Feb 23, 2024

Cult expert testifies at rape trial of accused cult leader Eligio Bishop

Tyler Fingert
FOX 5 Atlanta
February 23, 2024

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - Witness testimony continued today in the rape trial of Eligio Bishop, an alleged cult leader facing charges of sexual assault. The prosecution called an expert witness to the stand, shedding light on cult dynamics and Bishop's alleged involvement in the group known as Carbon Nation.

Rick Allen Ross, founder and director of the Cult Education Institute, testified that he has spent decades dealing with cults and conducting interventions with members. Ross, who has researched and followed Bishop's alleged cult for a number of years, described Bishop as fitting the profile of a destructive authoritarian leader.

"In my opinion, Eligio Bishop fits the profile of a destructive authoritarian leader, and there are patterns of coercive persuasion to gain undue influence that have been reported by people under his influence and families affected by him," Ross stated during his testimony.

The prosecution has focused on the power dynamic within Carbon Nation, alleging that Bishop held all the power as the self-proclaimed king of the group. The victim claims that the alleged sexual assault occurred while she was a member attempting to leave the cult.

Prosecutors argue that Bishop's influence resulted in the victim being coerced into submission, leading to the assault as she tried to escape. Additionally, the state contends that after the alleged rape, Bishop retaliated against the woman for leaving the group by posting revenge porn.

The defense objected to Ross's qualifications as an expert witness, arguing that he isn't qualified to speak on cults. However, the judge overruled the objection, allowing Ross's testimony to stand.

The alleged victim was the first witness that was called to the stand on Thursday. The woman testified that her membership in the group started off fine, but eventually she noticed violent outbursts. When she wanted out, she says Bishop wanted to sleep with her one last time. She says she told him no repeatedly before finally relenting.

After she left, Bishop reportedly posted "revenge porn" online.

The prosecution plans to call more witnesses in the coming week. Once the prosecution concludes its case, the defense will have the opportunity to present its evidence.


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