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Polygamous leader used jail phone to inappropriately communicate with kids, court docs say

Semta News
Semta News
3 Min Read

A “self-proclaimed prophet” in Arizona who had more than 20 wives, including minors, is accused of trying to intimidate a government witness and using the jail phone to have “explicit sexual conversations” with children, federal court documents state.

Prosecutors allege that Samuel Rappylee Bateman, the leader of a branch of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, repeatedly misused his phone privileges at Core Civic/Central Arizona Florence Correctional Complex after he was arrested in September on charges of destroying records linked to a federal investigation.

During a conversation on Nov. 26, Bateman called a 13-year-old girl identified only as Jane Doe 4 a “sexy darling” and asked if she remembered their “sacred times” together, according to the documents. He also had inappropriate conversations with a 16-year-old girl identified as Jane Doe 11, the filing states.

“Despite Bateman’s knowledge that his non-legal communications are monitored, he brazenly engaged in explicit sexual conversations with children, including with 13-year-old Jane Doe 4,” prosecutors wrote.

At the time, Bateman was prohibited from communicating with Jane Doe 4 because she was a victim in a Coconino County child abuse case.

The documents further allege that Bateman made calls to some of his wives and directed them to send “intimidating messages” to a government witness.

Bateman’s phone and video privileges at the facility were ultimately restricted and he was told he could only communicate with his attorneys, but court documents state that he tried to find ways around it by using the pin number of another inmate to make calls.

His adult wives, who were aware of the restrictions, also made new email addresses and got new phone numbers to attempt to contact Bateman, according to the documents. On Friday, the date of the court filing, one of Bateman’s wives allegedly used a new email address to send Bateman 33 messages before the email was blocked.

The document says that Bateman “continues to try to call blocked phone numbers nearly every day.”

Attorneys for Bateman did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.

Following his arrest, the underage girls Bateman considered to be his wives were placed in the custody of the Arizona Department of Child Services. Prosecutors said of Bateman’s more than 20 wives, nine of them are minors who are currently between the ages of 12 and 16.

He allegedly made calls from jail to his adult wives to orchestrate the escape of eight of the girls. They were eventually tracked to an Airbnb in Washington.

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