- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 2, 2004

EATONTON, Ga. — Pyramids, obelisks and a lonely sphinx stand deserted on the Egyptian-themed compound, where as many as 500 members of a quasi-religious sect lived only five years ago.

The United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors has become quiet since its leader, Malachi York, was sentenced to 135 years in federal prison in April for molesting 14 boys and girls whose parents were members of his group.

The federal government has seized the Nuwaubians’ 476-acre farm in this central Georgia town, and the group’s members have dispersed.

“York was it. Everything flowed from York. There was never any mistake about that,” said Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills, who has clashed with the Nuwaubians since York moved his followers from New York City’s Brooklyn borough to this rural county in 1993.

“He was the absolute ruler. There was no one else,” Sheriff Sills said.

At their height, the Nuwaubians brought 5,000 people to Eatonton for “Savior’s Day” to celebrate York’s birthday.

In 1999, as many as 500 people lived on the compound, practicing York’s ecclectic religion that shifted from Islamic roots to Egyptian mysticism, with members at times dressing as cowboys and American Indians. At one time, York even incorporated space aliens into his teachings, claiming that he was an extraterrestrial from the planet “Rizq.”

When the U.S. Marshal’s Office seized York’s property over the summer, about 50 people were evicted from the compound.

“As far as I’m concerned, it’s over. He’s gone, and he was the ringleader,” County Commissioner Sandra Adams said.

York, 58, was convicted by a jury in January of 10 counts of child molestation and racketeering. The woman who authorities say was York’s “main wife,” 35-year-old Kathy Johnson, pleaded guilty to seven counts of child molestation and was sentenced to two years in prison.

York is serving his sentence in the federal prison in Leavenworth, Kan.

“He deserved what he got, and he got what he deserved,” prosecutor Max Wood said.

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