Temple Investigations Bogged Down
While the Rev. Jim Jones remains in Guyana with no immediate plans to return, several activities continue without tangible results.
“Jim Jones wants to return very badly,” said temple attorney Charles Garry. “He’s happy there, but he’s the kind of person who wants to be involved. He can’t come back here for reasons I can’t disclose at this time.”
Garry indicated the reasons did not involve the ongoing investigations of several government agencies into accusations that the temple beat its members, bilked some out of property and misused public funds in the operation of care homes. The temple has denied all allegations.
Jones, a faith healer with political clout and a following said to number in the thousands, resigned as head of the San Francisco Housing Authority last summer. He submitted his resignation letter from the temple’s agriculture mission in Guyana, where he had been since New West magazine printed sweeping accusations by former members.
Garry said he visited the mission recently and found about 850 persons living there. He described it as a nearly self-sufficient, “paradise.”
The San Francisco district attorney’s office has spent about three months investigating the allegations of dozens of ex-members.
But investigators say they have insufficient evidence to prosecute and have been hampered somewhat by the exodus of many temple members to Guyana,
A report on the investigation is being prepared, but it is not known whether the district attorney will make it public. Some information on the temple has been relayed to other jurisdictions looking into temple activities, investigators say.
The Mendocino County sheriff’s office has been investigating allegations by former temple member Marvin Swinney, who said he never signed a legal document that transferred his property to the temple. Sheriff Tom Johndal said his office and state technical experts detected no evidence of forgery, but he said the investigation is not closed