Agent Details Nuwaubian Abuse
The Augusta Chronicle/May 14, 2002
The jailed leader of a middle Georgia religious group
molested dozens of children, some as young as 4, during the
past nine years, an FBI agent testified Monday.
United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors founder Dwight York and his
partner, Kathy Johnson, are seeking bail on charges they
transported minors across state lines for sex beginning in
1993, the year his group settled in rural Putnam County. The
hearing, which will continue in federal court today, was
held less than a week after more than 100 officers raided
the Nuwaubian compound.
FBI Agent Jalaine Ward testified that three children told
her they were forced to perform oral sex and other acts with
Mr. York, 56, and Ms. Johnson, 33. The children, ages 4, 6
and 8 at the time, were photographed and videotaped engaging
in sexual acts and posing in sexually explicit positions,
Children at the compound were separated from their parents
at an early age, with visitation dictated by Mr. York, Agent
Ward testified. He also controlled devotees' money, food and
clothing, dictated where they lived, and when they could
enter and leave the compound. Also, men could not talk to or
have sex with women without his permission.
The children who were abused were "treated more specially
than children who weren't involved in sexual activities with
York," Agent Ward said, adding that they were forced to
watch pornographic cartoons. Some said they tried hiding in
closets and under beds to avoid Mr. York.
Agent Ward said witnesses told investigators that 30 to 35
children ages 4 to 18 were molested during the past decade.
She said Mr. York brought some children to the compound from
New York. He also took 15 to 20 trips to Disney World in
Florida in the past four years, transporting minors with him
and abusing them there.
The United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors is a predominantly
black, quasi-religious group whose members live in a rural
compound resembling an ancient Egyptian theme park, with
huge pyramids and a large gate covered with hieroglyphics.
In some Nuwaubian literature, Mr. York has been referred to
as the group's savior or god and as an extraterrestrial from
the planet "Rizq."
Mr. York and Ms. Johnson were arrested Wednesday as they
traveled a few miles from the 476-acre compound. Officers
seized at least 30 handguns and rifles during the raid, the
Mr. York, who also calls himself Malachi, faces four counts
involving sexual exploitation of minors. The maximum penalty
for each charge is 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Ms. Johnson faces one charge.
Defense attorneys' cross-examination of Agent Ward was
delayed until this morning after U.S. Magistrate Judge
Claude Hicks ruled that prosecutors had to turn over the
affidavits they presented to obtain a warrant to search the
Nuwaubians' Eatonton compound.
Mr. York's attorney Ed Garland said reviewing the affidavits
and presenting character witnesses today will show that his
client deserves to be free on bond.