MANTI — An alleged follower of a purported doomsday sect in southern Utah was charged Thursday with sexually abusing a child under the age of 14, according to court documents.
Robert Shane Roe, 34, of Castro, California, is charged with sodomy of a child, a first degree felony, an arrest warrant for Roe states.
Sanpete County Attorney Kevin Daniels, whose office is handling the case, said investigators initially knew that Roe followed the small sect known as "the Knights of the Crystal Blade," but they didn't immediately know the extent of his involvement.
Ongoing investigation led police to believe Roe's involvement with the group, like the group's leaders, culminated in the abuse of children.
"Like two of the other individuals involved in Knights of the Crystal Blade, he has committed sexual acts upon children, under the auspices of marriage," Daniels said.
Roe is accused of molesting a girl under the of 14 in August, charges state.
According to the warrant, Roe lives outside Utah, which "indicates he may be a threat to run" and he may be a danger to the community "due to the nature of the case."
The group identified as the Knights of the Crystal Blade was allegedly led by Samuel Warren Shaffer, 34, of Cedar City, and John Alvin Coltharp, 34, of Spring City. Coltharp's ex-wife described Shaffer as a "doomsday prepper who believes that the world will soon come to an end."1 comment on this story
In September, Shaffer and Coltharp disappeared with their children, allegedly taking each other's daughters as underage brides, according to investigators. After an Amber Alert was issued in December, Coltharp's daughters, ages 5 and 7, and Shaffer's daughters, ages 4 and 8, were found in freezing temperatures, hidden in plastic barrels or in an abandoned mobile home in a remote area of Iron County.
Shaffer has been sentenced to at least 26 years and up to life in prison for rape of a child in a case filed in Iron County. He faces additional charges in Sanpete County, where his next hearing is scheduled for June 27.
Coltharp faces child sex abuse charges in two separate cases in Sanpete County. He is due in court Wednesday when prosecutors say he is expected to either take a plea deal or finalize a trial date.