Two women testified Monday that they were molested by cult leader Malachi York as children, then became pregnant by York when they were 17. Both women gave birth, but did not list York as the father on the birth certificates.
“We were told not to put his name on the birth certificate,” said one of the women, who is now 28. She said York first molested her when she was 13, and she later recruited and groomed younger victims for him. The paternity of her son by York was confirmed by a DNA expert who testified.
Investigators have previously said York is believed to have fathered about 100 children.
The other woman to testify, who is now 26, was a last-minute addition to the trial. She said she was praying a week ago when a news report about York’s trial came on television, and she contacted investigators.
“I had to step up,” she said. “I’m the victim here. I’m not the bad person, and I wanted to let the world know that what he did was wrong.”
She said she started having sex with York when she was 14. After she gave birth, she said, she decided to leave the compound, but had no money and no place to go, and had to leave her son behind.
“I was just distraught in my mind,” she said. “I couldn’t do it no more.”
She said she was told as a girl that it was “a privilege” to have sex with York, and she felt that way even after she grew into adulthood.
The 28-year-old woman testified that York once told her why he liked to have sex with young girls.
“His purpose for doing it was to keep the girls loyal to our culture,” she said. “He said if you have a girl when she is a virgin, she is more likely to remain loyal to you.”
The woman was identified in the defense’s opening argument as one of the government’s key witnesses. She formerly handled the finances for York’s group, the United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors.
She gave the first significant testimony in relation to the racketeering charges against York, saying that he ordered her to split up bank deposits so as not to exceed $10,000. That order, she said, came after she tried to make a bank deposit over that amount, which requires a transaction report.
She described how a chain of stores in several cities – including Macon – sold books and products developed at the compound, generating from $20,000 to $70,000 every two weeks.
The money would come in from the stores every other Wednesday, she said, and all $50 and $100 bills went directly to York, which he kept in a black brief case. A black brief case containing $279,450 was recovered from York’s bedroom during a search of his property.
The rest of the money, she said, went to the bank account for Holy Tabernacle Ministries. She identified a series of deposit slips, on consecutive days, which she said showed the split deposits.
Also Monday, a 19-year-old man testified that York began molesting him when he was 13.
Eight alleged victims have testified, and all have said the molestations began when York’s group was located in Sullivan County, N.Y. Most have said the molestations increased after the group moved to a 467-acre tract in Putnam County, where they constructed Egyptian-themed buildings, including two pyramids and a Sphinx.
The alleged victims also said they were among the first members that York moved to Putnam County, with the rest of the group coming later. The federal child molestation charges against York accuse him for transporting children across state lines for sexual purposes. Some have also said he took them on a trip to Disney World in Orlando, Fla., where they said he had sex with them.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Moultrie said at the end of the day Monday that the government will call six more alleged victims. He said the prosecution may rest its case late Wednesday or early Thursday.