May 25, 2005

Cult suspect booked; FBI digs at church

The Advocate

Florida parishes bureau

PONCHATOULA -- Tangipahoa Parish sheriff's deputies worked to bring two alleged cult members to jail in Amite on Tuesday while the Federal Bureau of Investigation dug up the grounds at the Hosanna Church in Ponchatoula looking for more evidence.
The extradition of the two suspects and the excavation are part of a seven-week investigation into the alleged occult practices of the church that includes sex with children and animals. Nine people have been arrested so far.

Deputies were scheduled to fly to Ohio today to bring the woman who first alerted the Sheriff's Office about the abuse at Hosanna to Amite in order to book her into the parish jail on a count of aggravated rape, Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff Daniel Edwards said.

Nicole Bernard of Columbus, Ohio, waived extradition Tuesday in Ohio's Franklin County Common Pleas Court. She was arrested Friday.

Bernard told deputies she moved to Ohio a several months ago out of fear for her safety.

FBI agents and East Baton Rouge Parish sheriff's deputies arrested Patricia "Trish" Pierson, 54, when she arrived at Metro Airport in Baton Rouge aboard a flight from Tulsa, Okla., said Laura Covington, a spokeswoman for the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff's Office.

Posted by kshaw at May 25, 2005 07:27 AM