Athens Banner-Herald/August 14, 2003
Eatonton -- A judge has denied a request by the wife of United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors leader Malachi York to see her son, who is an alleged victim in the child molestation case against York.
Kathy Johnson, 34, was arrested in May 2002 and implicated in federal and state charges of child molestation involving at least 13 children, including her son.
Authorities allege that Johnson knowingly allowed York to have sex with her son, who is now in state custody.
Johnson has pleaded guilty to a federal charge of failing to report a crime, but the state case against her is on hold while she appeals on grounds that she was denied a speedy trial.
In Tuesday's hearing before Ocmulgee Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge William A. Prior, Putnam County Assistant District Attorney Dawn Baskin "argued against Johnson's request, saying Johnson's son is ''the one witness against her who she has the most control over.''
The Nuwaubians, a quasi-religious group based on a 400-acre farm in Eatonton, claim their leader, York, is an extraterrestrial. According to one of his defense attorneys, York was to have been transferred this week from the Jones County Jail to an undisclosed federal penitentiary where he will undergo psychological testing to determine his fitness to stand trial.
His trial on federal child molestation charges in U.S. District Court in Macon was to have begun Aug. 4, but it has been put on hold indefinitely until the exam is completed and a hearing is held on its results.
York, 58, allegedly molested the underage children of his followers at the Nuwaubian compound in Eatonton and at his mansion on Mansfield Court in Athens.
York pleaded guilty to 74 state counts of child molestation and other related charges, and as part of an agreement" with federal prosecutors had pleaded guilty to a single count of transporting "children across state lines for sexual purposes in return for a recommendation he serve 15 years in prison.
In rejecting the agreement in June, U.S. District Judge High Lawson said 15 years in prison would be too lenient a penalty for York.
Suddenly faced with the prospect of a trial, York's attorneys asked Lawson for a psychiatric examination because they said York was unable to assist in his own defense, claiming he was a Native American tribal chief over whom U.S. courts held no jurisdiction.
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