Originally created 01/17/04

Women in Nuwaubian group deny that they were molested



BRUNSWICK, Ga. - Five young women who the government contends were sexually molested as children by cult leader Malachi York all denied the abuse Friday.

They testified at the end of a stream of defense witnesses on the 10th day of Mr. York's federal trial on charges that he operated a continuing criminal enterprise to support his lavish lifestyle and illegal sex. Mr. York was arrested May 8, 2002, when the FBI and state agents raided his United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors compound outside Eatonton.

The trial before U.S. District Judge Ashley Royal was transferred to Brunswick because of extensive publicity in the Macon area, where Mr. York was to have been tried.

The final witness of the day, an 18-year-old who was born into Mr. York's organization in Brooklyn, said she was traumatized when agents descended on the compound with drawn guns and ordered everyone to the ground.

"To this day, I still have nightmares about it," she said. "It's scarred on my soul."

She and four other women, including two sisters, denied testimony by earlier witnesses who said they saw Mr. York have sex with them when they were children.

In cross-examining one of the women, U.S. Justice Department attorney Stephanie Thacker showed her pictures of Mr. York in Arab garb, in an ancient Egyptian crown and an American Indian war bonnet.

The woman acknowledged calling Mr. York "Babba," or Father, and said she had heard him referred to as Supreme Grand Master. Asked how she thought of him, the woman said, "Just a regular guy."

Prosecution witnesses have said Mr. York's religious philosophies covered Judaic, Islamic, Sumerian, Babylonian, Egyptian and most recently American Indian cultures.

Another woman said she heard after the raid that she was listed in the indictment as one of Mr. York's victims, although she had told agents she had never been molested.

"They kept asking me over and over. I kept telling them, 'No, no, no,"' she said.