Sarah Berg is the former daughter-in-law of David Berg and the first spouse of Paul "Aaron" Berg. She was reportedly 15 years old when she married Paul Berg in Texas on November 26, 1967. According to a September 1974 report by the New York Attorney General's Charity Frauds Bureau, during her time in the Berg family and the Children of God she was sexually and physically abused, held prisoner in a trailer and her infant son was abducted. In an October 1974 feature story, New Times associate editor Thomas Moore reported that, in a statement given to New York attorney Aaron F. Klein, she also alleged that, "three or four years before my teens," David Berg made sexual advances towards her and attempted to have sexual intercourse with her:
Statement by Sarah Berg
Embittered and frustrated, he added another twist to his teachings — sex.
According to the transcription of a tape-recorded statement by Mary Glassford's daughter Sarah, whom Berg married off to his son Paul at the age of 15, Berg practiced what he preached. (Sarah's statement was given to Aaron F. Klein, a New York attorney who in the past represented several FREECOG parents.)
Sarah: "David, at times, would try to get away with things with his own daughters and he tried it with me when I was a little girl, but I was too young to really know what was going on. And I guess this always made me afraid to be, I was always frightened to be alone with him... At times, David Berg, three or four years before my teens, he tried to have intercourse. Of course, I jumped up and ran and things like this... He's never push it very far because I guess he was afraid I'd squeal. But once or twice he did make the attempt."
Q: "How far?"
Sarah: "To the point where he had his pants down."
Q: "Did he expose himself to you?"
Sarah: "Yes, but it was in the dark. And after I had married Paul there were several times when he tried to get me – he'd ask me–to go to bed with him. He said if I'd have his son's children, why couldn't I have his."
Q: "Where did this take place?"
Sarah: "All over the country, anywhere we were after Paul and I were married. Many, many times he told me that nobody would know the difference if it was his or Paul's."
Q: "What was your response?"
Sarah: One time I slapped his face. The other times I would just wiggle away from him and just get out. Just try to stay away from him as much as I could. But there were many times when he said it would just be our little secret."
Q: "You never told this to your husband Paul?"
Sarah: "No, I had enough trouble with him as it was. He wouldn't have believed me anyway. Anything I'd tell him that was on a shaded side of anything, he would say I was lying and beat the living daylights out me..."
Source: Moore, Thomas. New Times: Where have all the Children of God gone? — 1974-10-04.
A further insight into the moral standards of the Berg Family may be gleaned from the testimony of Sarah Berg, David Berg's former daughter-in-law.
When she was about 15 years old, her mother, a missionary, permitted her to travel on several trips with the Berg group. Paul Berg suddennly demanded that she marry him. When she refused, she was subjected to the following "prophecies" by both Paul and David Berg.
"My daughter, this is my will for you. I have chosen this match that is made in heaven. I have ordained it. Don't be afraid to slip into my plan, my will. --- Why are you questioning God, are you trying to bring God's wrath on you? Don't you believe these prophecies? If you don't cooperate or do what God has told you to do, He is going to strike you dead. Obey God, He has ways of making you".
Frightened, she was forced to have intercourse with Paul in the presence of David Berg. Similar incidents occurred thereafter, until her spirit was broken. She was then compelled to obtain her mother's permission to marry Paul because she was terrified and believed, mistakenly, that she was pregnant.
A year later, after the birth of her first child, Nathan, David Berg wanted to have intercourse with her stating: I see you with Paul's son. Why can't you have my son?" She continued living with the group almost as a virtual prisoner, after a miscarriage.
Just two weeks prior to the birth of her second child (her third pregnancy) some COG members wanted to know how to have intercourse with pregnant girls. David Berg ruled that someone would have to demonstrate. Paul Berg volunteered but Sarah refused to cooperate. Her husband then beat her across the stomach with a "two by four". She sought medical assistance and gave birth in a "systems doctor's" office over the objections of the family who follow Berg's admonition that the cult is to have nothing to do with "system doctors".
As punishment her son was taken away from her and she and the new child were kept prisoner in a trailer. On the second night she slipped past the guard who had walked away without permission. She walked six miles carrying her new-born daughter and escaped. She later returned, with others to the COG Thurber commune to get her infant son, she was refused by Paul Berg and John Treadwell to obtain the child.
She obtained a final decree of divorce in 1973. After he husband's death, she wrote the attorneys for the COG asking their help in locating her missing son, (then age 2 1/2). She was advised that they "had determined through appropriate inquiry that at the time she and her husband separated, her son was left in the custody of her husband;" and that COG was unaware of her son's whereabouts. Testimony elicted from other witnesses established that her son is under the care and custody of a COG member known as "David Z" or "David Zebulon". Information in our files leads us to believe that he and the child may be in British Columbia. Sarah Berg has been unable to locate her infant son from the time she escaped from the COG commune to the present.
Source: Final Report on the Activities of the Children of God to Hon. Louis J. Lefkowitz Attorney General of the State of New York — 1974-09-30.
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