Eligio Bishop trial offers inside look at alleged sex cult Carbon Nation

Court TV/March 1, 2024 

By Emanuella Grinberg

Atlanta — Accused polygamist cult leader Eligio Bishop and his followers used social media to promote their holistic lifestyle and teachings. When clicks were low, they got creative, Bishop and his followers said.

Some video posts and livestreams showed group members in lush, tropical landscapes dressed in colorful wraps and elaborate headwear dancing and singing about the joys of life outside of “Babylon,” their term for mainstream society.

Other content showed Bishop – who goes by the name Natureboy – in conversation with his so-called “wives” and male followers on central themes of Bishop’s homespun theology: open relationships, nature worship, the end times, resistance to white supremacy, to name a few.

Another subset of videos became a focal point of Bishop’s rape trial in Dekalb County, Georgia. Prosecutors played three clips that Bishop shared online of him engaging in sexual acts with two women. Bishop freely admitted to recording and posting the videos after he was arrested in April 2022. He told a detective the women consented to him filming and sharing the videos online.

“We’re doing sex education for black people to show what we’ve learned,” Bishop said in his interview. “We posted them together. We had sex, I didn’t have to rape her. This is what we do.”

Both women testified in Bishop’s trial and told a different story. Court TV is not naming the women due to a court order even though they have spoken out publicly using their names in the past. The women said Bishop preyed on their desire for spiritual enlightenment and forced them into sexual submission with threats of violence, social ostracization and expulsion. Eventually, the threats turned into physical violence, both women testified, sometimes at Bishop’s hand, sometimes from others acting under his direction.

“I was brainwashed. He said it was for a bigger purpose and I believed it,” testified the alleged victim at the center of the trial. “I never wanted to have sex with him.”


The group has gone by different names at different times: the Etherians, Melanation and most recently, Carbon Nation. Current and former members testified that Bishop, the group’s driving force, has also gone by many names: God, the Messiah, the prophet, chief, Papi, 3God, among others.

Now 41, the self-described spiritual leader faces up to 11 years in prison for sharing the videos online on three “revenge porn” charges that accuse him of posting sexually explicit content for the purpose of harassment.

Dekalb County prosecutors claim that Bishop posted the videos after the women left him to spite them.

“He wanted to record me for the purpose in which he used it — to humiliate me,” testified another woman who has a child with Bishop.

Sex with Bishop – who goes by the name “Natureboy” — was one of many “non-negotiables” as part of his flock, the woman testified.

“Every woman had to have sex with Natureboy. A lot of times it would be forced because it was non-negotiable,” she said. “Natureboy considers himself to be our higher self, he thinks he’s a god. He believes he’s the alpha and omega. The rules came from that ideology.”

The jury heard Bishop profess as much in another video. In the clip, Bishop snarls into the camera and declares himself a “god” deserving of sexual submission.

“All you b*****s belong to me… and I will have my way with you as I see fit,” Bishop said. “If anyone disrespects me, I will send your soul into the abyss and you will be lost there. You’ll be lost without me.”


The revenge porn charges carry less time than other charges of rape and false imprisonment for which Bishop is also standing trial.

The morning the trial started, Bishop turned down a plea offer for 30 years in prison on the revenge porn charges and a reduced charge of aggravated assault. Prosecutors would drop the false imprisonment charge under the deal. Bishop rejected the offer, but not without some hesitation after presiding Judge Stacey Hydrick warned him that going to trial on the rape charge exposed him to a maximum sentence of life without the possibility of parole.

The rape charge stems from accusations that Bishop forced himself on a woman when she tried to leave the group’s home in Decatur, Georgia, on March 24, 2022. Bishop denies raping the woman, saying she freely submitted to sex on the night in question and throughout her time in the group.

The woman – who was featured in two sex videos the jury saw – spent hours on the witness stand describing how she and the other “wives” lived in sexual servitude to Bishop. It wasn’t that way when she joined the group in 2017, she testified. Bishop was kind, caring and charismatic as he guided the group on a path in harmony with nature, he said.

From the start, however, he decided who was romantically linked to whom. When she told Bishop she wanted to be with another man, “he told me that wasn’t going to work,” she said.

“He was the big chief, and I should be with him.”

She yielded to Bishop’s sexual demands because it was a “high honor” within the group to be with Bishop, she said. She also testified she didn’t believe she had a choice when it came to participating in the “sex education” videos. She agreed with prosecutors that she “consented” to them being posted when she was in the group but only because Bishop “manipulated” her into believing it was essential to their mission. And she insisted she did not consent to them being reposted after she left.

She left and returned to the group twice before the night of March 24, 2022, when she claims Bishop raped her. The group had lost its way as Bishop’s thirst for power and control grew, she said. What started as a collective had become a cult of personality with Bishop “the almighty Jesus Christ God figurehead,” she said.

The final straw came when a disagreement with Bishop led him to direct another of his wives to hit her, she testified. She collected her belongings from around the house and called an Uber as the others taunted her, she said. As she was getting in the car, one of the women called out to her, saying Bishop wanted to see her. She went back inside the house.

“I wanted to leave on good terms,” she said. “I didn’t want these people to see me as a bad person.”

They embraced, she said, and Bishop urged her to have sex with him one last time. She resisted and said no, she testified, but ultimately gave in thinking it was the only way he’d let her go.

The woman left the next morning and hid out for the next 24 hours in a day spa, she testified. While there, she gave an interview to a YouTuber and she used the term “making love” to describe what happened.

A few days later, she called 911 to report Bishop for posting the videos. She did not accuse him of rape until she spoke to detectives about whether the encounter was consensual, a detective testified.

Bishop’s lawyer questioned her at length about why she used the term “making love” if she’d been raped. She was in shock and trying to process what had happened to her, she said, and that’s what Bishop told her to call all forms of intercourse.


Former and current Carbon Nation members who were in the house that night testified for the state and the defense. Witnesses for both sides corroborated her account of being slapped by another woman when she got into a fight with Bishop. The witnesses also admitted to taunting her as she left and calling her back into the house. No one witnessed the alleged rape.

“Zoca did slap her because she was being disrespectful. It was a natural family fight,” defense witness Kayla Buckner testified. “There was tension between the women because we were tired of her behavior and she wanted to leave after that.”

Buckner offered another possible explanation for the alleged victim’s departure and allegations.

“She would try and be in a polygamous relationship because they loved each other very deeply and she couldn’t deal with her jealousy,” Bucker said.

Bucker said she never witnessed Bishop physically abuse anyone in the group. But she and another witness said they sometimes staged fights in their social media posts for clicks.

“What we teach doesn’t get a lot of views. The drama does, so we got creative on how to get people to watch,” defense witness Porchae Wade said.

Bishop did not testify in his defense. But the jury heard his police interview where he admitted to “clout-chasing” or creating drama to draw an audience. Bishop told the detective he was a spiritual teacher who preached love, peace and nature, but “a lot of people don’t care about that stuff,” he said.

“I do things to get Black people’s attention and what gets their attention? Drama. They love drama,” he said in the interview.

A former member who testified for the state said she joined Carbon Nation during the racial reckoning of 2020 hoping to join a movement that offered a positive narrative for Black people.

“Looking at it now, I don’t think anyone was happy,” she testified in tears. “We wanted it to be what we wanted it to be.”

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