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 development.''
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
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
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
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 Monday.
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.