Polygamous sect leader pleads guilty in scheme to orchestrate sexual acts involving children

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PHOENIX (AP) — The leader of an offshoot polygamous sect near the Arizona-Utah border has pleaded guilty to conspiring to transport underage girls across state lines in what authorities say was a scheme to orchestrate sexual acts involving children. Samuel Bateman also pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit kidnapping in a plan to free underage girls who had been taken from the sect and placed into state custody. Authorities say Bateman took more than 20 wives, including 10 underage girls. They say Bateman created a network spanning at least four states as he tried to start an offshoot of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The sect historically was in the neighboring communities of Colorado City, Arizona, and Hildale, Utah.

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