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The leader of a radical branch of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints for driving his young brides around in a squalid trailer is in custody.
Samuel Rappylee Bateman, 46, a self-proclaimed prophet of his own polygamist sect and married to 20 women (one as young as 9 years old) including his own daughter, is in police custody.
Bateman is currently in federal custody, an escalation from his Aug. 28 booking in Colorado City, Arizona, for child endangerment, when he was pulled over and had several of his young brides in a trailer with a makeshift bucket toilet. The arresting officer claimed to see "children's small fingers moving in the gap of the rear trailer door," indicating that young children were in the trailer.
In September, Bateman was arrested by federal agents on obstruction charges. The FBI raided Bateman's house claiming that he had instructed his followers to delete text messages from the encrypted messaging app Signal. This is a federal crime and gave federal agents reason enough to take Bateman into custody.
But their investigation into Bateman is not limited to the destruction of evidence and tampering charges.
As reported by The Blaze, FBI Agent Dawn A. Martin has an affidavit with a list of allegations that Bateman did commit acts of sexual abuse and trafficking minors in his role as a cult leader.
Bateman's sect, which broke away from the FLDS, is so radical that former FLDS leader Warren Jeffs denounced him. Jeffs is currently serving a life sentence in Texas after he was convicted of sexually assaulting his own child brides in 2011.
Since Jeffs' arrest and sentencing, the FLDS has had difficulties with oversight over members. This has led to others, such as Bateman, creating their own sects outside of the FLDS.
Bateman is currently awaiting trial in jail, as U.S. Magistrate Judge Camille Bibles believes Bateman has the ability to leave the country if not in custody. She cited the fact that Bateman is a pilot and survivalist. With Bateman having international followers who could provide funding for him to escape coupled with the risk he poses to the young girls he has allegedly abused, Bateman will remain behind bars as his court cases are heard.
"Courts have a tremendous interest in protecting people who can´t protect themselves," Bibles claimed.
Bateman has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Polygamy is a practice that the mainline Church of Latter-Day Saints abandoned over a century ago. It illegal in all 50 states, including Utah.
Whether things stay that way will remain to be seen with the soon to be signed into law "Respect for Marriage Act." States such as California allow child marriages as long as there is parental consent, meaning once the RMA is passed, every state will have to recognize such marriages.
As people continue moving away from God's original design for marriage, there will be more victims like the child brides who endure abuse and have their innocence stripped away from them. If America hopes to stop this kind of atrocity, it must repent and turn back to the God-ordained purpose and definition of marriage.
James Lasher is Staff Writer for Charisma Media.
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