Polygamous Sect Leader Pleads Guilty to Orchestrating Sexual Abuse To Children

Artistree [Whittier CA]

April 8, 2024

By Jason Curtis

In a case concerning a polygamous sect in the vicinity of the Arizona-Utah border, Samuel Bateman, the leader, pleaded guilty to charges of conspiring to transport underage girls across state lines for sexual activities involving children.

This scheme, deemed to have spanned several years, involved Bateman orchestrating sexual acts with minors and conspiring to free underage girls from Arizona state custody. His guilty plea encompasses charges of kidnapping conspiracy, with a recommended prison sentence of 20 to 50 years, while one conviction could carry a maximum life sentence.

Bateman, aged 48, admitted to taking underage brides, engaging in sexual activity with them, and organizing group sex, sometimes involving child brides. Despite attempts to contact Bateman’s attorney, Myles Schneider, for comment, no response was received. Bateman, who proclaimed himself a prophet and had over 20 wives, including 10 under 18, sought to establish an offshoot of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, advocating polygamy as a means to attain heavenly exaltation.

His arrest in August 2022 followed the discovery of three girls, aged between 11 and 14, in an enclosed trailer in Flagstaff, Arizona, equipped with minimal facilities.

Subsequent investigations led to further charges of obstructing justice in a federal inquiry into the potential interstate transportation of minors for sexual purposes. Upon his second arrest, nine children were removed from Bateman’s residence, with eight later escaping custody, allegedly with assistance from Bateman’s adult wives, who were later found in Washington state.

Bateman allegedly gifted wives to his male followers, purportedly on orders from a divine source, with recorded instances of sexual activity involving minors being transmitted across state lines. He is the second individual convicted in this scheme, alongside businessman Moroni Johnson, who pleaded guilty to similar charges.

Four of Bateman’s wives admitted to conspiracy charges related to tampering with an official proceeding, confessing to witnessing sexual acts with underage brides and participating in the abduction of eight girls from state custody.

Further charges await four women identified as Bateman’s wives and two male followers, who pleaded not guilty to various counts, including coercion of minors for sexual activity.

The FBI revealed Bateman’s enforcement of public confessions from followers for perceived transgressions, alongside punishments allegedly decreed by divine authority, including sexual activity. Allegations also suggest Bateman instructed male adherents to engage in sexual acts with his wives as penance for perceived sins against him.

The involvement of two men in providing luxury vehicles for Bateman underscores the extent of his influence within the sect. One individual procured two Bentleys, while another purchased a Range Rover for Bateman, illustrating a system where loyalty and compliance with Bateman’s directives were rewarded.

The case sheds light on the complexity and severity of crimes perpetuated within such closed-off communities, highlighting the necessity for thorough investigations and legal actions to address systemic abuses and protect vulnerable individuals, particularly minors, from exploitation.