Alleged victim: York stole childhood
Macon Telegraph/January 7, 2004
By Wayne Crenshaw
Brunswick - An alleged victim in the child molestation trial of
Malachi York described Tuesday how she and other children suffered
years of sexual abuse at the hands of the cult leader.
"He was taking away our childhood," said the 18-year-old woman,
who spoke in a soft but composed voice during three hours of
testimony. Cross-examination will begin this morning.
The woman said she grew up with her mother and siblings, two of
whom were York's children, in his compound in Brooklyn, N.Y. She
said she was 8 when he first made sexual advances toward her,
first fondling her and later asking her to perform oral sex on
him. On another occasion, she and a 5-year-old girl performed oral
sex on York, the witness testified.
She said the abuse became repeated after he moved the group to
a compound in Putnam County, where the group was known as the
United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors.
York faces 13 federal counts of child molestation and
racketeering. He also faces numerous state charges.
When she was about 15, the witness said, she began seeing the
sexual activity as wrong and started trying to avoid York,
particularly when he started showing an interest in a younger
sister of one of her friends.
"He started talking about wanting to have sex with her and she
was really little," she said.
She finally left the compound when she was 16, and went to the
FBI when she heard they were investigating York.
She described squalid living conditions for most of the youths
in the compound, who were kept separate from their parents and
allowed visits only on the weekends. Girls who had sex with York,
she said, were given better treatment. In addition to visiting his
upscale living quarters, they were taken out to restaurants for
dinner, and York bought them clothes and jewelry, including
diamond rings, according to the witness.
Most of the children, she said, also had little to eat. Their
main diet included beans, rice and "flat bread," which she
described as flour mixed with water.
The witness said she was 9 when she came to Eatonton, which is
when the sex with York began to include vaginal and anal
"Two or three times a week we started having sex acts," she
York would use baby oil during sex, she said, and U.S.
Assistant Attorney Richard Moultrie displayed photos taken in two
bedrooms of York's home that showed bottles of baby oil on shelves
near the beds. The photos were taken when federal and state
authorities raided the Eatonton compound and his Athens home on
May 8, 2002.
In his opening statement, defense attorney Adrian Patrick said
the evidence would show that the allegations were coming from
members of four families that had fallen out of favor with York
and were out to get him.
"One of the primary witnesses ran the organization for many
years and was ousted in February 2001 because she was out of
control," Patrick said.
He also blamed that witness for what prosecutors allege were
attempts to illegally hide monetary transactions. Patrick said
York filed tax returns every year and made no attempt to hide his
At least three of the government's witnesses, he said, are
testifying to avoid child molestation charges themselves.
The victim who testified Tuesday cited numerous occasions in
which she and other girls her age, or younger, had sex together
with York. She cited one instance in which York and his "main
wife," Kathy Johnson, took the witness and several other minor
girls on a trip to Orlando. One of the girls performed oral sex on
him in front of everyone while they were watching TV in a hotel
room; another girl went into York's bedroom and had sex with him,
, the witness said.
Last January, York pleaded guilty to federal charges and to 77
state charges of molestation. The plea agreement would have sent
York to prison for 15 years, but a federal judge rejected the
sentence as too lenient.
York has not withdrawn his guilty plea to the state charges,
though he has not been sentenced and could withdraw his plea
before he is sentenced.
York and his followers moved from New York to Putnam County in
1993 to a 476-acre farm, where they erected numerous
Egyptian-style structures, among them two pyramids and a sphinx.
York has alternately claimed to be Muslim, Christian, American and
from another planet.
His trial is expected to last about three weeks.