Eight young girls who ran away from group homes in Arizona were found hiding out in an Airbnb in Spokane. Moretta Rose Johnson is now charged with kidnapping because the group of girls were found inside her Airbnb.
Authorities say Samuel Rappylee Bateman, 46, sex trafficked up to 20 women and young girls, including his own daughter. He did this in several different states, including Arizona, Utah, Nevada, and Nebraska. He was a self-proclaimed Prophet of the FLDS church.
The Mormon prophet was arrested and charged locally with three counts of child abuse. He has been in federal custody on obstruction charges since his September arrest. Bateman posted bond on the state charges, but was later charged with destroying records and tampering with criminal proceedings.
Bateman made sexual advances towards his daughter, bribing her with Doritos and $50, and introducing her to new wives, which consisted of other “young girls”.
In recent years, Bateman befriended a couple that recorded him and his wives as part of a documentary. The filmmaker’s wife came forward to law enforcement in 2021 and said Bateman pressured his followers to turn over their daughters to him.
Nine minor females were taken into custody by Arizona Department of Child Services. Investigators found that the young girls had written in their journals about being sexually abused by Bateman. Still, they were coached by their older sister-wives not to speak with investigators.
Eight of the nine girls ran away from the group homes on November 27, and Bateman made a recorded phone call to two of his adult wives. After the young girls fled, that’s when they were found by authorities inside of the AirBnb.
The judge ordered Bateman to remain behind bars while the case winds through the courts. She said she was concerned about young girls in vulnerable positions.