Samuel Rappylee Bateman, 46, is accused by witnesses of “marrying” up to 20 women and girls as young as nine, including his own daughter, according to an FBI statement
A new FBI affidavit has revealed shocking allegations against a Bentley-driving polygamist cult leader arrested in Arizona earlier this year.
Samuel Rappylee Bateman, 46, is accused by witnesses of ‘marrying’ twenty women and girls from the age of nine, including his own daughter. Salt Lake Grandstand reported.
He has been in federal custody since his September arrest on charges of obstruction, which came after Bateman was apprehended by police while transporting underage girls in a filthy trailer furnished with a bench and bucket for a toilet.
Bateman leads a splinter group of the radical Mormon offshoot Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, or FLDS, but Bateman is apparently so extreme that he’s even been sued by former FLDS leader Warren Jeffs, a convicted child molester.
The FBI affidavit, filed in the Eastern District of Washington, outlines sickening allegations of incest, sexual acts involving adults and minor children, and child trafficking.
FBI Agent Dawn A. Martin writes in the file, citing witness testimony, that Bateman “began proclaiming himself to be a prophet” and stated that he planned to marry his own teenage daughter in 2019.
The affidavit says Bateman has since “garnered approximately 50 followers and more than 20 women, many of whom are minors, mostly under the age of 15.”
Women and girls are seen during an Aug. 28 traffic stop in northern Arizona, where police say Bateman was transporting three girls between the ages of 11 and 14 in a trailer behind his SUV
The dingy caravan was furnished with a sofa, camper seats and a toilet made from a bucket
Evidence cited in the affidavit includes recordings of Bateman himself speaking to a couple in Colorado City reaching out to the polygamy community there and filming a documentary.
In an example cited in the document, Bateman told the couple that “Heavenly Father” had instructed him in early November 2021 to give “the most precious thing he has, the virtue of his maidens” to three of his adult male followers.
Bateman then allegedly watched as the three men had sex with his daughters, one of whom was just 12, according to the affidavit.
Bateman reportedly noted that the girls had “sacrificed their virtue for the Lord,” and went on to say, “God will restore their bodies and put the membrane back into their bodies.” I have never had so much faith in doing His will. It’s all out of love.’
The affidavit further claims that Bateman drove to the Colorado City couple’s home in late 2020 “in a large SUV full of women and girls,” where he “introduced everyone as his wife.”
The youngest of the so-called “women” was a girl born in 2011, agent Martin wrote, meaning the girl would have been nine years old.
The affidavit also mentions that Bateman owned two Bentleys, though it seems his “wives” traveled in less style.
Bateman’s first run-in with the law came in August when he was pulled over by a state agent in northern Arizona who was towing a trailer “full of people, including children,” police said. AZFamily.com.
The trooper saw “little child fingers moving in the back door opening of the trailer” as he pulled up behind the trailer, according to a police statement.
An evidence photo shows the trailer that Bateman allegedly used to transport underage girls
FBI agents raid Samuel Rappylee Bateman’s home in Colorado City, Arizona on September 13
Police said there were three girls in the caravan, all between the ages of 11 and 14, along with a sofa, camper seats and a toilet made from a bucket. With Bateman in the SUV towing the trailer, two women and two girls were under the age of 15.
Bateman was later arrested and charged locally with three counts of child abuse.
Federal prosecutors say while he was being held at the Coconino County Jail in Flagstaff on the local charges, he spoke to his supporters in Colorado City and ordered them to delete messages sent through the encrypted messaging app Signal, demanding that all women and girls would have access to passports.
Bateman posted bail on the state charges, but weeks later he was hit with a federal indictment that charged him with three counts of destroying or attempting to destroy documents and tampering with criminal proceedings, in reference to his instructions to his followers.
He pleaded not guilty in U.S. Magistrate Court in Flagstaff
Federal prosecutor Patrick Schneider said in September that the state’s child welfare agency had taken children from Bateman’s home in Colorado City, where the FBI had recently issued a search warrant.
Bateman has not been charged with sex crimes against children, although the new FBI affidavit says the FBI has probable reason to believe that between May 2020 and November 2021, he and others transported minors between Arizona, Utah, Nevada and Nebraska to engage in illicit sexual conduct.
Three girls embrace before being removed from Samuel Bateman’s home following his arrest in Colorado City, Arizona, on Sept. 14. Seven were removed from Bateman’s home, as were two others from another home
Samuel Bateman’s family and followers gather as he calls from police custody following his arrest in Colorado City, Arizona on Sept. 13
Bateman was a former member of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or FLDS, until he left in recent years and started his own small offshoot group, said Sam Brower, who has spent years researching the group.
Bateman was once one of imprisoned leader Warren Jeffs’ trusted followers, but Jeffs recently denounced Bateman in a written revelation sent to his followers from prison, Brower said.
Bateman’s group still practices plural marriage with a small following of fewer than 100 people, estimated Brower, who wrote a book about the FLDS and appeared in the recent Netflix series “Keep Sweet: Pray and Obey.”
Bateman’s attorney, Adam Zickerman, warned in September against concluding that the federal case was about religious persecution, though he did not specify what Bateman’s faith was or whether he practiced polygamy. Zickerman said Bateman poses no threat to the community.
Schneider cited a pre-trial report in which he said Bateman had relationships with several women, but also failed to mention whether Bateman belonged to polygamous groups.
Both the US law firm in Arizona and Zickerman declined to comment after a hearing in September, as did two women who sat in the stands and met Zickerman.
Bateman is apparently so extreme that he has even been sued by former FLDS leader Warren Jeffs (above), a convicted child molester
U.S. Magistrate Judge Camille Bibles ordered Bateman to remain behind bars while the case moves through the courts. She noted that Bateman is a pilot and survivalist who has followers and international contacts who can help at a moment’s notice through financial or other resources. She said she was also concerned about young girls in vulnerable positions.
“Courts have a huge interest in protecting people who can’t protect themselves,” she said.
Bateman noted a postal address in Colorado City, home to a patchwork of devout members of the polygamous FLDS, ex-church members, and those who don’t practice the faith. Both Colorado City and its sister community of Hildale, Utah have undergone significant cultural shifts in recent years.
The FLDS group, led by imprisoned leader Jeffs, has lost much of its control over the communities. Jeffs is serving a life sentence in a Texas prison for child sexual abuse related to underage marriage.
Polygamy is a legacy of the early teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but the mainstream church abandoned the practice in 1890 and now strictly forbids it.