Cult Leader, 3 of His Wives Among 8 Indicted on Charges of Abuse, Unpaid Child Labor

Royall Jenkins, the leader of a cult, and three of his wives were indicted for beating children, forcing children as young as age 8 to work without pay and enforcing strict dietary restrictions, the Associated Press reported. Eight people total were named in connection to the Kansas-based organization in the indictment unsealed Tuesday.

A federal judge in the District of Kansas designated the group, previously called the United Nation of Islam and Value Creators, as a cult in 2018. Starting in October 2000, the group used unpaid labor from organization members and their children to run businesses like gas stations, bakeries and restaurants across several states, prosecutors allege.

All of the people named in the indictment are accused of forced labor and conspiracy to commit forced labor. The indictment also described physical abuse within the organization, including routine "Fruit of Islam Beatdowns" that three of the defendants used as punishment against male members of the group who violated rules by stealing food or committing other offenses, the AP reported.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Kansas-Based Cult
Eight people total were named in an indictment connected to an organization, labeled as a cult in 2018, believed to have been headquartered in Kansas City, Kansas. Cars travel on a stretch of Blue Parkway in Kansas City, Missouri, on September 24, 2020. Charlie Riedel/AP Photo

Jenkins had been a member of the Nation of Islam until 1978, when he founded the separate United Nation of Islam. He persuaded his followers that he was shown the proper way to rule the Earth after being "taken through the galaxy by aliens on a spaceship," according to the indictment. At one point, the group had hundreds of followers.

Eight leaders of the organization, including three of Jenkins' "many wives," were named in the indictment after they were arrested in cities across the U.S. They are Randolph Hadley, Jacelyn Greenwell, Etinia Kinnard, Dana Peach, Daniel Jenkins, James Staton, Yunus Rassoul and Kaaba Majeed.

None of the defendants had an attorney listed in federal court records.

Parents were encouraged to send their children to an unlicensed school in Kansas City, Kansas, called the University of Arts and Logistics of Civilization, which did not provide appropriate instruction in most subjects.

The indictment said those who didn't attend the school were forced to work instead.

Some of the child victims worked in businesses in Kansas City, while others were trafficked to businesses in other states, including New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Maryland, Georgia and North Carolina, the indictment alleges.

Prosecutors said the victims also lived in "overcrowded dormitories, barracks, or households of adult members who were not related," and many were forced to work up to 16 hours per day. Their diet consisted of bean soup, salad, and occasionally fruit, and frequent cleanses were ordered that included only consuming lemon juice for days.

The indictment names 10 children who were forced to work for the organization between October 2000 and November 2012. Some worked for 12 years without pay, the indictment says.

In May 2018, U.S. Judge Daniel Crabtree called the group a cult and ordered it to pay $8 million to Kendra Ross, who said she spent 10 years performing unpaid labor.

Nation of Islam Convention
Royall Jenkins, a cult leader and former member of the Nation of Islam until 1978 before founding his own organization, was named in an indictment unsealed Tuesday with allegation of unpaid child labor and abuse. Above, a Muslim woman attends for a Nation of Islam convention at Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Illinois, February 27, 2010. Nam Y. Huh/AP Photo