Police keep eye out for Attleboro cult's children

Boston Herald/March 5, 2004
By Dave Wedge

Cops keeping tabs on an Attleboro cult involved in the deaths of at least two children say they would move to rescue any new babies born into the brainwashing sect.

"Personally I have a concern that if there are kids born that they would be subject to harm," Detective Arthur Brillon said. "I feel it would be my duty to call (the Department of Social Services)."

Brillon and Tom Carroll, a child abuse investigator for Bristol District Attorney Paul F. Walsh Jr., said authorities make routine checks on the Rehoboth and Attleboro homes where members of The Body live. But, both say, there is no evidence any new children have been born into the group.

The comments came a day after Karen Robidoux broke her silence for the first time, telling the Herald she fears other sect children could be at risk. Robidoux, 28, was acquitted last month of murder for the 1999 starvation of her 11-month-old son, Samuel, successfully arguing that the group's mind-control and "emotional battering" blocked her from disobeying a deadly prophecy. She was convicted of assault and released after having served 2years in jail.

Samuel starved over 51 days after a revelation by member Michelle Mingo - his aunt - prompted Robidoux and her husband Jacques to switch the toddler from table food to a breast milk-only regimen. Jacques Robidoux is serving life in prison. Mingo pleaded guilty to accessory charges and was freed last month.

Samuel was buried in Maine alongside David and Rebecca Corneau's son, Jeremiah Corneau, who died during a home birth. No one was ever charged with his death. Another cult couple, Trinette and Mark Daneau, fled in 2002 and are suspected of having a baby.

When asked Wednesday if she thought more children in the sect could someday be at risk, Robidoux replied, "Absolutely. If not worse." Four members of Robidoux's immediate family are still in the cult, including her mother and three siblings, and she says the group is continuing its dangerous ways. The controversial sect rejects mainstream society, including doctors, banking and media.

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