October 4, 2002
By Bill Osinski
Eatonton --- The state has expanded what is already believed to be Georgia's --- and perhaps the nation's --- largest child molestation case by reindicting Nuwaubian leader Dwight York. The Putnam County grand jury handed down a 208-count indictment Thursday, nearly doubling the number of crimes alleged in its previous indictment of York in May. York is named in 197 of the counts.
Eight new alleged victims were identified by the state for the new indictment.
"This has been the most voluminous case, in terms of number of counts, number of victims, and the sheer scope of the investigation that I've ever been associated with," said District Attorney Fred Bright, the lead prosecutor in the case. "It becomes mind-boggling after a while."
As with the earlier charges, almost all of the counts are child molestation or aggravated child molestation, a crime in whice force or violence is alleged.
Bright said the second indictment was necessary in order to ensure that the state's case is as complete as legally possible.
"I want the trial jury to hear the whole scope of the child molestation that happened here in Putnam County," Bright said.
Defense attorneys have filed a motion for a change of venue for the trial, and Bright said he will not oppose it.
York, 57, moved with 100 or so of his followers to a 400-acre rural property in Putnam County in 1993 from Brooklyn, N.Y., where the group was a Muslim-oriented organization called Ansaru Allah Community.
Once in Georgia, the group went through several name and identity changes before York settled on the United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors.
A joint federal-local investigation began after police received anonymous tips that York was molesting children in the group, culminating in his arrest in May and a raid on the Nuwaubian property by about 300 law enforcement officers.
York has also been indicted in federal court and charged with four counts of transporting children across state lines for the purposes of illegal sexual activity. He was denied bail on those charges and he remains in federal custody.
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