FILE – In this Aug. 20, 2017 file photo provided by the Cibola County Sheriff’s Office, Deborah Green, the leader of a New Mexico paramilitary religious sect, is arrested outside of the group of remote Fence Lake, N. M. compound. Green has been sentenced to more than seven decades in prison after her conviction in a child abuse case. (Cibola County Sheriff’s Office via AP, File)
GRANTS, N. M. – A New Mexico judge sentenced a paramilitary religious sect leader Wednesday to more than seven decades in prison after her conviction in a child abuse case that authorities say involved a victim that was taken from Uganda as a baby and abused her whole life.
KRQE-TV reports that the 72-year-old sentence for Deborah Green in the form of Grants, followed emotional testimony of a victim, who told the court she had had 11 operations for a broken nose suffered during the years of abuse. They also said that they are still recovering emotionally and physically from what they described as torture by Green.
On Tuesday, a jury found Green, 71, guilty of kidnapping, criminal sexual penetration of a minor and abuse of children.
“A weaker person would not have survived,” Judge James Sanchez told the victim. “That means that you can continue on the strong.”
Last year, authorities raided the Aggressive Christianity Missions Training Corps’ isolated Gate connections in the west of the state of New Mexico after a two-year investigation into the concerns about child abuse. Former cult members said the abuse dates back years, while Cibola County Undersheriff Michael Munk said the former members described leaders treat followers as slaves and physically beating children.
He also said that the sect had evaded law enforcement by moving and working in seclusion.
In Green’s defense, her lawyer said that the accusations against her was the result of the revenge of the former cult members, and that the victim in the case had changed her story over the years.
At the sect’s compound, some of the members of the” Green “mama” or “general”, according to authorities. She was also known among followers as “the prophet of God.”
When members complained, Green would hold “trials” against them for questioning her authority, which Green claimed came directly from God, said Julie Gudino, who is a member of the organization in 1984 in Sacramento, California. She was a member for 20 years, and was one of those who testified this week.
In closing arguments Tuesday, the Gallup Independent reports that the prosecutor told jurors that the victim had been taken from Uganda. It was Green, the daughter who went to the African country in 1997, but Green, who ordered that the child be “bought” by deception, Assistant district Attorney Brandon Vigil said.
Green still faces a second trial in the death of 13-year-old Enoch Miller. The authorities said he died on the compound in 2014.
Green has been charged with child abuse resulting in death and tampering with evidence, and the reports of the Independent jury selection is scheduled to begin Thursday in the case.
Information from: KRQE-TV, http://www.krqe.com