Police Detain Alleged Cult Members

AP, Dec 3, 1999
By Elena Becatoros

RAFINA, Greece (AP) - Special security forces rounded up at least 16 suspected members of an alleged American doomsday cult Friday, as part of a larger crackdown on the group before the turn of the millennium.

The suspected members of the Concerned Christians - 11 adults and five children - were taken into custody in and around the seaside town of Rafina, 15 miles east of Athens. All those detained were U.S. citizens with expired resident permits, police said. They likely face deportation.

Authorities said a sweep was under way for a total of up to 60 possible members of the group, which was founded in Denver, but reportedly has used Rafina as a base since 14 members were expelled from Israel in January.

Israeli officials claimed the group may have been plotting attacks at holy sites in Jerusalem to hasten the return of Christ. At the time, some followers were already living in Greece.

Searches were conducted in the homes of the suspected cult members, but it was not known if anything unusual was discovered.

U.S. diplomats in Athens were not immediately contacted by those detained, an embassy official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. Police refused to give the names of the suspected cult members, who were questioned in Athens under extremely tight security.

The cult's leader, Monte Kim Miller, had prophesied the Apocalypse would begin with an October 1998 earthquake in Denver. He and about 50 disciples have not been seen publicly since September 1998.

Greek officials fear group members could be contemplating violence or suicides on the eve of the millennium, police sources said. Greek media reported that residents complained some of the followers were preaching about the end of the world.


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