Prosecutors: Religious sect physically and mentally exploited children to operate business empire

Five men and three women indicted for allegedly coercing minors to work without compensation were inspired by a leader who claimed to have attained god-like status after traveling with angels through the galaxy and who twisted the Islamic faith to support a business empire in Kansas and other states.

Federal prosecutors said in a statement Wednesday indictments secured through a grand jury asserted kids as young as eight years old were forced by adult members of the United Nation of Islam to work in gas stations, bakeries and restaurants while also performing household chores. Some minors worked 16 hours a day without pay, with leaders of the sect defending the practice by telling children they owed a duty to Allah.

The children weren't provided a meaningful education, federal prosecutors said, despite promises to parents their kids would receive fulsome schooling and develop life skills by enrolling in the University of Arts and Logistics of Civilization and working at businesses located in Kansas City, Kansas.

“UNOI did not inform the parents that their children would work extended hours, sometimes in lieu of attending school, or be sent to other UNOI businesses around the country to work extended hours and receive no legitimate education," federal court records said.

Organizers of the predominately Black organization allegedly blocked victims from reading newspapers or books of their choosing and were physically and mentally abused the children. Victims lived off a diet confined largely to bean soup and salads or went for days by consuming only lemon juice, officials said. The victims couldn't travel freely and rarely received legitimate medical treatment, prosecutors said.

Victims were required to live in cramped barrack housing, were relocated without notice from one state to another and rarely had an opportunity to speak with their parents outside the presence of cult leaders.

Meanwhile, prosecutors said, the defendants and their immediate families lived in spacious housing, ate whatever food they wanted and worked at their own discretion.

The people orchestrating use of child labor in businesses from 2000 to 2012 were led by Daniel Aubrey Jenkins. The sect was founded by the late Royall Jenkins, a trucker who claimed he was Allah. Royall Jenkins asserted that he learned how to rule the world by traveling through the galaxy with angels who had abducted him. Royall Jenkins wasn't indicted and apparently died of COVID-19 complications in September.

Youth under control of the organization had to endure “Fruit of Islam Beatdowns" by adult leaders, the indictment said, and victims were indoctrinated with the idea they would burn in an eternal bonfire if they ran away.

Females under direction of the organization had to maintain specific weights or face humiliation and scorn, prosecutors said. In addition, court records say, some children were forced to undergo colon cleansings that involved streaming gallons of water through a tube inserted into the rectum.

The defendants directed the victims to shower in a certain way and required some victims to undergo colonics performed by adult members," the indictment said.

Dustin Slinkard, acting U.S. attorney for Kansas, and Ryan Huschka, assistant U.S. attorney for Kansas, secured indictments from a federal grand jury in Kansas against the eight defendants.

They are: Daniel Aubrey Jenkins, 40, Lawrenceville, Georgia; Kaaba Majeed, 47, Jonesboro, Georgia; Randolph Rodney Hadley, 46, Fairburn, Georgia; Yunus Rassoul, 36, Cape Coral, Florida; James Staton, 59, Fayetteville, North Carolina; Jacelyn Greenwell, 42, Severn, Maryland; Etenia Kinard, 46, Waldorf, Maryland; and Dana Peach, 57, Clinton, Maryland.

They allegedly operated businesses in Wichita and Kansas City, Kansas, as well as New York City; Temple Hills and Baltimore, Maryland; Cincinnati and Dayton, Ohio; Atlanta, Georgia; New Jersey, New Haven and Hamden, Connecticut; Durham, North Carolina; and Mobile, Alabama.

Majeed served as a national lieutenant in United Nation of Islam, while Rassoul took on the role of national minister. Hadley was a captain. Aubrey was responsible for male membership. Kinard and Greenwell oversaw youth membership.

If convicted, the defendants could be sentenced for a maximum of 20 years in prison for forced labor and up to five years behind bars for conspiracy to commit forced labor. Both offenses carry a top fine of $250,000.

Kansas Reflector is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Kansas Reflector maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Sherman Smith for questions: Follow Kansas Reflector on Facebook and Twitter.