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Utah doomsday cult leader gets at least 15 years for sodomizing child

Self-proclaimed Utah doomsday cult leader Samuel Shaffer's Iron County Jail booking photo

Iron County (Utah) Sheriff's Office / KUTV

Self-proclaimed cult leader Samuel Shaffer pleaded guilty Wednesday to felony sodomy on a child. Shaffer was sentenced in Sanpete County to 15 years to life in prison, reports CBS Salt Lake City affiliate KUTV.

Other charges filed against Shaffer in Sanpete County were dismissed, including an additional felony count of sodomy on a child, one felony count of obstruction of justice, one count of child bigamy, a felony, and one count of lewdness involving a child, a misdemeanor.

Shaffer, 34, was previously sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for first-degree felony rape of a child and one second-degree felony count of child abuse. The sentencing, carried out in Iron County, required Shaffer serve a minimum of 26 years in prison.

Shaffer's Sanpete County sentencing will run concurrently with the Iron County sentencing.

Shaffer was the self-proclaimed prophet of a cult group called The Knights of the Crystal Blade. He and another cult member, John Alvin Coltharp, 34, were married to each other's daughters, who are minors.

On December 4, 2017, an Amber Alert was issued for Coltharp's daughters. Police began an investigation after Coltharp's ex-wife told authorities that he had taken their four children and fled after losing custody in divorce proceedings.

Two girls were found in a single-wide trailer; the other two were found in empty 50-gallon water drums.

Shaffer was arrested in December 2017 on kidnapping charges. Coltharp pleaded guilty on June 13 to charges of child sodomy and child bigamy. His sentencing is scheduled for August 8.

On June 8, a third man was identified as an alleged follower of the doomsday group and charged with child sexual abuse.