Third suspect wanted in connection with Utah cult’s ‘child bride’ case

Samuel Shaffer (left) and John A. Coltharp. Photos: Iron County and Sanpete County
SANPETE COUNTY, Utah, June 9, 2018 (Gephardt Daily) — The Sanpete County Attorney’s office has filed an arrest warrant against a third man believed to have abused a young girl in connection with the polygamist cult Knights of the Crystal Blade.

Robert Shane Roe, 34, a resident of Castro, Calif., is wanted on suspicion of one count of sodomy on a child age 14 or younger, a first-degree felony.

According to information from the Sanpete County Attorney’s Office, Roe is believed to have met with cult founders after connecting on social media. Roe allegedly came to Sanpete County, where officials say he was given a “bride” — a 5-year-old girl related to one of the cult founders, Samuel Shaffer and John Coltharp.

Shaffer pleaded guilty in February to rape of a child and to child abuse as part of a plea deal. In May, Shaffer was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for child rape and one to 15 years for child abuse, to run consecutively.

Coltharp has pleaded not guilty to sodomy and child bigamy charges, and is expected to be back in court next week.

Each man had claimed a young relative of the other as a “bride.” Police have said the oldest girl involved was 8. The situation came to light after an Amber Alert was issued for Coltharp’s children in December of 2017.


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