NY Accuses Cult of Sex Perversion
NEW YORK (UPI) — A state attorney general's report says the "Children of God" religious sect practices brainwashing, physical coercion and sexual abuse on its members.
The 65-page report, prepared by Atty. Gen Louis Lefkowitz' Charity Frauds Bureau at the request of former Gov. Nelson A. Rockefeller, said the group uses "indoctrination procedures" to ensure new members' loyalty.
The brainwashing, according to the report, is achived by denying new converts "sleep and bullying them with threats that Jesus would hound them for the rest of their lives" if they left thw group.
The group's leader, David Berg, also promoted unorthodox sexual relationships amomg members of his communes, the report said, and women were assigned to men for arbitrary and short-term "prophetic marriages."
In one instance, at a "mass betrothal" directed by Berg, the report related the following scene:
"Berg announced that he was 'taking another wife' and thereupon, in the presence of his wife, other members and their infant children, consumated the 'marriage' with a young girl who had taken his fancy.
"Additionally, various female members are compelled to have intercourse with (the group's) top leaders."
The report traced an "apparent metamophosis of Children of God from a religious Bible-oriented group to a cult subservient to the whims or desires of the Berg family and other leaders."
Although he has been unable to prosecute the cult "because of the constitutional protection" of religious freedom, Lefkowitz said he was publicizing the report to "awaken the public general – particularly youngsters and parents – to the nature of this group as revealed in the testimony."
There are about 120 communes of the Children of God throughout the country, the report said, with about five in New York State.
Members generally give up their material possessions to the organization upon joining, the report said, generally relying on donations from sympathizers and parents.