Prosecutors allege in a court filing on Wednesday that the leader of a small polygamous group on the Arizona-Utah border helped plan the girls orchestrate the escape of eight girls he considered to be his wives from a group home where they were placed.
The document represents the most recent development in a federal case that has upended Bateman’s small community on the border of Utah and Arizona.
It adds to the charges Bateman already faces for hindering his upcoming prosecution.
Prosecutors say that on one of the calls, Bateman asked the women, who typically live in Arizona, if they were in “our state.” In response, they stated that they were not. On another, one of his wives said, “We are helping you,” to reassure him. On the third, they examined evolving vehicles.
The people group where Bateman and those he guarantees as spouses dwell has as of late gone through significant shifts, yet for quite a long time it was a fortress of The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Contemporary Holy people, a polygamist branch-off of The Congregation of Jesus Christ of Modern Holy people, well known as the Mormon Church. Although the mainstream church ended the practice in 1890 and now strictly prohibits it, polygamy is a legacy of its earlier teachings.
More than a decade ago, when federal authorities pursued charges against its leader, Warren Jeffs, for child sexual abuse related to underage marriages, the offshoot group, which goes by the acronym FLDS, attracted national attention.
Bateman is a former member of The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Investigator Sam Brower, who has spent years following the group, told The Associated Press this year that Jeffs denounced Bateman in a written revelation sent to his followers from prison. Bateman was once one of Jeff’s’s most trusted followers.
Federal charges of evidence tampering and child abuse are now against Bateman.
However, in the overlapping cases, authorities claim in court documents that Bateman orchestrated sexual acts involving minors and gave wives to male followers. Bateman received financial support from the men, as well as their own wives and young daughters.
They also say that Bateman would make his followers confess to any wrongdoings in public and then make those confessions widely known. Prosecutors claim that he asserted that the Lord ordained his punishments, which included public humiliation, sexual activity, and time out.