An Arizona cult leader accused of taking more than 20 women and girls as wives 'constantly' said he wanted to kiss and touch his underage daughter, FBI says




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  • A polygamist cult leader said he felt compelled to wed his teen daughter, court documents allege.

  • Samuel Rappylee Bateman "constantly" said he wanted to kiss and touch the teen.

  • The FBI alleges he told the daughter "if his feelings were right, he would make her have a child."

An Arizona cult leader from a polygamist sect accused of taking more than 20 women and girls as wives felt compelled to marry his underage daughter and "constantly" said he wanted to kiss and touch the teen, federal court documents allege.

The FBI alleges in an affidavit filed last week in federal court in Washington and obtained by Insider that Samuel Rappylee Bateman, 46, first said that he wanted to take his daughter - born in 2005 - as his wife in 2019.

Bateman had given his daughter a cell phone and would text the teen saying: "I love you," "I want to kiss you," and "I want to hug you," the affidavit alleges.

Bateman is a self-proclaimed "prophet" of the polygamist Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS), according to the court papers, which allege Bateman has about 50 followers and over 20 "wives" - "many of whom are minors, mostly under the age of 15."

According to the affidavit, "Bateman allegedly has 'impressions of Heavenly Father's will' to encourage his followers, including the minor children, to engage in sexual acts and relies on that submission to do his own will."

The court documents state that investigators have probable cause to believe Bateman and others transported minors "to engage in illicit sexual conduct" across Arizona, Utah, Nevada, and Nebraska between May 2020 and November 2021.

Court documents say Bateman was married to only one woman as of 2019. When he "first proclaimed a feeling that he should take his own daughter" as his wife, his wife left him and "refused to allow him to take" their daughter, who would have been 14 at the time, the court documents say.

The FBI alleges that on a drive back to their Colorado City, Arizona, home in February 2019, Bateman asked his daughter if she had "prayed" about who she would marry, and she said she had not because she was "too young."

The court papers say that Bateman told his daughter, "if his feelings were right, he would make her have a child."

During a bathroom break on the drive, Bateman bought two bags of Doritos and gave them to his daughter along with $50 "like it was a bribe," according to the affidavit.

Bateman also asked the teen what kind of car she would want and told her he would take her on a plane ride, the documents allege. He told his daughter not to tell her mother what he said before they arrived home, the court documents allege.

When they got home, Bateman told his daughter's mother that he "had a good feeling" that the teen "was supposed to be his wife," prompting the woman to move out and get a restraining order against him, according to the court papers.

The court documents allege that Bateman repeatedly asked his daughter to meet him outside her house and kissed his daughter in front of her younger brothers. The daughter once described a kiss Bateman gave her as "slobbery," according to the affidavit.

The daughter told investigators the way Bateman kissed and hugged her was "weird," according to the court papers.

"Bateman constantly said he wanted to kiss and touch her," the affidavit says.

An attorney for Bateman did not immediately return a request for comment by Insider on Monday.

Bateman has not been charged with sexual abuse but remains jailed in Arizona.

He was indicted in September on two counts of destruction of records and one count of tampering with an official proceeding. Bateman also faces three counts of child abuse in Arizona state court.

Bateman has pleaded not guilty to both the federal and state charges, according to The Salt Lake Tribune.

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