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Cult leader blames death threats for not showing up in court • Friday January 21, 2011

It was supposed to be judgment day for Rocco Leo, but the cult leader has chosen to remain a fugitive because of threats made on his life.

The Advertiser has learnt Leo chose not to attend court yesterday because of death threats – and against the advice of lawyers who have now resigned from the case.

Meanwhile, the estranged families of devout Agape believers say their loved ones have vanished interstate.

Lesley Baligod said she feared for her son Raphael Azariah who, she believed, was preparing to move overseas.

“My son, his wife and my grandchildren have moved to Victoria,” Mrs Baligod said.

“The whole rest of the group that was here in Adelaide are leaving this Saturday, and we understand they are going overseas.

“We believe Rocco Leo has finally found himself an island, or manipulated someone somewhere into allowing him what he wants.”

Last July, Mr Azariah denied Agape was a doomsday cult and said he had “never heard anything” about members fleeing to an island.

In November, the Holden Hill Magistrates Court warned an arrest warrant would be issued if Leo failed to appear. Yesterday, lawyer Casey Isaacs asked permission to withdraw from the case.

“The need for Leo to attend court was communicated to him by us, but he is not here,” he said.

“Our position has been compromised, and we are no longer in a position to adequately press the matter.”

Magistrate Yoong Chin granted permission and issued a warrant for Leo’s arrest.

He further ordered Leo not be eligible for bail upon his arrest.

- Source / Full Story: Death threats blamed for court no-show, Sean Fewster, The Advertiser, Jan. 22, 2011 — Summarized by Religion News Blog
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