A 46-year-old alleged Mormon cult leader from Arizona is being accused by the FBI of being a polygamist with 20 wives, many of whom were underage and one of whom was his own nine-year-old daughter, and forcing them to use a bucket as a toilet while crossing state lines, local media outlets reported Sunday.
The man in question is Samuel Rappylee Bateman, a member of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints who took one of his daughters as his wife in 2019, according to a report in the Salt Lake City Tribune.
After 2019, Bateman began recruiting young women, minors and the adult wives of his male followers as his own and organized and participated in group sex rituals with them - while the male followers watched - called a "Binding of Brothers" ritual, according to an FBI affidavit shared with the Salt Lake City Tribune. Another ritual included "sacrificing the virtue" of three girls, one of whom was just 12 years old, to three of his adult male followers while he watched.
Currently, he is facing accusations of transporting minors across state lines for illegal sexual activity and of traveling across state lines for illegal sexual activity with minors, among other crimes, according to a local Fox affiliate.
"Bateman allegedly has ‘impressions of Heavenly Father's will’ to encourage his followers, including the minor children, to engage in sexual acts and relies on that submission to do his own will."FBI affidavit
"Bateman allegedly has ‘impressions of Heavenly Father's will’ to encourage his followers, including the minor children, to engage in sexual acts and relies on that submission to do his own will," according to the FBI affidavit, local media reported.
Bateman was arrested in an FBI raid on September 13.
What happened to the Mormon polygamist cult leader's child brides?
According to a report in the Salt Lake City Tribune, nine of Bateman's child brides were brought to state custody in Arizona following his arrest. However, eight of them suddenly left in late November and crossed multiple state lines with his adult wives.
This had reportedly been orchestrated via encrypted group chat communications with each other and Bateman's adult wives, as well as video calls with Bateman himself. They were eventually found at an Airbnb in Spokane after trying to use a credit card belonging to a Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints-linked business.