In opening statements in York’s molestation and racketeering trial, prosecutors said York, 58, used older children he was abusing to introduce younger children — sometimes their own siblings — to him in order to gain their confidence, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephanie Thacker.
The process included “a well-developed process of steps” towards molestation that began with “innocent rubbing” and proceeded to intercourse, she said. Isolation was used to reinforce that system, she said, and children were separated from their parents and housed in Spartan dwellings. But York lived in a comfortable home with television and good food, Thacker said. One alleged victim, she said, will testify that the first time she had pizza and soda was at York’s home.
“He sexually assaulted them and then gave them candy and ice cream,” she said
York denies the allegations and Patrick argued that the charges of molestation stem from collaborations from disgruntled former members of the United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors. Defense attorney Adrian Patrick told jurors the prosecution’s case was based on emotion.
The first witness, a 19 year-old woman, testified York began molesting her shortly after her eighth birthday. She said an older girl showed her pornography. “I was told that’s what I’m supposed to do to York,” she said.
York, founder of the United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors, faces 13 federal counts of racketeering and child molestation. In 1993, he moved with many of his followers to 400-plus acres in Putnam County. The Nuwaubians built pyramids and obelisks on the property.