As the state continues to work to clean up the illicit actions in the polygamous community of Colorado City that sits on the Utah-Arizona state line, the trial for a polygamous leader charged with kidnapping and evidence tampering has been postponed until 2024.
In a story covered All About Arizona, the accused Arizona polygamist cult leader allegedly claimed 20 wives, many of which are underage, as young as 9 years old, with one concern that he married his own daughter.
Samuel Rappylee Bateman, 46-year-old, is being 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, within the states of Arizona, Utah, Nevada and Nebraska. He was indicted by a federal grand jury on Sept. 6.
His wives were reportedly trafficked across state lines in the back of a trailer and forced to use a makeshift toilet of a trash bag and a bucket during their travels. In addition, according to federal prosecutors, during the investigation, Bateman, with accomplices, committed obstruction of justice by destroying records of their illegal actions.
Bateman was scheduled to go to trial next month, but a judge granted the postponement Friday after prosecutors said they expect more charges to be filed in the case within the next three months. Bateman’s trial was moved to March 5, 2024.
He currently faces federal and state charges in Arizona, including child abuse, obstructing a federal investigation and aiding in kidnapping girls who were placed in the state child welfare agency after his arrest earlier this year. Bateman has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Bateman was at one time one of the trusted followers of imprisoned leader Warren Jeffs, however Jeffs recently denounced Bateman in a written revelation sent to his followers from prison. In 2006, Jeffs who was reported to have up to 78 wives, including minors, was on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List for fleeing from charges that he arranged illegal marriages between his adult males and underage girls in Utah. Jeffs was ultimately charged with multiple crimes involving the sexual assault of minors and is currently serving a life sentence for sexually assaulting some of his underage wives.
Bateman will remain in jail until his trial.