Jury selection begins in cult leaders
Associated Press/January 5, 2004
Jury selection was scheduled to begin Monday in Nuwaubian cult
leader Malachi Yorks child molestation case.
York, who moved the quasi-religious United Nuwaubian Nation of
Moors from New York to a central Georgia farm in 1993, faces 13
federal counts of molestation and racketeering. A plea bargain
nearly a year ago was rejected by a judge who said the proposed
15-year prison sentence was too lenient.
The trial was moved 225 miles from Macon to Brunswick because
of pretrial publicity. It could be affected by Nuwaubian
supporters dressed in American Indian garb. Hundreds of protesters
have turned out to many of Yorks court hearings, sometimes beating
drums or handing out anti-government literature.
U.S. District Court Judge Ashley Royal has closed the
proceedings to all but the media and those involved in the case to
prevent outburts from Yorks followers and banned protests outside
York, 58, aka Chief Black Thunderbird Eagle, has unsuccessfully
argued he has American Indian heritage and should not be judged by
the U.S. court system. Prosecutors have said they plan to make a
case that York used his status as a religious leader for sex and
money, enriching himself, marrying several women and abusing young
girls who were part of his sect.
York has maintained hes being unfairly prosecuted because of a
vendetta by small-town authorities who dislike the mostly black
members of his cult for their unusual practices and a neo-Egyptian
compound that includes pyramid-like structures complete with