Woman testifies she groomed younger
victims for York
Macon Telegraph/January 9, 2004
By Wayne Crenshaw
Brunswick -- A woman testifying under an immunity agreement in
the child molestation trial of cult leader Malachi York said
Thursday that he began having sex with her when she was 15, and as
an adult she recruited and groomed younger victims for him.
One of those alleged victims, a male now 23, also testified and
said York had sex with him when he was 13. He and the woman also
said they had sex together with York. The woman, now 28, is the
older sister of the first alleged victim to testify.
"A lot of things went on that I didn't think were wrong because
that was just the way we lived," she said.
She spent nearly seven hours on the witness stand beginning
Wednesday, and gave a detailed account of her life in York's cult,
the United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors, though it was under a
different name when she entered the group as a youngster in
Sexual activity with York, she said, began when the group was
in Sullivan County, N.Y., then she took on a recruiting role when
they moved to a 467-acre neo-Egyptian compound in Putnam County in
1993. She said York first brought her and several other young
girls to the compound before moving the rest of the group.
Like her sister and the male witness, she described squalid
living conditions for children, who were kept in separate
buildings from their parents. One girl fell through the floor when
it collapsed while she was taking a shower, and the buildings were
infested with mice, she said.
But she didn't consider leaving, and at one time even warned
her younger sister against leaving, because she said York taught
that the world outside the compound was dangerous and evil.
"He would tell us once we leave the grounds, there is some
hexagon that lights up around the planet and lets the demons know
to attack us," she said. The male who testified said he was 13
when one night he entered a trailer that York sometimes occupied
away from his opulent home on the compound. An older girl was in
the trailer, he said, and the two started having sex in front of
York, who began masturbating. He said York later had sex with him.
The witness was still on the stand when the proceedings ended for
the day and will return this morning.
The woman described an incident in which she, York and another
14- or 15-year-old male had sex in a bedroom of a building near
York's home. The prosecution had earlier shown a photo of that
room, which had a sunken, bathtub-shaped sauna at the end of the
The woman said she had sex in the sauna and that York told them
to also have sex on the bed. She identified a request form she
filled out while she was on the compound. The forms, she said,
were required for such basic items as toiletries and sanitary
napkins. Some parents had to use towels for diapers, she said. No
one was ever paid for work, and all money earned by trinkets and
other items sold by the group went to York, the woman said.
Food was so poor, according to the woman, that at one time she
was admitted to intensive care because a potassium deficiency left
her virtually paralyzed. Doctors ordered her to eat certain foods
which she said she sometimes got but usually didn't.
Children who agreed to have sex with York would often be
invited to his house, where food and living conditions were much
better, she said.
According to the woman, York once told her to fondle a male
"(York) said his aunt did that to him when he was a boy," the
After she testified, the government called a string of FBI
agents to identify numerous items of evidence they recovered from
a search of York's compound.
Though the contents of several boxes were not discussed, one
agent identified a briefcase found in York's home as having
contained $279,450. Another agent identified a case of DVDs as
containing several pornographic movies, including such titles as
Debbie Does Dallas. He said the case was recovered from York's
The woman said she was told that pornographic videos made of
children on the compound were destroyed by York's son.
The woman said she left the compound three years ago because
she was told to get a job outside the compound or get kicked out.
The male said he was kicked out when he was 19 after a guard
accused him of not doing any work. He said it was late at night
and no one else was working, but he had no objection to the order
York, 58, is facing 13 counts of child molestation and