Cult probers fume over group's silent treatment


Boston Herald, June 28, 2000
By Dave Wedge

After locking up another Attleboro cult member yesterday, investigators said they're fed up with the "sheer arrogance" of the group's refusal to reveal what happened to two missing boys believed to have been buried in a remote section of Maine.
"They just walk in and don't say a word," one fuming investigator said of the Christian fundamentalist sect. "They don't even give their name." "The silence is deafening," another frustrated detective said. Bristol County authorities once again sent reputed cult leader Jacques Robidoux, 27, back to jail for continuing to stonewall investigators probing the death of his 10-month-old son, Samuel Robidoux. Robidoux, who has been jailed since November for refusing to answer an Attleboro juvenile court judge's questions about the boy, was locked up yesterday for refusing to talk to a Bristol County grand jury probing the boy's death. Former member Dennis Mingo, who defected from the cult last summer, said the sect has "lost touch with reality" and is blindly following Robidoux's lead. "(Jacques) is setting the example for the rest of them to follow," Mingo said. "He's very serious. This has become their lives. They're definitely not living in the same world as everyone else."

Robidoux, an Attleboro High School graduate and former standout baseball player, was led out of Fall River Superior Court in shackles and said nothing as he was put into an unmarked state police car. He was taken back to New Bedford's Ash Street jail where he has been held since the investigation into his son's disappearance began. Since November, police have locked up eight cult members, each of whom has refused to answer the grand jury's questions. All are being held in separate jails in an apparent attempt to crack the group's code of silence. Just five female members remain free, including Samuel's mother, Karen Robidoux, who last year invoked her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination when asked what happened to her son. While investigators are admittedly frustrated, officials from Bristol County District Attorney Paul Walsh's office vowed to press forward with the probe - with or without the group's cooperation.

"The DA is not throwing up his hands. We're just going to keep at it," Walsh spokesman Gerald FitzGerald said. "And when the smoke clears, we're confident that one or more people will stand trial for the death of Samuel Robidoux."

FitzGerald also expressed outrage at members of the group who have reportedly pressured others not to talk to authorities. "People who have the sheer arrogance to determine whether a little child lives or dies, and intimidate and con those around them into silence, ought not to prevail. And if the DA has anything to say about it, they won't prevail," FitzGerald said. Possible charges facing sect members range from improper disposal of a body to murder.

Samuel, who is believed to have starved to death after he stopped nursing, was allegedly buried in Maine along with his infant cousin, Jeremiah Courneau, who police say was stillborn. Both are believed to have died last fall.

Police have searched unsuccessfully for the bodies in Attleboro, Seekonk, Pawtucket, R.I. and Maine's Baxter State Park.
The renegade group, which bases their religion on Old Testament scriptures, shuns outsiders, home schools their children and opts for home remedies, such as herbs and spices, over modern medicine. Jacques Robidoux has claimed in court that the state has no jurisdiction in the case and that what happened to his son is between him and God.


To see more documents/articles regarding this group/organization/subject click here.