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Accused cult leader convicted of all counts, including rape, DeKalb County District Attorney’s office says

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Accused cult leader convicted of all counts, including rape, DeKalb County District Attorney’s office says

Eligio Bishop. Photo provided by the DeKalb County Sheriff's Office

By Atlanta News First staff

ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) — An accused cult leader was convicted of all counts, including rape, the DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office announced Friday.

Eligio Bishop, 40, was the leader of a polygamist group called “Carbon Nation” and claimed to be God. A former member said he raped her and posted nude photos of her online in revenge after she left, according to the attorney’s office.

Bishop was standing trial on rape, false imprisonment and three counts of prohibition on nude or sexually explicit electronic transmission charges.

A judge has sentenced Bishop to life in prison without parole and a combined 10 years on the other counts.

“I forgive you. I want you to know I still love you and forgive you and kiss my baby girl and let her I love her, and I love y’all,” Bishop said on a Zoom call from jail following the verdict.

Carbon Nation has a troubled history, previously having been kicked out of Hawaii, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Panama. On the stand, the victim said she and about 20 other followers moved into a Decatur home in 2020. She left several times but came back, leaving for good when the rape happened in March 2022, she said.

“If you try to leave, he will try to abuse you, strangle you or have the cult leaders abuse you,” she said. “I was definitely scared.”

Another former member, Courtney Townsend, also testified to Bishop’s abuse.

But current group members argued they weren’t mistreated. One was removed from the courtroom after he kept interrupting the proceedings by yelling in defense of Bishop.

The trial ran into a few other hiccups. A courtroom official tested positive for COVID-19, delaying the case by a day and a half. Fearing exposure, Bishop said he didn’t want to be in the courtroom and attended the trial via Zoom from his jail cell.

Bishop also said he didn’t want his attorney anymore, citing unfair treatment, but ultimately dropped the argument.

Decaturish media partner Atlanta News First provided this story