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US: Imprisoned polygamous leader helped plan girls' escape

Samuel Bateman
Coconino County Sheriff's Department
Samuel Bateman

Prosecutors allege that the leader of a small polygamous group on the Arizona-Utah border helped orchestrate the escape of eight girls he considered his wives from a group home where they were placed after authorities learned of what was happening.

U.S. attorneys in Arizona allege in a superseding indictment filed this week that Sam Bateman, a self-declared prophet who is behind bars while he awaits trial, worked with three adult women he also claims to be his wives to help the girls escape foster care.

The document is the latest development in a federal case that has roiled Bateman’s small community on the Utah-Arizona border.