Group’s future up in air
Associated Press, Jan. 31, 2003
The Nuwaubians continue to live in Putnam County where York purchased a 476-acre farm a decade ago that is now adorned with pyramids, a sphinx and other Egyptian-style structures.
Some members proclaim loudly that York is not guilty regardless of his admission. Others say they can no longer support the man or his teachings.
York, 57, pleaded guilty to a pair of federal charges Jan. 23. A day later in state court he pleaded guilty to 77 counts of sex crimes against children. He signed a plea agreement that recommended a 15-year prison sentence and 35 years probation as an admitted sex offender. A sentencing date hasn’t been scheduled.
No decision has been made whether the property will be sold or if the Nuwaubians will remain at the compound.
Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills said if York still owned the property, authorities would have sought to make the forfeiture of the property part of York’s federal plea agreement.
In February 2002, York – with the help of the Putnam County attorney – deeded the property to nine individuals. Six of those nine later transferred their ownership of the land to the other three: Anthony Evans, Patrice Evans and Ethel Richardson.
Evans, still a member of the church, said earlier this week 200 acres of the property has been for sale for a year. He didn’t know what future the Nuwaubians have in Putnam County.
”I really don’t know. We really haven’t decided on anything yet. Don’t know at all,” Evans said. ”I’m not at liberty to speak about it.”
Putnam County Commissioner Sylbie Kitchens said now that York has admitted to molesting children, she hopes the Nuwaubians will abandon Putnam County.
”I don’t have any idea what they’re going to do,” she said. ”Perhaps it’s time that they pack up and move on. That’s just my feeling. I don’t know what else is here for them.”
Many former members would like to see those still loyal to the man who told followers he was a ”supreme being” abandon the Nuwaubian Nation.
”Nuwaubians don’t see York for who he is – the evil one,” said Derek Hodge, a follower who left the group in 1998. ”They would rather convince themselves it was a conspiracy to take down another black leader and deny these victims due justice. … Those Nuwaubians that are still clinging to this day deserve whatever is coming to them, even though they are victims themselves.”