Nuwabian leader sued for $1 billion over
sex abuse charges
Athens Banner-Herald/July 2, 2002
By Stephen Gurr
A Florida man has filed a lawsuit against jailed religious sect
leader Dwight York in Athens federal court, accusing the one-time
Athens resident of molesting the plaintiff's daughter when she was
11 years old.
The complaint, filed in U.S. District Court June 24, seeks
punitive damages of $1 billion. The name of the plaintiff in the
suit is being withheld by this newspaper because of his relation
to the alleged victim, a minor.
The suit claims that the victim and her mother, a member of
York's quasi-religious United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors, moved
into York's Putnam County compound in 1993. At the age of 11, the
suit alleges, the girl was told by a member of York's ''inner
circle'' that something ''wonderful'' was going to happen to her,
and that it would have ''deep significance for her spiritual
York then showed the girl a pornographic movie and shortly
afterward had sex with her, the suit alleges.
''He had (the girl) observe defendant York sexually abuse other
children in a like manner, all for the purpose of gratifying his
wicked, depraved, and corrupt sexual appetite,'' the suit claims.
''This pattern of activity began at the compound in Putnam
County and continued in Athens-Clarke County after York began to
reside in Athens-Clarke County in 1998,'' the suit claims.
The victim named in the complaint is also listed as a victim in
a 116-count criminal indictment against York on charges of child
molestation and other related crimes.
The indictment was returned by a Putnam County grand jury three
months ago and York remains in federal custody on charges of
transporting minors across state lines for the purpose of sex.
York's attorney, Ed Garland, was unavailable for comment
Monday. Garland has previously said his client was ''completely,
totally and absolutely innocent of these charges.''
Athens attorney John Barrow, representing the plaintiff,
declined to comment on the suit.
Athens-Clarke Police looked into the possibility that York may
have molested children in his sprawling Mansfield Court mansion,
which he purchased in 1999 for $557,000. But as of this week,
police said, interviews with potential victims have turned up no
indications of criminal activities at the mansion.
Putnam County investigators and officials with the state
Division of Family and Children Services interviewed a cult
member's daughter who lives in Athens, but ''no criminal charges
have been filed to date as a result of that interview,''
Athens-Clarke County Assistant Police Chief Mark Wallace said
The lawsuit says the molestations of the girl named in the
complaint continued for six years, until she called her father in
1999 and told him she wanted to go home. In March 2002, she
confided in family members about the abuses and the father
contacted authorities, the suit claims.