Bentley-driving AZ ‘prophet’ allegedly had 20 wives as young as nine, including own daughter

Arizona cult leader, Samuel Rappylee Bateman, had 20 “wives” as young as nine years old — including his own daughter — and drove them around in a shoddy trailer that featured a bucket for a toilet while he rode in a Bentley, according to a new FBI affidavit.

Bateman was arrested in Flagstaff in late August after witnesses reported him at a gas station on Highway 89 with a box trailer “full of people including children,” reported in September.

A trooper caught up to him a few miles away, and the Department of Public Safety (DPS) alleged the officer saw “children’s small fingers moving in the gap of the rear trailer door.”

Two women and two girls under the age of 15 were seated in Bateman’s SUV, and another three, ages 11-14, were in the trailer, which lacked air vents, when he was pulled over. Only the oldest woman in the group would speak to investigators, who discovered a box of ammunition in the SUV’s center console.

Bateman was arrested and charged with three counts of child abuse.

While in custody, federal prosecutor Patrick Schneider said the radical leader reached out to his followers in Colorado City from the Coconino County Jail and told them to secure passports for all the women and girls and to delete messages sent through Signal, an encrypted messaging app. For that, Bateman was indicted for “Destruction of Records or an Attempt to Destroy Records in an Official Proceeding; Tampering or Attempting to Tamper with an Official Proceeding; and Destruction of Records in a Federal Investigation,” according to Arizona’s District Attorney’s Office.

Now, new and horrifying details have come to light, courtesy of an affidavit from Special Agent Dawn A. Martin, the Salt Lake Tribune reports.


Drawing on recordings made by a Colorado City couple who were filming a documentary, Martin described a conversation between Bateman and the couple in which he claimed the Heavenly Father instructed him to watch as three of his adult male followers had sex with three girls — one, just 12 years old.

According to Martin, Bateman said that God wanted him to “give the most precious thing he has, his girls’ virtue” to the men, claiming the girls “sacrificed their virtue for the Lord.”

“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 said, according to Martin.

The affidavit was filed in federal court in Spokane, Wash., after eight girls who were removed from Bateman’s homes in Arizona by the state’s Department of Child Safety disappeared on Sunday from group homes in Phoenix. They were recovered on Thursday in Washington.

Bateman grew up as a member of the polygamous Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS), a radical offshoot of the Morman church, which abandoned polygamy in 1890.

In 2019, he “began to proclaim he was a prophet,” Martin stated.

Bateman’s followers — a group so extreme, even convicted child rapist and fellow FLDS cult leader Warren Jeffs denounced him, according to the Daily Mail — are comprised of approximately 50 members and more than 20 wives “many of whom are minors, mostly under the age of 15,” Martin said.

The delusional (alleged) pedophile has not been charged with sexual abuse, the Tribune reports, “though Martin’s affidavit said the FBI has probable cause to believe he and others transported minors between Arizona, Utah, Nevada and Nebraska to engage in illicit sexual conduct between May 2020 and November 2021.”

On the federal indictment charges, he pleaded not guilty.

Melissa Fine


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