Polygamous leader pleads not guilty amid FBI investigation
A polygamous leader from a community on the Utah-Arizona border pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to federal charges of kidnapping, and tampering with and destroying evidence.
Sam Bateman entered his not-guilty plea during a hearing in a federal courtroom in Phoenix.
He faces state and federal charges including child abuse, obstructing a federal investigation and kidnapping girls in his community from state foster care.
His case is the most recent law enforcement intervention in the community of Colorado City-Hilldale that is long known to be a stronghold for the polygamous Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, an offshoot of the mainstream church which no longer practices polygamy.