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More sexual abuse charges filed after raid at compound

January 17, 2018

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A Utah man from an upstart group with beliefs in polygamy and doomsday has been charged with sodomy on a child and other counts.

Prosecutors filed the charges Wednesday against 34-year-old Samuel Shaffer, one of two men accused of sexually abusing girls they considered wives. He was also charged with child lewdness and obstruction of justice.

Authorities say he and 33-year-old John Coltharp believed themselves married to two girls each, ages 4 through 8. Prosecutors say the children were related to the two men.

Police say the men formed a group called the Knights of the Crystal Blade and created a remote, makeshift compound with shipping containers.

Police found girls hidden in plastic water barrels during a December raid.

Coltharp has also been charged with child sodomy.

Shaffer’s attorney didn’t immediately a return message seeking comment.

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