Standoff Between Religious Sect, Police Ends

Leitchfield, USA – A standoff between Kentucky State Police and a religious separatist group in central Kentucky came to an end Wednesday.

According to WLKY, state police and child protection workers had been trying to investigate a neglect complain involving four children in a hilltop compound in Grayson County.

Following negotiations, group members allowed police and child protective service officials to take the children on Wednesday, ending a potentially dangerous standoff situation, officials said.

Police said the group had threatened them numerous times, causing officials to retreat in their initial attempts to check on the children.


Led by Richard and Laura Dugan, this small sect has a focus on the End Times. It adheres to the doctrines of the old Worldwide Church of God.

Theologically, Sabbatharians is a cult of Christianity. Sociologically the group has cult-like elements as well.

The group’s members are part of the Sabbatharian religious sect has occupied their current location for several years, and their compound has no running water and is powered by a single electricity generator, WLKY reported.

The leader of the sect said the group was being unfairly targeted by the authorities.

“Because of who we are, being what they call a separatist group, religious group, they’re trying to make an example out of us,” Richard Dugan said.

The controversy centered on four children, ages 12, 14, 15, and a 3-month old born to the oldest teenager.

“I still don’t know what possessed them to send the SWAT team after them,” group member Barbara Casey said. “We’ve not done nothing, and we want to live up here. This is a religious community.”

Casey said the baby’s mother moved to the compound two months ago to get away from the father of the newborn, whom she claims is harassing her over the child.

“I figured up here, I might not be harassed by the welfare,” Casey said. “But what does he do? He sends a SWAT team up here.”

The group allowed WLKY to enter the compound on Tuesday while negotiations were ongoing with police.

“Knowing how stubborn (the police) are, as unjustified as they are, I’m hoping it doesn’t go to any more,” Dugan said. “It’s unfair.”

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Dec. 6, 2006

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This post was last updated: Wednesday, May 2, 2007 at 11:22 AM, Central European Time (CET)