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USA. Samuel Bateman has at least 20 wives, including his own daughters. He is accused of incest and child trafficking

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Forty-six-year-old Samuel Bateman, a self-proclaimed prophet and leader of a polygamous group, has at least 20 wives, including his daughters, and most of the women are minors. The man is accused of o Group sexual acts involving children and adults and child sex trafficking. The FBI is investigating the matter.

Originally from Colorado City, Arizona, Samuel Bateman belonged to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a Mormon church founded in 1830 by Joseph Smith. Bateman, however, left the cult to lead his own group. The man is charged with incest, group sex acts involving adults and children, and child sex trafficking with the help of his wives, according to an FBI statement filed Friday in a Flagstaff courthouse. He is currently in prison in Arizona.

Samuel Bateman had at least 20 wives

Bateman was arrested in August when he was caught transporting three girls, aged between 11 and 14, in a trailer. Someone then noticed small hands sticking out of the crack of a trailer going through the city. An investigation has been launched into whether children were being transported for sexual activities. According to the FBI, Bateman even married his daughters, and most of these women were minors. He explained that having sexual relations with them was “the will of the Heavenly Father” and that “the girls entrusted their virtue to the Lord”.

Samuel Bateman, self-proclaimed prophet and leader of a polygamous groupCoconino County Sheriff’s Department via AP/EastNews

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From 2019, Bateman was to call himself a prophet. He was mainly supported by men who financed the activities of the pretender, and even gave him their own wives and daughters so that he could marry them. In total, Bateman amassed about 50 followers, and if anyone did not treat him as a prophet, he was to be punished. The man also says that Warren Jeffsa former leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who is currently serving a life sentence for child sexual abuse, told him to invoke “the Holy Spirit upon these people.”

SEE ALSO: France announces fight against polygamy and virginity certificates

Bateman’s wives accused of kidnapping

Arrested in August, Bateman posted bail and was released, but was arrested again on charges of destroying records and obstruction of justice. Meanwhile, three of his wives, Naomi Bistline, Donnae Barlow and Moretta Rose Johnson, are accused of kidnapping Bateman’s eight children from an Arizona care facility and fleeing. The girls were there when they were taken from Bateman by Arizona law enforcement. Last week they were found hundreds of miles away in Spokane, Washington.

Young women of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day SaintsVisions of America/Joe Sohm/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

According to the FBI, Bateman and his wives arranged for them to be transported to other states for sex purposes. None of the found girls testified in conversations with officers that she had experienced sexual abuse, but in their diaries they allegedly referred to intimate relations with a man, and one of them was to testify that she was naked during an orgy organized by Bateman. Yesterday, Bistline and Barlow appeared in court in Flagstaff.

SEE ALSO: Members of an Australian sect arrested over the death of an eight-year-old girl

CBS News, BBC, The Guardian

Main photo source: Coconino County Sheriff’s Department via AP/EastNews

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