May 19, 2002
Authorities are looking into charges that jailed United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors leader Dwight York allegedly molested a child at his mansion in Athens.
Putnam County investigators alerted officials to at least one possible female victim in the area, Athens-Clarke police confirmed this week.
"Our primary concern is for the potential young victims, and that they receive proper counseling and care," said Athens-Clarke County Assistant Police Chief Mark Wallace. "Of course, we'd make any (criminal) charges deemed appropriate."
The reclusive Brooklyn-born leader was seldom seen in Athens.
The Athens Banner-Herald reported Sunday that public records show that York was suspected of running a mail-order business from his home, and may have been housing more than 20 people.
Records also show that neighbors told police they thought outdoor religious services were being conducted at the property, and that they suspected the Nuwaubians of running a school there, the newspaper reported.
While investigators have no proof of York running any type of illegal business from his home in Athens, federal agents did seize $125,000 in cash from his home during a search two weeks ago.
Around the same time, more than 100 officers raided the 476-acre Nuwaubian compound in Putnam County, seizing at least 30 guns.
York, who calls himself Malachi, faces four federal counts involving sexual exploitation of minors. The maximum penalty for each charge is 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
In addition to the federal charges, a Putnam County grand jury issued a 116-count indictment against York, his partner, Kathy Johnson, and three other members of the organization.
York has been charged with 74 counts of child molestation, 29 counts of aggravated child molestation and related charges, including one count of rape.
The Nuwaubians have clashed with Putnam County officials for years over building codes, voter registration and the group's hiring of armed security guards.
The United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors is a predominantly black 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, York has been referred to as the group's savior. The texts also say he is an extraterrestrial from the planet "Rizq."
Last week, a federal judge in Macon denied York bond.
In the 1960s, York served time in a New York prison for assault, resisting arrest and possession of a dangerous weapon.