- The Washington Times - Friday, January 23, 2004

Teenage girls flee polygamist marriages

SALT LAKE CITY — Teenage daughters of polygamists from a fundamentalist offshoot of the U.S. Mormon Church are fleeing their families amid a sect leadership crisis, officials said yesterday.

Law enforcement and social services officials said several teenage girls had left their families and the shadowy splinter sect of the Utah-based Mormon Church over the past two weeks, apparently to avoid being married off to older men at a young age.

The flight began after the “prophet” of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — which is not recognized by the mainstream Mormon Church — excommunicated more than 20 male members of his sect on Jan. 10 and threatened to take away their wives and children.

At least three young girls seized the opportunity of the crisis to leave their families, and — despite calls by the fathers to have them returned — authorities in Utah and Arizona have put the girls into protective care.

Sect leader convicted of child molestation

BRUNSWICK, Ga. — The leader of a quasi-religious sect was convicted yesterday of molesting boys and girls at the group’s ancient Egyptian-style compound.

Malachi York, 58, could face up to 80 years in prison at sentencing.

During the trial, 14 boys and girls from the United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors said York molested them from 1998 until 2002, when federal agents raided the compound, a 476-acre property in Eatonton, Ga., that is decorated with pyramids, a sphinx and statues of American Indians.

The government charged that York recruited older girls to groom younger girls for sex with him, and that he used the cult for his own financial gain. Members of the group were not paid for their work — instead, York managed the money and decided whom to reward and punish, prosecutors said.

Limbaugh rejects plea deal in Florida case

MIAMI — Florida prosecutors say they have enough evidence to support more than 10 felony charges against conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh, who is under investigation over charges of doctor shopping for painkillers, according to legal documents released yesterday.

The documents, including letters between Mr. Limbaugh’s lawyers and the chief prosecutor in Palm Beach County, also indicate authorities offered to settle the case by having Mr. Limbaugh plead guilty to doctor-shopping in return for a sentence of three years of probation.

The plea offer was made after an overture by Mr. Limbaugh, whose lawyers offered to have him enter a pretrial program where he would continue rehabilitation. The talk show host rejected the deal.

20th shooting linked to Ohio sniper

COLUMBUS, Ohio — A driver whose windshield was pierced by a bullet is the 20th known target of a highway sniper who has struck cars, school buses and buildings, investigators said yesterday.

In the latest shooting, which occurred Thursday, the driver said he saw a person standing in the shadows on a highway overpass just after the shooting. The driver was not hurt. Investigators have linked 19 previous shootings, which took place on or near a section of Interstate 270 on Columbus’ south side. Thursday’s shooting occurred about eight miles south of I-270.

No ballistic evidence was found at the scene of the latest shooting along Interstate 71, but physical evidence links it to the other shootings, Franklin County sheriff’s Chief Deputy Steve Martin said. He would not elaborate.

Famed photographer dies in car crash

LOS ANGELES — Acclaimed fashion photographer Helmut Newton died yesterday after his car sped out of control from the driveway of the famed Chateau Marmont hotel and crashed into a wall, police said. He was 83.

Mr. Newton, whose work appeared in magazines such as Playboy, Elle and Vogue, was best known for his stark, black-and-white nude photos of women.

Mr. Newton apparently lost control of his Cadillac while leaving the Hollywood hotel, said Officer April Harding, a police spokeswoman. It was not clear whether he became ill while driving.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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