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Terms of sex cult leader's release anger community

  • Story Highlights
  • Feigley was convicted before passage of Megan's Law
  • Because he served a full prison term, he wasn't put on parole
  • Protests held at church and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, home of Feigley's wife
  • Prosecutor says Feigley never acknowledged wrongdoing
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(CNN) -- The leader of a religious group that authorities believe preys on children was released from a Pennsylvania prison Friday but won't be required to register as a sex offender, triggering outrage in the community where he plans to live.

George Feigley, who was released from prison Friday, is the subject of community protests.

George Feigley, now 68, was convicted in 1975 on charges including statutory rape, indecent assault and corrupting the morals of minors.

Because Feigley's 1975 conviction predated the passage of Megan's Law, he will not be required to register as a sex offender. And, having served his maximum sentence, he was not put on parole upon his release.

Feigley's Neo American Church, which authorities have called a sex cult, operated a school in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, that police said was a front for sexual activity.

The church's manifesto says, "We hold that the changes called creation and procreation are divine and that human sexuality is to humans the most available expression of that function of divinity," according to community activist Scott Portzline, who has researched Feigley's history and that of the group. "Sexual activity is the greatest act a human can do."

Court documents filed in connection with Feigley's criminal case alleged a less lofty goal.

"The defendants' design was to operate a 'church oriented' school, which is free of any governmental regulation, for the ostensible purpose of education when their real goal was to gratify their own deviant sexual desires," the documents stated.

One of Feigley's victims, identified only as "J," told the Harrisburg Patriot-News she was part of the organization from the ages of 5 through 12, when her mother left the Neo American Church.

Children were beaten for letting anyone but fellow cult members see them, she said, and their genitals were pierced with a lock to be controlled by Feigley, who called himself "The Light of the World." Children also were photographed in graphic sexual poses, she said.

Feigley is "not a man who should be out with society," J said. "He preys on -- at least he did -- the people who believed in him."

And, community members say, there will be no protections in place to stop him from continuing to do so. Video Watch why the case inflames emotions »

Feigley was convicted of additional conspiracy charges in 1995. Authorities said he was attempting to direct sexual activity involving children by telephone from prison. However, conspiracy charges do not require listing on a sex offender registry.

Feigley "never admitted what he did was wrong," said John Goshert of the Dauphin County district attorney's office, who interviewed him last week as part of a pre-release program.

Protests took place Friday in front of Feigley's Harrisburg home and the church headquarters.

His wife, Sandra, still lives in the home. She was convicted in 1975 on one count of corrupting the morals of minors. She served a brief prison sentence, according to the Patriot-News.

Sandra Feigley now operates a Web site ostensibly aimed at benefiting state, local and federal prison inmates. The site has a lengthy section with articles discussing sex in prison and elsewhere. Some of them are written by George Feigley, using his own name and some of his aliases.

"Thanks to the Christian crazies who were and are so influential in this country, America has criminalized more sexual conduct than any other Western nation," says an article on the site, which does not name an author. "It's a neurosis. As a result, there are a lot of 'sexual offenses.' "

Another article bearing George Feigley's alias of G.G. Stoctay, Ph.D., and included in Portzline's research says, "There is nothing injurious to sexuality. It's good and pleasant, not an evil. Children exposed to it are simply not injured."

Angel Fox, who will be Feigley's next-door neighbor, helped organize Friday's protest and is circulating a petition to prevent his return to the neighborhood, according to the Patriot-News.

"I mean, what happens when I'm not at home?" she asked. "Do I have to worry about what's happening with my kids? I have to try to do something."

The community is "outraged," said Annette Antoun, publisher of a weekly newspaper. She said authorities are looking into whether Feigley would be required to register under a federal statute. And, she said, if there is a loophole in the law, legislators are starting to work on ways to close it.

She said she has spoken to Feigley's victims, and "they have scars they say will never go away. ... They're frightened."

In 1976, Feigley escaped from a Pennsylvania prison. He was captured two years later in West Virginia but escaped again from a local jail and was recaptured by the FBI.

In 1983, two members of the Neo American Church drowned in what authorities believe was an attempt to break Feigley out of prison.

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Laura Seligman and James Gilbert drowned in the sewer line outside the prison where Feigley was being held.

The two had crawled a mile and a half through the line, according to Portzline. A rainstorm caused an overflow gate to open, flooding the line.

CNN's Aurore Ankarcrona contributed to this report.

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