A judge sentenced the leader of a religious sect to 2 years in prison Wednesday for hiding an elderly follower’s rotting body on a toilet for weeks.
Prosecutors said Bushey kept the body hidden so he could collect Middlesworth’s Social Security checks and annuities. Bushey’s attorney, Thomas Steinman, argued that Bushey thought God would bring Middlesworth back to life.
Alan Bushey, also known as Bishop John Peter, led a religious community called the Order of the Divine Will. He pleaded no contest to hiding
a rotting corpse on a follower’s toilet.
He told the follower to pray to God to bring the body back to life, but meanwhile collected the victim’s social security checks.
A woman charged with helping to hide a corpse in her Necedah home is also a victim of the man who is charged with directing that failed resurrection, lawyers for both the prosecution and defense said Monday.
“We do regard (Tammy Lewis), at least in part, as a victim of this cult
activity,” said County District Attorney Scott Southworth.
Prosecutors said Alan Bushey and one of his followers, Tammy Lewis, kept the dead body of Magdeline Middlesworth, 90, on Lewis’s toilet for two months, and Lewis’s children saw it rot there.
It is alleged that Bushey claimed Middlesworth would come back to life. Meanwhile, the cult leader kept collecting the woman’s social security checks.
As conditions of the bond, she must have no contact with her co-defendant or members of the Order of the Divine Will Church.
Authorities said Bushey and Tammy Lewis placed a dead 90-year-old woman on a toilet seat for two months while they kept getting her Social Security and annuity payments.
Alan Bushey and another sect member, Tammy Lewis, hid a 90-year-old woman’s dead body on Lewis’ toilet for two months so they could go on collecting the woman’s Social Security and annuities.
Cult leader Alan Bushey and Tammy Lewis, 35, were charged with two counts of causing mental harm to a child after the body of Alvina Magdelina Middlesworth was found decomposing for two months in a town of Necedah residence.
Lewis told investigators Bushey, who also goes by Bishop John Peter, told her to leave Middlesworth’s body in the bathroom and pray for God to bring her back to life. Lewis’ son told detectives Bushey told him demons were destroying Middlesworth’s appearance to make it look like she wouldn’t return to life, the complaint said. [video]
Tammy Lewis, 35, and 57-year-old Alan Bushey have been charged with two felony counts of being a party to causing mental harm to a child. Lewis was also charged with obstructing an officer, a misdemeanor. Juneau County District Attorney Scott Southworth said authorities believed it was a “cult-type situation where fraud was enacted by the leader of this cult in order to obtain money.”
District Attorney Scott Southworth says he believes it’s a cult-type situation that involved fraud by the leader to get money.