What is the Levita Township and why did Richard Dugan commit suicide?

Not much is known about the small community of Levita Township, the compound that houses the members of the Sabbatarian church.

The church began in Louisville, Ky. Michael Boutte and his family joined the church when he was around eight-years-old.

He said his leader, Richard Dugan decided to commit suicide on May 1, 2007, after a grand jury indicted him for custodial interference and three counts of terroristic threatening related to a child welfare situation back in December 2006.

Boutte was arrested on May 1, after Dugan’s death. He said he was trying to protect his leader and the church’s way of life.

“The members of the Sabbatarian church have lived in the same spot in Grayson County for the last 13 years,” Boutte explained.

Residents of the community, Levita Township, live by their own code of conduct and they were led by Richard Dugan, the founder of the church until his recent suicide.

“The lord spoke to him in obtuse – well I wouldn’t say obtuse, but odd ways,” Boutte said.

They live without running water or electricity as generators provide heat. Members of this town say it’s not by choice because the town is so far from civilization that a substation would have to be built.


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 (sometimes spelled ‘Sabbathian’) is a cult of Christianity. Sociologically the group has cult-like elements as well.

Some members work while others are disabled, so their way of life depends on one thing: sharing everything. They even put all of their earnings together.

“I go without electric, everybody goes without electric,” Boutte explained.

Members don’t celebrate Easter, Christmas, or birthdays.

“We stick by what’s in the Bible – the original holy days that the Israelites kept in Egypt,” Boutte explained.

Twenty-six-year-old Boutte said it’s their unconventional lifestyle that had social services on their property back in December.

Back in December WBKO reported the social worker was trying to take four children into custody after a referral of neglect was issued.

Boutte said Dugan was in foster homes when he was a child and he believes the appearance of a social worker set him off.

“I think it was eleven foster homes and three institutions …” Boutte said Dugan had resided in.

Yesterday, Dugan was indicted by a grand jury on charges of custodial interference and three counts of terroristic threatening and Boutte said that’s what drove Dugan to suicide.

“He wasn’t going to do any harm to anybody else, but it was the fact if they pushed him too much I knew that he was going to shoot himself. He promised they would not pull him out of the car alive,” Boutte explained.

Boutte said he and the other followers were arrested because they were simply trying to protect their leader.

“It looked as if they laid a rifle down in there – we figured sniper. So my mother and I sat on the hood, right in his direct line of sight, so he could not shoot Richard,” Boutte explained.


(Listed if other than Religion News Blog, or if not shown above)
Reporter: Lauren Hanson, WBKO, May 2, 2007, http://www.wbko.com

Religion News Blog posted this on Thursday May 3, 2007.
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