Followers of convicted child molester and sect leader Dwight “Malachi” York – some from Clarke County – are bombarding officials at a federal maximum security lock-up with fake documents that seek to free him from a 135-year prison term.
The documents, some stamped by Athens-Clarke notaries, claim York has been falsely imprisoned since 2004 and should be released because he is an African diplomat, officials said.
“They tried to get him out of prison by saying he was a diplomat from Liberia and that he’s being illegally held under the Geneva Conventions, but that doesn’t apply, because he’s not a prisoner of war,” Athens-Clarke police Detective Beverly Russell said last week.
Officials said he used the sect as a front for a criminal enterprise, and in 2004, York was convicted in U.S. District Court in Brunswick on charges of racketeering, child molestation, transporting minors for unlawful sex and tax evasion.
Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills, who began the investigation into reported child abuse at the Nuwaubian compound near Eatonton in 2002, chuckled at the latest twist in the sect leader’s bizarre history.
Sills has been sued more than a dozen times by Nuwaubians, and one sect member even placed a fake lien on property the sheriff owns.
“I’ve never been able to rationalize how seemingly intelligent people would follow a man who started off saying he was an extraterrestrial, then changed to being a reincarnated pharaoh, then an American Indian chief, then head of all Shriners or Masons in the world,” Sills said. “He also claimed at one time to be a rabbi but was an Islamic imam to start with, then after the trial he ended up being a diplomat.
“You can rationalize how someone follows a charismatic leader if they maintain a consistent philosophy, but how to you go from being an Islamic imam to a rabbi?” he said. “First he came here on a space ship, and years later he came here from Liberia on a diplomatic passport.”
In his most recent court filings three months ago – including a petition to quash the indictment that sent him to prison – York calls his flock members of the United Worldwide Nuwaupians Church.
He refers to himself in the documents as H.E. Dr. Malachi Z.York-EL, with copyright and trademark logos attached to his name.