U.S. charges Arizona polygamist leader in new indictment

Published: Wednesday, May 24, 2023 - 5:45pm

A federal grand jury has handed down an indictment against an Arizona polygamist leader whose organization spun off from the Mormon Church. 

The indictment charges that for years Samuel Rappylee Bateman and 10 of his followers gathered so-called wives from across several states for himself. It says he had intercourse with 10 victims who were under the age of 18. 

Bateman is the self-proclaimed leader of a polygamist sect in Colorado City. Bateman was indicted last year for destruction of records. Then he and three others were accused of kidnapping minors from the custody of the Arizona Department of Child Safety and fleeing across state lines to avoid police.

Finally the indictment charges Bateman and other defendants with producing child pornography and witness tampering.