May 9, 2002
By Rob Peecher
United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors leader Malachi York and his wife Kathy Johnson pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges that they were involved in transporting minors across state lines for sex.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Claude W. Hicks Jr. said he will consider the issue of bond at a hearing Monday because the U.S. Attorney's office is opposing bond. Hicks also provided the defendants copies of a sentencing guideline prepared by the federal probation office. Though the sentencing guidelines may change, Johnson faces 70 to 87 months in prison and York faces 135 to 168 months in prison.
York and Johnson were arrested Wednesday in Baldwin County by federal agents. York is accused in a four-count indictment of transporting children from New York to Putnam County for the purpose of sex and at a separate time from Putnam County to Florida, also for the purpose of sexual activity. Johnson is a co-defendant in only one of the counts.
Following the arrests Wednesday afternoon, federal agents and officers from several Middle Georgia sheriff's offices stormed the 476-acre Nuwaubian village in rural Putnam County. During the raid on the village, only one other person was taken into custody - a man identified as being wanted in Gwinnett County - but authorities spent several hours on the property confiscating potential evidence.