‘Black Jesus,’ a Cult Leader and Ex-Lutheran Who Raped and Murdered Girls, is Himself Killed

Five months ago, Papua New Guinean cult leader Steven Tari, who liked to refer to himself as “Black Jesus,” did it again. Every time he’d been caught for his shocking crimes — which included rape, murder, and (according to many) ritual cannibalism — he’d managed to escape. His most mindbending getaway had occurred some eight years ago, when he

…escaped prior to his trial with the help of a Lutheran pastor, Logan Sapus, who had been assigned to counsel him but became converted to Tari’s cult instead.

Other attempts followed, but Tari was always quickly recaptured. Until this March, when he broke out of prison with dozens of other inmates — and went home. According to the Independent,

The charismatic cult leader, who wore white robes and is said to have regularly drunk the blood of his “flower girls”, quickly returned to his home village of Gal.

Given Tari’s violent, psychotic past, the villagers had reason to be apprehensive, to say the least — although some of them, among as many as 6,000 people in the superstition-ravaged nation, took his every word as the gospel.

But enough was, apparently, enough, and the other day, some of the saner ones ended his reign of terror:

After killing one woman and attempting to murder another, the inhabitants of the village, which is in Madang province, are said to have finally snapped, surrounding Tari and one of his henchmen and hacking the pair to death.

It has not yet been established if the murdered woman was killed as part of a blood sacrifice, but it is considered likely as Tari was said to have been attempting to resurrect his cult following the spell in prison.

About Terry Firma

Terry Firma, though born and Journalism-school-educated in Europe, has lived in the U.S. for the past 20-odd years. Stateside, his feature articles have been published in the New York Times, Reason, Rolling Stone, Playboy, and Wired. Terry is the founder of Moral Compass, a now dormant site that poked fun at the delusional claim by people of faith that a belief in God equips them with superior moral standards. He joined Friendly Atheist in 2013.


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