The Macon Telegraph, Mar. 2, 2003
By Rob Peecher
GRAY – Cult leader Malachi York remains popular among at least some of his followers a month after pleading guilty to 75 counts of child molestation.
York, who pleaded guilty to state and federal charges but has not yet been sentenced by a federal judge, is waiting in the Jones County jail to be sentenced and taken to a federal prison. In jail, he is receiving significantly more mail than other inmates.
“He does get a lot of mail,” said Jones County Sheriff’s Maj. Barbara Burnette. “He gets a pile where the average inmate gets one or two letters a day.”
Burnette said York is receiving as many as 20 or 30 letters a day, and some of the envelopes contain money.
“He gets books and stuff people send him – books, cards, letters and money,” Burnette said.
Burnette did not release the amount of money York has received since entering the jail Jan. 24, the day he pleaded guilty, but she did say it is far more than any other inmate.
Before pleading guilty, York was in custody at the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office where he received fewer letters but still more than average, according to administrative assistant Teresa Slade.
York was in the Putnam County jail Jan. 6-24 when he pleaded guilty and was transferred to Jones County.
In those 18 days, York received money from three or four visitors totaling $230. The money went into an account managed by the sheriff’s office through which York could buy a variety of personal items once a week ranging from toothpaste to shaving lotion to candies and snacks.
In his three weeks at the Putnam County jail, York spent a total of $254 in two separate “store-call” purchases.
York is the founder of the United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors, a quasi-religious organization he began in Brooklyn, N.Y., in the early 1970s as an Islamic sect. The group moved to a 476-acre farm in 1993, and York began claiming to be an alien from the planet Rizq.
In recent years the Nuwaubians have adopted ancient Egyptian themes, building pyramids and other Egyptian-style structures on its compound.
York was arrested on federal warrants in May and was subsequently indicted by a Putnam County grand jury in a 208-count indictment. In January, York pleaded guilty to two federal charges – one of financial fraud and another of transporting children across state lines for sexual purposes. He also pleaded guilty to 77 state counts involving child sexual molestation and two counts of influencing a witness.
York is expected to be sentenced to serve 13 years in a federal prison with his state sentence to run concurrent. He will be 71-years-old when he is eligible for parole.
Four women who were among his followers also face state charges of participating in the child molestation with York.
When he pleaded guilty, he implicated each of the four women in the counts he pleaded guilty to, but the four women remain free on bond and have not been tried yet.