FBI: Dozens Molested by Sect Leader
The Associated Press/May 13, 2002
By Kyle Wingfield
Macon, Ga. -- The leader of a religious group molested dozens
of children, some as young as 4, at the sect's compound over the
past nine years, an FBI agent testified at a bail hearing Monday.
Dwight York, founder of the United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors,
and his partner, Kathy Johnson, are seeking bail on federal
charges alleging they transported minors across state lines for
sex beginning in 1993, the year the group settled in central
FBI agent Jalaine Ward testified that three children told her
they were forced to perform oral sex and other acts with York, 56,
and Johnson, 33.
The children, ages 4, 6 and 8 at the time, were photographed
and videotaped engaging in sexual acts and posing in sexually
explicit positions, she said.
Ward said witnesses told also investigators that 30 to 35
children ages 4 to 18 were molested. She said York brought some
children to the compound from New York. He also took 15 to 20
trips to Disney World in Florida over the past four years, taking
minors with him and abusing them there, she said.
The hearing is scheduled to resume Tuesday.
York and Johnson were arrested last Wednesday a few miles from
the 476-acre Nuwaubian compound in rural Putnam County. At about
the same time, more than 100 officers raided the compound and said
they seized at least 30 handguns and rifles.
The United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors is a predominantly black,
quasi-religious group. The compound featured six-story pyramids
and a large gate bearing Egyptian-style hieroglyphics.
In some Nuwaubian literature, York has been referred to as the
group's savior or god and described as an
the planet ``Rizq.''
More than 100 people lived in the compound but York and Johnson
were the only ones arrested.
Ward said children at the compound were separated from their
parents at an early age, with visitation dictated by York. He also
controlled devotees' money, food and clothing, dictated where they
lived and when they could enter and leave the compound. Men and
women could not talk or have sex without his permission.
The children who were abused were ``treated more specially than
children who weren't involved in sexual activities with York,''
York faces four counts of sexual exploitation of minors. The
maximum penalty for each count is 15 years in prison and a
$250,000 fine. Johnson faces one charge.
The Nuwaubians have clashed with Putnam County officials for
years over building codes, voter registration and the group's
hiring of armed security guards. This is the first time York has
been arrested in Georgia, though he served time in New York in the
1960s for assault, resisting arrest and possession of a dangerous
weapon, authorities said.