BRUNSWICK – A woman who said cult leader Malachi York molested her for several years admitted under cross-examination Wednesday that some details of her testimony were inconsistent with previous statements.
The 18-year-old woman, however, stuck by her story that York engaged in repeated sex acts with her from the time she was 8.
Also Wednesday, the woman’s older sister testified that as a young teenager, she was filmed nude by one of York’s female followers who recruited and groomed her to have sex with York.
Lead defense attorney Adrian Patrick showed the 18-year-old witness transcripts of her testimony to a grand jury and a statement to FBI investigators in which she admitted some details were different. For instance, she testified on direct examination Tuesday that the first time she had vaginal sex with York was in a trailer at the cult’s compound in Putnam County, but she told the grand jury and FBI investigators that the incident happened in York’s house.
“I must have mistakenly said ‘trailer’ instead of ‘house,’ ” she said.
Also, Patrick showed her a report from an examination a year ago at a children’s hospital in New York after the FBI began investigating the allegations. The report indicated that she told the doctor York had vaginal sex with her when she was 8. She testified Tuesday that she was 13 when that happened.
She disputed the accuracy of the hospital report.
“That’s not what I said,” she testified.
She also said she must have “lied by accident” when she told the grand jury she had no money when she left York’s group in 2001. She testified Tuesday that she had $300.
But a nationally known expert in child molestation testified later in the day that child molestation victims usually give inaccurate, mistaken or incomplete information because of fear and embarrassment about the events.
“Their answers are related to the reality of being a compliant victim and society’s inability to deal with it,” said retired FBI agent Kenneth Lanning, who now consults on child molestation cases across the country. “The kids feel guilty because they didn’t say ‘no.’ ” Lanning is known for developing a profiling system of child molesters, whom he classifies as either “situational offenders” or “preferential offenders.”
Though he did not refer to York and said he has little knowledge of the case, his description of a preferential offender fit the image of York the prosecution is attempting to portray. Lanning described such an offender as intelligent, methodical and able to get away with molestation offenses for many years with many different children. They often seduce children gradually and use older victims to recruit younger victims. Such offenders also gravitate to occupations where they could have authority over children.
Also Wednesday, a pediatrician and child abuse expert who examined the woman said she found scarring and tissue loss that were consistent with repeated sexual molestation.
The last witness of the day was the 18-year-old’s sister, who is now 28. U.S. District Court Judge Ashley Royal told the jury she was not testifying as a victim as related to the charges against York, but as a corroborating witness.
She testified that while the group, known as Nuwaubians, were in Brooklyn in New York City, York began to lure her into a sexual relationship through a 20-year-old woman she referred to as Nathada. Nathada, she said, starting telling her at age 13 that girls should be taught sex by males in “the family.”
“She did ask me would I mind if (York) taught me different things about sex,” she said.
Nathada later demonstrated oral sex techniques on a sex toy, and then asked if she was “ready for the real thing,” the witness said. She said she “chickened out” but later did perform oral sex on York. She also said the older woman made a video of her in the nude, which the woman told her she gave to York, then later told her “he liked it.”
At about that point, Royal halted court for the day. The woman’s testimony will continue this morning.
The woman’s statement about how she was gradually lured into sex with York also is consistent with her sister’s testimony. The younger sister testified that a 15-year-old girl approached her when she was 8 with the suggestion that she have sex with York.
Juanita Tomlinson, a former employee of Wal-Mart in Milledgeville, testified that York came to the jewelry department with a girl who appeared to be 12 to 14 years old and bought her a diamond ring. She said he later returned with another girl, about the same age, and also bought her a diamond ring.
The 18-year-old had testified that York bought diamond rings for girls who had sex with him.
But under cross-examination Tomlinson said the two girls could have been York’s daughters.
York, 58, is facing 13 counts of child molestation and racketeering charges.
York and his followers moved from New York to Putnam County in 1993 to a 476-acre farm, where they erected numerous Egyptian-style structures. York has claimed to be Muslim, Christian, American Indian and from another planet.
Wednesday, the 28-year-old witness said that in her early years in York’s group, he claimed to be the angel Michael and that he was 76 trillion years old. She also said he claimed to have 19 different personalities.
His trial, which is expected to last three weeks, was moved from Macon to Brunswick because of pretrial publicity.