Social Services Swat Team Remove Children From Sabbatharian Religious Sect

On Dec. 4, 2006, social service workers and a deputy sheriff went to Levita Township, in Grayson County, Ky. to answer a referral of neglect in regard to four minors. Levita Township is the home to members of the Sabbatharian religious sect. According to Kentucky State Police Officer, Steve Peavy, social services intentions were to check up on the children and their living conditions.

The deputy sheriff and social workers were turned away by the Sabbatharian‘s refusal to cooperate. According to Barbara Casey, the grandmother to three of the minors and great grandmother to the fourth minor, the religious sect members refused to cooperate for two reasons. Reason number one was because at the time Casey, herself, was not there. Casey said the second reason was because social services wanted to take away the children, not just check up on them.


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 confusion of the social workers’ objective led to two more days of court orders, refusals and negotiations.

According to Peavy, on day two, social workers with the help of KSP obtained and served a court order to not only see the children, but take the children into social services’ custody. Once again, the Sabbatharians refused to hand over the children. Casey said it was because social services could not show them the court order.

After extensive phone calls with the Sabbatharians, KSP and social services returned to the hilltop compound. Peavy said to ensure that no violence erupted, KSP brought along their SWAT team, SRT.

According, to Casey when KSP and social services returned on Dec. 6, 2006, they had to wait three to four hours for social services to provide the court order. But, in the end, despite all the confusion, the ordeal ended peacefully with the four children leaving the religious sect in the custody of social services.

At the same time, the situation might have ended peacefully, but according to Casey no peace exists for her until her grandchildren and great-grandchild are returned to her.

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Religion News Blog posted this on Thursday December 7, 2006.
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