Aug 11, 2018

Cult leader who promoted child marriage is sentenced


AUGUST 11, 2018

The Utah man pleaded guilty to sodomy and child bigamy charges.

MANTI, Utah - A self-styled prophet who helped lead a Utah doomsday cult that believed in polygamy and promoted child marriage remained defiant Wednesday as he was sent to prison for at least 25 years.

John Coltharp, 35, told a judge he was following "heavenly laws" and was an Old Testament figure returned to Earth to promote child marriage, the Deseret News reported.

He maintained that it doesn't matter how long he goes to prison because society won't last much longer.
Judge Marvin Bagley told Coltharp his beliefs are wrong and don't come from the Bible. He said he hopes Coltharp is never released from prison.

Coltharp pleaded guilty to sodomy and child bigamy charges in June. He could spend life in prison as he waits for a parole board to determine a possible release date.
Coltharp and Samuel W. Shaffer, 34, formed a group called the Knights of the Crystal Blade based on arcane Mormon ideas abandoned by the mainstream church, authorities said. Both men held the title of prophet at different points and each secretly married two young girls, according to prosecutors. The girls were related to the men.

Deputies discovered the four girls in barrels and a trailer on a compound of shipping containers in the Utah desert in December 2017. A mother of two of the girls had reported them missing along with two of her sons. The men took the children to the compound in preparation for an apocalypse.

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