Updated: January 28, 2003
In a plea bargain, Dwight "Malachi" York, the founder of the anti-government United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors, accepted a Putnam County, Georgia, judge's recommendation of a 15-year prison sentence and 35 years probation for molesting 13 children.
The United Nuwaubian Nation (formerly the Nubian Islamic Hebrews), established in the mid-1970s, is a predominantly African-American, pseudo-religious group with a history of promoting racist and anti-government beliefs. Members of the group have been connected to such crimes as extortion, bank robbery, arson and welfare fraud, according to the FBI. Some are also associated with members of the right-wing sovereign citizen movement.
York pleaded guilty to 77 state charges on January 24, a day after pleading guilty to a pair of federal charges. The state charges include 40 counts of aggravated child molestation, 34 counts of child molestation, two counts of influencing witnesses and one count of child exploitation.
In federal court, York pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful transport of minors for the purpose of engaging in sex acts and a count of attempting to evade financial reporting requirements. York will serve 15 years in federal prison if the court accepts a plea agreement.
The state and federal prison terms would run concurrently.
York also agreed to forfeit the more than $400,000 confiscated by federal and local authorities in a search of his Putnam County farm following his arrest last May.
Posted: May 21, 2002
Leader of Anti-Government Sect Arrested on Sex Charges
Malachi "Dwight" York, the founder of the United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors (formerly the Nubian Islamic Hebrews), a predominantly Black, pseudo-religious group with a history of promoting racist and anti-government beliefs, was arrested on May 8 in Putnam County, Georgia, along with his companion, Kathy Johnson. They face federal felony charges for transporting minors across state lines "for the purpose of engaging in unlawful sex acts."
Following the arrests, over 150 federal and local law enforcement agents raided the Nuwaubians' 476-acre compound to search for evidence related to the charges. According to Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills, more than 100 people, most likely members or associates of the group, were on the property at the time of the raid. Approximately 30 weapons were seized and one man, who was not identified, was wanted by law enforcement in Gwinnett County, Georgia, and was taken into custody.
York was indicted on four separate counts and Johnson was named in one count. The charges stem from incidents that allegedly took place in 1993 and 1996. Authorities have identified as many as 35 victims, some reportedly as young as 4 years old. Each federal count carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. On May 13, a state grand jury indicted York on 74 counts of child molestation, 29 counts of aggravated child molestation and related charges, including one count of rape. Johnson was named in five of these counts.
Established in the mid-1970s, York's group was originally based in Brooklyn, New York. The FBI said that members of this group were connected to such crimes as extortion, bank robbery, arson and welfare fraud. York himself served three years in prison in the 1960s for assault, resisting arrest and carrying a concealed weapon; he also pleaded guilty, in 1964 when he was 18, to a misdemeanor charge of raping a 13-year-old girl.
In 1993, York moved the organization to Putnam County after he purchased the land, where the group renamed itself the United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors. On the compound, they built pyramids, a sphinx, several Egyptian statues and claimed to be the original Native Americans descended from the pyramid builders of ancient Egypt. Throughout the group's stay in Georgia, it has generated considerable friction with public officials and local residents, especially through its refusal to abide by local laws.
Over the years, the group has proclaimed a multitude of beliefs, espousing various Muslim, Christian and Jewish tenets combined with ideas of Black supremacy. York has repeatedly referred to whites as "devils" and has said their skin color is due to leprosy. Many members also adhere to right-wing anti-government "sovereign citizen" theories. In addition, members have subscribed to a variety of New Age ideas and conspiracy theories. On several occasions, York even claimed that the Nuwaubians were actually descendents of "Planet Risk," transplanted here by spaceship.
York has most recently been using the title of "Rabbi" and the latest Nuwaubian literature, where they also refer to their organization as "The Holy Seed Baptist Synagogue, Inc.," appropriates certain aspects of both Judaism and Christianity. In a recent pamphlet, the Nuwaubians stated that "We as the Tribe of Judah have been lost. Ye Negroes are the true Tribe of Judah, not Jews, but Judah. Christ spoke of this manner of false Jews who are pretending to be you and stealing your God given rites."