Dr. Malachi Z. York



FBI: Kids from 4 to 18 abused in sect

Atlanta Journal-Constitution/May 14, 2002
By Bill Osinski

Eatonton --- The child molestation case against Nuwaubian leader Dwight York escalated Monday in state and federal court.
In Eatonton, a Putnam County grand jury issued a 116-count indictment of the 56-year-old leader of the United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors, a quasi-religious group whose 150 to 200 members live in a rural compound that features huge pyramids and a large gate covered with hieroglyphics.
York was charged with 74 counts of child molestation, 29 counts of aggravated child molestation and related charges, including one count of rape.
In Macon, an FBI agent testified at a bond hearing in U.S. District Court that authorities have identified as many as 35 victims, whose age at the time of the alleged crimes ranged from 4 to 18.
York is in federal custody after being arrested Wednesday by FBI agents in Baldwin County as an army of federal and local officers swooped down on the compound in Putnam County. York's associate, Kathy Johnson, who was arrested with him on the federal charges, also was named in five counts of the state indictment.
Three other members of the Nuwaubian group --- identified as Chandra Lampkin, Kadijah Merritt and Esther Cole --- were indicted on state charges of child molestation.
Fred Bright, district attorney for the judicial circuit that includes Putnam County, said the state indictment accuses York of molesting at least five children repeatedly "and in just about every way imaginable."
The indictments crown a four-year investigation by the FBI and the Putnam County sheriff's office. It began when a local social service agency received anonymous allegations that children were being sexually abused at the Nuwaubians' 400-acre ranch.
York and the Nuwaubians have frequently criticized Putnam County authorities for what they contend is racial discrimination and harassment.
Assistant District Attorney Dawn Baskin said there were no ulterior motives to the state's charges.
"There's nothing political about child molestation," she said.
All the alleged crimes were committed at the Nuwaubian compound, Bright said.
FBI agent Jalaine Ward testified at the bond hearing in federal court in Macon regarding the scope of the government's case against York.
York Said to Have Ruled with Iron Hand
The government has statements from approximately 15 witnesses who testified that York sodomized and had sexual intercourse with children, Ward testified. In some of these encounters, the acts were photographed and videotaped, she said.
The agent's testimony depicted a long-standing pattern of York's having sex with children within his community.
The incidents started at his group's bases in New York and continued after the sect moved in 1993 to a Putnam County farm and --- in the alleged acts that make this case a federal matter --- during an estimated 15 to 20 trips to Disney World in Florida over the past four years, investigators say.
"York controls everything that goes on" at the compound, Ward said, summarizing witness descriptions of life at the former cattle ranch, which the Nuwaubians have decorated with Egyptian-style pyramids and statuary. In some Nuwaubian literature, York is called the group's savior or god.
Ward said York controlled what and how much his followers ate, how much money they were permitted, and whether they could come and go at the compound.
The federal prosecutor wants to deny York bail, but U.S. Magistrate Judge Claude Hicks indicated he would not rule on that matter before today, when the bond hearing resumes.
Hicks ruled that defense attorneys could review the 50-page affidavit used to support York's arrest, but he also gave prosecutors time to black out the names of victims mentioned in the document.
Defense Lawyer Demands to See Papers
Defense attorney Ed Garland of Atlanta argued he should have access to unedited versions of the federal investigative document.
"We are here, really, in the dark," Garland told the court. "If a confidential informant is also a victim, then they are not entitled to be shielded."
Hicks rejected that argument, but Garland renewed his demand for the documents as he started to cross-examine Ward. It was then the hearing was adjourned for the day.
In her testimony, the FBI agent said children typically were separated from adults at the Nuwaubian compound. They were not allowed contact with their natural parents without York's permission, she said.
Witnesses have stated that Johnson, York's associate, was an active participant in some of the sex acts with the children, Ward said. Johnson brought children to York for sex and instructed them on sexual techniques, the agent said.
Ward also testified that some of the children were intimidated and threatened by York. One of the females who accused York said he "threatened to shoot her in the head" if she reported the sexual abuse to authorities, Ward said.
In a search of the farm conducted last week during the massive raid by authorities, federal agents confiscated more than 30 weapons, about a dozen of which were found in York's house, Ward testified.


Agent Details Nuwaubian Abuse
The Augusta Chronicle/May 14, 2002

The jailed leader of a middle Georgia religious group molested dozens of children, some as young as 4, during the past nine years, an FBI agent testified Monday.
United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors founder Dwight York and his partner, Kathy Johnson, are seeking bail on charges they transported minors across state lines for sex beginning in 1993, the year his group settled in rural Putnam County. The hearing, which will continue in federal court today, was held less than a week after more than 100 officers raided the Nuwaubian compound.
FBI Agent Jalaine Ward testified that three children told her they were forced to perform oral sex and other acts with Mr. York, 56, and Ms. Johnson, 33. The children, ages 4, 6 and 8 at the time, were photographed and videotaped engaging in sexual acts and posing in sexually explicit positions, she said.
Children at the compound were separated from their parents at an early age, with visitation dictated by Mr. York, Agent Ward testified. He also controlled devotees' money, food and clothing, dictated where they lived, and when they could enter and leave the compound. Also, men could not talk to or have sex with women without his permission.
The children who were abused were "treated more specially than children who weren't involved in sexual activities with York," Agent Ward said, adding that they were forced to watch pornographic cartoons. Some said they tried hiding in closets and under beds to avoid Mr. York.
Agent Ward said witnesses told investigators that 30 to 35 children ages 4 to 18 were molested during the past decade. She said Mr. York brought some children to the compound from New York. He also took 15 to 20 trips to Disney World in Florida in the past four years, transporting minors with him and abusing them there.
The United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors is a predominantly black, quasi-religious group whose members live in a rural compound resembling an ancient Egyptian theme park, with huge pyramids and a large gate covered with hieroglyphics. In some Nuwaubian literature, Mr. York has been referred to as the group's savior or god and as an extraterrestrial from the planet "Rizq."
Mr. York and Ms. Johnson were arrested Wednesday as they traveled a few miles from the 476-acre compound. Officers seized at least 30 handguns and rifles during the raid, the FBI said.
Mr. York, who also calls himself Malachi, faces four counts involving sexual exploitation of minors. The maximum penalty for each charge is 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Ms. Johnson faces one charge.
Defense attorneys' cross-examination of Agent Ward was delayed until this morning after U.S. Magistrate Judge Claude Hicks ruled that prosecutors had to turn over the affidavits they presented to obtain a warrant to search the Nuwaubians' Eatonton compound.
Mr. York's attorney Ed Garland said reviewing the affidavits and presenting character witnesses today will show that his client deserves to be free on bond.












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