Mormon cult leader Samuel Bateman has been accused of taking children as young as nine to be his wives – as 11 members of his sect are charged with 51 felonies over child sex trafficking.
An updated indictment released this week shines new light on the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS), led by Bateman.
In total, 11 members of his sect now face 51 felony counts for transporting children across state lines to facilitate sexual activity, recording it, destroying evidence and witness tampering.
Bateman was arrested last year by the FBI who said at the time he had more than 20 wives, with some revealed to be as young as nine years old.
Bateman and three women followers of his are scheduled to appear for their arraignment in federal court on Friday.
His arrest came after authorities found three underage girls locked inside a trailer he was towing near Flagstaff, Arizona.
Samuel Bateman (pictured) was arrested last year by the FBI who said at the time he had more than 20 wives, with some revealed to be as young as nine years old.
Bateman was the leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS), an offshoot of Mormonism that practices polygamy
Pictured: FBI agents raid the home of Samuel Bateman in Colorado City, Arizona, in September 2022
Cops opened the squalid trailer to find underage girls inside, which was furnished with a couch and a bucket for a toilet.
The trooper that pulled him over saw ‘children’s small fingers moving in the gap of the rear trailer door’ as he pulled up behind the trailer, according to a police statement.
The religious leader was snared after a subsequent raid of his two properties found evidence of child sex trafficking, incest, and group sex with both adults and minors.
The cult-fanatic claimed it was God’s will for him to engage in depraved sexual acts with his ‘wives’, the FBI said.
Following the raid of his properties, several of Bateman’s underage ‘wives’ were rescued by the Arizona Department of Child Services, while others were saved after they were discovered in an AirBnB in Washington state in December.
According to an FBI affidavit, Bateman gave his daughter ‘slobbery’ kisses which she referred to as ‘nasty.’ He then discussed in graphic detail having a child with her.
Bateman later disclosed to his wife that he wanted to marry their daughter, which prompted his wife to leave with the child.
Underage girls were found being driven around by Bateman inside a trailer, with just a bucket for a toilet
Pictured: Three girls embrace before they are removed from the home of Samuel Bateman, following his arrest in Colorado City, Arizona, on Wednesday, Sept 2022
Bateman was previously a follower of infamous FLDS leader Warren Jeffs, whose crimes were detailed in Netflix docuseries ‘Keep Sweet, Pray and Obey’.
He allegedly told followers the convicted child-rapist was dead, and that he ‘spoke through’ Bateman as the new prophet.
Former followers of the FLDS told the Salt Lake City Tribune last December that following Jeffs’ conviction in 2011, Bateman seized upon the power vacuum and became the group’s leader.
Warren Jeffs during an extradition hearing at the Clark County Regional Justice Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, in August, 2006
He convinced them that Jeffs was dead, ‘or translated,’ a Mormon phrase for God transitioning a person’s body from mortal to immortal.
Bateman said that Jeffs could only speak through him and that members should reward him with money and new wives.
After he was arrested, U.S. Magistrate Judge Camille Bibles ordered that Bateman remain behind bars while the case goes through the courts, with a trial set to take place next year.