3rd man accused of child sex abuse from Utah doomsday group

Stock image | Photo by YakobchukOlena, iStock/Getty Images Plus; St. George News

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A third man has been charged with child sexual abuse in connection with a Utah doomsday group that believed in polygamy and took child brides.

Robert Shane Roe, 34, of Castro, California, met the two founders of the group in a Facebook discussion group last year and traveled to Utah where he was given a “bride” – a 5-year-old girl related to one of the men, prosecutor Kevin Daniels said.

Investigators knew previously that Roe was involved in the group, but the girl only recently revealed what happened when she was alone with him, said Daniels, the Sanpete County Attorney in central Utah.

Roe was charged Thursday with sodomy of a child for the alleged activity in August 2017. No attorney is listed in court documents for Roe.

Daniels said Roe acknowledges being alone with the girl, but denies abusing her.

She is the third girl victimized by men in the group, Daniels said.

The group’s two founders – Samuel W. Shaffer, 34, and John Coltharp, 34 – formed a group called the Knights of the Crystal Blade based on arcane Mormon ideas long abandoned by the mainstream church.

Each man secretly married two girls, ages 4 through 8, prosecutors have said. Each man married a relative of the other.

Shaffer was sentenced last month to up to life in prison after pleading guilty to child rape and abuse charges.

Coltharp has pleaded not guilty to sodomy and child bigamy charges. He’s scheduled to be back in court Wednesday in Manti, Utah.

The two men were charged after sheriff’s deputies descended on a makeshift compound made out of shipping containers in a remote corner of Iron County. Police arrived with helicopters and dogs in December, after the mother of two of the girls reported them missing, along with two of her sons.

The men had taken the children there months before in preparation for an apocalypse or in hopes of gaining followers, authorities said.

The boys were found in the makeshift compound, but it took police another day to find the girls in the barrels and trailer.

Before their arrests, Shaffer and Coltharp met in a Facebook discussion group relating to the 1890 decision to abandon polygamy by the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Daniels said.

When Roe visited Utah, he was baptized into the group and bestowed the girl as a “spiritual wife,” Daniels said.

Though the group espoused polygamous intentions, none of the men had multiple adult wives, he said. The group also believed that Chinese and Muslim people were planning to come to take over the United States.

Two other followers who are cooperating with investigators could be charged at a later date with obstruction of justice, but they aren’t suspected of committing any sexual crimes, Daniels said.

Daniels called Shaffer, Coltharp and Roe “pedophiles cloaking themselves in the robes of religious freedom.”

Judge Matthew Bell said his conduct toward the children was “highly disturbing.”

Written by BRADY McCOMBS, Associated Press

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!


  • comments June 8, 2018 at 6:37 pm

    It seems wherever you find these mormon-based cults you also find pedophiles. What is it about mormonism that attracts so many pedophiles? I’ve wondered a few times if the old royalty of the original mormon church from the 1800s and such (Brigham Young and other high church leadership, etc) didn’t have a tendency towards pedophilic behavior–sort of like an 1800s version of warren jeffs. If pedophilia was common in the LDS church in those days it’s been censored out of the official history, but then so so much has been censored out of official LDS history that it makes me wonder. Like I say, why is there such a close connection with mormonism and child molestation? Joseph Smith kinda turned the whole operation into a big sex cult when he introduced polygamy, and I suspect that may be the source. There’s really no way to emulate the church founder Joseph Smith without becoming a sexual deviant/pervert…

    • Real Life June 8, 2018 at 9:07 pm

      I will never get it, but there definitely is a connection somewhere.

    • mesaman June 8, 2018 at 9:18 pm

      I wish you a happy father’s day next week and hope you can resolve your religion hangup before your life on earth is ended. It’s not like you know as much as you think, instead it’s what you have conjured through your own perception and that has prevented you from exhibiting any objective, rational thought. We have been at odds as well we have agreed on subjects over the years so it’s difficult to state any harshness toward you regardless of our differences.

      • comments June 8, 2018 at 9:56 pm

        no m&m, no harshness or hostility at all 😉 As a good LDS mormon myself I simply don’t understand it and wish it could be explained. Maybe if I understood it better I wouldn’t hold such animosity towards my own dear LDS church. I don’t even believe my church is all bad (we agree on some things), but I’m well studied on the history, and a lot of it is a very dark history. As someone who is a bit read in psychology I just see a lot of the worst parts of human nature steering the organization thru a lot of its past–everything from Joseph to Brigham to (unofficially) warren jeffs to mountain meadows massacres and on and on. And I don’t believe any of those would qualify as good men either–extremely ambitious and ruthless and cleaver, but by no means good. I’m not sure how you believers work thru these sorts of issues. I find the blind faith that folks put into religions to be delusional, but at the same time fascinating. The whole entire mormon thing is fascinating from a psychology perspective, esp to me as an unbeliever/apostate LDS member.

        • comments June 8, 2018 at 10:00 pm

          or a “heretic LDS member” hahahaha 😉 . Just think, if I used my real name to sign these comments my good fellow LDS’ers could find me and burn me at the stake 😉

          • riccie June 9, 2018 at 10:52 am

            Hey comments;

            “they would burn me at the stake”. Would that be at the “Stake Center”??!!

          • comments June 9, 2018 at 11:34 am


  • ladybugavenger June 8, 2018 at 7:17 pm

    They should be thrown off a cliff

  • PlanetU June 8, 2018 at 10:04 pm

    “highly disturbing”, says the judge. Maybe something more aggressive….

  • Kilroywashere June 8, 2018 at 11:59 pm

    Mr comments you walk a fine line, but I respect your audacity and blatant rhetorical postings. The truth you reduce this too, is that it sonehow goes back to to historical origins of the LDS Church. I do not agree. Nor do I defend. Simply these guys are psychopaths and sexual deviants of the highest atypical order. Perhaps there is a connection, but from a psychological standpoint, they could be avid followers of now dead and gone Charlie Manson for that matter. I understand the frustration within the context of religion, but in this case, we must look at these individuals for what they are . They are simply monsters if they are truly guilty of said acts. On the other side of the equation please do not let my comments in any way affect your future comments, Mr comments, but I think you like to piss off Mormons from time,to time for the sake of it. No harm no foul.

    • Real Life June 9, 2018 at 9:05 am

      It is a legitimate question. Why do so many of the offshoot LDS followers delve into pedophelia? He is not just trying to make Mormons angry, it is a warranted question based on the actions of the FLDS and so many others.

    • comments June 9, 2018 at 11:59 am

      What bothers me most is hypocrisy. Far too many mormons within my church are blatant hypocrites. Child molestation has been rampant in this state within plyg enclaves for a long long time. Why did it take texas to finally bring down the infamous pedophile prophet warren jeffs? Why do the political leadership in this state (essentially all LDS mormons) not do something about these problems of child molestation within mormon-based cults? Why did Orrin hatch attend FLDS services and sing hymns and play piano with them? The backroom connections of these FLDS-type cults to mainstream LDS mormonism I suspect run deep, although i have no absolute proof (i have no resources to gain such proof and i’m not gonna make it a project). If it weren’t for the state of texas being willing to prosecute Prophet Jeffs he’d still be creeping around up in shortcreek molesting and raping little girls willy-nilly. This state should have prosecuted Prophet Jeffs just as a symbolic gesture (because he’s already in for life), but mormon leadership in this state will not have it–they simply don’t want negative attention on the LDS church, and it would happen, because FLDS and LDS use the same mormon bible and are essentially very much the same religion. So yes, I find the hypocrisy of the LDS power brokers in this state to be absolutely offensive. It comes down to $$$ over the well being of people far too often. HYPOCRITES!

  • Kilroywashere June 9, 2018 at 11:59 am

    Real life, I am not disagreeing with you, and perhaps there is a connection to religious dogma. For a period of about a year I had FLDS neighbors, and we did communicate and get along. In fact better then my current neighbors. I also met and had lunch in Virgin once with a mother and her kids who were rock picking. The eldest daughter was jacknifing a trailer so I lent a hand, and offered my dolly to help later. To be honest they were good people. I do feel sorry for the women in general as well as the young men who get kicked out after a certain age. But I think it is wrong to associate the entire group with a small percentage of bad apples. I believe these.groups, especially this particular one in this article, have cult-like traits and behaviors, and feel ostracized by society. But is it the dogma of religion, or the manipulation by psychopathic members that is really at the root of the evil? I honestly don’t know. It is a concentration camp of the mind perhaps for those who wish to leave but cannot do so. That I have no doubt about.

  • ladybugavenger June 10, 2018 at 12:43 pm

    Let’s look at the definition of the word religion:




    the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods.

    “ideas about the relationship between science and religion”

    synonyms:faith, belief, worship, creed; More

    a particular system of faith and worship.

    plural noun: religions

    “the world’s great religions”

    a pursuit or interest to which someone ascribes supreme importance.

    “consumerism is the new religion”

    Now that I know what religion is defined as, I still dont like religions or the word religous.

    It has absolutely no meaning of truth.

  • ladybugavenger June 10, 2018 at 12:47 pm

    God and Jesus are not religions. It’s for all to come to accept the salvation of Jesus.
    Not Mormans, Christian’s, Muslims, Johovas witness…..but All! All of us.

    I compare members of a religion to members of a gym. Some go, some do not some participate in all the features, some do not. But they all pay dues.

    • ladybugavenger June 10, 2018 at 1:09 pm

      I should say, they all have to dues to pay.

      Wonder if they keep track of what Bob owes.
      Lol. You can always start your membership back of Bob. Just pay the dues. ?

      • comments June 10, 2018 at 9:04 pm

        hahahah. I owe 10% of gross for decades. I’m sure someones keeping track. When it comes to money LDS let’s nothing slide. It’ll be one hell of a payday for them if I ever decide I want a temple recommend. haha 😉

        But seriously I don’t believe they bill retroactively, but they’d sure be happy if it was offered up. 😉

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.