A leader of a polygamist cult-like offshoot of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints allegedly had more than 20 wives, multiple news outlets report, with a number of them being minors, according to an FBI affidavit filed in the Eastern District of Washington.
Samuel Rappylee Bateman, 46, allegedly counted children as some of his wives, the affidavit — which was obtained by the Washington Post — states, including at least one of his own daughters.
He allegedly engaged in “group sex” with some of the girls, including watching other men sexually abuse and assault girls as young as 12, the FBI affidavit states, the Washington Post reports.
Officials removed a number of underage girls, com idade variando de 11 para 16, from Bateman’s Arizona home earlier this year, a Tribuna do Lago Salgado relatórios. The girls were moved to state DCS custody and placed in various group homes. Contudo, eight girls subsequently vanished from the homes, the Salt Lake Tribune reports. They were found outside a Spokane, Lavagem., Airbnb last week. Their current whereabouts are unclear.
One woman who worked to help Bateman’s followers escape the sect allegedly told investigators that, on one instance in 2020, Bateman arrived at her home in an SUV full of young female followers he introduced as his wives — including a girl around nine years old, por o Washington Post.
Bateman was also allegedly audio-recorded saying God had instructed him to “give the most precious thing he has, his girls’ virtue,” to a handful of adult men while he watched, according to an FBI affidavit, the Salt Lake Tribune reports. He also allegedly said, “God will fix their bodies and put the membrane back in their body. I’ve never had more confidence in doing his will. It’s all out of love.”
Bateman was raised in the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints — a polygamist branch of the mainstream Church — but eventually started his own sect, reports say.
He allegedly began exploring polygamy in 2019, per multiple outlets. Aquele ano, while riding in a car with his 14-year-old daughter, Bateman allegedly told her he wanted to have a child with her and make her his wife, the FBI affidavit reportedly says. He also allegedly gave her $50 and a bag of Doritos at the time — both of which reportedly seemed like “bribes” to the girl.
O adolescente, scared by what her father had said — later told investigators about the alleged car conversation. Bateman’s then-wife took the girl from the home shortly thereafter and filed a restraining order against her husband.
Bateman has been in jail since September, when FBI agents raided his Arizona home looking for evidence of marriages or sex between children and adults, according to the Salt Lake Tribune, which reviewed that arrest warrant.
The religious leader has been charged with 3 counts of child abuse in Arizona. Ele é separately charged with destroying evidence after he allegedly deleted some electronic communications from his cell phone. There are reportedly no sexual abuse charges against him at this time.
It is unclear whether he has entered a plea to the charges against him, and lawyers for Bateman could not immediately be reached.