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Third suspect charged in ‘Knights of the Crystal Blade’ sexual abuse case

MANTI, Utah – Prosecutors in Sanpete County have filed criminal charges against a previously unknown member of the doomsday cult, “Knights of the Crystal Blade,” who also was accused of sexually abusing a young girl through a child marriage.

Prosecutors uncovered the new allegations while they were investigating John Coltharp and Samuel Shaffer, who both already face child sex abuse charges in the county.

Shaffer has already pleaded guilty and been sentenced on crimes that occurred in Iron County, late in 2017.

“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,” said Sanpete County attorney Kevin Daniels.

The marriages involved the young daughters of John Coltharp and Samuel Shaffer, who took the girls to a remote area of Iron County in fall of 2017. The girls were rescued after an AMBER Alert in early December.

Thursday afternoon, 34-year-old Robert Shane Roe, of Castro, California was charged in the case, accused of molesting a young girl in Mt. Pleasant in August. Authorities previously did not believe the victim had been abused.

Prosecutors said they continue to uncover disturbing details in the case.

“Roe was not a leader as Sam Shaffer and John Coltharp, he was a follower. We knew that from the beginning. We always wondered what level of involvement he had, and kudos to law enforcement who conducted an ongoing investigation and found that he had indeed sexually abused a child,” Daniels added.

If convicted, Roe would face 25 years to life in prison on the first degree felony charge. Prosecutors believed Roe was out of state, but have asked a judge to issue an arrest warrant.

John Coltharp was scheduled back in court on Wednesday, June 13, when prosecutors believe he will either take a plea deal or finalize his trial that is set for July.

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