Agape cult leader Rocco Leo wanted for assault

AdelaideNow/September 28, 2010

Runaway Agape cult leader Rocco Leo assaulted the estanged husband of one of his church members at Adelaide Airport less than a month before his doomsday cult was raided by police, a court has heard.

Magistrate Lydia Makiv issued an arrest warrant for Leo - who failed to appear at today's scheduled hearing - before recalling it to allow his lawyers to argue against it tomorrow.

Leo, 54, has been charged with assault after allegedly attacking Philip Arbon, the estranged husband of one of his parishoners, at Adelaide Airport in April.

The Holden Hill Magistrates Court today heard Leo also smashed Mr Arbon's camera, causing about $3000 damage, before going to police and and making a false report that Mr Arbon was the instigator of the attack.

Leo allegedly led the doomsday cult until May this year, when it is believed he fled overseas despite allegedly owing more than a million dollars to church members.

Church insiders have claimed Leo said he had a direct link to God and would take true believers to an island in the South Pacific.

In documents tendered to the court, Senior Constable Kevin Fulcher says Leo is under investigation by police for fraud and is in hiding.

"Leo has been the subject of significant media coverage in relation to other matters," he said.

"Extensive enquiries by major fraud section have indicated that the accused is no longer in the state and may be out of the country... the accused is actively avoiding police".

Snr Const Fulcher says CCTV footage of the alleged assault showed Mr Arbon's version of the alleged assault was correct.

The matter returns to court tomorrow.

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