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
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
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,
FBI agent Jalaine Ward testified at the bond hearing in federal
court in Macon regarding the scope of the government's case
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
Defense Lawyer Demands to See Papers
Defense attorney Ed Garland of Atlanta argued he should have
access to unedited versions of the federal investigative
"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
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
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
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.