Grand Jury Indicts Nuwaubian
The Augusta Chronicle/May 16, 2002
Dwight "Malachi" York preyed on children younger than 10,
forcing them to commit all manner of sex acts with himself
and others, and in some cases, videotaping the acts, a
sweeping 120-count indictment returned by a Putnam County
grand jury alleges.
Mr. York, the 56-year-old leader of the quasi-religious
Nuwaubian Nation of Moors, faces one count of rape, 74
counts of child molestation and 29 counts of aggravated
child molestation involving five alleged victims, both male
In addition, his common-law wife, Kathy Johnson, and
Nuwaubian members Chandra Lampkin, Kadijah Merritt and
Esther Cole, are charged with child molestation.
"It's a voluminous case," Putnam County District Attorney
Fred Bright said."We intent to prosecute it to the fullest
extent under the law."
The indictment comes on the heels of Mr. York's arrest last
week on four federal charges of transporting minors over
state lines for purposes of sex. Mr. York remained in
federal custody after being denied bail in U.S. Magistrate
Court in Macon; Ms. Johnson was granted $75,000 bond.
Sheriff Sills said his office first heard allegations of
child molestation at the rural Nuwaubian compound in 1998.
His investigators and the FBI spent the next four years
gathering information, and a break in the case came last May
when a victim came forward, he said.
"That brought the investigation into a new light," he said.
All the acts are alleged to have occurred at Mr. York's
gated compound, which Sheriff Sills likened to a "warehouse
situation," with subpar, unventilated living quarters
containing "room after room" of bunk beds. He said as many
as 50 children lived in the compound. Five were taken into
protective custody after last week's raid by federal agents
and sheriff's officers.
The grand jury heard from four alleged victims Monday before
returning the indictments. Mr. York is accused of molesting
one victim as many as 30 times between 1995 and 2000,
starting when the girl was younger than 14, according to the
indictments. Another victim, a boy, is believed by
authorities to have been molested at least 27 times, also
starting in 1993 when he was younger than 14. Mr. Bright
said the youngest victims were under the age of 10.
Mr. York had sex with adults in the presence of children,
made children engage in sex acts with others and even
enticed children into having sex with other minors, the
53-page indictment alleges.
Despite the allegations of Mr. York videotaping some of the
acts, Sheriff Sills said he had no evidence Mr. York was in
the business of distributing child pornography.
Mr. York has ties to Athens, where he owns a $525,000 home
off Timothy Road and where followers planned to open a
bookstore on West Broad Street. A search of the home on
Mansfield Court by FBI agents turned up some $125,000 in
cash, U.S. Attorney Maxwell Wood said.