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Sodomy charges levied against

Sanpete father involved in alleged

kidnapping of children

 

By Suzanne Dean

Publisher

Jan. 11, 2018

 

MANTI—A charge of child sodomy, a first-degree felony, has been added to charges filed against John Coltharp, the Spring City man whose four children were recovered from Iron County in early December.

And there could be “more charges to come,” says Kevin Daniels, deputy county attorney for Sanpete County.

Daniels said he filed the sodomy charge following a meeting last week of FBI officers, police investigators from Spring City and Iron County, and a representative from the Iron County attorney’s office.

He said Iron County would also be filing a child sodomy charge against Samuel Shaffer, leader of a religious group called Knight of the Crystal Blade.

The group established a settlement in a remote area near Lund, Iron County. After John Coltharp and his parents got involved with the religion, they took John Coltharp’s four children, ranging in age from 4 to 8, from Spring City to Iron County.

The Knights-of-the-Crystal-Blade website says the group believes in polygamy and child marriage. And according to Daniels, the evidence shows that’s exactly what happened to John Coltharp’s and Samuel Shaffer’s daughters, both 8.

Each man “married” the other man’s daughter “and then they did sexual married things to the 8-year-old girls,” Daniels says.

Besides the sodomy charge, Coltharp is facing one charge of child kidnapping, a first-degree felony, and one charge of obstruction of justice, which Daniels says he is amending from a Class A misdemeanor to a second-degree felony.

Daniels has taken over the case from Brody Keisel, county attorney, who is awaiting Utah Senate confirmation as a juvenile court judge. Once Keisel’s appointment to the bench is final, he will be leaving his post as county attorney.

Coltharp is being held in the Sanpete County Jail on $150,000 cash-only bail.