Originally created 03/03/03

Nuwaubian leader receives plenty of jail mail



GRAY, Ga. -- He's admitted molesting children and been sent to jail, but sect leader Malachi York's time behind bars hasn't dulled the interest of his followers.

A month after pleading guilty to 77 counts of sex crimes against children, York, the 57-year-old leader of the United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors, "gets a pile" of mail, Jones County officials said.

York, who remains in Jones County jail while awaiting sentencing by a federal judge, receives as many as 30 letters a day.

"He does get a lot of mail," said Jones County Sheriff's Maj. Barbara Burnette. "He gets a pile where the average inmate gets one or two letters a day."

York pleaded guilty in January. He signed a plea agreement before Putnam County Superior Court Judge William Prior that recommends a 15-year sentence in prison, and he will serve 35 years of probation as an admitted sex offender.

Yet his plea hasn't dulled his popularity. He gets more mail - and money - than other inmates, officials said. Previously when York had court appearances, as many as 200 of his followers would attend the hearings.

"He gets books and stuff people send him - books, cards, letters and money," Burnette said.

The Nuwaubian group began as an Islamic sect in the early 1970s in Brooklyn, N.Y. Ten years ago, York and his followers moved to Putnam County, where followers built pyramids and other ancient Egyptian-style buildings on a 476-acre farm.