The 18-year-old witness described York as a vicious manipulator who coerced children into having sex with him and rewarded them with jewelry and candy.
York, 58, is the head of the mostly black United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors whose compound on a Georgia farm includes pyramid-like structures. He faces 13 federal counts of child molestation and racketeering.
Those who fell out of favor with York were forced to live in squalid conditions _ overcrowded houses filled with mice, cockroaches and backed-up toilets, she said Tuesday.
Prosecutors began building a case Tuesday that York abused his power to feed his sexual appetite for as many as 13 boys and girls at his neo-Egyptian compound in rural central Georgia.
Yorks defense plans to call into question her claims that the alleged victim was molested beginning when she was 8 years old until she was 16.
(Article continues below this ad)
Yorks attorney, Adrian Patrick, said the case was about government oppression. He compared Yorks prosecution to Germanys oppression of the Jews and the British rule of colonial America.
The government is going to attempt to make you believe the defendant is guilty because hes different, Patrick said. This is a sexy case. Its about sex and money. We are depending on you to see beyond the fantasy and the sensationalism of this case.
Federal prosecutor Stephanie Thacker said the children _ who were between ages 5 and 17 _ were under Yorks complete control.
Thacker said York rewarded the children who had sex with him with gold bracelets, diamonds, candy and trips to restaurants outside his neo-Egyptian compound.
They were taught that he was the supreme authority … he was a god, she said. The man who they thought was a father, a god, violated them sexually when they were very young.
The trial, which is expected to last three weeks, was moved 225 miles from Macon to Brunswick because of pretrial publicity, including months of protests by followers dressed as Egyptian pharaohs, mummies and birds.
York has unsuccessfully argued he has American Indian heritage and should not be judged by the U.S. court system.
U.S. District Court Judge Ashley Royal closed the proceedings to all but the media and those involved and the hundreds of Nuwaubian supporters expected to appear at the trial have not materialized. Royal also banned protests outside the courtroom.
One man was arrested outside the courthouse on a charge of obstruction after he blocked traffic in the middle of the street, said Sgt. Kevin Jones of Brunswick police. The man, William Carroll, 28, of New York, claimed he was a witness and was trying to get into the trial.