Deputy's firing in Nuwaubian case is upheld

A former deputy flagrantly violated jail policies when he wrote to a convicted child molester, vowing to try to free the cult leader, and the Clarke County Sheriff's Office was justified in firing the deputy, a county personnel hearing officer has ruled.

Anthony Montgomery, a former corporal at the jail, broke policy when he corresponded with Dwight "Malachi" York, the imprisoned leader of the United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors black supremacist group, hearing officer Denny Galis wrote in his Tuesday decision, which county officials released late Thursday.

"As to the employee's code of conduct violations, the most egregious included his correspondence with a convicted felon, including offers to help gain the felon's release," Galis wrote.

The former deputy also violated policy by distributing Nuwaubian literature to prisoners at the Clarke County Jail, Galis ruled.

"By his own admission, (Montgomery) facilitated certain inmates getting publications from outside the jail instead of directing the inmates to the proper department in the jail," Galis wrote. "As evidenced by the aforementioned correspondence, (Montgomery) was attempting to promulgate a particular philosophy or point of view."

Montgomery was the second of four former deputies with Nuwaubian ties to unsuccessfully appeal to get his job back. He appealed the sheriff's decision to terminate him during a daylong hearing Feb. 19, and two more hearings are scheduled for this month.

Dressed in the Nuwaubians' Egyptian-inspired garb, the former deputy insisted at his hearing that the investigation leading to his termination was shoddy, relying mostly on hearsay statements of inmates and other uncorroborated evidence.

Galis said in his decision that Montgomery failed to "overcome his burden of proof" that he was improperly fired.

The four deputies who were fired, and a fifth who was allowed to resign, came under scrutiny after jail officials learned last March that Montgomery wrote a letter to York. No policy violations were found at the time, even though York is serving a 135-year federal prison sentence for convictions on racketeering, money laundering, child molestation and other charges.

The Southern Poverty Law Center lists the Nuwaubians as a "black separatist" hate group, and said York "claimed at various times to be a space alien and God in the flesh."

York had a mansion in Athens and his followers lived in a sprawling compound in Eatonton where, according to the SPLC, "York told his followers they were building a sovereign nation where they would be free from the influence of white 'devils.' "

York sexually molested children of his followers both in Athens and at the Putnam County compound, federal prosecutors said.

In the March 2006 letter to York, Montgomery introduced himself as one of his followers who "answered the call when you suggested that brothers join law enforcement agencies."

Though they didn't find policy violations immediately, sheriff's officials learned Nuwaubian literature was circulating in the jail, so they reminded deputies about the policy forbidding deputies from distributing unauthorized literature.

The reminder didn't deter Montgomery.

The next month, in April 2006, he sent the imprisoned Nuwaubian leader another letter in which he flouted the policy.

"I have still managed to propagate our doctrine to many of the inmates" at the Clarke County Jail, Montgomery wrote. "The administration at the jail really doesn't want our books in the jail but they can't stop Pops. I have many scrolls circulating in the jail.

"The irony is that every day I work here, though, makes me realize more and more that YOU DON'T BELONG IN PRISON! This is why I continue to fight for your freedom."

The letter was sent to York at a federal maximum security prison in Colorado, and was intercepted by U.S. Bureau of Prison officials who notified the sheriff's office.

Montgomery listed in the same letter ways he and other Nuwaubians were trying to win York's freedom, including a public relations campaign that used newspaper advertisements, billboards and a Web site,

The former deputy told York that Nuwaubians "had "hit the streets" to spread the cult's doctrine.

"This will not only inform people of your innocence, but will save souls and unite the family under our doctrine of Wu-Nuwaubu," the former deputy's letter said. "We support Africa because that is FIRST. We will put BABA in AFRICA!"