Grand jury investigates Nuwaubian
influence at jail
Associated Press/July 4, 2006
Although the leader of the United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors
religious sect is serving a 135-year sentence in a Colorado
prison, a Clarke County grand jury is investigating the sect's
influence on its jail and sheriff's department.
The grand jury has been examining the events that led to the
firing of chief jailer Brett Hart by Sheriff Ira Edwards in the
spring, several deputies told the Athens Banner-Herald.
Around the same time, Hart had been investigating whether
Nuwaubian deputies were recruiting others - including prisoners -
into the sect and if a deputy violated jail policy by
corresponding with Dwight "Malachi" York, the leader of the
predominantly black sect.
Hart said Edwards hired six Nuwaubian deputies, four of whom
were former Macon police officers. Deputies at the county jail
told the newspaper they've had concerns about which side Nuwaubian
deputies would take if a fight broke out along racial lines at the
Edwards said he's looked into allegations of wrongdoing
concerning two deputies but found no policy violations.
York was sentenced to 135 years in federal prison in April 2004
for molesting 14 boys and girls whose parents were members of his
group. He currently is in a federal maximum security prison in
York founded the Nuwaubians in New York in the late 1960s and
moved the sect to rural Putnam County in 1993.
After York was sentenced, the federal government seized the
476-acre Putnam County Nuwaubian compound in August 2004 and sold
it in June 2005, turning over more than $500,000 to the county.
Federal agents also seized about $1 million in property and cash
In October, a federal appeals court upheld York's conviction
and sentence. His attorney had argued that federal prosecutors
improperly applied federal racketeering laws and the grand jury
was tainted by pretrial publicity.
But the three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of
Appeals said York failed to show that the notoriety of his case
"substantially influenced" the decision to indict him.
The judges also noted that the trial jury was instructed to
consider each count of the indictment separately and acquitted
York of two of the 13 counts.