Molestation is alleged

Mercury News/September 21, 2002
By Lisa Fernandez

A prominent leader in Oakland's African-American Muslim community is facing a charge that he molested a 13-year-old girl in 1981.

The alleged victim, now 34, contacted police in June, accusing Yusuf Bey of molesting her, police said.

The woman gave birth to Bey's baby in 1982, which was verified through DNA testing of samples of saliva taken from Bey after a search warrant was served earlier this summer, said Sgt. Glen Rodriguez of the Oakland Police Department's special victims unit.

Bey is a well-known Nation of Islam member, founder of the Elijah's Educational Academy; host of a black-empowerment cable television show; and owner of Your Black Muslim Bakery in Oakland -- famous for its bean and carrot pies -- which also serves as a community center.

The woman alleges she was 10 when she met Bey and broke off the relationship when she was 18, police said. She has two other children with him, ages 18 and 15.

Nationwide attention this year has focused on priests charged with child molestation. But this case illustrates that alleged pedophilia isn't limited to the Roman Catholic Church.

"This can happen in any religion, or any faith,'' Rodriguez said. ``Unfortunately, sex abuse and child molestation cross all lines.''

Bey did not return a call made to his bakery Friday. Andrew Dosa of Alameda, Bey's attorney, declined to comment on the allegation, saying he had not seen the police report or evidence against his client. Dosa added that he told Bey not to speak publicly.

Dosa said he may make a statement next Thursday, when Bey is scheduled to be arraigned on one felony count of a lewd act on a child under 14. Bey surrendered Thursday to Oakland police and is out on $50,000 bail.

Police did not know what specifically prompted the woman to come forward now, after two decades.

But she was fearful this may still be going on,'' Rodriguez said.

On Bey's Web site advertising his bakery, he describes himself as the president and CEO of a ``multimillion-dollar chain of natural ingredient bakeries'' and is ``recognized and respected as one of the most innovative leaders, entrepreneurs, philanthropists and voice of the oppressed masses in Oakland for well over three decades.''

Typically dressed in an African cap, white shirt and bow tie -- modeling the attire of the late Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad -- Bey hosts a cable show on African International Television Network's SoulBeat, calling his sermons "True Solutions.'' In at least one talk titled ``Mastering Self Through Pure Reason and Mind,'' Bey condemns ``black men killing black men,'' warns the community not to fall victim to drugs, and encourages self-control.

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