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Putnam’s Sills sued by seven linked to Nuwaubian group

The Macon Telegraph, USA
July 2, 2004
Gary Tanner, Telegraph Staff Writer • Friday July 2, 2004

Seven people affiliated with the United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors religious sect have sued Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills in federal court, claiming he did not take “immediate and effective” action on reports that children were being molested at the group’s rural headquarters.

Group leader Malachi York was convicted of molestation and other charges earlier this year and sentenced in April to a 135-year prison sentence. The six filings all consist of a one-page complaint stating that on Sept. 25, 1998, officials with the state Division of Family and Children Services “informed the defendant of alleged molestation occurring,” at the group’s headquarters at 404 Shady Dale Road.

The result of Sills’ alleged delay in investigating is that the plaintiffs’ children “suffered great pain of mind and body,” the complaints state.

Sills said Thursday the complaints are baseless.

“I wish it hadn’t taken four years to complete the investigation,” he said. “That would have been four years of hell my community, myself and my family wouldn’t have had to go through.”

Each of the complainants is acting as his or her own attorney, court records show.

Attempts to reach six of the complainants Thursday were unsuccessful. One of the complainants, who listed his address in court records as 404 Shady Dale Road, declined comment when reached by telephone Thursday.

Sills was served with copies of the lawsuits Wednesday afternoon in Macon, where he had been ordered to appear as a witness in U.S. District Court in an unrelated hearing on forfeiture of York’s property in rural Putnam County and in Athens.

Sills said he faces about 14 pending lawsuits by members of the group.

The Nuwaubian group moved to Putnam County from New York in 1993 and has recently changed its name to the Yamassee Native Americans of the Creek Nation.

On part of the group’s 476-acre property are a number of Egyptian-style monuments. Each of the latest civil complaints ask for $100,000 in damages from Sills.

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