A Utah man who claimed to be a prophet and led a doomsday cult pleaded guilty to child marriage and child sodomy in court Wednesday.
John Coltharp pleaded guilty to the charges of child bigamy and child sodomy in exchange for a plea deal in which prosecutors dropped the charges against him of obstruction of justice and kidnapping, according to The Associated Press. Coltharp’s sentencing hearing will take place on Aug. 8, where he will face the potential of life in prison. (RELATED: Scandal-Ridden Yoga Movement Struggles To Embrace #MeToo Despite Starting As A SEX CULT)
“I am guilty. That is a fact,” Coltharp said in court, according to KUTV.
Coltharp is one of two men, the other being Samuel Shaffer, who led a cult in Utah known as the Knights of the Crystal Blade. Prosecutors initially charged the two men with kidnapping and marrying each other’s children. Prosecutors said both men were married to two girls each. The girls were between four and eight years old.
The mother of four of the children, two of the daughters who were forcibly married and two of her sons, reported them missing. Authorities found and rescued the children in the city of Lund in 2017 in an abandoned trailer within a compound constructed of shipping containers. Authorities said the men had brought the children to the compound in the Utah desert to prepare for the apocalypse and possible to gain more followers, according to AP.
A court sentenced Shaffer on May 22 to 26 years in prison for sexually abusing a minor. The court also charged a third man involved, Robert Shane Roe, with sexual abuse. Two other cult members face possible charges of obstruction of justice, but are currently aiding investigators.
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