Nuwaubian leader pleads guilty on child
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution/January 24, 2003
By Bill Osinski
Nuwaubian leader Dwight York pleaded guilty Thursday in federal
court to charges of transporting children across state lines for
purposes of illegal sex.
Today, York is scheduled to enter another guilty plea in a
related state case: He was indicted last May on 197 counts of
According to defense and prosecution sources, York's
recommended sentence in both courts will be 50 years, with a
minimum of 15 years before he is eligible for parole.
Both sides declined to release details of today's plea
agreement on the state charges.
York, 57, also agreed to forfeit the more than $400,000 in cash
that was confiscated when more than 300 federal and local police
officers raided his Putnam County farm after his arrest last May.
Part of the money will be distributed to York's victims, for
counseling and other related expenses.
The plea bargain effectively ends a four-year federal and local
investigation into child abuse allegations, which led to what
prosecutors saywas the nation's largest prosecution of a single
defendant in a child molestation case.
York had been scheduled to go to trial next week in Newton
County. There were 216 counts related to child molestation against
York in the state indictment, and the state had named 13 victims.
Though some are now adults, all are children of followers of York
in his group, the United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors, and all were
children at the time they were molested.
Prosecutors said the number of counts could have reached the
thousands, but the victims were unable to provide specific dates
for all the times York sexually abused them.
York's guilty pleas, entered in Macon, eliminate the need for a
trial, which had potential pitfalls for both sides.
From the defense viewpoint, it would have been highly difficult
to cross-examine the child witnesses aggressively. Also, by going
to trial, York would have risked receiving a much longer sentence,
had he been found guilty.
From the prosecution viewpoint, the plea bargain means that the
victims will not have the traumatic experience of testifying about
the abuse. The deal assures York will spend most of the rest of
his life in prison. At a trial, there would always have been the
chance of a hung jury, or an acquittal.
York and approximately 100 of his followers left their base in
Brooklyn, N.Y. in 1993, and moved to a 400-acre farm property in
Putnam County. In New York, they had been a purportedly Muslim
group called Ansaru Allah Community.
But after they moved to Georgia, the group adopted a new,
Egyptian-styled ideology and costumes. York re-named them the
United Nuwaubian nation of Moors.
Along the entrance to their property on Ga. 142, they built
pyramids, obelisks and Egyptian-styled statuary. They called the
property Egypt of the West.
However, the state's case against York was that all the
trappings were merely camouflage for York's practices of taking
his followers' wealth and having unfettered, repeated sex with
According to an affidavit filed in support of the state's
search warrant served on York's farm, his followers believed that
he was a supreme, god-like being.
The child victims were selected by York, separated from their
parents, and brought closer to him, according to the affidavit.