In this episode, retired agents Jalaine Ward and Joan Cronier review their investigation of cult leader Dwight D. York, of the United Nation of Nuwaubian Moors.
York used his charisma to recruit thousands of followers. Several hundred cult members lived with their children on his 475-acre Nuwaubian Nation compound in Putnam County, Georgia where, for years, he sexually molested boys and girls, 3-18 years old. In 2004, York was convicted and sentenced to 135 years without parole. The FBI code named the investigation Operation One Mann Act.
Jalaine and Joan, and other members of the prosecutive team, Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills, Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) Richard Moultrie and DOJ Special Prosecutor Stephanie Thacker, received the Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service for their investigation of Dwight York and his Nuwaubian Nation.
Special Agent (Retired)
7/1986 – 2013
“He had several of the red flags. When they moved to the compound, he separated the women from the children, the husbands from the wives, and they all lived in different areas.”—Retired Agent Jalaine Ward
Retired agent Jalaine Ward served in the FBI for nearly 27 years. She was assigned to the Atlanta Division, Macon Resident Agency for her entire Bureau career. She worked a variety of investigations with an expertise in white collar crime and violent crimes, specifically crimes against children and has extensive experience in interviewing and interrogation, trial testimony, trial preparation, undercover operations, special events planning, crisis negotiation, security and threat assessment, and major case management.
Jalaine was the National Center of the Analysis for Violent Crime (NCAVC) and Crimes Against Children (CAC) coordinator for the Atlanta Division for over 20 years and received extensive training in Behavioral Analysis, Threat Assessment, Interview and Interrogation, Crisis Management, School Violence issues, and Sexual Exploitation of Children.
She is a certified FBI Instructor and experienced Crisis Negotiator and participated in numerous consultations with the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit and was a member of the FBI’s Child Abduction Rapid Deployment Team (CARD). She was deployed to various parts of the Southeast Region to assist local law enforcement with missing children, child abductions, and false reports of kidnapping cases.
Currently, Jalaine operates Integrous, LLC, a private investigative, security, and threat assessment consulting service.
Special Agent (Retired)
1997 – Apr 2017
Retired agent Joan Cronier served in the FBI for 20 years. Joan spent her Bureau career in the Atlanta Division, where she used her financial crimes experience on White Collar Crime and Government Fraud Squads. After the successful investigation and prosecution of Dwight York, she switched her focus to crimes against children.
Joan spent several years as a member and coordinator on Innocent Images Crimes Against Children Task Force.
Since retiring, Joan works as a consultant and investigator on the Global Cyber Security team of a Fortune 100 company. Her husband, John, is also a retired agent. Joan and John have two sons, 20 and 17.
The following are links to articles and video about the Nuwaubian Nation and its former leader Dwight York:
WAGA TV 1996 (VIDEO): Nuwaubian cult
Southern Poverty Law Center – Nuwaubian Nation of Moors
People.com – 7/8/2018: 4 Things You’ll Learn About an Egyptian-Themed Sect Hiding Child Sex Abuse
The Cult Education Institute – 2/7/2003: Survivors Speak out about Bizarre Sect Leader, Sentenced to Prison
ABC News – 1/8/2004: Cult Leader Accused of Grooming Members For Sex
YouTube (VIDEO) – 4/18/2004: Habiba (Abigail) Washington Recants Testimony
Jalaine and Joan are featured in the TV series People Magazine Investigates: Cults (S1:E6) – The Nuwaubian Nation of Moors, available to rent on TV streaming services.
Interested in cults? Here are two more case reviews:
Photos of the Dwight York and his Nuwaubian Nation compound