Religious sect leader's wife denied
access to son
Athens Banner-Herald/August 14, 2003
Eatonton -- A judge has denied a request by the wife of United
Nuwaubian Nation of Moors leader Malachi York to see her son, who
is an alleged victim in the child molestation case against York.
Kathy Johnson, 34, was arrested in May 2002 and implicated in
federal and state charges of child molestation involving at least
13 children, including her son.
Authorities allege that Johnson knowingly allowed York to have
sex with her son, who is now in state custody.
Johnson has pleaded guilty to a federal charge of failing to
report a crime, but the state case against her is on hold while
she appeals on grounds that she was denied a speedy trial.
In Tuesday's hearing before Ocmulgee Judicial Circuit Superior
Court Judge William A. Prior, Putnam County Assistant District
Attorney Dawn Baskin "argued against Johnson's request, saying
Johnson's son is ''the one witness against her who she has the
most control over.''
The Nuwaubians, a quasi-religious group based on a 400-acre
farm in Eatonton, claim their leader, York, is an
extraterrestrial. According to one of his defense attorneys, York
was to have been transferred this week from the Jones County Jail
to an undisclosed federal penitentiary where he will undergo
psychological testing to determine his fitness to stand trial.
His trial on federal child molestation charges in U.S. District
Court in Macon was to have begun Aug. 4, but it has been put on
hold indefinitely until the exam is completed and a hearing is
held on its results.
York, 58, allegedly molested the underage children of his
followers at the Nuwaubian compound in Eatonton and at his mansion
on Mansfield Court in Athens.
York pleaded guilty to 74 state counts of child molestation and
other related charges, and as part of an agreement" with federal
prosecutors had pleaded guilty to a single count of transporting
"children across state lines for sexual purposes in return for a
recommendation he serve 15 years in prison.
In rejecting the agreement in June, U.S. District Judge High
Lawson said 15 years in prison would be too lenient a penalty for
Suddenly faced with the prospect of a trial, York's attorneys
asked Lawson for a psychiatric examination because they said York
was unable to assist in his own defense, claiming he was a Native
American tribal chief over whom U.S. courts held no jurisdiction.