Prosecutors vow to keep sect
Atlanta Journal-Constitution/May 10, 2002
By Bill Osinski
Macon -- Nuwaubian leader Dwight York will stay in jail on
child molestation charges at least until Monday, when
government attorneys will argue that he should remain jailed
until his trial.
York pleaded not guilty at an arraignment Thursday before
U.S. Magistrate Claude Hicks, who set a bond hearing for
Monday in Macon.
York's attorney, former state Sen. Leroy Johnson, said York
reasserted his innocence to the charges he was arrested on
Wednesday. He is charged with four counts of transporting
children across state lines for the purpose of illegal
"Dr. York vehemently states that he has not violated any
person," Johnson said. (York is often referred to by his
followers as Dr. Malachi Z. York.)
The gray-bearded York, dressed in a loose fitting tan shirt
and slacks, made no comment during the 15-minute hearing.
Hicks informed York and his co-defendant, associate Kathy
Johnson, that they both face lengthy jail terms if
convicted. York would get 11 to 14 years under federal
sentencing guidelines. Johnson would be sentenced to six to
seven years, Hicks said. There is no parole for federal
convictions. The government will ask that York be denied
"The very nature of the offense involves interstate travel,"
U.S. Attorney Max Wood said, indicating that York should be
considered a flight risk.
"And with the allegations involving children, and the nature
of the relationships [between York and the members of his
group], that raises the level of concern," Wood said.
Wood refuted published statements by supporters of the
Nuwaubians that the arrests and subsequent large-scale raid
on the Nuwaubian headquarters were part of any politically
motivated vendetta led by Putnam County Sheriff Howard
For the past five or six years, the Nuwaubians have been
involved in a series of disputes with Sills and other Putnam
County officials, mostly over zoning issues at the group's
400-acre farm about eight miles east of Eatonton.
There is an ongoing state investigation of York, and in that
part of the case, Sills confirmed Thursday that five
children who may become witnesses are in the care of the
Georgia Department of Family and Children's Services and
under police guard, he said.