A Mormon man who was arrested for allegedly having 20 wives, most under the age of 15, also allegedly had sex with the father of some of his wives while forcing them to watch.
Police arrested 45-year-old Samuel Bateman and charged him with kidnapping and sexual abuse of minors after allegedly discovering evidence of his misdeed. Bateman is a self-proclaimed prophet of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS), a radical Mormon sect that practices polygamy, the custom of having more than one spouse at a time.
In 2019, Bateman reportedly enlisted about 50 followers and, over the next three years, he allegedly convinced his male followers to give over their own spouses and daughters to become his wives, KREM reported. Police say that Bateman and his followers transported minors across state lines to have sex with him in hotel rooms in Arizona, Utah, Nevada, and Nebraska.
Investigators formed a case against Bateman from documentary footage a couple shot of him and his wives. The footage allegedly included audio of Bateman giving several of his underage wives to three male followers for sex.
In the recording, Bateman allegedly told the girls that they had “sacrificed their virtue for the Lord” based on instructions from their “Heavenly Father.” In response, the crying girls reportedly said it was “a privilege to hurt for someone else so they can rise.”
Court records state that Bateman also drank wine and had sex with a male follower named Moroni Johnson in a Lincoln, Nebraska motel room. Bateman reportedly called the sex the “binding of brothers” and forced some of Johnson’s daughters to watch while standing nude alongside his other naked and older wives.
In August, police arrested Bateman in Arizona for child endangerment. While in prison, he allegedly called one of his young wives and told her to “delete every message right now” from his Signal account, an encrypted messaging app. While his family bailed him out, police arrested him again two weeks later for the destruction of records and tampering with evidence.
Arizona authorities took nine of Bateman’s underage wives to the state Department of Child Services, but eight of them ran away. Police believe that three of Bateman’s older wives drove the eight girls to an Airbnb in Spokane where police intercepted them.