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Encyclopedia > Ricky Rodriguez

Ricky Rodriquez, aka Davidito (legal names: Richard Peter Rodriguez, Richard Peter Smith and David Moses Zerby) (January 25, 1975 - January 9, 2005) was a former member of the Children of God (COG), now known as The Family, when he committed a murder-suicide in 2005. January 25 is the 25th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1975 (MCMLXXV) was a common year starting on Wednesday. ... January 9 is the 9th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ... The Children of God (COG), later known as the Family of Love, the Family, and now the Family International, is a new religious movement, widely referred to as a cult[1] by the media and some government organizations, that started in 1968 in Huntington Beach, California, USA. It was part...

Rodriguez was born in Tenerife, one of the Canary Islands. He was the natural son of Karen Zerby and a Spanish hotel employee whom she "Flirty Fished". He was considered to be the adopted son of David Berg, Zerby's partner and leader of the COG, although no official adoption ever took place. Rodriguez later developed a deep-seated resentment towards Berg and Zerby, because of the sexual abuse he had suffered as a child and his unconventional upbringing. His sister Christina Teresa Zerby (aka Techi)[1], whom he grew up with and who is still a member of The Family, does not hold the same views. Flag of Tenerife Tenerife (English also Teneriffe), a Spanish island, is the largest of the seven Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Africa. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Karen Zerby (aka Maria, Mama Maria, Queen Maria) (born in Tucson, Arizona) is the current leader of the Children of God, a new religious movement. ... Flirty Fishing (FFing) was a form of personal evangelism involving sexual attraction, practiced by the new religious movement, the Children of God/The Family, from 1974 until 1987 (abandoned because of the AIDS scare). ... David Brandt Berg (February 18, 1919 - October 1994) was born in Oakland, California, USA on February 18, 1919 to Hjalmer Emmanuel Berg and Rev. ...

The group published a childcare manual in January 1982 that described the education, home life, and care of Rodriguez. The 762-page book also included at least a dozen photographs depicting the child engaged in sexual play with his governesses, particularly Sara Kelley (also known as Sara Davidito or Prisca Kelley). The COG later ordered this book to be heavily sanitized and, eventually, destroyed completely. In the late 90s, it was reprinted in heavily sanized form. Copies of the original still exist in the collections of former members, some of whom have provided them to law enforcement agencies. Some pages have been posted online at xFamily.org: Story Of Davidito 1982 (MCMLXXXII) was a common year starting on Friday of the Gregorian calendar. ...

The extent to which Rodriguez was subject to inappropriate sexual activity is disputed. In a 1994 interview with David Millikan regarding the incidents recorded in the "Story of Davidito", Rodriguez, who was still a member of The Family at the time, said, "People feel that the sexual activities I had occurred so much more than it really did. They believe it had a bigger emphasis and played a greater part than it did. If they think my early life revolved around sex it's going to seem very weird, but I know this wasn't the case, so it was not such a big deal to me." Millikan also writes: "I pointed out to him that under most legal definitions of sexual abuse, Sara and the other women who participated in sex with him would be found guilty." In Sex, Slander and Salvation, a book funded and edited by The Family, Lawrence Lilliston wrote: "The Davidito book does relate David's early witnessing of sexual behavior and encouragement to explore his own sexuality, and while these experiences would be characterized as sexually abusive or neglectful by most child abuse experts, there is no report of his having been actively molested or abused by adults. Moreover, there is no evidence of long-term negative effects on David. The first author, a clinical child psychologist with thirty years of experience, recently administered a psychological evaluation to David, who is now nineteen, and found him to be a bright, well-adjusted, and emotionally strong young man."

However, when Lilliston attempted to submit his conclusions as testimony in a child custody case involving The Family in the UK, presiding judge Lord Justice Sir Alan Ward stated: "[Lilliston's observations of another young man born in the Family] seem to me to be superficial and to lack academic credibility. Likewise his conclusion about Davidito. This was an opportunity to explore exactly what had taken place in Berg's household. He merely touched upon these matters and Davidito made it obvious he was not prepared to talk about it. Nor did they talk about the reasons which impelled that young man [Ricky Rodriguez, aka Davidito] to make attempts on his life said by The Family to have been caused by Satanic influences. Because I conclude that Dr Lilliston was not too concerned critically to examine The Family's past, I cannot be sure I get an accurate picture from him." [2] Sir Alan Hylton Ward (born 15 February 1938), styled The Rt Hon. ...

When Rodriguez grew to adulthood, he married Elixcia Munumel, and together they separated from The Family in 2001. Shortly after this, Rodriguez wrote an article on the Web site MovingOn.org[3] in which he described David Berg's deviant sexual activity involving a number of women and children.

In September 2004, after separating from his wife, he moved to Tucson, Arizona, and worked as an electrician. According to accounts by his friends and relatives, he moved there because he heard his mother had visited and he wanted to find her, her location being secret even to him, due to his speaking out about his childhood. In January 2005, he arranged a meeting with a former associate of his mother's who was involved in his childhood sexual molestation, Angela Smith (formerly Susan Joy Kauten) and stabbed her to death in his apartment. He then drove to Blythe, California, where he shot himself in the head. He released a video to be distributed to friends, family and former members explaining his actions. According to an article in the New York Times, in the video, "he said he saw himself as a vigilante avenging children like him and his sisters who had been subject to rapes and beatings." "There's this need that I have," he said. "It's not a want. It's a need for revenge. It's a need for justice, because I can't go on like this." "Murder and Suicide Reviving Claims of Child Abuse in Cult", Laurie Goodstein, New York Times, January 15, 2005. pg. A-1. Nickname: The Old Pueblo Location Location in Pima County and the state of Arizona Coordinates: , Government Country State Counties United States Arizona Pima Mayor Bob Walkup (R) Geographical characteristics Area     City 505. ... Blythe is a city located in Riverside County, California, United States, in the Palo Verde Valley, an agricultural area along the Colorado River. ... The New York Times is an internationally known daily newspaper published in New York City and distributed in the United States and many other nations worldwide. ... January 15 is the 15th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ...

External links

  • In Loving Memory of Ricky Rodriguez by his widow and friends
  • Ricky Rodriguez memorial on a website run by The Family International
  • Ricky Rodriguez biography on xFamily.org, a wiki about the Children of God/The Family

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