Nuwaubian members testify York's
accusers are untrustworthy
Associated Press/January 16, 2004
By Russ Bynum
Brunswick -- Longtime members of Malachi York's quasi-religious
cult defended their leader in court Thursday, describing York as a
father figure and those who accuse him of child molestation as
"I severely, wholeheartedly feel this is a conspiracy'' between
York's accusers, said Evelyn Rivera, a member of the United
Nuwaubian Nation of Moors since 1977. "They're all liars. I knew
them as children. They all lie.''
Rivera was one of nine Nuwaubian members to testify on the
opening day of York's defense in U.S. District Court, where he is
being tried on 13 counts of child molestation and racketeering.
Most said they joined York, 58, in New York City between 1973
and 1980, when the cult was known as the Ansaru Allah Community.
All of them denied any knowledge of York molesting children, but
most did not live at the Nuwaubians' Georgia compound when much of
the alleged sex occurred.
Samiyra Samad, a registered nurse, joined the cult in 1977 and
was responsible for giving children medical examinations and
checkups at the rural compound in Eatonton from 2000 to 2002. She
said she never knew of York molesting any of them.
"I am a mother. I would not lie for something like that,''
Samad said. "And I would not lie for him (York).'' Jurors heard
from 14 of York's alleged victims, boys and girls, who said York
would have sex with them as children and reward them with candy
and other gifts. A 16-year-old girl testified York began
sodomizing her at age 6.
Defense attorney Adrian Patrick asked each member Thursday
about living at the compound, trying to debunk prosecutors'
argument that York manipulated his followers into treating him
like a god while he kept them in squalor.
Many of the Nuwaubians snickered when Patrick asked if they
considered York "to be God or Jesus.'' They also denied being
brainwashed by York.
"He's like a father to all of us,'' said Raymond Valentine, a
Nuwaubian member since 1976.
Over the years, York has incorporated Islam, Judaism,
Christianity and space aliens into his teachings. He has
unsuccessfully argued he has American Indian heritage and should
not be judged by the U.S. court system.