Ex-member of accused cult says he's been spied on


Boston Herald, Thursday, December 30, 1999
By Dave Wedge

An ex-member of an Attleboro religious cult suspected of burying two young boys in Maine alleges that members of the sect have been spying on him and his children.

Dennis Mingo, 35, took out 13 restraining orders last week against members of the Christian fundamentalist group, including his ex-wife, Michelle, who stayed with the group even though her husband defected with their five children.

According to the orders, which were issued on Christmas Eve, members of the group "peered into the schoolyard" Dec. 23 at Seekonk's North School, where three of Mingo's children are students. Police were called to the school by the principal and the members left without being charged.

Later that day, members of the group were again spotted, this time "peering into (Mingo's) home" which is across the street from the school. The group also illegally entered Mingo's house one day last month and took "business property" belonging to members of the group who used to live in the home, Mingo alleges.

Mingo, who has reportedly sought counseling from a deprogramming specialist since fleeing the group last November, has provided police with several journals detailing the group's activities. Investigators are continuing to pore over the journals, seeking evidence which may lead to the whereabouts of 10-month-old Samuel Robidoux and his infant cousin, Jeremiah Courneau. Police believe Samuel, the son of Jacques and Karen Robidoux, was starved to death while Jeremiah, son of David and Rebecca Courneau, is believed to have been stillborn. Police dug unsuccessfully for clues in the backyards at the group's Attleboro home as well as at Mingo's house, where the group lived until earlier this year. A search last month of sections of Maine's sprawling Baxter State Park also came up empty.

No charges have been filed in the case, but Jacques Robidoux, described by Mingo as the "cult leader," has been jailed for the past two months for refusing to talk to investigators. Karen Robidoux invoked her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination when asked about her son's whereabouts.

Bristol County District Attorney Paul F. Walsh Jr. said he may seek to charge group members - possibly with murder - even if the bodies aren't found. Investigators are building evidence and creating a timeline using the journals in anticipation of presenting the case to a grand jury.

Mingo refused comment yesterday, saying only "the affidavit speaks for itself." There was no answer at the door of the group's home at 196-198 Knight Ave. in Attleboro.


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