GRANTS, N.M. – A co-leader of a rural New Mexico paramilitary religious sect with anti-Semitic leanings faces being sentenced to prison after pleading no contest to child abuse charges.
James Green entered his pleas Friday in state District Court in Grants to charges stemming from abuse of a Ugandan child brought to the United States illegally in 1997 and from a 13-year-old boy’s death at the commune in January 2014 from a probable infectious disease, the Gallup Independent reports .
Green and Deborah Green, his wife and also a co-leader of the sect, were arrested in August 2017 after authorities raided the Aggressive Christianity Missions Training Corps’ secluded Fence Lake compound in western New Mexico after a two-year investigation into concerns about child abuse.
James Green will be sentenced in December under a plea agreement to 10 years in prison with credit for time reserved.
Deborah Green was sentenced in September to 72 years in prison after being convicted of child abuse and other charges in the case.
Former sect members said the abuse dated back years, while Cibola County Undersheriff Michael Munk said the former members described leaders treating followers like slaves and physically beating children.
He also said the sect had evaded law enforcement by moving and operating in seclusion.
In Deborah Green’s defense, her attorney said the accusations against her had stemmed from the vendettas of former sect members, and that the victim in the case had changed her story over the years.
The Greens opened Free Love Ministries in 1982 with four communal houses in Sacramento, California. The Greens had little ministry training but attracted about 50 members and operated a military structure.
Fence Lake is 119 miles west of Albuquerque.