Bentley-driving accused cult leader has 20 wives as young as age 9, possibly married own daughter, FBI alleges

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FLAGSTAFF, Ariz.The FBI is accusing a 46-year-old Arizona alleged polygamist cult leader of having 20 wives, many of whom were underage — as young as 9 years old — and of possibly marrying his own daughter.

The wives were allegedly trafficked across state lines in a trailer — forced to use a bucket as a toilet — while the self-proclaimed prophet drove two Bentleys while pushing failed business ventures in real estate and goal coaching.

Samuel Rappylee Bateman — as well as his coconspirators and aiders and abettors — is accused of engaging in the transportation of minors in interstate commerce to engage in criminal sexual activity and travel interstate commerce to engage in illicit sexual conduct with minors, between May 2020 and November 2021, between Arizona, Utah, Nevada and Nebraska. He was first indicted by a federal grand jury on Sept. 6.

The investigation revealed that on August 28, 2022, Bateman, with aiders and abettors, committed obstruction of justice by destroying records of their illegal actions, according to federal prosecutors.

Bateman is a self-proclaimed prophet of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS), a subset of the fundamentalist Mormon denominations whose members practice polygamy.

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