September 1, 2002
By Rob Peecher
Prior to Malachi York's May 8 arrest in Milledgeville, a federal grand jury had indicted him and Kathy Johnson for taking children across state lines for the purpose of having sex with them.
The four-count federal indictment accused both York, 57, and Johnson, 33, of moving children from the Sullivan County, N.Y., camp to the compound in Putnam County in March 1993 for the purpose of having sex. Another count accuses York of the same thing in April 1993.
The third and fourth counts charge York with taking children from Georgia to Orlando, Fla., in the spring of 1996 for the purpose of having sex with them. According to testimony given by a federal agent during York's bond hearing, York took the children to Disney World.
Within a week of the arrests, a Putnam County grand jury indicted York on 74 counts of child molestation, 29 counts of aggravated child molestation, four counts of statutory rape, one count of rape, two counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, one count of influencing a witness and five counts of enticing a child for indecent purposes.
The state's 116-count indictment also charges Johnson with four counts of child molestation and one count of aggravated child molestation. Three other women also were charged: Istyir Cole, with one count of child molestation; and Chandra Lampkin and Kadijah Merritt, each with three counts of child molestation and two counts of aggravated child molestation.
York was denied bond by a federal magistrate and remains in federal custody awaiting trial. Johnson was given $75,000 bond by a federal magistrate but denied bond by a Superior Court judge on the state charges. She remains in federal custody. Cole has been released on $25,000 bond, and Lampkin and Merritt are both being held without bond in the Putnam County jail.
When sheriff's deputies and federal agents executed search warrants at the Nuwaubian village the day of York's arrest, they took five children into protective custody. All but one of those children remain in protective custody. The other child was released to a relative not affiliated with York's group.
Four of the five children have tested positive for a sexually transmitted disease.
York has not been charged with any crimes relating to those five children.
Ocmulgee Judicial Circuit District Attorney Fred Bright said a trial date has not been set for York and the women, but he anticipates a jury trial on the state charges sometime in January. York's attorneys have asked that the trial be moved from Putnam County. Bright said he will not oppose a change of venue.
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