North Carolina ‘Cult Abuse’ Case to Go to Trial
A North Carolina judge ruled that there is enough evidence in an alleged cult abuse case to send it to trial after the accusers’ horrific testimony, The News & Observer of Raleigh reported Wednesday.
The victims, a 44-year-old woman and a 19-year-old man, took the stand in Durham County Monday in a probable cause hearing for accused cult leaders Joseph Scott Craig and his wife Joy Suzanne Johnson.
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The male victim, James Frederick Bethard, testified that the couple was running a “satanic group” in their home, according to the paper.
Craig has been charged with second-degree rape, second-degree forcible sexual offense, three counts of second-degree kidnapping and two counts of assault with a deadly weapon, the News & Observer reported.
Accuser tells of ‘satanic group’
DURHAM – It was an interest in the occult that brought the accusers to Durham.
The woman and man who have accused a couple in a sexual assault case that includes allegations of channeling demons and caging a man were in Durham County District Court on Monday.
The woman, 44, and man, 19, were called to the stand in a probable cause hearing for Joseph Scott Craig, 25, and Joy Suzanne Johnson, 30, the husband and wife accused in a case that was described by one defense attorney as “consensual sadomasochism” gone awry.
Craig, 25, a dispatcher at Allied Waste Industries, has been charged with second-degree rape, second-degree forcible sexual offense, three counts of second-degree kidnapping and two counts of assault with a deadly weapon.
Johnson, 30, is accused of “instigating and encouraging” her husband as he handcuffed a man and forced him “into a dog cage, leaving him there for hours, terrorizing him,” according to an arrest warrant.
The man, James Frederick Bethard, 19, of Maryland, accuses Craig of assault and kidnapping — forcing him into a dog cage with his arms and legs shackled, and beating him repeatedly with a cane.
The woman accused Craig of raping her, although she testified Monday that she also engaged in consensual oral sex with him more than once.
The testimony Monday, which focused on the charges included in the warrant, revealed an unusual living arrangement in the small house on Albany Street.
Bethard was already living with the couple when the female accuser arrived in December after meeting them through a Web site.
“It was a satanic group,” Bethard testified. “We talked at length about satanism, demons.”
At some point, though, both Bethard and the 44-year-old woman with whom he would start a sexual relationship said they began to fear the couple they’ve now accused of assault.
“We were told multiple times that if either of us attempted to leave we would be killed,” Bethard testified.
Woman in sex case has her bail reduced
DURHAM – The woman who is accused of aiding and abetting her husband in a sexual assault case and an alleged kidnapping and cane beating persuaded a Superior Court judge Thursday to reduce bail.
Judge Orlando Hudson lowered bail to $75,000 for Joy Suzanne Johnson, 30, after the public defender assigned to her case made the third bail-reduction request in 10 days.
Johnson was jailed June 27 on allegations that she encouraged and instigated her husband, Joseph Scott Craig, 25, as he allegedly raped a 44-year-old woman and beat and caged a 19-year-old man.
The accusers, who lived with Johnson and Craig for more than six months, were in Durham District Court on Monday to recount their allegations.
The two came to Durham, they said, to study the occult. They met the couple through a Web site and moved in with them shortly after the online contact.
Although each worked outside the home and had a cell phone and access to money, both stayed with the accused until late June, long after the incidents were said to have occurred.
In court earlier this week, Woody Vann, the defense lawyer representing Craig, asked whether the accusers made their allegations because they had just been kicked out of the Order of the Morning Star, the occult group. Vann said Bethard had just lost his job at a pet store and would not be able to pay the rent.