to the affidavit, she gave birth seven months after turning 18, The affidavit stated that she is being accused of kidnapping two more women and of obstruction.

2019 was the year that Bateman declared he was a prophet, translating Warren Jeffs. Bateman and his followers called him “Uncle Warren”, according to the affidavit.

According to the affidavit, Bateman was still married to one woman in 2019 and had a daughter born in 2005.

According to the affidavit, Bateman began to accumulate wives after Bateman left his wife.

An FBI agent received some information in the affidavit from two people. Bateman believed that the woman was trying to help his group members and her husband who was filming a documentary.

Bateman drove a large SUV filled with girls and women to Colorado City in December 2020. According to the affidavit, Bateman introduced all of them as his wives. According to the affidavit, the youngest of the girls was birthed in 2011.

According to the affidavit, a minor who was related to Bateman was interviewed via video in December 2020. Bateman asked the minor about her prayer life and she replied that she had. The girl replied that she had not because she was too young. Bateman told her that he felt like she was his wife, according to the affidavit.

Investigators also learned that Bateman hugged and kissed the girl, one of which she called “slobbery”.

According to the FBI agent who wrote it, the affidavit stated that investigators had also obtained other evidence in form of journals from Bateman’s spouses.

The affidavit stated that “I reviewed a number the journals seized during search warrants” and that there were details mentioned by many of the girls about Bateman’s sleeping arrangements, kissing and touching him.

Bateman was 46 years old when he was taken into custody in September. He was also indicted on separate charges for destroying records during a federal investigation.

The federal charges include destruction of records or attempts to destroy records in an office proceeding; tampering with an official proceeding; destruction of records during a federal investigation, authorities claim.

According to prosecutors, Bateman was accused of destroying or trying to destroy records on Aug. 28 by deleting or aiding other people to delete electronic communications related to Signal accounts. Signal is an encrypted messaging app. Indictment alleges that Bateman committed the crime to obstruct, influence and impede federal prosecution and investigation.

Prosecutors claimed that Bateman was using Signal for communication with his wives, and other followers. Bateman has pleaded guilty.

Donna Mendell contributed.

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