A 68-year-old sex cult leader, released after 33 years in prison for rape and assault of minors, won't be registered as sex offender. The people of Pennsylvania are outraged.
Shouts of "there he is" signaled George Feigley's return Friday night, about nine hours after his release from state prison.
The protesters had been waiting for his arrival for more than 11 hours.
A small crowd surrounded the car when it halted at some point, hitting it with their fists and yelling, "Child molester." Of course he finally made his way home, but uncertaintly lies ahead for Feigley.
"There needs to be zero tolerance for sexual abuse of children, and we're getting close in Pennsylvania," Jennifer Storm, the executive director of the Dauphin County Victim/Witness Assistance Program, said.
Feigley heads the Neo American Church that operated a school in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania which, the police said, was only a front for sexual activity.
The church's manifesto solemnly declares, "We hold that the changes called creation and procreation are divine and that human sexuality is to humans the most available expression of that function of divinity... Sexual activity is the greatest act a human can do."
But that was only a smokescreen. "The defendants' design was to operate a 'church oriented' school, which is free of any governmental regulation, for the ostensible purpose of education when their real goal was to gratify their own deviant sexual desires," Feigley's indictment had stated.
Last fortnight, alarmed by dispatches in Harrisburg Patriot-News on his impending release, an erstwhile victim of Feigley came forward to tell the newspaper something of what she had undergone when young.
"Three decades later, that world still haunts her through dreams occasionally featuring Feigley and his flock of followers. She was shocked to learn from a reporter that the man who beat her, made her call him "Master," and photographed her in graphic sexual poses would be released from prison this week.
"She lived in a world where parents willingly gave up their children to a man who declared himself "The Light of the World."
A world where children were beaten for letting anyone but fellow cult members see them, and their genitals were pierced with a lock to be controlled by this so-called prophet. It was a world unimaginable to most people, but it was her reality for seven years, from the time she was 5 until her mother broke free of George Feigley's grip.
"He's not a man who should be out with society," said the woman, who asked to be called "J," the newspaper reported.
Feigley was convicted of additional conspiracy charges in 1995. Authorities said he was attempting to direct sexual activity involving children by telephone from prison. However, conspiracy charges do not require listing on a sex offender registry.
In 1976, Feigley escaped from prison. He was captured two years later in West Virginia but escaped again from a local jail and was recaptured by the FBI.
In 1983, two members of the Neo American Church drowned in what authorities believe was an attempt to break Feigley out of prison, CNN reported.
He remains as unepentant and defiant as ever. He says, brazenly, on the website run by his wife, "There is nothing injurious to sexuality. It's good and pleasant, not an evil. Children exposed to it are simply not injured."
The web site ostensibly aimed at benefiting state, local and federal prison inmates. The site has a lengthy section with articles discussing sex in prison and elsewhere. Some of them are written by George Feigley, using his own name and some of his aliases.
"Thanks to the Christian crazies who were and are so influential in this country, America has criminalized more sexual conduct than any other Western nation," says an article on the site, which does not name an author. "It's a neurosis. As a result, there are a lot of 'sexual offenses.' "
Feigley "never admitted what he did was wrong," said John Goshert of the Dauphin County district attorney's office, who interviewed him last week as part of a pre-release program.
Because he served his maximum sentence, prosecutors, other public officials and neighbors are concerned that Feigley will be able to go about his business and move about the community without monitoring.
He wont be registered as sex offender under the Megan law because his conviction predates the passage of the law.
Angel Fox, who will be Feigley's next-door neighbor, helped organize Friday's protest and is circulating a petition to prevent his return to the neighborhood.
"I mean, what happens when I'm not at home?" she asked. "Do I have to worry about what's happening with my kids? I have to try to do something."
The community is "outraged," said Annette Antoun, publisher of a weekly newspaper. She said authorities are looking into whether Feigley would be required to register under a federal statute. And, she said, if there is a loophole in the law, legislators are starting to work on ways to close it.
She said she has spoken to Feigley's victims, and "they have scars they say will never go away. ... They're frightened."
Dauphin County's Senator Jeffrey Piccola is preparing a legislation to permit courts to commit sex offenders thought to be still dangerous to mental health facilities for at least a year after they complete a prison sentence.
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