Grand Jury Indicts Nuwaubian Leader
The Augusta Chronicle/May 16, 2002
Dwight "Malachi" York preyed on children younger than 10,
forcing them to commit all manner of sex acts with himself and
others, and in some cases, videotaping the acts, a sweeping
120-count indictment returned by a Putnam County grand jury
Mr. York, the 56-year-old leader of the quasi-religious
Nuwaubian Nation of Moors, faces one count of rape, 74 counts of
child molestation and 29 counts of aggravated child molestation
involving five alleged victims, both male and female.
In addition, his common-law wife, Kathy Johnson, and Nuwaubian
members Chandra Lampkin, Kadijah Merritt and Esther Cole, are
charged with child molestation.
"It's a voluminous case," Putnam County District Attorney Fred
Bright said."We intent to prosecute it to the fullest extent under
The indictment comes on the heels of Mr. York's arrest last
week on four federal charges of transporting minors over state
lines for purposes of sex. Mr. York remained in federal custody
after being denied bail in U.S. Magistrate Court in Macon; Ms.
Johnson was granted $75,000 bond.
Sheriff Sills said his office first heard allegations of child
molestation at the rural Nuwaubian compound in 1998. His
investigators and the FBI spent the next four years gathering
information, and a break in the case came last May when a victim
came forward, he said.
"That brought the investigation into a new light," he said.
All the acts are alleged to have occurred at Mr. York's gated
compound, which Sheriff Sills likened to a "warehouse situation,"
with subpar, unventilated living quarters containing "room after
room" of bunk beds. He said as many as 50 children lived in the
compound. Five were taken into protective custody after last
week's raid by federal agents and sheriff's officers.
The grand jury heard from four alleged victims Monday before
returning the indictments. Mr. York is accused of molesting one
victim as many as 30 times between 1995 and 2000, starting when
the girl was younger than 14, according to the indictments.
Another victim, a boy, is believed by authorities to have been
molested at least 27 times, also starting in 1993 when he was
younger than 14. Mr. Bright said the youngest victims were under
the age of 10.
Mr. York had sex with adults in the presence of children, made
children engage in sex acts with others and even enticed children
into having sex with other minors, the 53-page indictment alleges.
Despite the allegations of Mr. York videotaping some of the
acts, Sheriff Sills said he had no evidence Mr. York was in the
business of distributing child pornography.
Mr. York has ties to Athens, where he owns a $525,000 home off
Timothy Road and where followers planned to open a bookstore on
West Broad Street. A search of the home on Mansfield Court by FBI
agents turned up some $125,000 in cash, U.S. Attorney Maxwell Wood